A CEO Refresher article by Teena Rose called Five Tips for a Safe Online Job Search (no longer available) stated:
“Conducting a job search using the Internet has definitely transformed how jobseekers contact hiring companies… With the Internet’s convenience, a breeding ground for scam artists continues to grow each year as well. Identity thefts have increased to an overwhelming 10 million cases per year, and many of them are the result of phishing – not surprisingly, the employment industry is under attack as well. “
This article reminds us that it is indeed a jungle out there. Online resources such as executive-level job boards and recruiter sites are undeniably a valuable tool in today’s executive employment search. While it remains true that networking is by far the most productive search method for executives in career transition, you are missing potential opportunities if you do not post your executive resume to job board and executive career transition sites such as CareerJournal, ExecuNet, ExecutiveRegistry, RiteSite, and TheLadders. It is also advantageous to submit your resume online to the major elite recruiting firm sites such as Korn Ferry, Christian & Timbers, Heidrick & Struggles, A. T. Kearney, Blue Steps, Spencer Stuart, Brilliant People, Top Echelon, etc.
However, with the prevalence of scam artists, identity thieves, and phishing schemes on the Internet, searching online does entail some dangers. For example, with “phishing,” you may receive inquiries that look as if they have come from a legitimate recruiter but are actually invitations to become a victim of fraud. You may receive solicitations from “career marketing firms” who will represent themselves as recruiters who have an opportunity for you but need you to pay them for access to their “exclusive” contacts. Be very wary of these, as there are numerous scam companies ready and eager to take your money.
So what can you do? Firstly, do not take any e-mail inquiry at face value, and avoid clicking on links embedded in e-mails. And if you do click on a link in an e-mail, NEVER provide personal information such as social security number or credit card number, no matter how legitimate the web page looks. To visit a website to which you are invited via e-mail, do a quick search on Google for the firm name to identify the correct URL, and copy/paste or type it into the Address line of your browser. Only when you are sure you have reached a legitimate site should you submit any personal information.
When filling out forms on various sites, read and understand their privacy policies. Specify that you do NOT give permission for your information to be sold or given to others without your approval.