According to statistics from recent studies on drug abuse by American workers, workplace drug and alcohol abuse may potentially cost U.S. businesses an estimated $100 billion each year and smaller businesses are more vulnerable to drug use in the workplace but drug tested less than larger businesses. In addition, statistics showed that a majority of drug and alcohol abusers in the United States were employed: 75 percent of illicit drug users over 18, nearly 80 percent of binge and heavy drinkers, and 60 percent of adults with substance abuse problems. These statistics were cited on a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ‘General Workplace Impact’ page on the DOL website (See: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/topics/safety-health-working-partners.htm) and taken from the ‘Working Partners’ National Conference Proceedings Report sponsored by the DOL, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (See: http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/dfwp.html#thecost). Continue reading
According to a new study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), since nearly 65 million people in the United States – more than one in four adults – are estimated to have criminal records, employers that use criminal background checks for employment to shut out job applicants with criminal records without considering how long ago the offense occurred, the nature of the offense, and whether the offense is job-related, have prevented millions of people from finding work and compromised the economy and public safety. Continue reading
More than half of consumers approve of the idea of banning the use of job applicant credit reports by employers for employment screening, according to a recent survey.
A telephone poll survey conducted for Credit.com by GfK Custom Research North America from January 14, 2011 to January 16, 2011 interviewed 1,004 consumers about:
Employers have the right, with your permission, to check your credit report as part of background screening for employment. A number of lawmakers are interested in banning this practice – do you… Continue reading
By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor
A new survey from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) revealed that economists are hopeful about economic growth and increased hiring while the number of firms planning to hire workers is at a level not seen in over a decade.
The NABE Industry Survey January 2011 – which includes the views of 84 economists for private companies and trade groups that are NABE members – also found that 42 percent of economists saw hiring by their firms increasing over the next six months compared with only 7 percent who expected to lay off workers, resulting in Net Rising Index, or NRI, of 35, the highest NRI in the 12 years that the question has been asked. The current NRI – the percentage of panelists reporting better outlooks minus the percentage whose outlook is bleaker – is the highest level it has been since 1998.
The NABE survey also found that:
- Employment continues to improve, with 34 percent of firms reporting larger workforces compared to only 13 percent a year ago.
- The number of firms cutting jobs shrank from an average of 13 percent over the past three quarters to 6 percent currently.
- The hiring outlook for the next six months looks more robust with 42 percent of respondents indicated their firms will be increasing employment, up from 39 percent last quarter and 29 percent in January 2010.
As for economic growth, the NABE survey revealed that 62 percent of the economists surveyed expected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2 to 3 percent in 2011 while one in five (20 percent) expected 3 to 4 percent economic growth. Overall, 82 percent expected the economy to grow by 2 to 4 percent in 2011, up from 54 percent in October.
Also, profit margins expanded for a sixth quarter in a row as 38 percent of economists surveyed reported that profits rose at their firm while 18 percent reported declining profitability. The resulting NRI of 20 is the largest spread since 2005. The survey concluded business decisions are “being driven by the fundamentals of an improving economy.”
The NABE Industry Survey was conducted between December 17, 2010 and January 5, 2011. The entire survey, with answers and historical data, is for NABE members only.
With more employment comes the need for more employment screening. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is a leading provider of background checks for employers and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). For more information, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor
According to a press release from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), an estimated 11.7 million people were victims of identity theft during the two years prior to being surveyed in 2008, and the financial losses due to the identity theft totaled more than $17 billion.
The findings are based on the 2008 Identity Theft Supplement (ITS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The ITS surveyed over 56,000 persons age 16 or older in the U.S. about the types of identity theft experienced in a two-year period.
In the survey, “identity theft” was defined as the attempted or successful misuse of an existing account, such as a debit or credit account, misuse of personal information to open a new account, or misuse of personal information for other fraudulent purposes.
Other key findings of the survey include (figures are estimates):
- 6.2 million victims experienced the unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing credit card account, the most prevalent type of identity theft.
- 4.4 million victims reported the misuse or attempted misuse of a banking account, such as a debit, checking, or savings account.
