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FraudAvengers June Newsletter!

This Month's Focus - Graduate Identity Theft


Identity Theft and Workforce Transition
Pitfalls for New Graduates 

Very few of us really excel at exercising patience. This can be doubly true for graduates who have worked long and hard to complete their education and are, however nervously or confidently, launching into new venues – often without consideration of what this transition means for the security of their personal information.

Not only can this tendency put them at great risk, but they are circulating personally identifiable information (PII) widely in the form of resumes both before and after graduation. In addition, many job-seekers do not wish to seem overly sensitive or obstructive when discussing their information with a potential employer and may feel they have to release all their PII right away.

Identity theft during such a significant life stage transition can be even more devastating than during other, more stable times in our lives. Moving to a new location to take on a brand new job is already difficult. Imagine that being compounded by loss of your identity and the complications that can create, such as being shut out by a landlord or bank while seeking rental housing or a mortgage. The disruption of an identity theft is drawn out and stressful – not what is needed for a successful graduation-to-workforce transition.

Ultimately, both the opportunity to protect ourselves and the responsibility to do so fall to us each individually.

Be proactive – take control or your information.

What Do You Need to Know - Red Flags

  • A company should not ask you to open a credit card for the company using your personal information, such as your Social Security Number.
  • If a company says they pay only in cash or money orders, this is a big warning, since that practice goes against Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that govern business in the US.
  • If a company insists you sign a contract, but will not allow you to have an attorney of your choice review it, refuse to sign.1
1Identity Theft Resource Center, 2011. Risk of Identity Theft: Your Resume and Idenity Theft Fact Sheet.
PII 2

Things You Can Do 

  • Treat your resume as an opener, not a window into every detail of your identity. You can state on your application that you will provide it in a more secure environment.
  • On your resume NEVER include: Date of Birth, Tax Payer ID or Social Security Number, Professional License Number(s), Gender, Age, or Marital Status.
  • When applying online or searching for jobs online, look for and use resume and job search sites that have “Be Safe” and other identity theft protection features. Read their safe use guidelines and follow the site’s recommendations.2
  • NEVER release your Social Security Number or Tax Payer ID on applications or over the Internet. Generally, companies only perform background checks on individuals who have already been through an initial in-person interview, which would give you a chance to provide this information.
  • Legitimate background checks require your permission and you have the right to refuse, though it may affect your chances of getting the job. The FBI Criminal History Summary Checks Information page offers information on who can request one and your rights. If run, background checks can be extensive and may include your employment, driving, credit, and criminal histories.
  • If a background check is run, ask for a copy. If there are inaccuracies, immediately contact the reporting agency directly to clear these up as soon as possible.
  • If you are seeking work overseas, do significant research to determine the legitimacy of the company and individuals with whom you are dealing.
  • Report suspicious activities. If you are working from a secure job posting site, you can report it to them. You can file a complaint with the FTC at Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.


Take Action - Your Voice Counts!

Help us educate others on how they can protect themselves and identify current fraud and scams.  You can: 

We look forward to hearing from you on how we can make FraudAvengers.org a more valuable resource for you, your family, your company or your organization.  Please feel free to send us your feedback and ideas.

Remember, the first line of defense starts with you! 

Robin Slade, President & CEO
Jodi Pratt, Director of Business Development
Michele Edson, Director of Industry Relations

Identity Theft Resources:

Fraud and Scam Resources:

If you believe you have been targeted or become a victim of a scam, resources available include: 

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