For most jobseekers currently looking for work, the more exposure they get through resumes, applications, and networking – both online and off – the better their chances are of finding work.
Unfortunately, according to an article in the Contra Costa (CA) Times, exposing personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers (SSNs) and driver’s license numbers also increases the chances of jobseekers suffering from identity theft.
The Contra Costa Times reports that the World Privacy Forum – a nonprofit, public interest research group – receives many phone calls each week from jobseekers who have been victimized by identity theft while searching for work, a problem that should only get worse in a bad economy.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), over 50,000 Californians reported being victimized by identity theft in 2008 – the second highest rate in the nation – and employment-related identity theft beat out credit-card fraud and accounting to rank first with 20 percent of all identity theft complaints to the FTC from the state. Overall, the damage caused by identity theft in 2008 was nearly $50 billion.
In the article, the World Privacy Forum offers several tips for jobseekers on preventing identity theft, including:
Avoid vaguely worded job offers;
Choose job search sites and resume databases with good privacy practices;
Never put a SSN on your resume (federal or state jobs are exceptions) but provide it when at an interview or when asked permission for a background check;
Don’t scan IDs or driver's licenses for a job offer, and;
Post a resume directly on the Web site of the employer or company you wish to work for.
Another way for jobseekers to protect sensitive personal information from identity theft is by performing “personal” background checks on themselves to ensure their employment data is current, secure, and accurate. Besides protecting against identity theft, these background checks can also be used by jobseekers for employment purposes, since most employers these days – 80 percent according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) – require job applicants to undergo some type of pre-employment background check before hiring.
Where can jobseekers find "personal" background checks? While most background check firms only service employers, MyBackgroundCheck.com – the nation’s leading provider of applicant-supplied background checks – helps both jobseekers and potential employers keep personal information safe from identity theft during the pre-employment background check process.
For more information on how personal background checks can help protect jobseeker data from identity theft, visit www.mybackgroundcheck.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-503-2364. Follow MybackgroundCheck.com on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MyBackgroundChk.