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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Job Applicants Invite ID Theft

I was advising an online employment agency about credit related data issues, and was astonished at how cavalier people can be with their personal data.

In a previous post I covered the topic of secure passwords for banking and financial services. But giving away other information about your identity is also asking for trouble.

I was privy to the CVs people were posting online and what I saw was truly shocking.

A full CV has lots of very specific information such as names and addresses of previous employers. The education details include a list of schools and educational establishments attended. Now we’re getting something useful, and things like ‘first school attended’ are stock ID checking questions used to verify your identity. However in isolation this information should not be too damaging even in the wrong hands.

But I saw CVs coming in online where people decided to include their National Insurance Number and Passport Number. Don’t ask me why. But it didn’t end there. Others clearly thought it was helpful when putting their date of birth to include their place of birth for good measure. I saw one CV that even included all the aforementioned titbits, and for good measure attached a copy of their passport! 

ID theft does not always mean accessing your bank account or credit cards and clearing them out – that would probably require knowing your passwords too. But ID theft can also be about applying for credit, opening accounts, buying goods, or obtaining new credit cards in your name.

So put all this information together with a full name and address, telephone, mobile, and email address, and in the wrong hands it is inviting ID theft. Remember, these were not paper CVs delivered to a specific potential employer, but CVs being posted on a website so others could view the CV online.

As a result of my concerns the service in question put in place some filters and added clear instructions to candidates not to embellish their CV with unnecessary personal data.

For consumers ID theft can mean financial loss as well as impacting their credit report file. But with a little more care ID theft would not be so easy.