Job hunters who have posted their resumes on sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com have been getting unusual phone calls that may be a sign of a larger scam.
Internet forums are filled with reports of job-seekers receiving calls from numbers such as "223-038-0000" and "223-039-0000." In many calls, the caller will hang up or not say anything, only to call back a few moments later.
Some reports claim that the calls are about job fairs, from heavily-accented speakers who promptly hang up when asked for more information. Online forums such as FatWallet.Com, whocalled.us, and 800Notes.com have been filled with stories of job hunters receiving these mysterious calls over the previous two months.
"My roommate and I have both received several calls over the past three days from 223-039-0000," wrote one commenter on 800Notes.com. "My roommate answered the call today and the gentleman on the other line said he had retrieved my roommate's phone number from Monster.com and wanted to see if he was interested in attending a job fair this week."
"I have received several calls on my cell phone from this number," wrote a poster on FatWallet.Com.
"When I did a search on Google it appears a lot of other people have been getting calls from this number and a similar one - 223-039-0000. Anyone have any ideas on how to make these people stop calling? It appears that the person calling got everyone's number off of their Monster.com resume."
Theories range from the calls being part of an international calling charge scam to selling the phone numbers to telemarketers. Many commenters noted that they were already on the Do-Not-Call (DNC) list, which enables citizens to "opt out" from receiving telemarketing calls.
ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Monster.Com for more information on this issue.
Monster spokesperson Steve Sylvan said that "online fraud is something we take seriously," and that the company had many policies in place to monitor and protect against cases of fraud or scams. "One instance of fraud is one too many," he said. Sylvan said the company would investigate the case further and find more information.
"Please remember that if you post any of your personal information in public areas of Monster or Monster Networking, such as in online forums or chat rooms, or in the Monster searchable resume database, such information may be collected and used by others over whom we have no control," the company states.
What You Can Do
Be careful when posting personal information on job boards. Many job seekers post their full contact information on resumes and job boards in the hope of being contacted quickly for employment offers. But this can also open them up to potential fraud, telemarketing scams, and even identity theft.
Your best bet is to only post an e-mail address on your resume, or leave a note saying you only give out your phone number to actual recruiters or employers once contacted.
Additional steps you can take:
• Make sure you're on the Do-Not-Call list. Verify that your phone number is on the DNC registry, and update your number information if your registration has expired. The FTC recently verified that cell phone numbers are not usable by telemarketers, but it never hurts to register your cellphone number just in case.
• File a complaint. If you've received a call from one of these numbers, you can file a complaint with the DNC registry, the FTC, and the Better Business Bureau.
• Dispute the phone charges. If your phone bill is larger than normal from answering these calls, contact your carrier and ask to have the charges reversed or removed from your account. Make sure to document your claim and note how long you were on the phone, how many times the callers called, etc.