Beat the scammers, stay safe online

When you are looking for a new job, you will leave a trail of entries on various websites. You often have to enter your email address in order to get a response, to verify a new account, etc. As not all sites have the same level of security we have, it pays to be careful. The number of scammers operating online increases daily. The amount of spam now accounts to more than 90% of all email sent worldwide.

Once you leave your email details on a website it can potentially be found by spiders or crawlers. gets spidered/crawled by up to 500 spiders a day. Fortunately they can not get into the CV area, so you details are safe with us, but it might not be so safe on other sites.

However, there are a few things you can do to prevent scammers getting your details:

1. Create a disposable email address on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Create one that does not identify you by name, e.g. Use this to apply for jobs. Once you have found your new job, bin the account.

2. Don’t use your company email address, as the IT department can always go over log files to find out what happened on your account. If you post something on a blog and you use your company email address, your address can be found and the content of the blog post/comment can be used against you. There are plenty of cases where a jokey email/blog post/comment went viral and the sender lost his job over it.

3. Never use the same password. Choose a password that can not be linked to you. So, don’t use your first name, parts of your address, your girlfriend’s name, your dog’s name, your birth date, etc. These can all be guessed easily and dedicated scammers often use programs to cycle through hundreds of password options until they find the right one.

4. Use random passwords such as “4gY5t1Z”. This does not have any meaning and contains upper/lower case letters and numbers, so it’ll be difficult to guess. Passwords like these are incredibly difficult to guess, especially when they are longer than 6 letters/digits.

5. Don’t mention the names and contact details of referees in your CV, email, on websites or blog posts. And make sure people don’t list you as a reference on line either. Always state “References on request”.

6. Do not add scanned copies of your passport, diplomas, driving license, etc. These documents can potentially be used for identity fraud. If scammers get hold of these, they could potentially open a bank account in your name, take out a loan, cash it and disappear. As the account is in your name, you will be chased for the repayment. It’ll be a long and difficult process to convince the bank that you did not run off with the money yourself.

7. Never reply to email you did not expect to receive. If the email offers you a fantastic job without you having to work hard and the potential to earn a multiple of what you earn right now, think twice. Would anyone in their right mind offer you the opportunity to run a company on their behalf, pay you an absolute fortune for it and only request that you can read and write?
Normal companies would expect you to have the right experience. Scammers send out blanket email to tens of thousands of email addresses in the hope that someone is stupid enough to fall for their scam. Statistics show that a small percentage always will respond, so it’s a numbers game to them. The more spam they crank out the higher the chance they will get someone to reply.

Stay safe. Everything you stick on the internet can eventually be found, so think about what you want to be seen/found. And it will be incredibly difficult to remove something once it appears online. It gets copied onto other sites, stays on back up devices and could surface in places you least expect it to.


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