- 1.7 million victims experienced the fraudulent misuse of their information to open a new account, and
- 618,900 victims reported the misuse of their information to commit other crimes, such as fraudulently obtaining medical care or government benefits or providing false information to law enforcement during a crime or traffic stop.
- 16 percent of all victims experienced multiple types of identity theft during the two-year period.
- 23 percent of all victims suffered an out-of-pocket financial loss due to the victimization, with the average out-of-pocket financial loss being $1,870.
- 40 percent of victims had some idea about how their identifying information was obtained.
Following publication, the report – Victims of Identity Theft, 2008 (NCJ 231680) – can be found at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov.
The story serves as a reminder of why the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of consumers used in background checks must be protected from threats like identity theft. As reported previously on ESR News, identity theft remains a threat not only to individual consumers but also employers and businesses as well since much identity theft occurs in the workplace as evidenced by the following stories:
- Background Check Information Allegedly Stolen at Fingerprint Center for Identity Theft
- New Security Survey Finds Nearly One-Third of Healthcare Organizations Had At Least One Known Case of Medical Identity Theft
- New Poll Shows Two Out of Three Americans Feel At Risk for Identity Theft
- FTC Extends Enforcement Deadline for Identity Theft Red Flags Rule To December 31, 2010
Since much identity theft occurs at the workplace, employers should know what steps they can take to prevent identity theft. To help protect the personal information of consumers used in background checks from identity theft, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) created the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) to be a widely recognized “seal” of approval representing a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, and high professional standards. The Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) oversees the application process and ensures that background screening organizations seeking accreditation meet or exceed a measurable standard of competence, including protection of consumer information against identity theft.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading provider of background checks – has successfully proved compliance with the stringent standards of the BSAAP and is now formally recognized as NAPBS BSCC Accredited. To help prevent identity theft, background screening reports from ESR never carry a full Social Security number (SSN) or Date of Birth (DOB).
To learn more about accreditation, read ‘Background Screening Credentialing Council Recognizes Accredited Companies’ at:
For more information on identity theft, visit the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Resource Center Applicant Resources page at http://www.esrcheck.com/Applicant-Resources.php.
Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be Safe Harbor’Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more about ESR’s Leadership, Resources, and Solutions, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
A new survey released in November on security at healthcare organizations has revealed that nearly one-third of respondents said their healthcare organization had at least one known case of medical identity theft, and that some cases the medical identity theft may never be reported.
According to the 3rd Annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Security Survey, sponsored by Intel, while approximately two-thirds of respondents reported that their healthcare organization had policies and procedures in place addressing security breaches, almost one-third of respondents (31 percent) reported that their healthcare organization had at least one known case of medical identity theft.
Overall, the HIMSS Survey – which interviewed 272 Information Technology (IT) and security professionals at hospitals and medical practices – found that medical practices lagged behind hospitals in nearly every measure of healthcare IT implementation and security. For example:
- Only 17 percent of respondents working for a medical practice were likely to report a security breach such as medical identity theft at their healthcare organization compared to 38 percent of respondents working for a hospital organization.
- One-third of medical practices reported they did not conduct a risk analysis.
For the survey, ‘medical identity theft’ was identified as “the use of an individual’s identity-specific information such as name, date of birth, social security number, insurance information, etc. without the individuals’ knowledge or consent to obtain medical services or goods. It may also extend to cases where an individual’s beneficiary information is used to submit false claims in such a manner that an individual’s medical record or insurance standing is corrupted, potentially impacting patient care.”
The 3rd Annual HIMSS Security Survey, sponsored by Intel and supported by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), reports the opinions of IT and security professionals from U.S. healthcare provider organizations on issues surrounding the tools and policies in place to secure electronic patient data at healthcare organizations from security breaches such as medical identity theft.
For more information about identity theft, read the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Blog stories tagged ‘identity theft’ at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft/.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
A September 2010 web poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) testing the attitudes of Americans toward identity theft revealed that 66 percent – or two out of three people – of more than 1,300 respondents felt at risk for identity theft.
In an October NFCC press release, a spokesperson for the NFCC stated that in recent years “identity theft has claimed more than 10 million victims per year, and has been the top complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for the last five years in a row.”
