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Beware Of Fraud When Using Internet To Find Work As Virtual Assistant

You may think you’re safe posting your resume on reputable sites such as Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com to look for work as a [tag]virtual assistant[/tag].

Unfortunately, job sites like this have become a major source of identity theft, enabling scammers to obtain personal information through resumes, and by posing as legitimate employers seeking additional information from prospective hires.

“Some scams are getting more sophisticated, triangulated and harder to deconstruct,” says Pam Dixon, founder of the World Privacy Forum in California interviewed for the article “For Virtual Jobs, Click With Caution” in the Minneapolis-St.Paul StarTribune.com.

Aside from revealing personal information from resumes, many job-seekers having fallen prey to a popular scam in which a bogus employer will pose as an off-shore company in need of a US agent, or virtual assistant, to complete bank transactions from which the VA will receive a commission of 10-15%. Unfortunately after the VA deposits the offshore check in her bank account and in exchange sends back one of her own US checks for the same amount minus her commission to the bogus employer, the bank eventually realizes that the offshore check is a forgery, and the VA is responsible for covering it. The VA has already provided the bogus employer with her name, address, bank account and social security numbers, and has exposed herself to losing her identity and her savings.

Another scam works like this: The offshore company buys goods with a stolen credit card and has them sent to you. Then, the VA is supposed to repackage the items and send them on to the offshore company. The problem is, when the manufacturer realizes the credit card is bogus, you’re the one who received the stolen goods.

“It’s happening so often that banks and retailers are now pressing charges against the victims for bank fraud and receiving stolen goods,” Ms. Dixon said.

Last summer, hackers took the personal information of 1.3 million resumes from Monster.com. Both Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com indicated that they are taking steps to improve their security, but Ms. Dixon argues “there is no such thing as a safe resume database.”

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