A resume provides a criminal everything they need to steal your identity. The thought of having your legal name, address, phone number and locations of current and previous employment makes an online predator salivate. It's almost as if you are literally filling out a credit application for them to use in your name.
So what are some things to consider before applying for a job or posting your resume online?
1. When you post a resume, remove all personal information.
2. Take advantage of posting options to keep your personal information anonymous. You can often check a box to “hide" contact information from employers.
3. Criminals post fake job ads every minute so remove any personal information from the resume you submit to potential employers.
4. If anyone emails or calls you stating that they need your personal details for a background check prior to being extended a job offer, call the Better Business Bureau.
5. Do your due diligence, before applying to any job you should always learn as much about the
company as possible. You may want to consider calling the company directly and getting the name, number and email address of a contact in Human Resources. This step not only insures the validity of the company but it also provides you a better chance to have your resume reviewed by a decision maker. At the very least check to see if the company named in the ad has a listed office location.
6. Never provide your personal banking details.
7. Refuse any request for scanned copies of any form of government issued ID.
It is important to point out that criminals typically acquire the details necessary to steal your identity during a series of conversations and emails. Initially, it may start out with a simple request for a copy of your resume. Once they have your details, they will then contact you and conduct an interview where their objective is to establish a level of credibility with you that will allow them to delve deeper and deeper into your personal history. Eventually, they will have everything they need to inflict serious financial damage.
Cyber criminals do their homework and they often create corporate websites, email addresses, detailed job descriptions and voice mail systems that rival that of Fortune 500 companies. They may even staff their office with secretaries that answer the phone.
So what should you do if you do fall victim to a cyber criminal:
1. Close any bank accounts if you believe someone has your banking details. Unfortunately, criminals may already have enough information to fool bank workers into giving out new account information so you should consider changing banks.
2. Order a credit report from all three credit bureaus every 2 to 3 months. Watch the reports for unusual activity.
3. Victims of identity theft should contact law enforcement officials along with the Better Business Bureau.
4. Victims should report the company name, the job posting, and all contact names to the job sites where the job ad was posted.
5. Close all email addresses that were provided to the cyber criminal.
Remember to exercise caution and refuse to provide any details to an employer prior to actually meeting them or establishing that they are legitimate company. If you neglect to take precautions before sending out your resume you could be risking your good name and financial health.
Christopher Turley is the owner Turley Consulting, a succesful executive search firm in New York City that specializes in mid to upper level search assignments. You may email him directly at email@example.com