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 Be Safe: Tips for Posting on Free Websites

By Joe Stein

The last five years has seen the growing emergence of a variety of different “free” websites.  These websites contain pages for everything from dating to selling classic stuff accumulating in your basement. Many of these websites also feature job postings and an area for posting your resume.  These free sites are of no cost to both employers and Job Seekers.


As these sites have grown in popularity, the incidents of ID theft has also increased, particularly impacting Job Seekers.  The simplest advice is, “don’t do it”.  There is little upside and a large risk to posting your resume or even replying to an advertisement on these free sites. 


Websites like, while free to the Job Seeker, require a fee for an employer.  While not fool-proof, this fee, along with the personal contact made by a Customer Representative, serves as gates to filter out possible fraudulent activity.


If you need more in-depth convincing regarding whether to use these free websites, here are a few specific reasons to avoid them:


·        Most Good Companies Avoid It - The job opportunities for WNY housed on these sites are minimal.  Most reputable companies don’t use them for several reasons, among them:


- Employers prefer to be where the Job Seekers are looking.  In WNY, most people just don’t look at free websites for jobs.  There are a few cities, with one being San Francisco, have a very healthy market for free websites, but that is the exception.


- Companies are concerned about their reputation when they decide not to use these free websites.  These websites tend to have a terrible reputation for adult-orientated postings and most reputable companies are embarrassed at the thought of being on these sites.


·        More Current Activity – During this economic downturn, criminals know that individuals are more desperate to land their next position.  This desperation may cause them to lose judgment and make decisions that will leave them vulnerable.


·        Real Jobs Are Scarce – You will find a lot of “work from home”, or other money-making schemes on these websites.  There will also be some postings for fee-based assistance for Job Seekers.  There is very little in terms of actual open positions.


If you feel you must use these free websites, below are a few ways you can increase your safety:


·        Do not provide any additional identifying information when contacted, until you can verify the prospective employer.  A trick for fraudulent activity is to claim on the phone that additional information such as Social Security Number, Mother’s Maiden Name, or Bank Account Information is needed for a pre-screening Background Check.  Either end the conversation immediately, or simply inform the person that you are not comfortable providing this information over the phone.  This will allow you to verify the person/employer prior to providing any information. 


·        Don’t attend a meeting with an unverified employer at a non-business setting.  If you must schedule the meeting at the time of the initial phone conversation, then do so and either do a map search or perform a pre-meeting visit to the area.  This is especially important for female Job Seekers.  The reality is that there have been occasions where postings are a front for a person’s undesirable need to meet people.  Do not rely on just the company name, as, on occasion, a fraud scheme has involved a person “borrowing” the name of a reputable company and pretending they are representing them.


·        Limit Your Resume Information – There are several ways you can safeguard your public resume; among them are the following:

-       Create a job search-only e-mail.  This will separate any personal e-mail activity from your job search.

-       Be sensitive towards dates, especially with education.  Consider placing only the University and Degree earned and not the year.  It can be simple for a professional thief to back into your details from your education information provided.

-       Consider providing a mobile phone number and not your home land-line number.  Using your mobile phone provides some other benefits as it allows you to be more accessible to a Recruiter.

-       You may want to only use your first initial and last name with any public resume.  This will make it more difficult to back into your information by doing a name search.


The bottom-line is a simple piece of advice: if it sounds too good to be true or feels suspicious it probably is and should be avoided. 


As always, best of luck in your job search.


The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein
Human Resources Professional
Feel Free to E-Mail Any Questions or Comments