Utilising background checks to avoid employee fraud

Employee fraud can have devastating consequences for a business and as concern over disgruntled employees committing fraud rises in 2011, employers are looking for different ways in which to combat internal fraud. Current economic conditions prevailing in 2011 could have a severe and negative impact on employee morale – which is one of the main contributors to increasing incidences of employee fraud. Corporate SA is losing an estimated R150 billion annually to insider fraud, according to Steven Powell head of forensics at law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs.

The volume of background checks carried out by EMPS increased by 18 per cent in 2010, despite an obvious slowdown in recruitment, demonstrating a tightening-up in employee screening. While it is crucial to deal with this issue in the recruitment process, to truly safeguard against insider fraud HR needs to maintain an element of screening throughout the employment contract.



School board background checks in full swing


 Board of education members statewide will be fingerprinted in the coming weeks to comply with a new state law that requires they undergo a criminal history check.

The state Department of Education has sent procedures to school districts, and is urging trustees to get the digital fingerprints done as soon as possible, said Faith Sarafin, spokeswoman for the department.



Social Media Background Checks Here to Stay

Social Media background checks are here to stay, approved by the FTC and increasingly adopted by corporations as a way to screen applicants. The good news is that you need to be a pretty big jerk to flunk one.

A social media background check is a little more sophisticated that checking your Facebook account, but not much. Basically, after you apply for a job at a company, the company–with your permission–hires another company to check you out on the web.

Having the third company check you out on the web is an important part of the process. Employers can’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, sexual orientation and so forth. But if the company does the background check on the web itself, that photo of you with your church group marching in the Gay Pride parade is going to put them in a seriously bad position. If they don’t hire you, you can claim it’s because of that picture.



Brazil, the South American powerhouse whose energy mix relies mostly on hydropower, has reached 1 GW in installed wind power. That is enough to power a city of 1.5 million people.

Most of the country’s wind power is installed in the northeast and south regions of the country. According to ABEEólica, the Brazilian wind power association, there are 51 wind farms in the country, distributed over nine states.

It said the potential for more wind power is huge if tower installation costs are brought down as well as the cost to distribute this type of power. The organization says it needs more official support to expand.


Despite that, the organization expects that by 2013 Brazil’s energy matrix will be receiving 5.3 GW of wind power. Investments should exceed US$15bn and will be made by the private sector through federal government incentives distributed through a program called Proinfa, dedicated to promoting alternative energy.

Currently there are 36 wind farms under construction with a capacity to generate another 1 GW. They are expected to go online before the end of the year.

Compared to other emerging economies such as China and India, Brazil is lagging behind when it comes to wind power, mainly due to competition from cheaper hydropower. Wind power currently costs around US$86 per MWh while hydropower costs US$73. But this may start to change as regional governments start to assess local potential to tap the power of wind.

Source: cleantechies

Fraudulent Education and Employment Claims Increase Background Background Checks

By Gordon Basichis

Fraudulent claims from international employment candidates, especially from China, have necessitated an increased in employment and education verification background checks for employers looking to recruit applicants from these regions.   Many employment screening services have reported that the growing problem of academic and work qualification fraud in China has lead to increased business from background checking agencies.

For a long time international candidates made fraudulent claims and for the most part they went uncontested. Staffing agencies and employers for a long time accepted the information on CV’s and resumes pretty much at face value.  But no longer.



i found you!

by Blake Forrester

Most employers can easily grasp why running a quality background check is important, but unfortunately there are many myths floating around about background checks that could get even a well-meaning employer in trouble.

One myth is that there is some kind of national database to which private employers have access which contains all the information an employer could ever need to ascertain a potential employee’s criminal history and to confirm the education and employment information they have claimed. If only it were that easy.

Doing a thorough background check necessitates a lot of legwork and attention to detail. You have to know where to look, and you have to look in a lot of places. For a criminal background check, for instance, there are over 10,000 courthouses in the United States that have relevant records. These courthouses must be visited in person; they do not combine all their records somewhere for the convenience of employers.

A related myth is that to do a proper background check you need only consult commercially available databases.

Unfortunately while such commercial database services might seem attractively inexpensive, you get what you pay for. How likely do you think it is that the folks who compiled these databases went to all 10,000 courthouses and checked and double checked everything to minimize false positives and false negatives? Not very.

