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As the internet has come to play a more prominent role in our day-to-day lives, it has also become a key tool when it comes to searching for new employment opportunities. Whether you are looking for a complete career change, or just seeking a role that’s similar to your current job, the online search has become an essential part of the process.
However, as applying for a new position has become simpler, the risk to your personal information has been amplified. Most opportunities require you to upload a CV to a website or send it via email if you want to be considered, but your private details can still be stolen like this if you aren’t careful. Scam artists are increasingly using bogus advertisements as a lure for unsuspecting job-hunters. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at five things you can do to protect yourself.
While a job application or a posted CV will require some personal details, there are some items of information that you should never include as they are exactly what fraudsters are looking for. Avoid including your date of birth, age, address, national insurance number, passport or driving licence information, financial details or anything else that you think might be too sensitive.
Likewise, don’t put the details of your references on there either as they won’t thank you for any spam or fraud that they become the victim of. Simply putting ‘references available on request’ is perfectly acceptable and will ensure you have control of their information.
You might have done so already to create a more professional impression than your slightly embarrassing personal email would, but setting up a dedicated address for employment correspondence can help to keep you safe too. Not only will this keep your personal email free of spam, but any important social media or shopping accounts associated with your regular address will remain secure.
It’s worth putting some effort into researching a recruitment website before you go ahead and upload your CV to its database. Just by Googling around and looking for reviews or other’s experiences will give you an insight into their reputation. If you think a website looks too shady for its own good, it’s probably best to avoid uploading your CV altogether.
Once you have found what you are confident is a reputable website, it also pays to review their security settings to ensure they meet the level of protection you want for your CV. For example, some CV sites allow you to have your document viewable for all employers, but have alternative options for censoring essential details or keeping it private altogether.
One way that scam artists can target you is by sending you offers of jobs and interviews by email with contact details they’ve gotten from recruitment websites. It’s often hard to be suspicious of such an email, especially if you are eager to find a new role for yourself, but be vigilant and look out for any messages that ask for more details or require you to send money. Don’t reply if you are at all unsure.
Follow these five tips to keep your information safe during your online job search — and good luck!
*David Brock is Managing Director at Let Us Fix IT, a computer support and protection service that specialises in keeping families safe and secure online.