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Protect Your Personal Information Online

It’s always important to protect your personal information in the digital space. It’s especially important when you’re searching for work online.

One concern you may have is making sure your employer, and possibly your coworkers, don't find out you're looking for a new job. There are some simple ways to limit people's knowledge of your job search

On the other hand, protecting your information from online scammers can take more effort. Many job scams try to trick people into sharing personal information that can be used to steal their money or their identity.

By taking the following precautions, you can keep the information around your job search limited to those who need to know. 

How to protect your personal information online

Wherever you go online—using email, instant messaging, blogging, or posting on forums or social media websites—you leave a trail of information. Make sure you're not exposing information you don't want to share.

Follow these tips to keep your privacy and personal data safe during your work search:

  • Use your own computer, email, and phone number when you’re looking for work, not your employer’s.
  • Don’t access your personal email from work.
  • Look for work on your own time, not work time. Doing this on work time is unprofessional and your employer is likely to notice.
  • Create a separate email address that you only use for your resumé and job searches.
  • Create a job-search-related social media profile that’s separate from your personal profile. 
  • Post only to reputable or well–known sites (for example, Workopolis or Indeed) and sites operated by industry or professional groups.

    TIP: Check out this article for listings of reputable job search sites. Follow the links to explore what they offer. Or check out alis’s Alberta Job Postings page. It’s safe, current, and easy to use. You can adjust the filters to find the right job for you. 

  • Avoid sites that won’t let you search the site without posting a resumé.
  • Use, but don’t only rely on, job search website features that allow you to block certain people (such as your employer) from viewing your resumé.
  • Use privacy settings to control all the personal information you share online.
    • Job scammers collect personal information from social media, dating websites, and online accounts. This can help them pretend they know you or your friends. And it can convince you to trust them.
  • Avoid doing your job search on public wireless networks.
    • Public Wi-Fi makes it easier for someone to access your personal information from your device. Instead, do your work search on secure, password protected, private networks.
  • Change your online passwords regularly.
  • Read the privacy policy on sites where you post your resumé.
    • Make sure you understand what happens to your resumé once you’ve posted it. Who will have access to it? How will your personal information be protected?
    • Some legitimate job search sites may want to use your data in ways you’re not comfortable with. By accepting a website’s cookies or privacy policy you could be agreeing to have some of your personal information shared with third-parties. It’s important to carefully read each website’s policies to understand how it plans to use your information.

      TIP: Cookies are small files downloaded to your device that are used to track your behaviour and save some of your information, like your location, webpages you’ve visited, or your login information.

  • Be cautious about unsolicited offers from employers you don’t know. They could be identity thieves trying to get your personal information using a tactic known as phishing (a form of internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit card information, Social Insurance Numbers, user IDs, and passwords).
  • Never provide the following information to unverified recruiters or when you post your resumé online:
    • Birth date
    • Full home address
    • Driver's licence
    • Social Insurance Number
    • Professional association registration numbers
    • Banking details
    • Financial information, such as credit card numbers.

Legitimate employers require this kind of information only during the hiring process.

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