Identity Theft and Your Online Job Search
While identity theft is nothing new, the Web has opened up whole new world of
opportunity for identity thieves. According the FBI, identity theft is the top online
fraud. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says that identity theft is its number one
source of consumer complaints - 42 percent of all complaints, in 2001.
The thief will use your personal information to open credit card accounts, cell phone
accounts, open bank accounts in your name and write bad checks leaving the victim
with the bills and ruined credit ratings. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of
banks, Internet service providers and even government agencies to get you to reveal
your Social Security number, mother's maiden name, financial account numbers and
In a recent article MSNBC reported the case of a man who fell victim
to a fraudulent job listing that was posted at Monster.com. According to the article:
"It was just the job lead Jim needed: a marketing manager position with Arthur
Gallagher, a leading international insurance broker. And only days after Jim responded
to the job posting on Monster.com, a human resources director sent along a promising
e-mail. Were interested in you, the note said. The salary is negotiable, the clients big. In
fact, the clients are so valuable and sensitive that youll have to submit to a background
check as part of the interview process. Eager for work, Jim complied and sent off just
about every key to his digital identity, including his age, height, weight, Social Security
number, bank account numbers, even his mothers maiden name."
Jim spent the day canceling his credit cards, checking his balances and contacting the
credit bureaus, but hes concerned that his information is now "out there".
There are warning signs that can tip you off to fraudulent job listings. While these items don't
necessarily mean that the listing is a scam, they are indications that you should do further checking.
• Incorrect grammar and spelling errors
• Phone or fax number area codes dont match the address given
• Unrealistic salary
Online job databases are not the only places that identity thieves cruise for personal
information. In recent indictments across the U.S., individuals have been charged with
obtaining and using personal information through various ways. In Miami, two
individuals were indicted for illegally tapping the computer networks of restaurants using
the cover of a dummy corporation. A clerical worker at the New York State Insurance
Fund pilfered office files and used stolen identities (of people across the country as well
as fellow office workers) to obtain goods and services. A phlebotomist at Kaiser
Permanente admitted to using the personal information of patients and employees in
order to open credit card accounts in various names.