Broadband and smart phones are commonplace, and job hunting online is quickly becoming the most popular way to begin a job search. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s immediate; as soon as employers or agencies post their adverts – there they are, straight to your inbox and you can apply with the touch of a button or scan of a QR code.
Take heed however, job hunting online, like all other internet based activities, carries with it a certain level of risk – you need to be aware of these risks and the precautions you can take to stay safe online.
From fake job posts that can result in identity theft to phishing emails leading you to visit fraudulent sites; you could become an unwitting participant in criminal activity. Fraudsters have a number of tricks to get you to divulge your financial or more personal information through fictitious online application forms or profile submissions. A good rule of thumb is to never disclose private information in public profiles on jobsites or via application forms; but it’s not just theft of information you need to be careful of.
In the turbulent economic climate, the rise of fraudulent “work at home” schemes, such as envelope stuffing or assembly work, where a worker is not reimbursed for work done or they become liable for expenses incurred such as postage costs or phone calls, has become evident. Whilst there are some legitimate schemes out there, if it seems too good to be true, then it usually is, steer clear.
Another risk jobseekers need to be aware of is being tricked into paying money up front for work finding services – DO NOT PAY – reputable employment agencies will not ask you for payment in exchange for the possibility of finding you employment. Equally, if you are paying for CV writing services, make sure you are happy with the reputation of the provider, they should be happy to provide you with references you can speak with if they are providing an excellent and legitimate service.
- Never release private information such as your National Insurance Number, Bank Account and Credit Card Information, Passport Number or Date of Birth in a job application or CV submission – there is no reason why they need this information prior to your starting a job.
- When you are registering your details on a jobsite, make sure you are happy with the reputation of the site – is there a physical address? Is there a landline number?
- Take care when clicking links in emails sent from potential employers, usually from free email providers, such as Hotmail or Gmail, claiming they have seen your CV, they could lead to computer viruses and annoying spy and malware. Ensure these links go to a legitimate job posting.
- If considering a “work at home” scheme, legitimate employers will be willing to answer questions – make sure you know what tasks you will be performing, whether it is salaried or commission based work, who will pay you and when you will receive your first payment, and whether you are expected to spend any money on equipment/supplies.
By ensuring that a potential employer or the jobsite you are visiting is genuine, and taking the relevant precautions you will be taking a big step towards staying safe online whilst job hunting. For further information on how to find your next position safely log on to www.safer-jobs.com.