According to the press release, the actual survey question – “Q: I don’t think I’m at risk of being a victim of identity theft because…” – and multiple choice results from the poll are as follows:
- A. Identity theft is on the decline = 1%
- B. My credit card company has systems in place that protect me = 9%
- C. I don’t carry my Social Security card in my wallet = 10%
- D. I never open emails from unknown sources = 15%
- E. I do think I am at risk of ID theft = 66%
The NFCC’s September Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site at http://www.debtadvice.org/ from September 1 to September 30, 2010 and answered by 1,352 individuals.
To help meet the need of identity theft protection education, the NFCC – the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization – and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) joined together to host Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW) from October 17 to October 23, 2010 (http://www.protectyouridnow.org/).
The 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the number of identity theft and fraud victims in the United States increased 12 percent to affect 11.1 million adults in 2009, while the total annual fraud amount in the country increased by 12.5 percent to $54 billion.
To read more posts from the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Blog tagged ‘Identity Theft,” visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft/.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
A recently published new study on employment background screening has found that organizations using automated tools for background checking, employment and education verification, and reference checking experienced 60 percent better quality of hire compared to those without employment background screening solutions in place.
The new report from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company – “Employment Screening: Mitigating Risk, Driving Down Cost” (September 2010) – is based on over 400 survey respondents to Aberdeen’s 2010 Talent Acquisition Strategies study and looks at the components of employment background screening that are most widely used and how these components impact hiring performance.
The report found that employment background screening is fundamental to best-in-class performance. When asked what kinds of technology they currently used as part of their talent acquisition process, over three-quarters (78 percent) of survey respondents cited the use of employment background screening solutions. The report also found that companies using employment background screening were 43 percent more likely to achieve “Best-in-Class” companies, which Aberdeen Group defines as the top 20 percent of performers along the following categories:
- First year retention of hires.
- Percentage of new-hires that were the top-choice candidate.
- Average year-over-year decrease in time-to-fill vacant positions.
Overall, the research revealed that among Best-in-Class companies the most utilized employment screening technology was employment background screening, with 83 percent using employment screening such as background checks and drug testing.
As for the most common aspects and elements of an employment background screening solution, the Aberdeen Group found that out of all of the survey respondents:
- 88 percent performed domestic criminal background checks.
- 87 percent performed previous employment/education verification.
- 72 percent performed reference checking.
- 60 percent performed drug screening.
The use of employment background screening has shown an impact on overall quality of hire, with an increase of 7 percent year-over-year for organizations using employment background screening as compared to a 5 percent average increase among those that did not use employment background screening.
The need for criminal background checks and employment and education verifications is key when it comes to risk inherent in hiring, the Aberdeen Group survey found, since even seemingly ideal candidates may have issues unearthed via background checks that make them undesirable for hiring and prospective employees may be included to stretch the truth about their educational backgrounds or previous employment in the current ultra-competitive job market.
The Aberdeen Group survey also shows these two employment background screening elements – criminal background checks and employment/education verifications – are even more important in the financial services, healthcare, and public sector environments:
- Financial services: 93 percent performed criminal background checks and 97 percent performed employment/education verifications.
- Healthcare: 94 percent performed criminal background checks and 94 percent performed employment/education verifications.
- Public sector: 100 percent performed criminal background checks and 83 percent performed employment/education verifications.
Lastly, when it comes to selecting a partner for providing employment background screening, the Aberdeen Group survey found that the speed with which the process was completed (62 percent of respondents) and the accuracy of the results (54 percent of respondents) were far and away the top criteria.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer
According to a recent article on MSNBC — Job Candidates Undergoing Credit Scrutiny — applicants applying for jobs these days can expect prospective employers to verify resume information, contact references, possibly do a criminal background check, and even be asked by companies to allow credit checks to scrutinize their credit histories.
The article cites a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in which 60 percent of the responding companies claimed they perform credit checks of some or all job candidates. Breaking down the survey results further, only 13 percent of organizations performed credit checks on all job candidates while 47 percent performed them on selected job candidates, usually for positions with fiduciary and financial responsibility such as handling cash, banking, and accounting.
