It’s usually the employer concerned about the legitimacy of CVs received, but last week jobseekers were being encouraged to carry out their own research into potential employers before they submit applications.

The warning comes in light of research conducted by online CV provider, iProfile, which suggests that jobseekers could be putting themselves at risk of identity theft every time they submit a CV online.

As part of an experiment run in association with the Metropolitan Police and the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC), iProfile placed a job advertisement in a national newspaper for a fictional company, asking applicants to email their CVs. A simple Internet search on the company ‘Denis Atlas’ – an anagram for ‘steal an id’ – would have directed applicants to a website detailing that the job was fake and the advertisement was part of a controlled experiment highlighting the links between CVs and identity theft.

Despite this, iProfile received 107 CVs in response to the job, with 68% of applicants failing to attempt any background check on the company. Rick Bacon, CEO of iProfile, said: “With tens of thousands of people flooding onto the job market every week, the threat of CV identity theft should be at the forefront of peoples’ minds. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the UK and sending your CV, without first checking out where it’s going or masking your personal details, is akin to giving an ID fraudster your life history on a plate. We were shocked to find 68% of people sent their CV into our fake job advert without doing any background checks first.”

Working with reformed identity theft criminal, Bob Turney, iProfile also analysed those CVs received to determine how many would be open to identity fraud.

Typically criminals need just three out of fifteen key pieces of information to commit identity fraud. The average CV received as part of the research contained eight pieces of information. 61 CVs (57%) included a date of birth, despite this no longer being a requirement due to age discrimination laws, and 98 (91.5%) included a full address. A further 20 (19%) put others at risk by providing full details of references. One even included the applicant’s passport number and national insurance details.

Bob Turney, said: “Whilst many people now routinely shred things like bank statements and utility bills, they still seem happy to send their CVs to complete strangers. They need to realise just how easy it is to use the information in a CV to set up a bank account or take out a credit card fraudulently.” Although there are no firm figures to suggest how many job applicants fall foul of identity theft, in light of these results, iProfile has advised all jobseekers to be careful about what they include on their CV, and to be wary about the credentials of the company they are hoping to apply for.

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