Secure Your CV Press Release

As thousands flood onto the jobs market, a controlled experiment by iProfile.org shows people are exposing themselves to identity theft risk

London, 20th October 2008: Job hunters are being warned to secure their CVs after experts showed how freely people share their resumes with strangers, effectively handing over all the information criminals need to steal their identity.

In a controlled experiment, supported by the Metropolitan Police and the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC), iProfile.org placed a job advert for a fictional company in a national newspaper, inviting people to apply by emailing their CV. The advert was run during the National Identity Fraud Prevention week. Anyone carrying out a simple web search for the company – 'Denis Atlas', an anagram of 'steal an id' - would have found a website telling them the company was fake. In just one week, 107 CVs were received in response to the job advert. iProfile enlisted the help of reformed identity thief, Bob Turney, to analyse the CVs and discovered that the vast majority contained enough information for an identity theft to occur.

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 that 68% of people sent their CV into our fake job advert without doing any background checks first."

Reformed identity theft criminal, 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."

Typically, criminals need just three out of fifteen key pieces of information to commit identity fraud – the average CV received as part of the experiment 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.

iProfile (www.iprofile.org) conducted the experiment as part of its 'Secure Your CV' campaign and has released advice on how people can protect themselves against identity theft from their CVs. It includes tips, such as excluding things like date of birth and home addresses from your CV as this is usually not needed by potential employers. It also advises people to check out the company online and ensure they have a bona fide telephone number and postal address.

Bacon also argues that hosting your CV securely on the Internet, using a reputable online CV provider can be much safer than posting or emailing a traditional word document: "Once you post or email a traditional CV, you have very little control over it. There's nothing to stop someone photocopying it or sending it on to others. At iProfile we allow people to hold their CV online in a secure environment. Jobseekers can send a link to their iProfile CV to trusted contacts who can then only access the information by logging in. iProfile holders can hide a relevant section of their CV, to prevent people seeing their personal information and use phone masking services to protect their phone numbers".

Bacon emphasises that choosing a reputable provider is crucial when placing your CV online: "There are many people who just place their CV online in an unsecured manner – for example by setting up their own simple webpage. We'd caution against this as it can expose them to identity fraud. Stick to the established providers who invest in security and processes to protect your information online."

Support for the 'Secure Your CV' campaign:

Detective Superintendent Russell Day from the Economic and Specialist Crime Command, Metropolitan Police, said: "We are happy to support any campaign which aims to raise awareness of the growing threat of online identity fraud. We advise everyone not to post personal details on the internet which could collectively be used to clone your identity. This new campaign is an excellent method which could help prevent identity fraud and most importantly, protect you and your CV."

Neil Fisher, Vice President, IAAC, adds his support: "Identity fraud is a hugely serious issue and any campaign that raises awareness of the dangers should be commended. Many people are happy to send their CVs 'blind' without thinking about the consequences if their information fell into the wrong hands. Hopefully this campaign will help people better understand the risks involved and better protect the personal information on their CV in the future."

Notes to editors

More information about how the controlled experiment was conducted is available on request, or you can visit www.denisatlas.co.uk. The experiment was conducted during, but independently from, National Identity Fraud Prevention Week (6-12 October) - a time of supposed heightened awareness.

All CVs received as part of the experiment were destroyed, without being stored or shared, and applicants have been informed that they have been part of an experiment. Respondents to the job advert will not be identified in any way.

Advice on protecting yourself against ID theft when job hunting:

  • Be wary if the email address does not contain the name of the company but just the name of a service provider
  • Take extra care accessing personal information when using public computers, such as those in internet cafes, or when using a laptop in a WiFi hotspot
  • Shred or destroy old copies of your CV
  • Rather than using a traditional CV, think about using an iProfile - a free online CV service that helps safeguard your personal details
  • Use a phone masking service to protect your personal number. With an iProfile you get phone masking, and it costs you nothing.

Think about who you share your career information with, make sure they are a real business and when posting your information to the web or on a job board database, remember to use an Internet Safe CV:

  • Do not include your date of birth
  • Do not include your marital status
  • Do not include your place of birth
  • Only give your first and last name

Think about the information a potential employer needs to find your details, you can share your full CV at a later stage when you are comfortable with the identity of the company or person you are sharing the information with.

About iProfile

iProfile is the free online CV which is rapidly replacing the traditional CV. Over 2.5 million jobseekers already own an iProfile, and this number is rising rapidly.

iProfile is more than an online CV, it is a dynamic career profile and the preferred CV template for many recruitment agencies. It is easy to set up and update, and because it gives users complete control over the job seeking process it is more secure than a Word CV. Job seekers can use an iProfile to instantly register with as many or as few recruitment agencies as required and it ensures they hear about the latest jobs. It also gives them immediate visibility over who's received it, who's viewed it, calls received and feedback from recruiters and hiring managers.

Personal data held on an iProfile is only visible to the people and agencies with whom the job seeker has chosen to share it with. Once that information is shared, any updates made to an iProfile are instantly transmitted to the individuals or databases of recruitment agencies that have been given access, ensuring they never hold an out-of-date copy.

iProfile has been adopted by thousands of recruiters. World leading recruitment companies have also taken advantage of our iProfile candidate sourcing solutions designed to maximise their net fee income by saving their recruiters time, improving efficiency and ensuring their candidate databases are significantly more up-to-date.

For more information on iProfile for jobseekers, visit: www.iprofile.org
For more information on iProfile for recruiters, visit: www.iprofile.org/recruiter

For more information please contact:

Katie Buckett, Brands2Life
katie.buckett@brands2life.com
020 7592 1200

Karl Gregory, iProfile
karl.gregory@iprofile.org