A third myth is that as an employer it’s really not too hard to do a background check that’s “good enough” so that if anything does go wrong you can’t be blamed.

In fact, the due diligence that is required of you can be quite stringent, not to mention unpredictable since it may boil down to what a given jury decides on a given day would have been a reasonable effort on your part to investigate a potential employee.

A fourth myth is the common belief that employers can disqualify an applicant based on a criminal conviction without a business justification.

Once a person has “done his time” the law does not allow him to be indiscriminately penalized the rest of his life by being rendered unemployable. If the nature of the job, the specific offense he committed, the amount of time that has elapsed since the crime, etc. indicate that he would be a substantial risk, then yes, you are within your rights as an employer to deny him a job. You are not required to hire a convicted sex offender to work at your day care, for instance. But if he smoked marijuana 25 years ago, that’s not sufficient grounds to rule him out for employment repairing clocks in your shop.

Source: pre-employ

THE MASSACHUSETTS Community College Executive Office says it has no plans to change procedures in light of an incident involving a student carrying a handgun at MassBay Community College. The general belief is that community colleges are often places for students from struggling and troubled backgrounds to earn a second chance to educate themselves. Forcing students to disclose criminal records, many community colleges say, will discourage students from applying at all.

“I don’t think a [criminal records check] or even asking students to disclose necessarily makes anyone safer,’’ Bristol Community College spokeswoman Sally Chapman Cameron told the Globe. “I don’t think the research is there to support that.’’

I am sure our community college leaders do not intend it this way, but that almost sounds like the National Rifle Association. All around the nation, gun rights advocates, often boosted by the NRA, are pushing for concealed-carry policies on college campuses. Most efforts have so far stalled, although a challenge to the ban at the University of Colorado has reached that state’s supreme court.


They have stalled because sanity so far is prevailing. In Idaho, for instance, a leading voice against campus carry is Republican Senate majority leader Bart Davis. He lost his 23-year-old son eight years ago at an off-campus beer party when he was shot by a Boise State University student carrying a concealed weapon. When supporters of campus-carry laws claimed students with guns would not be “drunken frat boys,’’ Davis retorted, “This is not an intellectual exercise for me and my family.’’

If guns on campus are not an intellectual exercise in Idaho, they should not be in Massachusetts. As much as our community colleges should be a place where people can find their callings and even rescue themselves, the real world of what young people can do with semiautomatics, from Columbine to Virginia Tech, mandates a tightening of disclosure policies.

The case at MassBay involved 18-year-old Darryl Max Dookhran. He was arrested at the registrar’s office in February with a loaded semiautomatic 9mm handgun in his book bag and additional rounds. He started at MassBay in January, after earning his high diploma in jail while serving time on a variety of juvenile offenses, including assault with a firearm.

A fellow student saw what he thought was a gun in Dookhran’s pants and told a professor. Dookhran was arrested and is back in the criminal justice system. The professor who turned in Dookhran’s name said it was sad because the young man was clearly “between two worlds,’’ knowing he needed an education, but not quite ready to completely let go of his past.

But that should not mean community colleges should be stuck in between these worlds, as sure as you can say the name of Jared Loughner, the alleged assailant in this year’s Arizona massacre who scared students at his community college with his behavior. The policy of not asking questions about a student’s past struggles is a noble idea, but histories of gun violence should not be part of that policy.

That does not mean a school should automatically block a student with a prior firearms record. What it does means is that the school is obligated — on behalf of all the students — to go through a process to determine whether the student has given up violence. Massasoit Community College says it is considering the disclosure of disciplinary actions. The police chief of Quinsigamond Community College told the Globe that such disclosures might help anticipate problems.

That is the direction the community colleges should go in. Had such disclosures been in place, MassBay would have asked Dookhran if he had given up guns. It may have helped him give up that world for one that centered on education.

Source: articles.boston


Education verification is an important part of your general employee background check. If you believe that this has lesser importance than a criminal background check, consider the case of Laura Callahan who resigned as Director of the Department of Homeland Security in 2004.

It was established that Laura Callahan’s doctorate was obtained from Hamilton University, a known ‘diploma mill’. That is a so-called educational establishment that offers diplomas and doctorates to students after little or no study. Subsequent investigation discovered that a minimum of 28 other senior employees had obtained their qualifications from diploma mills. In other words, they were not suitably qualified for the jobs they were holding.


