Beware Of Craigslist And Identity Theft Risks

Written by 15 June 2010 10,518 views 38 Comments

Beware SignI’m sorry to say but I do have to say it: Craigslist is dangerous especially when it comes to identity theft.

One of the main usages of Craigslist is job hunting. Millions of people visit Craigslist a month all seeking employment. At least hundreds and if not then thousands of people submit their resumes to anonymous email addresses displayed in job postings and at times receive no responses. Have you ever wondered why?

Craigslist And Identity Theft

The scenario is simple. A person who is seeking to harvest personal information on a large number of people for whatever reasons visits Craigslist and posts a mock-job-posting. He makes sure to create the mock-job-posting in the most legitimate and professional way possible. His goal is to convince you that the job offering is real and that you should use the anonymous email address but there is one very important piece of information missing. You got it – contact information.

A Legitimate Craigslist Job Posting

A legitimate Craigslist job posting would display their complete company name and contact information – their physical address, all contact numbers and email addresses. Why? Craigslist is a legitimate website that can be used to post information for free. Being a free website doesn’t mean you have to be anonymous especially when you’re a business requesting personal information in the form of a resume or CV.

Craigslist has a great and extensive help section but I recommend they post a predominant warning to all job hunters on the job postings main page along with a general warning to be aware of possible identity theft risks:

If you want to respond to anonymous job postings, reply to the anonymous email address with a mock-email address mentioning your interest in the job post but that you would like to obtain their contact information because of privacy issues and that after you obtain that information you will respond with a cover letter and resume.

Craigslist could even be so kind as to offer a generic copy and paste paragraph. Heck I’ll do just that right here for you. The following is a paragraph you could simple copy and paste into an email message where you’re responding to an anonymous email address.

Subject: Re: Craigslist Posting For A Web Designer

Hello and thank you for your time.

I am replying to your need for a web designer at Craigslist. Before I submit my cover letter and resume could you please respond to this email with your business contact information and email address as I am sure you are aware of the privacy concerns related to Craigslist.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindly,

Your Name

I would advise that you stay clear of all posts that do not display full business contact information as at first glance that kind of post seems truly suspicious to me.  A business never hides it’s identity unless it’s an illegal business.

Take my advice, be safe and be careful when responding to job-postings at Craigslist.org.

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