Accuracy of Background Checks Under Greater Scrutiny after Reported Cases of Falsified Investigations

The accuracy of background checks has come under greater scrutiny after several reported cases of falsified investigations. The Federal Times reports the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – which oversees background investigations for the government – is investigating a growing list of cases involving the alleged falsifying of security clearance background checks while a “consistent backlog” of similar cases awaits investigation due to a lack of resources. The complete story is available at

The Federal Times reports “at least 19 background investigators or researchers” have plead guilty to, or face sentencing for, falsifying background checks since 2008. OPM’s Inspector General (IG) Patrick McFarland told lawmakers he is working on nine similar cases and has a backlog of 36 cases awaiting investigation. According to the Federal Times, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.5 million to reopen falsified investigations to ensure applicants deservedly received clearances.

According to a report by The Charlotte Observer, the private contractor responsible for the security clearance screening of Edward Snowden – who later leaked classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents to the media – is under investigation by the federal government for allegedly conducting inadequate background checks. OMG IG McFarland told a Senate panel “there may be some problems” with Snowden’s background check. The full story is available at

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that a former contractor who “is among 20 investigators who have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of falsifying such reports since 2006” – was hired to perform background checks on U.S. government workers and filed a 2006 report in which he claimed to have interviewed a person who had been dead for more than a decade. The story is available at

A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation – the Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement (SCORE) Act – to increase oversight as to how the United States government conducts background investigations and awards security clearances. The SCORE Act would also hold government employees and contractors more accountable for falsifying background investigations. A copy of the SCORE Act is available at

Falsified background checks show the importance of accreditation standards for private screening firms. In 2010, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) launched the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) to promote best practices, consumer protection, and legal compliance. The accreditation standards and a list of accredited screening firms are available on the NAPBS website at

This greater scrutiny of the accuracy of background checks is one trend on the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ selected by Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). The full list of trends is available at Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a nationwide screening firm accredited by the NAPBS®. For more information, visit or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.


About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit or call toll free 888.999.4474.

About ESR News: 

The Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit