Local online recruiter downplays US warning of ID theft

Monster.com's local arm is downplaying the threat of identity theft here despite the online job site's warning to millions of new and existing customers in the US about phoney job listings that are being used to steal personal information from job seekers.

Although Monster.com has posted a warning on its US Web site of false job listings to illegally collect personal information from unsuspecting job seekers, the local arm has chosen to throw caution to the wind.

Monster.com Australia and New Zealand product and marketing vice president Diana Kahui said it is not warning users about phoney job listings because it happens "very rarely".

She said jobs posted locally are legitimate and staff are pro-active in making sure clients have real jobs for candidates.

Kahui said the local branch of Monster.com have not come across any instances of phoney job listings, adding that even if such a listing slipped through, it would be detected quickly due to "high levels of service".

A level of confidentiality is also provided to ensure personal information is safe.

"Users can choose the level of confidentiality they require. In some instances, the only way an employer can contact a candidate is through an encrypted mail box," she said.

In addition to posting warnings on its US Web site, an e-mail message greeting new US Monster.com users also contains a warning to "always be safe when searching for a job". A link to the company's statement regarding identity theft is also provided (the warning is available at http://help.monster.com/besafe).

Online job hunting message boards such as Monster.com, a subsidiary of TMP Worldwide Inc, have come under scrutiny in the past for poorly protecting the personal information of those who post resumes on the sites.

In a February 19 letter by the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairman Timothy Muris, the government agency was asked to take action on a number of abuses including:

  • the sale of job-seeker e-mail addresses, registration data and job seeker resumes
  • the resale of resumes and resume information to employers, bogus recruiters, and startup job sites.

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