All posts by Les Rosen

Ohio Business Owner Ordered to Repay Nearly $750,000 for Forging Employee Criminal Background Checks

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News

In yet another case of falsified or outright phony background checks, a business owner in Ohio was ordered to repay nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for forging criminal background checks for employees of her home health-care business.

According to a blog post on, the online home of The Plain Dealer, the owner of Beta Services Inc. received a four-year suspended prison sentence and was ordered to repay $744,800 because she made it appear her employees – many with criminal records that disqualified them for jobs in home health care – had clean records.

The report indicates the owner pleaded guilty to one count of theft by deception and six counts of forgery and the company also entered a guilty plea to one count of theft by deception. “By forging background checks, this defendant deliberately put vulnerable Medicaid recipients in harm’s way by employing people with criminal records in caretaker positions,” according to the Ohio Attorney General quoted in the story.

Instances of falsified or outright fake background check investigations for employment purposes are on the rise, as indicated by these reports on ESR News recently:

The recent surge in scams involving background checks underscores the need for employers to make sure that they are dealing with legitimate screening firms when outsourcing background checks.  At a bare minimum, the background check firm should belong to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). In addition, NAPBS has announced a Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) that will also help employers locate professional and legitimate suppliers of background checks starting later this year. 

For more information on how to attain “real” background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


August 2010 Jobs Report Better Than Expected as Private Sector Adds 67,000 Jobs

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News

Private-sector employment continued its modest upward trend with the addition of 67,000 jobs, and has increased by an average of 72,000 jobs per month over the past 4 months, according to a report from the US. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS “THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION – AUGUST 2010” report also showed that the number of unemployed persons (14.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.6 percent) were little changed as the jobless rate has remained in the range of 9.5 to 9.7 percent from May through August. The report found job gains in the following industries:

  • Health care added 28,000 jobs in August, with employment increases in both ambulatory health care services and hospitals.
  • Construction employment was up by 19,000 jobs in August, with about half of the increase due to the return of 10,000 workers following a strike. 
  • Temporary help services employment was up 17,000 jobs over the month and this industry has added 392,000 jobs since September 2009.
  • Employment in mining continued to expand, adding 8,000 jobs, and reflecting ongoing job gains in support activities for mining.

On the negative side, Federal government employment fell for the third consecutive month in August, as the number of temporary Census 2010 workers declined by 114,000. In addition, Manufacturing employment fell by 27,000 in August, mostly offsetting an increase in July.  

In summary, while payroll employment and the unemployment rate were little changed in August, private-sector employment continued on a modest upward trend, adding 67,000 jobs in August after adding 71,000 jobs in July, which is good news for both employers and jobseekers in the current economic times.

For more information about employment screening for jobs, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


BBB Warns Jobseekers of Job Scams Involving Background Checks and Credit Reports

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News

As if it isn’t tough enough finding a job with the unemployment rate around 10 percent, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning to jobseekers about scammers taking advantage of the current weak economy by targeting unemployed people desperate to work, scams including false background checks and unnecessary credit report checks.

Since not thoroughly researching a job opportunity can result in jobseekers losing money instead of gaining employment because of job-related scams, the BBB has identified common job scam “red flags” to help jobseekers to protect themselves while they search for a job. The BBB recommends jobseekers look out for the following seven red flags:

  • The employer asks for money upfront for a background check or training: The BBB has heard about jobseekers that paid phony employers upfront fees for supposedly required background checks or training for jobs that didn’t exist.
  • The employer requires check of a credit report: The BBB warns that employers that ask job applicants to check their credit reports before they get work may be attempting to get the jobseekers to divulge sensitive financial information.
  • The employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home: The BBB advises jobseekers to be use extreme caution when considering a work-at-home offer and always research the company with BBB at
  • The employer offers salary and benefits that seem too-good-to-be-true: The BBB uses an old adage – “If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” – to demonstrate how phony employers lure unsuspecting job hunters into their scam.
  • The employer’s e-mails have many errors in grammar and spelling: The BBB warns that online fraud is often done by scammers outside the U.S. and English is not their first language, as evidenced by poor grammar and misspelling of common words.
  • The employer asks for personal information too quickly: The BBB warns that job applicants should never give out their Social Security Numbers or bank account information over the phone or by email until they confirm the job is legitimate.
  • The employer requires money wire transactions or dealing of goods: The BBB also warns jobseekers about cashing checks sent by companies and wiring a portion of the money to another entity or receiving and mailing suspicious goods.

Job scams targeting jobseekers, especially those involving background checks and credit reports, are on the rise in the down economy. Recently, ESR News posted a blog about an alleged job scam in Michigan that involved jobseekers paying money up front for what turned out to be phony background checks for jobs that did not even exist.

