Corra Daily Planet » 2011 » February

Beware of Employment Scams and Revealing Background Checks

Mon, February 28th, 2011 - 5:58 am - By Gordon Basichis

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While the economy is showing some sign of recovery, it is still hard times for millions of people.  There are those who have been laid off the job and have been out of work for months, even years.   There are those employees where the entire industry dropped out from under them and now they are in transition, trying to pick up added skill sets for different industries.

There are also the vipers who are preying on these people.  What kind of wretched slimeball you have to be to con people who are short money and looking for a job is beyond me.   These are the kind of useless parasites who possibly fall just below those who sell children and harvest body parts.   The sort we don’t really want or need but must deal with in some fashion, often skirting around their dirty schemes.

We had one woman call earlier this week.   She was perplexed and asked our advice.  Some group has posted want ads from employment on Craig’s List.  They faked the name of  a staffing agency, provided a GMail account and solicited resumes for jobs.  Fine.  Except there is a scam.  Not only it is a bogus employment agency, the scam artists provided the job applicant with a background checking consent form and told her they would conduct a background check on her.  Please fill in her information and submit the form.

The unwitting woman, a person desperate for a job, complied.  Little did she realize that legitimate employment staffing agencies will conduct background checks in-house once your actual application, including skill sets, are properly vetted.  This would include the normal job interview, or several, depending on the job.    The usual stuff and then the background check.

So now this bogus employment agency has the woman’s vital information and she is now at the risk of having her identity stolen.  These scam artists apparently don’t think being out of work, long on debt, and short on money is miserable enough.  They may now open credit accounts in her name, using the information she provided, further deepsixing what I am sure is her already precarious financial status.

So a cautionary note to job seekers and, for that matter, to recruiters finding employment candidates a little skittish when it comes to providing their vital information.   They may have already been clipped by this job scam.  Like the flu or any other malady, different scams at different seasons are going around.   This is the season of a job hungry America.  So beware.

Drug Testing Background Checks to Prevent Drug Use in the Workplace

Fri, February 25th, 2011 - 4:27 am - By Gordon Basichis

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I guess the good news about drug use is that cocaine usage has declined in the past couple of years.   In fact, cocaine usage has declined some twenty nine percent.  Only about one third of one percent of the population uses cocaine, or so the story goes.

Now for the other news…heroin use has increased.  The federal government applied tighter stands to drug test as part of the employment screening.  There were testing people in such occupations as pilots, airplane mechanics, and train operators.  Drug tests revealed that twice the employees as previously recorded were using heroin and/or prescription painkillers on the job.  According to an article in Fortune Magazine, the number is accelerating at alarming rates.

Oral fluid testing of 320,000 employees from the workforce overall, between January and June 2010, detected the heroin marker 6-acetylmorphine at a rate of 0.04%.  This is a substantial increase over the 0.008% that had been found through urine tests. Separately, from the time new federal standards went into effect last October through the end of 2010, the marker showed up in 20% more transportation workers than before.  There is a noted increase in prescription opiates like oxycodone and oxymorphone,” sold under the brand names Vicodin and Oxycontin.   Results from more than 5.5 million tests showed an 18% jump in opiate positives between 2008 and 2009, and a rise of over 40% since 2005.

So what’s with all this?  It has long been said that if you give people the opportunity, many will prefer to get high.  Sure, maybe the  related stress from the economy and the uncertainty of employment has compelled some to want to down themselves out into a stupor.  Experts claim much is stress related.  But these are people in sensitive jobs.  That pilot airplanes.  And trains.  That drive heavy machinery.   That are not only responsible for their own lives but the lives of others.

There were in the most recent count in 2008,  20.3 million adults in the U.S. classified as having substance use disorder.  Of that group, 15.8 million were employed either full or part-time.

We are not talking about marijuana here, medical or otherwise.  This is the serious stuff.  These are drugs that can mess with your motor abilities, your thinking, the decision making process.   These are drugs where you can literally fall asleep at the switch.  Where you can kill or injure fellow employees or passengers.  Whatever.     In short, this is really pretty nuts.  With all those who are unemployed, perhaps it is more effective to recruit new talent and put them on the job.   Run Drug Tests on them as part of their background checks and employment screening.   Certify they are sober.

A Short List of the Needs and Purposes of Background Checks

Thu, February 24th, 2011 - 5:06 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Employment screening is varied and depending on the types of searches will return different specific information.

The criminal search, especially the county criminal search,  will define a candidate’s criminal past.  While it varies from employer to employer and the type of position under consideration, suffice it to say that with most employers a violent criminal history will give them pause.  Major concern is how it impacts clients and also how it may affect other staff members.  Those with violent criminal records or serious criminal records, if they commit acts of violence in the workplace, leave the employer open to liability concerns as well as public embarrassment and the knowledge that someone was injured in the workplace.

There is also the issue of employee theft and corporate espionage that is on the increase.  Criminal records do not necessarily define a propensity for employee theft, but they may assist in determining the more proficient candidate, especially at a time when employers can select from a rather deep pool of candidates.

With criminal records, we retrieve felonies and misdemeanors.   You cannot list or consider arrest records.  You may not consider certain cases that are dated or less severe, and this is not only in accordance with the FCRA but with varying state codes.

County Criminal searches are the most accurate because they are pulled by hand from the county courthouse.

Federal Criminal Searches are used primarily for financial malfeasance and white collar crimes.  They are also part of the mandate for background checks that must be conducted by federal contractors in order to be compliant.

Credit Reports are again used by federal contractors to vet candidates for compliance purposes.   Credit reports are also used for those in the financial area to determine fiscal responsibility.  There are restraints on credit reports in different states and in general terms they should be conducted where the credit report has direct relevant to the job.  Financial and contract compliant being the two I noted.

Education verification will provide testament that the candidate is not lying and fulfilled the education necessary for certain skill sets.   It also serves to assure clients that the employee is prepared to service them and is both compliant and fluent in whatever discipline related to his or her education.

Employment verification, does just that, verifies that the candidate actually worked where he or she claimed.

The Social Security Trace will verify the candidate’s social security and provide the residential history upon which the criminal searches are conducted.

Federal Civil Searches will tell of any lawsuits.  Sometimes a  financial malfeasance case does not meet the criterion for criminal case and it then becomes a civil lawsuit in the federal courts.  This, again, usually concerns white collar issues.

County Civil Cases concern lawsuits on the local or county level.

Australia Concerned About Sex Offender Background Checks for Youth Leagues

Wed, February 23rd, 2011 - 5:54 am - By Gordon Basichis

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The United States is not the only one concerned with background checks to prevent convicted felons and sexual predators from gaining access to children.    According to Australian  youth groups and sports club are claiming they don’t have either the time or financial resources  to run background checks on its  adult volunteers.   Only now are some of the clubs beginning to audit its volunteers.

According to the article,  officials from several sports codes say they want to adopt Queensland’s Blue Card model, in which volunteers’ details are collected on a central database, which can be accessed by any organisation needing to perform background checks.

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