Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Gap Reports Theft of Laptop Containing Personal Information

by Heather Wells (Recovery Advocate)

800,000 applicants for employment with the Gap may have had their personal information compromised, according to a September 29, 2007 article in written by Carolyn Said.

“The San Francisco retailer on Friday reported the theft of a laptop containing unencrypted personal information for 800,000 job applicants. The data, stolen from the offices of a third-party vendor, covered job seekers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico who applied online or by phone between July 2006 and June 2007. Most of the applicants were seeking jobs at Old Navy, although some applied for jobs at Gap, Banana Republic and Outlet stores."

A majority of people think that it’s required to put their social security number, date of birth, and other personal data on an application for employment or on a resume. This is a common misperception that makes job applicants extremely vulnerable to Identity Theft. So, what are some items that DO NOT belong on a resume or job application?

1) Your Social Security Number
2) Date of Birth
3) Driver’s License Number

If a company requests any of this information simply write “see below” and then add a note at the bottom of the application stating that you would “be happy to give this information during the interview process.” Explain to your potential employer that you are simply protecting yourself from the threat of Identity Theft.

In general, employers do not make a hiring decision based solely on looking at an application or resume and they do not need this info unless they are truly interested in hiring you. The same goes applying for a job over the phone. Explain to the person taking down your name and work experience that you don't feel comfortable giving up so many other personal details on the telephone. You never know where your information could end up, on an unsecured computer or desktop, in a trashcan, or even worse, in the hands of an id thief!

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