Diploma mills are commonplace, and Columbia State University, for example was shut down in 1998 after an advertising campaign offering degrees within 27 days! That was another diploma mill, and that is one of the reasons for education verification being so important.

The requirement for qualification has become very widespread, and it is little wonder that so many job applicants are tempted to at least overstate their qualifications if not downright lie. Most company positions now require an education qualification of some form or another, and if you search for ‘fake degrees’ on Google you will find several pages offering them. It’s a problem.

The temptation to provide false educational credentials is overwhelming since the rewards for success in fooling your potential employer can be high. The General Accounting Office reported in 2004 that up to 200,000 federal employees had falsified their resumes. These are the ones that were detected. How many more are there that were not detected, and how many in all occupations are involved, not just federal employees? So do not think that you are immune to this; you probably already have employees on your payroll that have falsified their resumes.

This is a serious problem, and a breach of faith on the part of the employees who do this, especially where the knowledge provided in studying for a degree is necessary in the job, and its absence could affect all of the other employees in the company. It is also a serious error on the part of the employers who offer them employment without carrying out suitable education verification.

As more and more qualifications, diplomas and degrees are requested for more and more jobs where previously they were not required, education verification becomes increasingly important. Candidates are highly motivated to provide degrees, obtained by whatever means they can, and up to 20% of employers in the USA now require verification of diplomas and degrees from the college or university that awarded them.

Some universities offer an online verification service that involves providing the student with a password that they can pass on to a prospective employer. This provides the employer with a portal into the student’s records that confirm the qualification awarded. Although this does not address the problem of diploma mills, it at least provides some security. A list of accredited educational facilities would help reduce the need for full education verification and the issue of not knowing what is and is not a diploma mill.

Diploma mills may be breaking the law if they offer these diplomas to students in the knowledge that are being used for job applications, and the applicant is committing a criminal offense in many jurisdictions by presenting them. A federal law is required on this issue, and that would possibly help employers with this problem.

In the meantime, employers must not overlook education verification when carrying out employment background checks. It is easy to omit this essential factor of employee screening, but the employment of an unqualified nurse or doctor can be just as damaging as that of a shop floor employee with a record of violence. The cost to the employer could ultimately be considerably higher.

It should not be assumed that any qualification is genuine, and if a specific diploma or degree is required for a job, it should be verified that the candidate does indeed possess that, and that it has been awarded from a recognized educational or training establishment.

Education verification should be included in the employee screening that all companies should carry out, preferably by hiring a professional investigator to carry it out. It is too important and skilled a job to try yourself unless you have employees trained in how to carry out background checks, and the penalties for failure can be very high.

Source: andreaweckerlecopywriting

ALERT Job Screening Agency Archiving All Facebook

If you’re still not using any of the privacy settings on Facebook, here’s the most compelling reason why you need to change that as soon as possible.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given the thumbs up to Social Intelligence Corp, which keeps files of Facebook users’ posts as part of a background-checking service for screening job applicants.

The FTC decided Social Intelligence complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the same set of rules that keeps your bill-payment records on file with the consumer bureaus for seven years, according to Forbes.

That’s how long your social media postings remain in Social Intelligence’s records. Even if you delete an embarrassing photo or bawdy status update, the material could stay in your file for seven years, during which time it might be used against you if a prospective employer were to use the agency’s services to screen applicants.

This ups the ante on prospective employers simply Googling you or even looking for you on Facebook and other sites — by now, many job hunters know enough to clean up their profiles when looking for work. Social Intelligence would have the goods on you before you cleaned up your online act, dating back seven years.

We can only suspect that if Social Intelligence has the go-ahead to operate in this capacity, other start-ups might follow. That’s all the more reason to err on the safe side and use Facebook’s privacy settings to their fullest.

Readers, does learning about services like Social Intelligence make you want to recheck your security settings or start using them if you haven’t done so already?




by Muhammad Saad Khan

When we talk about quality employment and best employee, then the first thing which came up in any employer’s mind is that their incumbent would be highly qualified and his qualification is legitimate.

Legitimacy of education is becoming a very intense issue these days as there are many people trying to get their credentials faked out to get their desired job. As the recession hit all around the globe and the job market is so scarce, and the qualified employee needs are so high, so many people are using bad means to get their education.

