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5 Tips for a Safe Online Job Search

5 Tips for a Safe Online Job Search

Teena Rose | CAREEREALISM

Think you’re safe job-searching online? Think again.

Conducting a job search using the Internet has definitely transformed how job seekers contact hiring companies. The availability of copying and pasting a text version resume into a form at a company’s website [or uploading a Word file] has laid the foundation for an easier and more convenient job-search process. No longer does a job seeker need to spend hours with the traditional method of printing and mailing his resume to countless recipients.

With the Internet’s convenience, a breeding ground for scam artists continues to grow each year as well.

Identity thefts increased to an overwhelming 10 million cases in 2008 and another 11 million more for 2009. Many of these cases are the result of phishing — so not surprisingly, the employment industry is under attack as well. The FTC reports approximately 12% of total fraud involves employment fraud.

Phishing is an attempt to extract personal information through what appears to be authentic e-mails. If you are job searching, an e-mail from a seemingly interested recruiter, for example, may not raise a red flag with you. You may think the contact person and company listed are legitimate. Yet, looks can be deceiving. Knowing what to look for and how to spot fraud (or potential for abuse) can be the best deterrent to ensuring you have a safe experience, while conducting your job search.

Be leery of submission invitations.

Scammers and spammers follow much the same patterns. Mass e-mails are sent to an enormous list of recipients. Not everyone on the “hit list” is searching for a new job; however, only a small number of people need to be convinced or tricked into believing the e-mail is authentic in order for the scam to be deemed successful. Receiving an e-mail from a recruiter who states, “We saw your resume on the Internet, and we find your skill set to be perfect for one of our clients. Please complete our online application through the below link.”

Should this happen to you, ponder a series of questions:

• Did you send your resume to this recruiter?
• If not, how did the company learn about you (legitimate e-mails should tell you)? Just mentioning, “Saw your resume on the Internet,” is vague.
• Upon further examination, do the company and the company rep appear reputable?

Visit the company’s website (caution: type the web address into your browser, avoid clicking the link in the e-mail). If you’re still unable to determine the validity of the request, call the company. Verify everything; sender’s name, e-mail address, and so on. Still avoid clicking the link in the e-mail…it’s just a good habit to start! Always proceed with suspicion when you receive any cold-contact e-mail from someone.

Next: Avoid giving personal information >>

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