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Safely Applying for Jobs Online

Many jobs now ask you to complete an online application form, and they may also ask for you to share sensitive information as part of the application. However, it’s important to make sure that any information you share with a potential employer is kept safe, and that can confirm an application request is legitimate. In this handout, we share some tips to avoid scams and keep your personal information secure.

  • A lot of companies and individuals post job ads on social media, online job boards, and sites like Craigslist. If the job listing is not on an official company website, take care with sharing personal information. You may want to take some extra steps to verify the job ad is legitimate and not just a scam to get your information or money.
  • Online job forms may ask for a range of potentially sensitive information, including your address, contact information, and social security number. When filling out a job application online, check the URL for the site. Is it https? If so, that means your data will be encrypted when you submit the form. If the form does not use https, you may not want to submit sensitive information through it. Instead, call the company to ask about (1) whether you need to submit that information and (2) whether you can provide it through an alternate channel.
  • If you’re ever uncomfortable with a request for information that you don’t think is necessary for the job, ask! Some information may be required to collect by law, but other times applications ask for information they don’t need. For example, some employers have asked job applicants to share their social media account information — or even their login credentials! Several states have made this practice illegal but others may still try to ask you for it.