MSNBC also reported that credit checks are required about half the time for senior executive positions and that the SHRM survey also showed that potential candidates with outstanding judgments, accounts in collection, or a bankruptcy in their file may be passed over for a job.
Lester Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), was quoted in the MSNBC article as saying employers are “looking at the debt level compared to the potential income from the job” and added that “if someone is under water financially as shown by the credit report, the thought is perhaps there could be a motive to embezzle or steal.”
However, while Rosen says credit checks are one method employers may use to hire honest and trustworthy employees that also provide some legal cover if that employee turns out to be dishonest, ESR does not encourage routine credit checks on all candidates since credit checks often contain errors and can feel like an invasion of privacy to applicants.
Rosen’s advice in the article for employers is to limit credit checks to relevant positions such as those that involve money. In fact, with many states recently passing laws limiting the use of credit checks for employment purposes, employers need to be careful when, to whom, and how they perform credit checks on prospective job applicants.
For jobseekers, ESR also provides information — at no charge — to job applicants on background checks and credit check reports can help job applicants navigate the background check process and maximize their chance at employment. The information is available on ESR’s ‘Applicant Resources’ page at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Applicant-Resources.php.
Whether the use of credit checks for employment purposes is discriminatory to certain job applicants — which ESR named Trend Number One in its Third Annual Top Ten Trends in the Pre-Employment Background Screening Industry for 2010 — is a question that will be asked as long as employers run credit checks on applicants with money troubles.
For more information on background checks and credit checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer
As further proof that identity theft and fraud is a fast-growing crime that shows no sign of slowing down, a recent survey found that the number of identity theft and fraud victims in the United States increased 12 percent to affect 11.1 million adults in 2009, while the total annual fraud amount in the country increased by 12.5 percent to $54 billion.
The recently released 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report — independently produced by Javelin Strategy & Research for the past seven consecutive years — also found that protection of data by consumers and businesses helped identity theft victims decrease the time needed to resolve fraud while also reducing or eliminating costs for consumers.
According to the survey, the average fraud resolution time dropped 30 percent to 21 hours. In addition, nearly half of identity theft and fraud victims filed police reports, which doubled the reported arrests, tripled the prosecutions, and doubled the percentage of convictions associated with identity theft and fraud in 2009.
Other key survey findings included the following:
- Small business owners should exercise caution since they suffered identity fraud at one-and-a-half times the rate of other adults, mostly due to the fact that small office and home office business owners use personal accounts when making business transactions and make more transactions than typical adults.
- Javelin believes the 12 percent increase in the number of identity fraud incidents from 2008 to 2009 — the highest level since the survey started in 2003 — may be due to the recent Great Recession since, historically, higher rates of fraud occur during tough economic times.
- Data breaches continued to compromise personal information, with the Full Name (63 percent) and Physical Address (37 percent) continuing to be the identification most likely to be compromised in a data breach. Health Insurance Information, with a year-over-year increase of 4 percent, is increasingly being targeted.
- Consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 (also known as “Millennials”) are the slowest to detect identity theft and fraud, taking nearly twice as many days to detect identity theft and fraud compared to other age groups. They are also the least likely to monitor their accounts and are victims for longer periods of time.
Overall, the number of identity theft and fraud victims in the U.S. in 2009 grew to nearly 5 percent of the population. Since businesses are helping to prevent identity theft, protect consumer identities, and respond to fraud incidents, consumers are benefitting as a result and out of pocket costs reached an all-time low of $373 in 2009, according to the survey.
Along with businesses, consumers can play a key role in preventing, detecting, and resolving identity theft and fraud committed against them. Recommendations for prevention, detection, and resolution of identity theft and fraud include:
- Preventing criminal access to paper documents;
- Preventing high-tech criminal access to information online;
- Detecting unauthorized activity in existing information;
- Detecting fraudulent establishment of new accounts, and;
- Reporting problems immediately and taking advantage of loss protection offers.
For more information about the fast-growing problem of identity theft and fraud, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft to read the latest news on the subject. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) will post additional information in the future on how to prevent and protect against identity theft and fraud.