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Florida Leads Nation in Fraud and Identity Theft

By Michael Klazema on 6/10/2013

Out of all the states in the union, Florida is the worst in terms of identity theft and fraud. According to the 2012 Consumer Sentinel Network Report from the Federal Trade Commission, Florida leads the nation in incidences of these crimes.

Last year, there were a total of 203,768 fraud and identity theft complaints in the state of Florida. This count gives the Sunshine State a 160 percent lead in these crimes over the next-highest-ranking state in the report, Georgia.

With 693.5 fraud complaints and 631.3 identity theft complaints per 100,000 people, employers in the state of Florida would be justified in considering themselves at an increased risk of unwittingly hiring individuals who are not who they say they are.

Fortunately, employers can take additional steps to protect themselves against hiring individuals who may have committed crimes under other names by using criminal background checks. US AliasSEARCH from backgroundchecks.com is a great example of a robust background check tool that employers can use to discover alias names for individuals and their associated criminal records.

The US AliasSEARCH combines a thorough national criminal background check with a Social Security Number trace. After using the SSN trace to identify all known aliases that have been used with that SSN, backgroundchecks.com then passes those aliases through their US OneSEARCH tool. This tool compares the names against a collection of over 450 million records culled from state and local databases across the country. When the search is complete, employers will be presented with a list of aliases, including any maiden names, as well as a list of any criminal convictions associated with those names.

Of course, in order for a background check like this to be successful in screening out individuals with criminal backgrounds, employers must know how to interpret the results. Employers should have policies in place for consistently reviewing and vetting criminal recordsd, so that HR employees won’t simply ignore the fact and hire the individual anyway, as occurred earlier this year in one notable Texas case.

Lying on job applications and resumes is common enough as it is. In a state like Florida, where fraud and identity theft is so common, it may be wise for employers to subject all information provided by job applicants to an extra layer of scrutiny. This can be accomplished using a variety of tools, all of which are available through backgroundchecks.com.

For example, Education Verification can be used to check that a prospective employee really does have the credentials needed to fulfill their job responsibilities, and Employment Verification can be used to make sure that the individual actually has the necessary work experience. Reference Checks are also quite useful, because they provide information about the job applicant’s character.

While passing a background check does not absolutely guarantee that an individual will perform well on the job, employers can at least content themselves with knowing that they did their due diligence and used every tool at their disposal to reduce the risk of employing an unsuitable individual and perhaps making their company vulnerable to employee theft, workplace violence, or accusations of negligent hiring.

About backgroundchecks.com

Founded during the Internet boom in 1999 by an executive in both the staffing and information industry, backgroundchecks.com – a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – has been able to create a service that provides a blend of flexible screening programs that included instant, cost effective and comprehensive solutions. Our experience in database modeling of public records information has led Backgroundchecks.com to become the leader in the acquisition and delivery of public records information by harnessing the power and technology of the Internet. To learn more visit www.backgroundchecks.com.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2013/05/07/equifax-ftc-florida-no-1-for-fraud.html

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