|6 safety tips for online job seekers
Know what scammers want.
Legitimate companies might want job candidates'
resumes entered into in their own tracking systems, so requests for candidates
to apply on the employer's Web site should not necessarily warrant suspicion.
Be wary, however, if you're asked to complete a background
check on a site before you can be considered for the position. There might even
be a legitimate-looking check-off box next to a statement that says "I authorize
XYZ company to perform a complete background check on me," at the end of
the application, says Stickley. All the desperate job seeker has to do is supply
a Social Security number and driver license number to complete the necessary background
"Of course, once the user enters this information
into the Web site, they are now totally ruined," he says. Instead of gainful
employment, the applicant could lose their identity to a crook.
need for a background check should raise an eyebrow. Background checks cost money,
so employers won't usually perform them until after they've interviewed you, says
career coach Marcia Merrill, who has more than 18 years of experience as a career
counselor, career librarian and career-site Web manager. Instead of completing
the background check, she says, reply and ask if they can tell you exactly what's
expected of you in the position and when you can come in for an interview. "It's
a diplomatic way of saying 'I'm not going to answer you until I know more about
you,'" says Merrill. Legitimate companies should have a good explanation
for it or honor a request to postpone the background check until after an interview.
consider who the e-mail originates from. If you recognize the company name and
see that the reply-to e-mail address matches it, go to the Web site and see if
the site checks out. If there's a string of numbers before the ".com" portion
of the Web address, when you go to the site, it's probably a scam, says Steven
Rothberg, president and founder of collegerecruiter.com,
an online job board and information source for students and recent college graduates.
The recognized company name should come before the ".com."
you don't recognize the business name, research the company before you reply to
the e-mail by:
- Visiting the Better
Business Bureau Web site. See if the company exists, how long it's been around
and what kinds of complaints, if any, have been filed against it.
Talk to people in the industry and ask them what they've heard about the company.
the secretary of state's Web site. Find out in which state the company does business.
If they're in New York, the New York secretary of state office should have a listing
for them online, says Rothberg. Make sure that information, such as the business
address, matches the listing. "Bogus organizations won't be registered with
the secretary of state office."
a Google or Yahoo search for information on the company. You should find its Web
site, or at least a phone number or publication that mentions it. If you see many
blogs and sites complaining about the company, that could be a red flag.
questionable salary offers against employee-earnings sites such as salary.com
to see if the numbers come within a normal range.
a Web search for terms in the job description you don't understand.