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Bad Santa: Could Your Kid Be Sitting on a Criminal’s Lap?

December 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Press Releases, Recent News

Background screening expert available to provide tips for a safe holiday season

Tampa, FL, December 9, 2011 – Visiting Santa at the mall is a cherished holiday tradition for most families. Kids instinctively trust the jolly old fellow in the red suit. But did you ever stop to think who might be lurking behind Santa’s false beard?

Kevin Connell is America’s leading background screening expert, dubbed the “Human Lie Detector” by Fox News. He has seen his share of con men and crooks that use false identities (including Santa’s) to commit new crimes. Connell conducts criminal and sexual offender background checks for retail chains and malls that are hiring seasonal employees.

“Santa Claus is an institution. There are lots of great stories and movies about him,” Connell said. “Unfortunately, some bad people take advantage of seasonal opportunities and turn an uplifting season into a parent’s worst nightmare.”

Connell has nearly 20 years of experience as founder and CEO of AccuScreen.com, which specializes in pre-employment background screening and drug testing services. A nationally-known speaker and author, Connell has appeared on ABC News, Fox News and more than 172 radio and TV shows.

Connell helps his audience stay alert and safe. He shares cautionary tales of shady Santa’s, including a New Jersey actor who was arrested by Interpol for producing child pornography and abusing young boys.

In his interview segments and speaking engagements, he reveals:

* Why “Santa Claus” is an alias many criminals use when they’re arrested.
* Warning signs to look out for when shopping online and at the mall.
* Why many companies cut corners and take risks when hiring new employees.
* How to avoid common holiday scams, from fraudulent eBay offers to bait-and-switch sales.

Connell is available to speak on this timely and important topic both in the Tampa, Florida area and nationwide, in person or via telephone.

CONTACT:
Sue Marriott – Media Relations
(813) 837-1920 Ext 1100 (FL)
suemarriott@AccuScreen.com
www.accuscreen.com

Are Your Employees Being Held Accountable?

June 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Recent News

Are your employees held accountable? Fraud can cost your business everything. It is something that in reality many companies face due to an unexpecting employee who becomes desperate. For example a most recent story is of Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands. They are facing tough decisions on how to stay open and what to cut back on due to an employee who started to skim off the top which turned into embezzling $30,000 in two years.

Misti Moore was the administrative assistant who started to take small amounts from the memorial to cover her gambling debts, but two years into taken money it turned into $30,000. Moore would write checks to herself and then go to great lengths to electronically alter the records that came back from the bank to make it appear that those checks were being written to legitimate businesses.

Everyone was blown away by the fact that Moore was so unassuming, and would have never imagined she would do such a thing. Because of cutbacks Moore was laid off and that is when the embezzlement came to light. The person who replaced her noticed the irregularities in the banking and notified the police. Moore is being charged with embezzlement, and now Lincoln Memorial Shrine is looking at ways to keep the doors open.

Lincoln Memorial Shrine is now making changes by having a job once performed by one person dealing with the money will now be handled by three staffers who will keep an eye on the accounts and, by default, each other. Are you making sure your employees are held accountable? Setting up systems where not one is in charge of all the accounts, but everyone is held accountable is one way to prevent fraud. Make sure you have a system in place where pre employment background screening is first and systems are second when it comes to employment.

How to Become an Effective Boss

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Recent News

Are you striving to become a better and more effective boss?

Becoming a good and effective boss can be two different things. Good refers more on a person’s character while being effective involves proper management. If you want to be better in terms of being a good boss, you should first be able to understand your employees.

A few tips of helping you be a good boss are :

• Putting yourself in their shoes
• Perceiving things the way they do
• Understanding better what their needs are.

Now in order to be an effective one, the foremost step to do is to find the right people to work for your company. With the growing rate of resume falsification nowadays, it has become quite hard to determine which people are really qualified to work for your company or just lying on their resume. Studies have been done and have proven over one third of applicants lie on their resume. Even if you have excellent management skills, if your employees are not manageable at all, it will be very hard for you.

One way to ensure that only good employees enter your company, you have to conduct background searches on your applicants such as criminal background check. A background check provides valuable information about a person’s background, which includes educational verification, employment history, criminal records, medical records, driving records, drug testing records, vehicle registration, credit reports, military records, professional licenses, Social Security number, former residences, character references, incarceration records, sex offender’s list and many others.

Moreover, you should be able to provide proper motivation to your employees so that they will be able to produce excellent results. Motivation can be through rewards, recognition, increase in salary or giving of workers compensation. This is necessary to maximize your employee’s productivity so they can contribute better to the growth and success of your company.

It is not that difficult to become a good boss if you are a good person. Becoming an effective employer on the other hand, means being able to balance the needs of your company, your employees and yourself.

Workplace Bullying – Is it Preventable?

May 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Recent News

Have you ever been confronted by a manager or coworker who consistently uses aggressive behavior against you?

