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

CBS News, Denver
October 20, 2005

By Vicki Hildner

Identity Theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. And even if you think you have done everything possible to protect yourself, you could be wrong.

The most important piece of information theives need to steal your identity may be floating around the Internet.

Like a lot of members of Generation X, Meg Kemp spends hours looking for a new job on the Internet. But she realizes the danger of some Internet job banks.

"You can pull up anybody's resume and look at anybody's information," says Ms. Kemp.

That's why she never includes personal information, like her Social Security number on her resume.

"Identity theft happens everyday and I have been a victim of Identity Theft, and I don't want it to happen to me again."

"I'll show you where it was," says retired law professor Norton Steuben, who spends very little time surfing Internet job banks.

"I haven't really looked for a job for 37 years."

So, you can imagine his shock when he got this email informing him that his resume was posted on the Internet with a very high risk piece of information, his Social Security number.

"Sure enough, there it was."

Norton Steuben figured out that his resume was linked to the University of Colorado's School of Law website. He immediately removed his Social Security number and his date of birth to avoid having his identity stolen.

"You don't particularly want to see somebody running up all sorts of debts in your name."

So, who saved Norton Steuben's identity? Meet Dr. Latanya Sweeney and her project, Identity Angel.

"The idea was that there would be a guardian angel looking over people."

Two years ago, Dr. Sweeney wrote a computer program to identify people who have revealed personal information over the Internet. Then, she started notifying the people by email. But if she could find these people, could criminals design the same program and steal information?

"Someone with a little experience programming could do it quite easily," says Dr. Sweeney.

That's why Dr. Sweeney recommends that people not include this information in their resume: Social Security number, date of birth, street address, and even email address.

The Denver-Boulder Better Business Bureau has first hand experience with this problem. It is warning job seekers to be careful of a current resume scam.

Job hunters who have posted their resumes on the Internet are getting email responses like this one from a company calling itself Mile High Partners.

The company offers great jobs. The only catch: the job hunter has to fill out an application with all sorts of personal information --information that could lead to identity theft.

That kind of warning makes job hunter Meg Kemp even more cautious.

"You just can't trust the Internet," says Meg.

On the other hand, you probably can't live without it.

"Especially when you are looking for a job like me. And hopefully I will find a job one day."

Identity theft experts say the best way to protect yourself is to never share your Social Security number with anyone.

Data Privacy Lab   |    [info@dataprivacylab.org]