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Depending on your situation, hunting for a new job can be either liberating or stressful.
Either way, you should follow a few tips to ensure you’re keeping your personal information safe and giving scammers the pink slip they deserve.
And, hey, right now there is a huge workforce gap in cybersecurity careers. These jobs are fulfilling and, let’s be honest, they pay great. If you are looking for a career change, maybe you can see yourself in cyber – we have resources to help with that, too!
Research, research, research
Search for the company that posted the job listing on the web using the company name only. Results that return multiple websites for the same company (e.g., abccompany.com and abccompanyllc.com) may indicate fraudulent job listings.
Ensure you aren’t entering info on a spoofed website. Scammers will often spoof legitimate websites to deceive victims. You might notice small discrepancies, typos, or strange web addresses – search for the job on the official company’s career listings page and apply there.
If something feels off about a job listing, don’t enter your information. Instead, contact the hiring company (using an email address or phone number listed on their main website, not the fishy job listing). Don’t be afraid to ask about the legitimacy of the job listing — this shows you read carefully and conduct due diligence! If the listing seems off and doesn’t come from a company you can find from a web search, we recommend skipping it and moving on to other job postings.
Don’t pay to play
A common scam is to post a job listing that involves sending checks, money orders, or other forms of cash around. If any job posting describes a situation like this, some form of fraud is likely going on.
Never send money to someone you meet online (even if they claim to be a company), especially by wire transfer, prepaid cards, or money transfer apps.
If you receive any paper checks with instructions to purchase items or transfer money, you should assume they are fraudulent. To see if they are real, contact the financial institution on the check to ensure the availability of funds.
Never provide credit card information to an employer.
Until you are sure of the identity of your employer, do not provide bank account information to them.
Treat your personal info like cash
Remember, legitimate companies will only ask for your sensitive personal information (think Social Security numbers and bank account information for payroll purposes) AFTER hiring you, not before your employment contract is signed.
Before entering sensitive information on a HR portal or other website, evaluate the entire website and do a web search of the company. Contact the business directly if you have any questions about its legitimacy.
Think about who can see your contact information on your resume. You probably don’t want your personal phone number and your home address on a resume you post online or send to hundreds of potential employees. Consider creating an email address solely for job hunting, and possibly a forwarding phone number instead of your real one. When you do this, you create layers of protection around your identity.
Dream employer or scammer?
The truth is that scammers know many job hunters are in a desperate situation and some are out there trying to take advantage. If a job seems too good, too easy, or too well-paying to be true, it might very well be fake, especially if it comes from a company not easily found on the internet.
Posts on job boards aren’t always legitimate – websites that catalog job openings can’t easily verify the legitimacy of every single opportunity. If you see a job on a job board, go directly to the company’s website to see if the job is also posted in their careers section. If it isn’t, this is a good sign the post is not legitimate.
Just like you would look out for shady operations if you were pounding the pavement looking for work, keep an attitude of awareness and skepticism while hunting for a job online. With a little bit of caution, you can stay safe while leveling up your career!