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Workplace Identity Theft

Regardless of how vigilant you may be in your personal life maintaining the privacy of your Social Security number, your job may put you in jeopardy of identity theft. Employers must have access to the Social Security numbers of their employees. Phony employers seeking your Social Security number for identity theft purposes present obvious problems. Less obvious, however, is the risk you face from lax personal information security of some employers. Your employer's information security problems can easily become yours.

Looking for a Job

While not typically thought of as a threatening situation, online job postings can be fodder for identity thieves. There are many legitimate online employment companies, but even they can be scammed and list phony job descriptions for the purpose of luring people into becoming victims of identity theft. Monster.com has specifically warned its users that false job postings are used to collect sensitive, personal information from unwary job applicants. With a few simple precautions, however, you should be able to avoid becoming an identity theft victim through an online job listing. One thing to remember is that there is no need to send a prospective employer any information that is obviously unrelated to your obtaining employment. No employer needs to know your bank account numbers or credit card numbers, and certainly not your mother's maiden name. The tough call is when an employer asks for your Social Security number because it is legitimate for an employer to look at your credit report for employment purposes. The best and most prudent course of action is to ask if you can wait until a meeting in person with a prospective employer before providing that critical piece of information to anyone about whose legitimacy you have even the slightest concerns.


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