Some job candidates hold several names. Figuring out Who they really are can be quite a challenge. Identity concerns, legal confusion on which state law applies, and Who actually authorized the background check release form is an Employer Risk Iceberg.
This comic strip “I Was Framed – Background Check Authorization” is based on a real behind-the-scenes story.
The Real Story
A criminal background check was required by our client. The job salary at stake was over 100K, but our client screens all hires. We were required to do State criminal, County Criminal, Federal District Criminal, and Identity cross-checking. The identity cross-checking showed five name variations and three residential locations all with current (present-day) use. We don’t really make assumptions and instead work to figure out whether the person is a victim of identity theft, using multiple names for benign (or criminal reasons) or an identity thief.
The exercise we go through demonstrates how automated or instant reports cannot possibly be complete or accurate without a layer of investigation. The standard protocol for us is to recommend and run criminal searches on name variations found in trace. If a criminal history turns up on one of the name variations we can use that information to further our understanding of the use of the different identities.
In this real story we found a Pending Felony Fraud case under one of the names found during the identity cross-check (in a State not claimed by the job applicant.) We also found another more minor criminal case in the state the candidate claimed to be residing (but the defendant name was different from the current claimed name.) The pending felony case listed an alias with a similar name to the name we were provided by the job candidate.
We gathered up all the case information, all the defendant identity information, alias information and really thought it could go either way. Reaching out to the candidate about the information found is not standard recommended procedure by most in our industry. But, a quick conversation helps sort out complex issues in a hurry. Sometimes the person is shocked and wants to help us “clear them”, sometimes we are provided identity theft documentation to prove a an identity theft struggle going on for years, and sometimes we are met with anger.
Anger by a candidate may be the most revealing. An innocent person usually welcomes an inquiry and assistance. An angry person is likely just mad about being caught. We can offer a path to resolution and a job at the end of that path. For people with common names, identity theft issues and others which may be a victim of an “automated data society”, a courtesy call to discuss possible cases found may be a welcome change.
In this real story the person verbally withdrew the authorization to perform the background “any further”. We suspect the person fraudulently used multiple identities and was shocked we caught it. I can’t imagine any reason an innocent person would not want to have us help them get to the bottom of any false information.
Have you had a background check come back with information which wasn’t yours? Did the background check agency try to help you resolve the misinformation?
Multiple identities appear when cross-checking identities during a typical employment screening process. It is important to try to investigate further into the issue because errors exist on social security tracing data available in our industry.
Remote online recruiting or hiring poses a high risk the job candidate is not providing a valid identity. The internet is still anonymous-heaven. Ensure you protect your company by cross-checking identity of your candidates (with a background check) and E-Verify them after hire. Make sure you check the government ID closely with who shows up for the job and cross check the identifiers against the information provided on the background check release form. Everything should match up.
OTHER COMIC STRIPS: