Identity theft is a huge problem in today’s society. Even more disappointing is the fact that our employment history and future can be affected by criminals impersonating us because employment-related identity theft is also growing.
Here are a few tips to help protect ourselves from employment-related identity theft:
- Don’t ever share social security numbers or birth dates online. Be wary of giving this out to any employer before an interview process has started. Crooks have been known to devise job posting scams to obtain this information.
- Be wary of job posting scams. If a job posting is poorly-written or the posting references a big-name company and the name is not spelled correctly, steer clear! If a job posting is sent by e-mail, check the e-mail address to see if it is legitimate. If a phone number is given, call the number to discuss the job posting before doing anything.
- Sign up for the Social Security Administration’s my Social Security program to keep abreast of what is being reported as income annually. If the annual income being reported is more, that could be a sign of employment-related identity theft.
- Be careful of sharing too much information on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. With the ease of using the Internet, thieves are able to find out information about us all too quickly if we share too much information about ourselves in a public forum. Even knowing the high school we went to or our mother’s maiden name can put us at risk because many security question options include these types of questions.
- Check credit history regularly. It’s best to obtain a report from all the three major credit bureaus Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. All three of these providers offer the ability to obtain a report that includes all three scores.
- Consider obtaining identity theft protection. Some employers also offer this option in their benefit packages.
- Periodically do online name searches to see what information arises. We want to know immediately if others are using our name for any purpose.
The reasons why our information is sought by criminals for employment-purposes are many: they are unable to obtain work legally, health insurance is needed, and they need employment history to gain a new job. Regardless of the reason, it’s just as important to protect our employment identity as it is our financial identity.