Regardless of what your opinion is of employee background checks, they should never be considered as foolproof. Several factors contribute to the fact that they may not be foolproof but one of them involves identify theft which can happen anywhere and to anyone.

I know of a manufacturing company that conducted criminal background checks and social security traces on all employees after hiring them permanently from a temp to hire agency. One particular employee who had been on the job several weeks was hired permanently and the company proceeded to conduct the employee background check according to its standard procedures. The social security trace indicated that the employee had a previous residence in a western state and this lead to the discovery of several serious charges and convictions. In the current state of residence, the employee background check uncovered an open warrant from the previous state.

After some negotiations with the employer, the state investigative agency came to the workplace and took the employee into custody for extradition to his previous residence. Once the individual was fingerprinted, it was determined that he was not the one that the warrant had been issued for. The employee actually turned out to be an illegal immigrant who had purchased the identification, a driver’s license and a social security card from a “broker” dealing in these falsified papers.

Several weeks later the employee showed up again at the plant with a new ID. But despite him having been an excellent worker, he was not rehired. Since the occurrence of this incident, this manufacturing company has changed its procedures requiring that criminal background checks are run on all contract workers that are being sent to their location.

By providing the background company with accurate identifying information, the hiring company can help ensure that it is obtaining accurate results whenever an employee background check is conducted. The hiring company should check a prospective employee’s identification carefully and ask additional questions of the applicant, if any read flags appear.

Keep in mind that it is best to run a criminal background check in every jurisdiction where the applicant has lived, worked, or attended school. Many metropolitan areas include several counties which should also be checked. But even then, it is possible to miss some information, such as a shoplifting charge that occurred while on vacation.

However, you should always conduct employee background checks regardless whether something may be missed or not since only through comprehensive employee background checks most criminal history will be uncovered.

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