Do they make you feel threatened or uncomfortable in your own work environment? Unfortunately, you could be the victim of workplace bullying. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviors that are threatening, humiliating or intimidating and/or work interference to prevent productivity.”

In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com of over 5000 full-time employees, more than one-in-four admitted to having felt bullied in the workplace. The Workplace Bullying Institute increases this statistic and reports that one-in-three or a staggering 35% of workers confess to being bullied. Like childhood bullying, the bully looks for a target that is usually in a lower or more vulnerable position. Hence, women are slightly more at risk of being bullied than men. In today’s workplace, women are often in positions less senior than men and are thus targeted as a potential victim. There is also a generational issue that can affect employees. Employees over the age of 55 and under the age of 24, due to fear of firing and lack of confidence, are subjected to more workplace bullying than those in the mid-age range.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire listed five ways an employee or company should respond to workplace bully. These include:

• recognizing the bully and his/her patterns
• responding with confidence and not hesitance
• showing powerful body language
• keeping a journal of occurrences
• as the employer, cutting your losses.

Mary Lou Quinlan, CEO of Just Ask A Woman, states, “I think the best way to defuse, especially the ignorance, but even the anger, is to walk in in an atmosphere of mutual respect. At least try the, ‘I’m here to be successful, and so are you. So let’s just put it on the table, and you’re going to have to knock it off.” Bullying can cause major negative effects on specific target employees as well as the general workplace. It can cause psychological affects, absenteeism and even potential lawsuits from the bully’s victim as well as overall low morale, performance and productivity from all employees.

The severity and widespread manner of workplace bullying is appalling and companies should take steps to protect employees from this occurrence. Many have anti-bullying workshops or no-tolerance bullying policies in place but a major preventative measure can be taken in the form of pre-employment background screening. Professionals such as Accu-Screen can help protect employees by revealing resume discrepancies or past warnings a potential employee may have received by previous employers. Through a thorough and accurate background screenings, we can help companies hire safe and qualified employees. If you have questions or would like to order a background check call us today at 800-689-2228.

Dentists: You Can Avoid Embezzlers Embezzlement in Dental Offices

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Recent News

Dental offices are often susceptible to embezzlement and one of the main reasons is because these offices are too busy to keep track of the paperwork and money incoming to each office. Unfortunately, unethical staff members are well aware of this major flaw and take full advantage of the situation.

It is important to understand how to decrease the chances of embezzlement in a dental office. One of the surest ways to help avoid embezzlement situations is to avoid hiring any employee you feel uncomfortable interviewing. This is especially true for potential employees who have a spotty work history or lack of solid and reliable references.

Below are three experiences as expressed by real dentists and an orthodontist who unfortunately experienced an embezzlement situation in their business:

“My office manager (of course) was setting aside insurance checks, then picking
out cash that matched the amount of the checks. The checks were never deposited
into the patients’ accounts, so the bank deposit balanced. She did this for almost
10 years, for a total of at least $700,000. Her litigation is currently pending.
I had two other people counting the money and I have excellent evidence against
her. The insurance accounts past due eventually became overwhelming and she
was finally caught.” (Michigan orthodontist)

“My newly-hired office manager often took my office deposits in locked bank bags
to the bank. Away from the office and in secret, she took the key for the locked bag and
removed the cash. In addition, she took patients’ checks and using her ink-stamp, she
repeatedly stamped over my endorsement, showing her name as the endorser.
The bank teller gave her cash for my checks. Over 186 times from the same teller. I
successfully went after her and she received 13 months in prison. She got out of
prison and was hired by the state of Georgia, again handling money. There she
allegedly embezzled $1.5M.” (Georgia dentist)

“An employee took about $13k during a 12-month period. Police are working on
the case now. She has since resigned and is working for a new dentist that never
called to check her references.” (Kentucky dentist)

Unfortunately, for these dental offices, they had to experience workplace embezzlement before they could put in place preventative measures. In many cases, an employee had a history of theft in the workplace that the employer was either unaware of or unconcerned about. To help prevent such cases from reoccurring, it would only take an employment background screening with a criminal records search to uncover past convictions or inconsistencies at a prior position and workplace.

Dental offices are also easy targets for embezzlers because for the majority of the time dental offices do not conduct reference checks. This may be due to the fact that many offices are small businesses operating without a strong or any type of human resources department. For small companies, such as dental offices, it is extra important to invest in pre-employment background screenings as an extra precaution. While embezzlement is devastating for all sizes of companies, it is especially destructive on small companies, which could easily be put out of business.

The experiences revealed above help stress to dental offices the importance in taking more proactive methods in employment hiring, including pre-employment background screening. For more information on how to protect your office against embezzlement give us a call at 800-689-2228.

4 Highly Effective Ways To Reduce Workplace Violence

April 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Workplace violence is an important issue to be trained on in case it happens in your workplace. Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur inside or outside the workplace and can range from verbal threats and abuses to physical assaults, as severe as homicide. However it happens, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide and abroad.

