Online Job Scam: RSS Job Feeds and Job Fraud

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RSS, a technology that collects information from Web sites, bundles it together and then sends it to individuals to read offline is gaining popularity. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndicationor rich site summary. Right now, it looks like RSS may become an important part of how people use the Internet. For collecting and aggregating news headlines and tidbits from newspapers and blogs, RSS is convenient and helpful. RSS does have the potential for some real drawbacks for job seekers unless it is thoughtfully deployed by job search sites. However, the drawbacks are a fairly simple matter to correct.

For example, the World Privacy Forum noticed that the site RSS-Job- collected and republished all of the fraudulent ads that appeared on RSS-Job-Feeds sent the ads straight to jobseekers without benefit of a privacy policy, contact information, or warnings about job fraud. It fed undiluted scams to jobseekers.

Another site,, pulls jobs from,,,, Careerspan, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Boston Globe, and other sites. Researchers signed up to this site and tested it. The way it works is that the RSS feeds give users the headline of the job and some basic information about it. Then users click through the headline to see the actual ad. Some sites, such as CareerBuilder, post warnings on the actual job ads about job fraud. When users click on the job ad, they see the warning and tips. But not all sites do this. In the RSS environment, depending on how the site set up the RSS feed, a job seeker could potentially click on an ad and apply for the job without ever seeing a warning from the site.

RSS need not be a problem for job sites. It just needs to be considered very carefully and the feed should be configured to take job seekers back to the main site to view job ads. Job seekers need to be protected in the RSS environment. Sites can do this easily by making stand-alone information about job fraud available on every page containing a job ad.



Roadmap: A Year in the Life of an Online Job Scam – A Longitudinal Study: VII. RSS Job Feeds and Job Fraud


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