For more information about the Better Business Bureau, visit

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


Some Employers Rejecting Job Applicants Outright Because of Online Images Found in Social Networking Background Checks

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

Could what job applicants post on social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter affect their chances of finding employment?

A recent story on – Rejected Outright for the Job Because of Their Online Image – details how a business strategist was helping a client with some key hires by searching for and identifying potential candidates on the business social network LinkedIn. The strategist’s client then “Googled” – i.e. checked on popular search engine giant – each candidate’s name on the short list to do a quick online background check.

According to the story, the job candidates were split into two categories, those people with a “positive web presence” and those people without one. Those with positive presences were interviewed for jobs while the others were rejected outright because of content they had on other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or blogs they may have written.  As a result, the business strategist suggests job applicants look at their “personal brand” online to “make sure it matches who they are and how they want to be perceived.”

However, employers who conduct “social networking background checks” on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter should also be aware that doing so could possibly lead to problems, according to safe hiring expert, Lester Rosen, founder of San Francisco-area based Employment Screening Resources (ESR).

“Employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information on potential job applicants in social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online sources,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters, and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace,” the first comprehensive book on employment screening. “However, the use of these sites can present legal risks, including privacy and discrimination issues.”

To help educate employers on the potential legal risks of “social networking background checks,” Rosen will present an online webinar – “Legal Risks of Social Network Sites and Employee Screening” – with the Northern California HR Association (NCHRA) on Friday, September 10, 2010 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Pacific Time. The webinar is free to NCHRA members. To register, visit

For more information on “all things background checks,” visit


ESR Webinar with NCHRA Reveals Legal Risks of Using Social Network Sites for Employee Screening

ESR President, Speaker, and Author Lester Rosen Shows How Use of Social Networking Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for Employment Screening can Present Legal Risks Including Privacy and Discrimination Issues

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a premier provider of background checks and drug testing based in the San Francisco area, will present an online webinar – “Legal Risks of Social Network Sites and Employee Screening” – with the Northern California HR Association (NCHRA) featuring ESR president and screening expert, Lester Rosen. The online webinar will be held on Friday, September 10, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:30pm Pacific Time and is free for NCHRA members and $49 for non-members, with rates covering an unlimited number of staff at office locations.

To register for the online webinar – which is worth 1.5 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits – visit

“Employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information on potential job applicants in social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online sources,” says Rosen, the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters, and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace,’ the first comprehensive book on employment screening. “However, the use of these sites can present legal risks, including privacy and discrimination issues.”

The NCHRA, the second largest HR Association in the country, serves an HR community of more than 20,000 and has been advancing organizations through human resources since 1960. Through case studies and viewing Internet sites, webinar participants will see how social networking sites work and recognize the potential legal landmines and practical risks involved.

At the conclusion of the webinar “Legal Risks of Social Network Sites and Employee Screening” – which is open to all levels of experience – participants will leave being able to:

  • Explain why and how employers, HR and recruiters use the Internet to screen candidates;
  • Identify the risks involved if everything on the Web is not fair game;
  • Apply discrimination laws and rules to off-duty conduct; and
  • Uncover best practices for employers, recruiters, job applicants, and college placement offices.

Speaker Rosen is an attorney at law and a frequent presenter nationwide on pre-employment screening and safe hiring issues. He was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and served as the first co-chairman.

About Employment Screening Solutions (ESR):
Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is a leading provider of background checks and drug testing and is dedicated to promoting a safe workplace for both employers and employees. In 2003, ESR was rated the top U.S. employment screening firm in the first independent study of the industry. In 2007, ESR founder Lester Rosen literally wrote the book on employment screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual, The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters, and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace.” Rosen also wrote “The Safe Hiring Audit” and is a frequent speaker and presenter on employment screening issues. More recently, ESR produced a 30-hour online course for Safe Hiring Certification Training and has expanded to provide international screening and applicant generated reports (AGR). To learn more about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), please visit or contact Jared Callahan at 415.898.0044 or

Former College Basketball Star Indicted for Alleged Background Check and Jobs Scam

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

A former college basketball star in Michigan has been indicted for his alleged role in a background check and jobs scam where applicants paid fees for background checks that were never performed for jobs for which no applicants were ever hired.

According to a report on the Lansing State Journal website (, authorities say a company owned by former Michigan State University (MSU) basketball star Jay Vincent, 51, was in reality a scam that allegedly defrauded about 20,000 people out of more than $2 million. reports the company’s voice message gave applicants an option to pay $89 for background checks before they could be hired as inspectors of foreclosed homes. The applicants were promised that once payment was received for the background checks, the company would send an application and a free “foreclosure kit.”

