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Safe job search surfing

Mar 02, 20042 mins

* Tips for recognizing potential job scams

If you’re searching the online job boards for IT work, be careful about what listings you apply for. The World Privacy Forum reports that identity theft and fraud are growing problems in the online job search arena.

For example, the World Privacy Forum updated a consumer alert in late January advising job seekers to steer clear of  Unk Electronics, Macrocommerce Intersales, and Nanjing Panada Electronics. If you’ve already responded to jobs from those companies, there’s a good chance you’ll be a victim of financial fraud and identity theft. (See

Responding to electronic job ads requires you to share highly personalized information such as name, address, work history, educational background, and sometimes even ethnic background, salary history and social security number. For this reason, you should know what to look for to detect bogus job ads. 

Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum outlines the following indicators of potential job scams:

*After you respond to the job ad, the company wants you to supply highly personal information via e-mail. In general, never give up bank account information, credit card information, or physical details concerning your appearance.

* The employer requests your social security number of bank account information via e-mail.

* The company is less than one year old.

* There’s no Web site for the sender’s e-mail address domain or it’s under construction.

* A check of the domain name of the company in gives highly contradictory ownership information.

* While not always an indication of fraud, misspellings throughout a job posting may point to a problem, especially when combined with other factors such as lack of a Web site, etc.

For more information, check out the World Privacy Forum’s 2003 Job Search Privacy Study, which includes a consumer guide to popular online job sites and tips for searching online. Find it at