Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

Job-Search Site Identity Theft Scams

If you're using job-search sites to hunt for a new position, you need to be aware of a possible risk to your personal information. It is common for potential employers you've applied to, or ones who've seen your posted resume, to ask you for more details about yourself. Scammers are taking advantage of this to perpetrate identity theft, getting enough personal information to drain bank accounts or ring up credit card charges. Here's how it works. The scammer pretends to be a prospective employer who offers you a job that may seem almost too good to be true. He needs some details so he can do a "routine background check." These details can include your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, even your mother's maiden name. A scammer can wreak havoc on your finances and credit rating with this information. Even more disturbing, a scammer may ask you to create a four-digit PIN number to access a special Web site. Scammers know that people tend to reuse their PIN numbers, this can be a sly way to access your bank account. In today's economy, job seekers may be tempted to do anything to try to get a job. But be vigilant with your personal information, and look for clues that the prospective employer may be an identity thief. Read our ID Theft page and visit our website for more information about what to do if you are a victim of identity theft.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.