On January 17th, my birthday, I received a special gift this year: a call from American Express asking if I was trying to open a credit card. I was not. Turns out someone had stolen my identity. How? I have no idea. I’ve always been very careful to keep my personal information a secret but some how it got out. Someone pretending to be me was opening up lines of credit left and right. Had it not been for the call from Amex I wouldn’t have known for months, or at least, until the collection agencies started to call. I always thought it couldn’t happen to me, but it did.
Stepping into the contract world there’s lot of personal information that needs to be shared, but it doesn’t need to be shared until you’ve formally accepted a position. The important thing is to be careful about when and to whom you give your info. Until you’ve signed a contract, giving out your social security number or driver’s license shouldn’t be necessary. And making sure your company has a policy in place to keep that information out of the wrong hands is a good step towards protecting your identity.
So what else can you do to protect yourself? Monitor your credit report! The Federal Government requires the three major credit monitoring bureaus to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year. Take advantage of that free service and contact them right away should you notice any fraudulent activity.
Here at PPR we understand the importance of protecting the personal information of our employees and ask only for what is absolutely necessary to make sure we place you in a great job. Once you give us the information, we allow access to it to ONLY those people who really need it.
Richard Gropper – PPR Education Services