Corra Daily Planet » 2009 » October

Background Checks and Money Wire Service Scams

Fri, October 30th, 2009 - 5:59 am - By Gordon Basichis

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There is but one more scam in the among the growing list of fraudulent financial operations, perpetrated by con artists seeking to take advantage of people in need of money.   This scam solicits unsuspecting individuals to cash checks for this group.  The checks are written in the name of  a fictitious company.   The victim cashes the check through his personal bank account, wires the cash through a wire service.   The victim is instructed he could keep roughly ten percent of the value of the check as his commission.

But then the check bounces and the victim is out the full amount of the check.   He seeks restitution.  There is none. The wire service informs him that there is really nothing he could do.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission thought otherwise.  After investigating the wire service practices of MoneyGram, the wire service company agreed to pay out $18 million and take on a series of anti-fraud measures.   This came after the Federal Trade Commission decided MoneyGram wasn’t doing enough due diligence and conducting adequate background checks on suspicious agents.   They failed to terminate suspicious agents, it was alleged.   According to the report, MoneyGram supposedly ignored warnings from law enforcement  authorities and form its own workers that widespread fraud was being conducted over the MoneyGram network.

So now  MoneyGram will conduct the necessary background checks and scrutinize or terminate suspicious agents.  According to  an article in Philly.com a number of MoneyGram’s Canadian agents may have acted in collusion with the scam artists and are being investigated.  However, a word to the wise.   Even if y or any other wire service agency, or for that matter any other third party is conducting background checks, approach all offers with caution.  Especially when the offers seem almost too good to be true, or the financial compensation looks like easy money.   Easy money means there is often no money.  Unless the money at the end of the scam is your money.  The money you lost.

When Background Checks Can Haunt Your Career Change

Thu, October 29th, 2009 - 5:23 am - By Gordon Basichis

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According to President Obama, this is the era of change.  Indeed it is, in more ways than one.  Some of us may be getting more change than we had bargained for, what with the economic downturn, the many employment layoffs,   and a new crisis confronting us every day.   Given the changes and the economic meltdown, more than a few laid off employees are looking for work.   Some are looking to move from one industry to another.

Small wonder.  The recession has revealed the sad fact that certain industries or at least certain sectors in the related industries are obsolete or close to it.  Like Elvis, there are jobs that have left the building and are never coming back.   This change affects a great many industries, and more to the point the people working inside them.   It has become necessary for tens of thousands, maybe millions of workers to find employment in other industries.   This isn’t as easy at it may sound.  And, frankly, it doesn’t sound all that easy.  But it can be done, and many people are doing it.

Moving from one industry to another requires a change of attitude, a different perspective.   I know senior executives in everything from the entertainment industry to the apparel manufacturing industry who are reluctant to make the switch.   There are psychological issues, identity considerations.   Simply put, you see yourself in this capacity, your friends see you in that capacity, and suddenly you are working in an altogether different sector.   It’s tough on the brain, and it’s tough on the emotions.  But then not making the change is tough on the wallet and when the dollar is down and money is short, that’s the hardest one of all.

Of course an employment candidate must list his job skills.   As the candidate, you should discard the job skills that apply only to a specific industry and isolate the skills that will help in a transition.  Be honest about which skills will make the cut, and which skills will not.   Then you must arrange those skills in a viable personal marketing package.    This is your sales pitch or part of it.  Let’s face it, you will be convincing someone in a different industry why you should be considered as a viable candidate.  Often you are asking for consideration over the other viable candidates who are also looking for work and have actual experience  in that particular industry.   If you have an advocate or friend working in another industry, it may be easier to get your foot in the door.   But, honestly, with so much competition for every job out there, this may be just a slight advantage.  At the end of the day, it is up to you.

So you better polish every aspect of yourself so you are irresistible to any employer.   Since you are asking them to overlook your lack of previous  experience in their industry, your other skills, your talents,  personality, and personal appearance have to really shine at the moment of truth.   Nothing like a bad economy, and lousy job market to induce people to put on their best impression.

Now, here’s the sticky issue.   It may have been awhile since you were lst looking for work. You may have forgotten about those little faux pas in your personal history.  You may have forgotten that little drug or alcohol issue, now vague in your memory.  Your credit may be lousy.  Your driving records may leave something to be desired.   There have been or are presently law suits against you.   You got really upset one night and posted some regrettable information on your social networking site.   Regrettable now, but…nevertheless….

Most employers will run background checks.  If nothing else, most employers have more stringent preemployment screening programs than they had in place a couple of years ago.   There is a last labor pool from which to recruit, and there are any number of disturbing  incidents out there they would just as soon not bring into the work place.  So, besides realigning your skill sets, adapting a better sales pitch and networking to transition from one industry to another…clean up your act.   Know what you did and when you did it.   Criminal record histories and other background searches can all but ruin your chances of finding work.   Forget about lying about your education and the degree you never got.  Not in those five semesters of enrollment at the local community college.   Because in today’s world, whatever lies your tell will probably be discovered.

And then you are back to go.  In the unemployment line.

Employers do check them out before they hire.

More Public Services Waking Up to Background Checks

Wed, October 28th, 2009 - 5:53 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Increasingly, more public service agencies are discovering that not all employees have represented themselves and their background histories as accurately as anyone would like.  Be it state or municipal public service agencies, school boards or teachers, everyday there are no discovers that…ooops…someone hired has either a criminal record or is a sexual offender.

Despite the economic downturn and the need for most public agencies to watch their budgets,  there is an growing awareness that as a public servant you absolutely most conduct background checks on your employment candidates.   Not just background checks, but thorough background checks.  Otherwise, you run the risk of hiring workers who could prove a threat to your other work staff, to children, or who may decided to abscond with their unfair share of state or local funding.

Given the cost of background checks, the liability issues are much greater.  As said, not only do public service agencies, who do not conduct background checks, run the risk of endangering the workplace on in some cases students and children that were entrusted to them, but they risk very extensive lawsuits and the incumbent liability issues.   They risk the type of public embarrassment that so many public service agencies have experienced over the last couple of years.

According to Fox8 News of Greensboro, Winston Salem, Employees of the local school system will be subject to random background checks in addition to the preemployment screening program conducted during the recruitment phase for new job candidates.  This prudent decision came after one teacher was arrested for charges of sexual misconduct.   It was discovered then that he had a prior embezzlement conviction.

I applaud the Winston-Salem/ForsythCounty School Board for its wise choice.  “If we can do anything to keep our students safe, it’s worth every penny,” said Dossie Poteat, the Principal of the of the East Forsyth Middle School.

Wise words indeed.

Check them out before you hire.

Nebraska Dept of Corrections to Expand Its Background Checks

Tue, October 27th, 2009 - 5:51 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Despite the economic crunch on states and their budgetary constraints, the Nebraska Department of Corrections is expanding its list of background checks to be screen its employment candidates. Undoubtedly, this is a very good thing, as the more background checks

The decision to expand the preemployment screening process came after it was revealed a working guard was wanted in the Czech Republic for drug and fraud charges.    Rather than wait, like some other states and municipalities for more embarrassing situations to arise, regarding employment hires and background checks, the Nebraska DOC decided to move quickly to help assure no mistakes like this would be made in the future.

The Nebraska DOC is learning, as so many private employers have, it pays to check them out before you hire.

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