Always a wealth of useful information, the latest issue of Consumer Reports highlighted the latest in fraud scams. Especially with the rise in unemployment, fraudsters have found a vulnerable population in job seekers. Last May, job hunters using computers at a public library in Columbus, Ohio, to search the want ads were approached by a “recruiter” looking to fill positions at a new store nearby. The sneak used the library to conduct job interviews, and candidates filled out applications with their name, date of birth, Social Security number, and more.
When the applicants later went to the store for training, they learned that the recruiter wasn’t associated with it at all. Rather, face-to-face job interviews are a new and brazen way to extract information for ID theft.
Job scams rank seventh on the BBB’s top 10 scams list, and such come-ons also involve work-at-home schemes including stuffing envelopes, assembling merchandise, medical billing and claims processing, and reshipping what the victim may not know are stolen goods.
ID theft was the biggest category on the FTC’s 2011 complaint list. Thieves use a wide variety of tactics to get you to give up key information that lets them steal from your existing bank and credit accounts or use your Social Security number to open phony financial accounts and commit other crimes in your name.
Protect yourself: Never give your personal information to anyone who telephones, e-mails, texts, or otherwise initiates contact with you. Monitor your financial accounts weekly or even daily, place a security freeze on your credit reports at all three credit bureaus, and file an ID-theft report with the local police if you get swindled.
If someone approaches you with a job, contact the prospective employer to verify that the recruiter and the job opening are legitimate. There should be no need for checking-account and other financial information on your application.
For more on identity theft protection, visit www.hvshred.com