Scammers use fake job applications to steal your personal information

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Finding a job is a job in itself. There are dozens of fairs, listings and applications. But if you apply for the wrong one, cyber experts say it could have disastrous effects. 

 “[It] opens the door for individuals to be able to be compromised at a level they’re not used to,” said Scott Scheidt, an applied cyber education professor at Georgia Southern.  “The violations that happen through our online activities is much more frequent.” 

They’re frequent, especially in your mail inbox. Fraudsters are finding ways to steal your personal information from databases like Indeed or Monster.com. 

Sometimes, all it takes is your name and address to send you an email offering little hours and a big paycheck. 

“I kind of quit for a while because I kept getting so many emails and stuff like that,” said Angela Boutwell, a resident in Pooler. 

At a job fair in Savannah, Boutwell was spotted looking for a job with her daughter in tow. Scams make that chore a roller coaster. 

“I’m like ‘ooh that sounds good, I can do that,” she said. “I go through it and then the pop-ups come up. [It’s] kind of a bummer because some of them would have been good.”

So News 3 asked local businesses if they would send an email to a potential hire. All we asked said no. 

“Only after I’ve spoken to you. You will never get an email randomly saying ‘hey we’re hiring,'” said Carlos Luckett from Parkland Management. 

“We would not send anything out without feeling comfortable that we are sending it out to someone who actually inquired about a position,” said Melissa Lee from Industrial Services, Inc. 

“No one gets an email if they’re not expecting one from us,” said Meridith Lamas from State Farm. 

If you do see an email containing a job offer, beware of requests for personal information or money, bad grammar and an instant offer.  

The Federal Trade Commission suggests asking for specific details and checking the Better Business Bureau for complaints

The best way to avoid a scam? Experts say apply the old fashioned way: with a pen and paper. But if you prefer to do it online, apply directly on the company’s website and not through a link sent to you via email. 

 “If there’s not a match to the organizational name. If it’s not like HR — at something — you don’t want to click on that link because it then may introduce malware into your system,” said Scheidt. 

So when it comes to applications. The cliche stands: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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