Scammer targeting job applicants

With the unemployment rate at a 17-year high, job applicants are out in force. Unfortunately, so are those who would like to scam them.

Perhaps the most widespread scam is one promising jobs with the federal government. This scam entices victims by claiming it can locate good-paying jobs, often with the U.S. Postal Service, and always for a fee. Don’t be fooled. The government says all hiring for the USPS is done through 85 district offices at the local level. Further, the government lists all available jobs for free at usajobs.gov.

Other scams are centered on identity theft. These frauds generally occur online through bogus employment Web sites. Online job-search guide Job-Hunt.org says never provide your Social Security number when applying for a job online. Some frauds also ask for your mother’s maiden name, knowing it’s a security feature used by companies such as banks and credit-card companies. With this information, a scammer has a better chance of hacking into your financial information.

Even reputable companies are asking for Social Security numbers as a part of an employment application. The reason is so they can run a background check on you. But identity-theft experts say you should tell the recruiter you’d prefer to withhold the information until the company makes you a job offer.

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