However, according to authorities, these background checks were never performed. Vincent – a member of MSU’s national championship basketball team in 1979 – was indicted on mail fraud charges and could face up to 20 years in prison, reports.

In these tough economic times, with nearly 15 million unemployed people according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JULY 2010” report, scams involving background checks and jobs are on the rise.

Recently, ESR News posted a story about a Nebraska man accused of running a background check scam. According to a report by KMTV Action News 3 in Omaha, NE, FBI agents arrested the man, who they believe formed a background check company that charged consumers $600 each for phony FBI and Interpol background checks on people, even though private citizens are not capable of performing FBI or Interpol background checks.

These stories, and others, suggest that when consumers want or need background check companies to perform background checks for them, them may want to run a background check on the background check company first.

To help determine if a background check firm is reputable, consumers can visit the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) website at  

For more information about background check scams and how to obtain real background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


Germany Proposes Law Restricting Employers from Using Facebook when Recruiting

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

According to a recent article in the NY Times, the German government has proposed placing restrictions on employers who wish to view the profiles of job applicants on wildly popular social networking sites such as Facebook when recruiting.

The Times reports that the proposal to limit the use of Facebook for recruiting – part of a proposed law governing workplace privacy – would allow recruiters to search publicly accessible information about applicants on the Web and view applicant pages on job sites such like LinkedIn but not search on “purely” social networking sites like Facebook.

The German bill limiting the use of Facebook – which claims over 500 million users worldwide and about 10 million in Germany – could pass this year, the Times reports.

A law like the one proposed in Germany blocking employers from checking the social profiles of job applicants on Facebook would mean big changes in America, since recruiters routinely use social-networking sites to find out more about applicants. A 2009 survey from job networking site found 45 percent of employers used social networking sites to research candidates and 35 percent rejected applicants based on what was uncovered.

Of the 35 percent of employers who found content causing them not to hire the candidate:

  • 53 percent cited provocative/inappropriate photographs or information
  • 44 percent cited content about drinking or using drugs
  • 35 percent cited bad-mouthing of previous employers, co-workers or clients 
  • 29 percent cited poor communication skills
  • 26 percent cited discriminatory comments
  • 24 percent  cited misrepresentation of qualifications
  • 20 percent cited sharing confidential information from a previous employer 

However, social networks should not be seen by employers as some sort of “cheap-and-easy” background check, according to Les Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a leading provider of background checks for employers and recruiters.

“Employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information on potential job applicants in social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn,” says Rosen, a frequent speaker on employment screening issues and the author of “The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters and Terrorists out of the Workplace,” the first comprehensive guide on employment screening for employers. “However, the use of these social media sites can present legal risks, including privacy and discrimination issues. We show employers how to avoid these legal landmines.”

ESR will present a webinar featuring Rosen to educate employers and recruiters on the proper use of popular social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn during background checks. The webinar – “Avoiding Legal Landmines when Using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Other Social Media Websites for Screening Candidates” – will be presented on Thursday, August 26, 2010 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm ET (11:00am to 12:30pm PT). For more information, visit:

Questions that will be answered in this informative and educational webinar include:

  • Why do major employers, human resources, and recruiters use search engines and social network sites to screen candidates?
  • What are the risks in using these social network sites?
  • Isn’t everything on the web fair game since privacy is waived once someone places something on the Internet?
  • How do discrimination laws and rules concerning off-duty conduct apply?
  • What are the best practices for employers when using social network sites?

For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit:


Pennsylvania and New Jersey Forwarding E-Verify Legislation to Stop Employment of Unauthorized Workers

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

In an effort to stop the employment of unauthorized workers, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have introduced legislation for E-Verify, the web-based Employment Eligibility Verification System run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

E-Verify lets employers electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by comparing information provided by employees on the Employment Eligibility Verification form – or Form I-9 – against records in the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed two pieces of legislation – HB 1502 and HB 1503 – that requires certain employers in the state to use E-Verify.

  • HB 1502 would require all state contractors and subcontractors to verify the status of new employees with E-Verify.
  • HB 1503 – the “Construction Industry Employment Verification Act” – would require all construction industry employers (regardless of whether there is any state contract or public funds) to confirm employment eligibility of new employees through E-Verify.
  • In addition, employers relying in good faith on E-Verify would be immune from sanctions under the both proposed Pennsylvania bills.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is forwarding E-Verify legislation by introducing bills – S1842 and A2600 – that prohibit employment of unauthorized workers and require employers with 100 or more employees to verify the employment eligibility of all new employees with E-Verify by December 31, 2010. Smaller employers have until December 31, 2011.

