Job seekers in the UK are putting themselves at risk of identity theft by putting too much personal information on their CVs.
To study the extent of the problem, online CV service iProfile.org conducted a controlled experiment in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police and the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC).
The company placed a fake job ad in a national newspaper for a company called Denis Atlas (an anagram of 'steal an ID') and set up a web site saying that the company was a hoax.
After a week iProfile received 107 CVs, the vast majority of which provided enough information for an identity theft to occur, according to Bob Turney, a reformed fraudster enlisted by iProfile.
"Whilst many people now routinely shred things like bank statements and utility bills, they still seem happy to send their CVs to complete strangers," said Turney.
"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."
According to the Metropolitan Police, criminals only need three out of 15 key pieces of information to commit identity fraud, however iProfile's research revealed that the average CV contains eight pieces of information.
Of the 107 emails received, 98 included a full address and 61 included a date of birth, despite this no longer being a requirement due to age discrimination laws. One even included the applicant's passport number and national insurance details.
iProfile conducted the experiment as part of its 'Secure Your CV' campaign, which it launched to help raise awareness of the potential for identity theft from CVs and offer advice about how to minimise the threat.
As well performing some basic research on any company or agency that someone is applying to, iProfile recommends not including date of birth, marital status, place of birth or any middle names on the CV. Any further details can always be given out at a later stage.
The company has stressed that 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.
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