Companies should have a major focus on reducing and, ideally, eliminating, workplace violence. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), “Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States.” This statistic is both staggering and crucial to change for the safety of all.

While not all incidents can be prevented, employers can take the following steps to greatly reduce the chances of their employees becoming victims or offenders of crime.

Firstly, make professional pre-employment background screening a mandatory step in the hiring process. Use a professional and experienced company such as Accu-Screen.com. Having a deeper knowledge of the background of employees that are working for you is important in reducing problems that can lead to workplace violence. A careful, thorough employee background screening including record searches for both criminal records and substance abuse can reveal many inconsistencies. Employers need to be aware for this information to try and protect their workplace. It is the responsibility and duty of an employer to make sure that only qualified, safe employees are hired.

Secondly, employers should establish a zero-tolerance policy toward any type of workplace violence against or by their employees. This includes both physical and verbal violence. The employer should set up a workplace violence prevention program or include the information into an existing accident prevention program, manual of standard operating procedures or employee handbook. It is critical to ensure that all employees know the policy and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly.

Thirdly, intervention should be taken immediately if any workplace violence is seen or reported. Intervention is some type of action taken to break up a situation. This is not the time to make final judgment or to administer final discipline, rather, simply focus on diffusing the initial situation. Once the parties have calmed down there will be an opportunity to thoroughly review options for resolution. Intervention often sets the tone for how the situation will be resolved, and thus, it must be handled very carefully. Most employers should have some type of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place, which they can refer employees to. Depending on the situation, having an empathetic attitude while clearly informing an employee that violence will not be tolerated is one of the best ways to approach intervention.

Lastly, as an employer, be prepared to be involved and respond to each workplace violence situation. Although some acts of violence can be prevented, there is no way to guarantee against a violent incident. It is for this reason that employers need to be prepared to respond in such a way as to contain the harm, protect lives and property, prevent panic and take control of the situation as quickly as possible. Coincidently, every company and each department should have an established system or procedure to notify all personnel of a dangerous situation or incident in case they need to be evacuated from the building quickly. Of course, good judgment is key. Do not attempt to handle a violent situation yourself and dial 911 immediately!

Hire Blindly, Get Robbed Blind

April 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Companies often hire potential candidates blindly and, unfortunately, pay unwelcome consequences. When hiring an employee based solely on what is indicated on their resume or job application, you are hiring considered to be hiring “blindly.” In other words, when you make your hiring decision, you are relying that the word of the job applicant is honest. Considering that up to 47% of applicants either lie or exaggerate on their resume or job application in one form or another, it is not recommended to make a hiring decision based only on what a candidate tells you.

Smart employers know that before they hire they need to verify all the information provided by an employee. This will help prevent problems down the road. They also understand that it is their duty to verify information to make sure they don’t become part of a “negligent hiring” lawsuit.

Screening an employee is one of the most cost effective ways to avoid hiring unfit or unethical employees. The cost of an employment background screen is relatively cheap and the results are easy to measure. When inconsistencies or lies are revealed during a background screen, an employer can readily see the benefits of the employee screening compared to the potential expenses that type of employee could cost their company in the long run.

Hiring a pre-employment background screening firm is easy and relatively affordable. While there are several firms available, it is important to hire a firm, such as AccuScreen.com that has the experience and resources to provide accurate and up to date information on potential employees.

There are many benefits of screening employees during the hiring stage. When an employer is pro-active in hiring employees and conducts an employee background screening they can help themselves avoid issues such as resume fraud, identity theft, employee theft, employees with criminal backgrounds and employees with substance abuse problems. These issues must be discussed in order to fully understand their impact on a company.

Resume fraud is a common issue that many employers cannot catch with a background check. This type of fraud can include minor embellishments all the way to flat out lies. Inflated titles, fake education and bogus degrees are all common exaggerations. Lies about education can happen from entry level to executive level positions. Recently, two senior level employees resigned from their positions at Radio Shack and MIT after it was discovered that they had lied about their educational background on their job applications.

Some unfit employees will also busy themselves in identity theft. They misuse their position in a company to gain confidential information for their own personal gain. For example, credit card and social security number theft is common and is a serious offence. This information is then used to purchase items and open fraudulent accounts. Employee theft is also common and usually involves the theft of property or cash, but can also include the removal or use of confidential or sensitive information such as intellectual property.

Applicants who have serious criminal backgrounds often avoid applying to companies that pre-screen employees. Some do take their chance and hope that their criminal background is not discovered. When conducting employee background checks it is best to include a criminal records search just in case. The last thing an employer and other employees need is a new employee with violent or dangerous tendencies. Similarly, companies often hope to identify substance abuse problems in potential employees before they are hired. Drug tests are sometimes mandatory in some organizations, but it is a good idea for all companies to include a drug test as part of the employee background screen. Unfortunately, many problems in the workplace are associated with substance abuse and can include absenteeism, theft, identity theft and violence. It is best to clear the air and identify these problems before a candidate is hired.