Online Work or Identity Theft Scams?

With so many people working online, it was only a matter of time before identity theft scams hit the job search sites

Many people work online, which means that identity thieves have a lucrative market for identity theft scams. In fact, working through legitimate job search sites gives identity thieves a great way to trap people who are too web savvy to fall for phishing scams from Nigeria.

In other words, these identity theft scams target people who are very comfortable online and know quite a lot about computers. That probably means you, especially if you're hunting for online work. And that means this is invaluable information for you.

How it works

These identity theft scams infiltrate legitimate websites posting jobs. And therein lies the biggest problem. There are literally thousands of online jobs, and the sites where the get posted can't take the time to painstakingly research every single person who posts an ad with them. That means identity thieves piggyback on the good reputation and popularity of a legitimate site.

Once they get an account, these crooks post job opportunities that sound like legitimate online jobs. They may involve web editing, copywriting, or something to do with software -- basically anything freelance. And in many cases, the job seems plausible enough. In fact, if you begin working for them you will probably even get some work and you may even be paid.

But before long, the company requests information from you -- say, a blank check or your account number -- because they're uncomfortable paying you through PayPal or other methods. And that's when you release your personal information -- after they've already won your trust.

Avoid the scam

Of course, most online jobs are not identity theft scams. So don't boycott them entirely. Just use your common sense! If a company seems way too eager to hire you, refuses to pay you with PayPal, or doesn't seem to have much of a past, get suspicious. That way, you can weed out the identity theft scams aimed at the savvy user.

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