The Internet is a great place to start your job search and post your résumé—but beware of online scammers.

 

Scammers target popular job search Web sites with malicious software that infiltrates databases and allows criminals to access personal information of job applicants. Some scammers also pose as prospective employers and solicit information from potential candidates, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

 

Scammers collect this information in order to send fake or spoofed e-mail messages to job applicants.

 

These e-mails are known as phishing scams. These particular phishing scams are tough to spot because the sender uses the stolen personal information to make the e-mails more convincing.

 

If you use the Internet to look for a job, you should be careful no matter what sites you use.

 

Safety tips for online job searches

 

·          Use an Internet service provider (ISP) that includes e-mail authentication to detect spoofed and forged e-mail. The leading industry standard is Sender ID, now used by more than 12 million domains.

 

·          Use Microsoft Phishing Filter, available in Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and in Windows Vista.

 

·          Never provide any non–work-related personal information such as your social security number, credit card number, date of birth, home address, and marital status online, through e-mail, over the phone, in a fax, or on your résumé.

 

·          List your résumé on job sites that allow only verified recruiters to scan them. Review the site's privacy policy to determine if they provide e-mail addresses to any third parties.

 

·          Carefully evaluate contact information in job ads or related e-mails. Watch out for spelling errors, an e-mail address that does not feature the company's name, and inconsistencies with area codes or ZIP codes. For more tips on spotting phishing scams, see Recognize phishing scams and fraudulent e-mails.

 

·          Verify a prospective employer, recruiter, or recruiting agency through another source, such as the Better Business Bureau or a phone book, and then contact them directly. Ask for e-mail addresses and phone numbers. A good recruiter will appreciate your diligence and good judgment.

 

·          Create exclusive Web-based e-mail addresses and accounts for all non-personal communication.

 

For more tips to help keep your personal information safe when you search for a job, see Beware of scams when job-hunting online.