Identity Theft is Not a Joke, What You and Your Job Seekers Need to Know

Just when you thought that your forward-thinking, digital-age application processes were top-notch, along comes the criminal element to shake things up. There’s at least one in every crowd, and in Australia, it’s becoming a serious issue.

Identity theft can happen anywhere in the digital realm. But perhaps what makes digital job applications so vulnerable is that for many, it’s the last place they’d expect to find a thief.

RELATED: Is Your Job Board Authentic Enough for Job Seekers?

Identity Theft in Australia

In June, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) reported a disturbing trend that’s affecting job seekers in Western Australia. The consumer protection agency warned citizens that employment scams were on the rise and that even legitimate job posting websites could put personal information at risk.

All that it takes is a fake job posting to attract resumes and applications. Once they’re unwittingly submitted to the scammer, the job seeker has effectively handed over private information just for the asking. There is no job to be had, of course. There’s only the pretense.

Scam Artists Target and Know Their Market

Most people guard personal information from one end of the Internet to the other – except, apparently, when applying for a job. But that’s almost expected. You couldn’t apply anonymously or send a resume with no personal information. And once the information is handed over, it’s gone.

Targeting job seekers is an especially sinister deed. When the job ad is almost too perfect to be true, the scammers can reasonably expect a deluge of applications. And where job boards and recruitment sites bring high-volume traffic, it’s difficult for the site owner to keep track of who and what is above-board.

How Australia is Battling the Problem

The Australian job agency tells ABC that it’s rare for a scam ad to make it through the system undetected. But it’s such a busy site with over 2.8 million visitors a month, some ads will invariably get through if the screening process isn’t strict and efficient.

Stronger screening plus random spot checks are how the company’s security team searches for scammers. And a secure system that protects personal information is another means of protection. But privacy protection doesn’t help an applicant who offers the information freely. Job seekers also have to be diligent.

This Can Happen in the U.S.

Employment scams aren’t unique to Australia. In fact, some of the free ad posting websites in America, such as Craigslist, can easily put job candidates at risk, if they don’t exercise a high level of due diligence and care.

There’s partial responsibility on both sides of the hiring equation. Job posting sites need stricter screening and more powerful protection for personal information. And job seekers must investigate a potential employer before handing over a job application and resume that’s filled with personal information.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s an adage for a reason. While employers can’t control who shares their job posting space in most cases, services such as RealMatch help tremendously. Candidate quality improves, which helps you. And personal information is more secure, which helps candidates.

The days of classified job ads in the newspaper are long gone. Craigslist and other services put job seekers on the defensive, which is where they should be in such an open environment. But on the rise is a tighter, cleaner and ultimately safer way for employers and job candidates to find each other.

Check out our webinar: The Emergence & Impact of Programmatic Advertising on Recruiting.

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