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identity theft

The risk of identity theft can be more severe for those who are just starting to build an independent life after college. A Bureau of Justice Identity Theft Supplement reports that 85 percent of ID theft incidents in 2012 involved fraudulent access and use of existing account information. For young victims, accounts are often new and credit character has not yet been established. Along with emotional stress, the consequences of identity theft can put excessive strains on financial and professional futures.

The following four steps can help you avoid ID pitfalls related to your online job hunt:

1) Restrict Your Output

Avoid “interesting” jobs that do not a match your career goals or your skill set. Aside from being a path to failure, a wishful thinking job-search process throws your personal information into the containers so often used by scammers and identity thefts. Hone your awareness of how to match qualifications to job openings.

2) Ignore Job Board Listing That Do Not Include Traceable Sources

Internet-based job board scams can be very thorough. An NBC News story details how a U.S. Navy lieutenant with more than 20 years in management gave his age, name, SS#, bank data and even his mothers maiden name to an identity theft ring that operated via an ad run on Monster.com. The ad followed a sinister path, one that even required applicants to supply a user-generated four-digit password for future access to the company website. Never provide personal information by phone or online unless you can thoroughly verify the credentials of your correspondent. And look for the “https” security seal.

3) Avoid Responding to Random E-mails

In a 2006 Federal Trade Commission study on identity theft, 2 percent of cases involved U.S. Mail services. In 2005, the IRS began issuing consumer alerts concerning tax-related e-mail frauds. Email “phishing” has become a popular method for tricking job applicants and others into revealing financial data. Modern identity thieves get your name and other contact details via your own social media job postings. Then they spring at you with something like an “official” IRS e-mail request for job-related information or perhaps an unsolicited e-mail notification of the perfect employment opportunity.

4) Setup a Preexisting Line of Defense

Fraud protection via Internet monitoring sets up a line of defense both during and after your job search processes. IdentityGuard, TrustID and Lifelock are just a few of the resources noted for inexpensive but comprehensive monitoring that effectively safeguards your credit, finances and good name. From address monitoring to responding to a lost wallet report and from credit alerts to intuitive Internet threat detection, these and other reliable surveillance experts offer 24/7 identity theft protection and support by phone, email and through social media.

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