  • S1842 and A2600 call for statewide random auditing as well as complaint-driven investigations.
  • S1842 and A2600 require that employers terminate unauthorized workers and the attorney general or county prosecutor shall notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as local law enforcement of any unauthorized aliens.
  • Sanctions include penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation and loss of business licenses – possibly permanent revocation – depending upon the offense.

Along with the legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many other states require or will require employers to participate in E-Verify in some manner. Some states – such as Arizona, Mississippi, and Utah – require all employers in the state to participate in E-Verify, while other states require only public or state employers or those contracting with the state to use E-Verify.

For more information about the legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey – and the increased worksite enforcement through Form I-9 audits – read the article “Pa., N.J. Move Forward With E-Verify; Will Feds Follow?” on The Legal Intelligencer.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit

PA Bill House Bill 1502:
PA House Bill 1503:
NJ SENATE, No. 1842:
NJ ASSEMBLY, No. 2600:

Defense Department Report on Fort Hood Shooting Calls for More Education about Workplace Violence

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

In the wake of the tragic shooting spree on November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas that took the lives of 13 military personnel and wounded 32 others, the Department of Defense (DoD) is calling for more education about workplace violence as part of its final review of the recommendations from the independent report “Protecting the Force: Lessons Learned from Fort Hood,” this according to a news release on

As part of the “follow-on” review final report, the DoD will place a high priority on implementing a number of recommendations to strengthen policies, programs and procedures in several areas, one of which includes “educating commanders about the symptoms of potential workplace violence and the tools available to them to address it.”

More specifically, “Recommendation 2.6 a, b: Update Policies to Address Workplace Violence” in the follow-on report states the Independent Review found that “guidance concerning workplace violence” was insufficient and that these programs “may serve as useful resources for developing more comprehensive workplace violence prevention.” As for future action to address workplace violence, the report indicates DoD policy and guidance on the prevention of workplace violence will be developed by January 2011.

The report stems from an incident in which Army Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, allegedly opened fire on soldiers readying for deployment at Fort Hood. He has since been charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

The report underscores the need for the DoD to to broaden its force protection policies, programs, and procedures to go beyond their traditional focus on hostile external threats.  The final recommendations of the Fort Hood follow-on review can be found at:

Since the troubling incident at Fort Hood in November 2009, several other deadly cases of workplace violence have occurred that have garnered national media attention:

  • In January 2010, an employee at a manufacturing company in Missouri involved in a lawsuit filed against the company allegedly killed three people and then shot himself.
  • In February 2010, a professor supposedly upset about being denied tenure at a university in Alabama allegedly fatally shot three professors during a faculty meeting. 
  • In August 2010, a truck driver in Connecticut who purportedly stole from his company and resigned reportedly killed eight people and then shot himself with a handgun.

“Workplace violence” is loosely defined as threats, assaults, and violent acts – including murder – which occur in, or are related to, the workplace. All employers should consider having policies, practices, and procedures to address the subject of workplace violence.

For more information on workplace violence, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


DOT Amends Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug Testing Effective October 1, 2010

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer

According to a recently published final rule in the Federal Register, The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is amending procedures for transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing programs in an effort to create consistency with many new requirements established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Full details of the final rule – which takes effect October 1, 2010 – are available at Some of the changes will affect the training of and procedures used by Medical Review Officers (MROs). Highlights of these changes include the following:

  • DOT now requires drug testing for Ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA).  The initial screening cut-off concentration for MDMA will be 500 ng/ml and the confirmatory cut-off concentration will be 250 ng/ml for MDMA, as well as Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and Methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA), drugs that are chemically similar to Ecstasy;
  • The drug test cutoff concentrations for cocaine have been lowered.  The initial screening test cutoff drops from 300 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml, and the confirmatory test cutoff concentration has been lowered from 150 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml;
  • The drug test cutoff concentrations for amphetamines have been lowered.  The initial screening test cutoff has been lowered from 1,000 ng/ml to 500 ng/ml, and the confirmatory drug test cutoff concentration has been lowered from 500 ng/ml to 250 ng/ml; and
  • Initial drug testing for 6-acetylmorphine (“6-AM,” a unique metabolite of heroin, considered to be definitive proof of heroin use) is now required.  Specific rules have been added to address the way in which Medical Review Officers (“MROs”) analyze and verify confirmed positive drug test results for 6-AM, codeine, and morphine.

To ensure the safety of employees and to promote a safety conscious work environment, certain companies require a drug test for all new employees as a condition of employment, and a drug screen subsequent to a reportable traffic accident and a reportable workers compensation injury for current employees in certain occupations.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) offers drug testing services as part of a comprehensive Safe Hiring Program that also includes employment/educational verifications and criminal background checks. For more information, visit the ESR website at