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6 safety tips for online job seekers
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5. Depersonalize your resume.
Before you click on the send button, review the information on your resume. Are you revealing too much? You can't control who views your resume, but you can control what the public gets to know about you. To post your resume safely, hide these details from the public eye:

  • Your home address -- You never know if a stalker might use it. Instead, rent a postal box close to where you live, suggests Rothberg. Employers won't care if you don't list a street address -- just that your address is local.
  • Your home phone number -- Use a phone number that is unlisted, such as a cell phone number, says Rothberg. "Otherwise I can go to Google and search for your home address with your home phone number."
  • Your Social Security number -- This is the gateway to your identity.
  • Your date of birth -- This is another key ingredient to your identity.
  • A photo of yourself -- "Never attach a photo unless you're applying for a modeling or acting position," says Rothberg. There could be a stalker at the new company who might see it, he says. Plus, employers simply have no use for photos.
  • Your marital status or mother's maiden name-- Employers don't need to know.
  • References -- You're putting your friend's and family's names, addresses and phone numbers out there. Besides endangering them, employers don't need references until after an interview.
  • Your former employer's company name -- You can get away with describing the work you did for past employers. Legitimate companies will still be interested in you and fraudulent companies will know less about you.

6. Protect for your computer.
Invest in some good anti-spam and anti-phishing software, such as Cloudmark's Desktop, McAfee's Spam Killer or Mail Frontier's Desktop to help filter out future phishing e-mails.

Report scams -- victim, or not
If you see a suspect ad or e-mail or think you were a victim of fraud, report the incident to the authorities and the job board. File a complaint with the IC3, or with the Federal Trade Commission. If the scam involves the mail in any way, also alert the United States Postal Service.

Abstinence works
You don't have to answer the phone just because it rings. The same goes for e-mails and job ads with all the right words. Resist the urge to respond to these come-ons right away and research the company's claims. If anything smells phishy, just move on. A real job awaits!

Bankrate.com's corrections policy-- Posted: March 21, 2006
More stories by Leslie Hunt
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