Job search techniques have changed dramatically in the last decade, spurred on by not only the internet itself, but also by the digital economy. We all know of people who rarely see the inside of an office. Those same people might be sending in their weekly reports via blackberry, let alone a regular email account.
Whenever society changes like this, the scam artists are right in there with the rest of us. As a job seeker, you need to be diligent, and aware of ways to ensure the security of your personal information.
Here are some important facts to keep in mind when you are surfing for a new job.
- Think twice, maybe even three times, before accepting a job offer without ever meeting your new employer, or visiting their business offices. The scam artists will send you an application form which, of course, requires your social security number, your birth date, and your bank deposit information. They will now have most of what they need to steal your identity.
- A very common scam is the employment directory or training manual. An agency will claim that the job is currently available, but will require an extensive exam. All you need in order to ace the exam is the agency’s $100 training material, which is actually just a cheap copy of a guide you can see in your local library for free.
- What about mystery shoppers, work-at-home assistants, and order processors? These can all be legitimate jobs. The advent of the internet and cheap long distance phone services make working from home a reality. However, make sure you are dealing with bona-fide businesses. Check with a Better Business Bureau before moving forward. Just because the job was posted on Monster, CareerBuilder, Yahoo Hot Jobs, or another well known site does not make it valid.
- Be especially diligent when considering a position in another country. There are so many legal ramifications and if a company is making it sound easy, consider moving on to the next possibility.
I want to emphasize the following three points about legitimate, trustworthy businesses.
- Trustworthy businesses want to meet prospective employees face-to-face, discuss their experience and qualifications, check their references, and only then, make a job offer
- Trustworthy businesses do not ask for personal information (like social security data or bank info) until after a job offer has been made and accepted
- Trustworthy businesses do not email you from a Yahoo or Hotmail account. Trustworthy businesses have a physical presence in the community.