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June 05, 2009

New phishing scam

What is "phishing", you might ask? According to, it is "the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication."

The way it works is that you receive what looks like an e-mail from a trusted source, i.e. a bank, the IRS, etc. that says there is some problem (or in the case of the IRS, an unclaimed tax refund) and asks you to log in with your user name and password, which the phisher then steals. Or you could be asked to call a number and give your name, Social Security number, etc. to what you think is a legitimate business. Unfortunately, its not and you have just given away your private information.

I read an article this morning about a new phishing scam that's preying on the growing number of people looking for jobs. The articles says "FlexJobs, the leading website for legitimate telecommuting and online job listings, today cautioned jobseekers to beware of a new phishing email scam targeting jobseekers. This most recent email phishing scam involves asking jobseekers to fill out a credit report in order to gain access to the final interview stage for a job. The phishing email includes a link to a 'free credit report' that the employer has arranged for the jobseeker's convenience. Scammers are taking advantage of the high unemployment rate to contact people by email with deceptive offers for interviews and jobs. "

FlexJobs also warns jobseekers (and anyone else) to look out for:
  • "Unsolicited emails.
  • Emails from supposed employers but using free email domains (e.g.,,,, or instead of one related to the company domain name.
  • Emails from individuals or companies the jobseeker does not recognize, especially if the emails include links to click on for more information or to proceed with the job application process.
  • Requests for detailed personal information, especially social security numbers or financial account details, before a job interview has even taken place.
  • Required credit checks to prove interest in a job, or to get an interview."

To read the whole article, see

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