Why A Resume Could Bring A Job, But Also ID Theft:
Identity Theft From Online Resumes On The Rise

CBS News, New York
September 28, 2005

By Mark Marcias

(CBS) NEW YORK It's a biography of your life; where you've worked, lived, who you are. Your resume also provides everything a criminal needs to open new credit accounts in your name.

“The more info I learn about you, the more I can take advantage of your identity” Said John Pironti of Unisys.

And now with more people posting their resumes online, law enforcement officers say criminals are turning to job posting sites for new victims.

John Pironti is a security consultant.

“Once I have your social security number and your address, and some other personal info, I can now start building a profile about you” Pironti said.

James Hall was a victim of financial fraud.

“I would be nagged for yrs after with questions about credit where people thought i was someone else” Hall said.

James posted his resume online, giving thieves everything they needed to buy a car in his name. “You don’t think about how people will misuse info that is to you very innocent.”

Websites like, Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, now say thieves are even posing as employers, asking for personal information like date of birth for fake employment applications.

Privacy experts say, increasingly mid-career professionals are becoming victimized.

As part of an identity theft project, Doctor Latanya Sweeney with Carnagie Melon University wrote a program that searched Google for resumes with personal information.

“They dont understand how easy it is for a person to find that information. They may think its hidden in the masses.”

Resumes belonging to James Hall, and Matt Smith popped up, with their Social Security numbers.

“If she was able to create a program and look for Social Security numbers online, I would suspect other people could do the same thing” Smith said.

Security experts warn if you do post your resume online, give personal information sparingly.

Never post your home address, date of birth or Social Security number. And, instead of your home phone, use a cell phone number.

Even primary e-mail addresses should be avoided since spammers place a high street value on them.

“If a spammer knows that the email address came from a resume, they have a higher confidence that its a valid address and they can send use that to send spam to you.” John Pironti said.

Most security consultants say a good rule of thumb is to treat your resume like the phone directory. If you don’t want information posted there, you shouldn’t put it on your resume.

Data Privacy Lab   |    [info@dataprivacylab.org]