There are number of diploma mills and degree mills, offline and online which are providing the best criminal services to the people and making money like never before. They are actually selling fake degrees, diplomas and certifications. Which have no worth as now every single employer is running a comprehensive education background check to vet their education authenticity.

Verifying the education credentials of a potential candidate can be an important part in identifying if they have the suitable skills set for the position. Educational success reveals a great deal about an applicant’s credentials and motivations; and through education background checks, an employer can get an accurate depiction of their qualifications.

Many employers view particular educational qualifications as a key factor in seeking new employees. Moreover, education is a prerequisite for many positions because it ensures applicable knowledge of a subject matter, or more importantly, a required license for the position.

Studies show that approximately 30% of all applicants puff up information about their educational background, ranging from made‐up degrees from legitimate schools to insignificant degrees from diploma mills.

In 2004, the general Accounting Office revealed that nearly 200,000 federal employees had at the very least exaggerated education credentials on their resume.

SHRM(Society for Human Resource Management): More than 53% of job applicants falsify information on their resumes; one in four candidates misrepresents his educational attainment.

ADP Hiring Index: 49% of employment, education and or credential reference checks reveal discrepancies in the applicant’s information.

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners: 41% of applicants lie about their education.

The above trend indicates an increase in the likelihood that employer’s who don’t verify education will hire unqualified personnel. Hiring unqualified personnel, in turn, leads to higher employee turnover, forcing the organization to incur expensive recruiting and replacement costs.

Online Degree Scams: Diploma Mills and Fake Degrees

It has also become exceedingly easy to access an authentic looking, knock‐off diploma from any school in America; all you need is a credit card and a computer. Diploma mills and degree mills as well as various websites, advertise very realistic, physical diplomas and transcripts, which have been found to deceive many employers.

Therefore, with the striking statistics of resume fraud, employers should think twice about using physical diplomas as proper evidence of a degree. Because the requirement for education qualification has become so demanding, education fraud is becoming more prevalent, as are the establishments of diploma mills.

Consequently, in order to combat education fraud, laws have recently been passed in which companies who manufacture fake degrees and diplomas are considered to have committed a Misdemeanor, unless the degree explicitly states, “for novelty purposes only.”

Current Systems of Education Background Checks and Degree/ Diploma Verification and Why They Are Not Enough!

  • At present, human resource departments in companies directly contact the concerned educational institution and undertake verification. This is no longer a viable solution, considering the increase in the number of recruitments, and the time taken for verification. This is also not a fool proof method.
  • A second method, often adopted by many of the larger corporations, is to outsource their employment verifications to background screening companies, who maintain large personnel databases.
  • The third system which has developed recently in education background checks is the system of online degree and diploma verification. There is a database of fake colleges and universities and as well as the misdemeanors who faked their documents in past. It is now the best free online resource for the employers as well as for the students, who can check their institutions as well.

The biggest issue with targeting these diploma mills is that they frequently move around. Many diploma mills are constantly changing their names while others are sprouting up sporadically. There are currently hundreds of diploma mills on the internet that offer fake degrees and diplomas.

When posing as legitimate institutions, diploma mills will use catchy phrases to attract potential buyers:

• Here is an opportunity to get ahead

• University diplomas

• Obtain a prosperous future, money earning power, and the admiration of all

• Diplomas from a prestigious university

• Based upon your present knowledge and life experience

• No required tests, classes, books or interview

• Bachelors, masters, MBA, and doctorate (PhD) diplomas available in your field of choice

• No one is turned down

• Confidentiality assured. Call now to receive your diploma within days

• Furthermore, these “schools” have no faculty, no classes, and no course catalog and only have one address or email in which they can be contacted.

Concluding Remarks:

  • Falsified education credentials have become a serious issue in the workforce; it breaches the faith on employees who are involved, especially when it can directly affect other employees and the company as a whole. It is also a serious blunder on the part of the employer who should have done proper education background checks; a mistake that could essentially hinder their current position.
  • Now that up to 20% of employers in America require a diploma or degree from a college or university that awarded it to them, education background checks have become exceptionally crucial.
  • Although a federal law has been implemented to target diploma mills that give out phony diplomas, the problem still exists and is far from being corrected. In the meantime, employers should remain steadfast about conducting pre‐employment background checks that include verifying academic credentials.
  • The online diploma/degree mill checking systems are significant source of help to the employers looking for easy and free of cost education background check.
  • Education background checks should be included in every pre‐employment screening process.