The job search process is difficult and extremely time-consuming. One thing that job seekers shouldn’t have to worry about is identity theft. However, the sad truth is that it happens more often than we’d like to admit. I’m not talking about the suspicious work-from-home opportunities or the random emails asking for your name, number, and entire life history. I’m referring to individuals who pose as employees of larger companies in order to obtain your information.
In a recent incident, an individual took on the identity of a corporate recruiter in order to gain access to a candidate’s personal information. The individual contacted the candidate and, after establishing trust as a recruiter, completed a thorough interview. After a few days, the “recruiter” again contacted the candidate and requested he complete a background check form before an offer could be made. Once the recruiter had obtained the candidate’s personal information, he stopped returning calls and deleted his accounts.
This scam was run on at least four known individuals within the same company; however, this is not an isolated incident. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of identity theft incidents has reached 9.9 million per year. The reason is simple: scammers are after money, and stealing identities is a direct route to victims’ credit cards and bank accounts. With a little diligence, you can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.
Do your research!
When contacted by a recruiter, there are a few things you should look at to ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate representative of that business. Start by reviewing the link, phone number, address and email provided, then cross-check this information by doing a quick Google search on the company. You should be able to confirm the physical address, phone number, and link immediately.
Also, look at the sender’s email address. Does the domain match the company name? If not, do another Google search by copying the domain of the email. Does the company you found appear in the results? If not, try calling the company using the phone number from the previous search and ask for the recruiter directly. The receptionist should be able to assist you.
Conduct your own background check.
A legitimate recruiter should have an extensive online presence. Check out their LinkedIn profile and review their information. Is their profile complete? Do they list their contact information? Do they have recommendations? Don’t be afraid to review their page and click on their information. Be cautious of recruiters with very little information on their profile, or very few connections. Also, try searching for them on both Facebook and Twitter. If the recruiter has no online presence, this should be a red flag.
Ask the right questions.
During your interview, be sure to ask detailed questions about the company that the recruiter should be able to answer, such as “What does the mission statement mean to you, and how does it influence you in your daily life?” Of course, this will require some research on your end. Ask about the company structure and who you would be reporting to in the new position, then research that person’s name on LinkedIn. The more detailed your questions are, the more likely the “recruiter” will abandon their scam.
Always approach emails and phone calls with caution and never divulge too much personal information. Remember, faux recruiters rely on desperation. They’re hoping that you don’t check the facts or ask too many questions. If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, contact your local police department to file a police report. Also, you will need to contact your bank, credit card companies, and the three main credit bureaus. To learn more about reporting identity theft, please visit identitytheft.gov.
Author: Kara Singh is the Social Media Manager for Insperity Recruiting Services. She has over nine years of experience in recruiting and seven years of experience in sourcing and social media. You can connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.