Hunting for a job shouldn’t have to include protecting yourself from possible scams, but the reality is that you must if you’re doing your job search online.
Fake job listings are everywhere: online job boards, email and phony company websites. Some are very creative and look authentic.
Here are some keywords that are indicative of likely scams: Internet business development or coaching, business opportunity, work at home, refundable fee, guaranteed income, undisclosed federal jobs, guaranteed job, consultant and easy work.
In spite of the ease of communicating via the Internet, if you’ve received an email offer or see an online posting and don’t know if it’s genuine, ask for a phone number to call and speak to a human. Check out the phone number before you call. Try www. anywho.com and click on Reverse Lookup, which also will give you the address. Do a Google search for the address, too.
Learn how to tell the true address of an online link by putting your cursor over it and seeing if it matches the words before you click. Beware especially of any Internet address that consists mostly of numbers with a pattern like this: xxx.xx.xxxx. That’s an indication of a new Internet address.
If you get anonymous email and someone claims to want to hire you for a job you don’t even remember applying for (quite possible if you’re sending out lots of resumes), scammers likely will ask for information such as your Social Security number, date of birth, home address and even your credit-card availability and card number.
Verify, verify, verify before you give out personal information, including your Social Security number. If the job is a scam and you provide that number, as well as your name and address, you’ve just gift wrapped the means for identity theft.
With email, a genuine address should include the company’s name, not so-and-so at Gmail or Yahoo.com. You, on the other hand, can make use of one of those temporary email accounts because in time it’s sure to fill with spam.
If you sign up with a big online job list such as Monster.com, use a P.O box for your home address. Use an initial for your first name.
Best bet: Hook up with multiple in-person personnel agencies or recruiters. They’ll have access to the real jobs.
David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.