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6 safety tips for online job seekers

With a click of your mouse you can post your resume for millions to see. You can store five different cover letters at once and send out different versions without printing a single page. You can apply to hundreds of employers without ever getting in a car or picking up the phone.

You can also expose yourself to scammers.

There's no doubt about it -- if you want to join the online job search bandwagon, there are plenty of places to park your resume. Some attract quite a crowd: Careerbuilder.com, for instance, says it has more than 1 million jobs and 15 million resumes on its site.

Unfortunately, some con artists use the popularity of online job boards to find victims for their financial schemes. By scouring through resumes and sending e-mails to job seekers or posting their own ads, scammers can lure job seekers onto bogus sites or entice them to pay upfront fees for phantom jobs. It even happens on the big-name sites: Monster.com states in its "Be Safe" section that fraudulent job listings are sometimes posted to collect sensitive data from unwitting job seekers.

With the plethora of job boards on the Web, experts advise that consumers should stay on top of the latest online employment scams and take steps to post their resume safely.

Scams such as e-mails from phony employers and bogus requests for background checks can bring disastrous consequences to consumers who aren't careful with their personal information. Armed with your Social Security number, a driver license number or date of birth, a scammer can have a field day. You could be saying goodbye to your identity and your credit -- and still be unemployed.

Before you post that resume or respond to that e-mail offering an immediate position, stop, read and listen. Are you online job board-savvy?

Scammers like to go phishing
"A good rule of thumb is to never give out anything over the Internet or telephone that you wouldn't want a criminal to have," says Jim Stickley, co-founder, CTO and vice president of engineering at TraceSecurity, a company that works with corporations to help them secure their data and meet security-industry standards. If the company offering your dream job needs your confidential information, you should visit with them face-to-face to make sure they are a real company. If they are remote, then you need to take steps to verify their legitimacy, says Stickley.

While e-mails demanding personal or financial information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers or your Social Security number should raise red flags and tip you off to job scams, e-mails from employers expressing real interest in you as a job candidate are less cut and dried.

Online job hunting
Here are six simple ways to protect your personal
data from thieving eyes.
Safety tips
1. Know what scammers want.
2.Find a job board you trust.
3.Sniff ads for phishiness.
4.Apply to a handful of employers.
5.Depersonalize your resume.
6.Protect your computer.

Next: "I'm not going to answer you until I know more about you"
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