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Ouch. Unemployment is now up to 8.1%, the worst it's been in 25 years, and everyone thinks it's going to get worse before it gets better. If you're out of work, there are no easy or simple solutions for getting a job.

You can try, however, to make sure that no one kicks you while you're down. It's an unfortunate thing, but as in any time of panic and desperation, well-meaning people hungry for work are vulnerable to various job-hunting scams. To prevent someone stealing your ID or otherwise ripping you off under the pretext of interviewing you for a job, or offering you one, the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center has a few tips for job seekers:

  • Never put your social security number on a resume.
  • Consider opening a separate email account for your job search and not using your primary email address. Putting your email address on a resume, says the ITRC, could open the door to phishing and other email scams.
  • Check out a company you found on a website carefully before giving it information. Anyone can create a website, even a good-looking one.
  • Avoid any website that requires you to "pre-register" with your social security number, home address or driver's license number. Be wary of companies that tell you, before you've had a series of real, face-to-face interviews, that they need your social security number to do a background check.
  • Make sure the person who contacted you actually works at the listed company.
  • Steer clear of companies, especially foreign ones, that want to hire you as a "payment representative" or "accounts receivable clerk." You may be asked open up a bank account for the firm, or you may be instructed to keep a percentage of the checks or money orders you receive. You'll likely end up handling (incredibly realistic) counterfeit checks, and you'll get burned. Similarly, avoid scams asking you to forward packages you receive to a third party. These may include stolen or illegal goods.

For more ID theft tips for job seekers, check out this ITRC fact sheet.