The Association’s guidance is targeted to all employers that utilize employment background checks to vet employees for job opportunities. Company roles in human resources, legal compliance, risk management, finance and general management should review the full press release.
In recent years identity protection has become an increasingly big deal. Specifically, the handling of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) by companies has been reworked in a number of states in order to better safeguard their employees against identity theft. The sudden concern arose primarily due to companies putting employee’s financial information at risk for years by asking for SSNs in places they really do not need to be. Identification cards, employment applications, pay stubs, mail, or even the electronic transmission of SSNs via the internet all unnecessarily heighten the risk for identity theft. With today’s criminals consistently finding new ways to exploit inadequate security systems, it’s important that companies and employers strive to cut down on excessive exposure of sensitive information.
In most states across the U.S. it is illegal to do the following:
- · Publicly display or post more than the last four digits of SSNs.
- · Print SSNs on employees’ badges, parking permits or timecards.
- · Require people to use their SSN to access a website unless encrypted or over a secure connection.
- · Use more than the last four digits to access a website unless a password or other unique identifier is also required.
- · Use more than the last four digits of an SSN as an employee number.
- · Send SSNs through the mail, unless the documents are applications or other such forms; and then SSNs must not be visible through a windowed envelope.
- · Keep unsecured files containing SSNs and allow non authorized personnel access to such files.
The California Office of Privacy Protection has put together a set of recommendations, click here, for any entities who wish to tighten up their SSN practices.
The use of credit reports in background checks have been around for decades starting with banks and financial service institutions as a means to vet candidates who would be handling cash and have access to sensitive information, such as social security numbers, account numbers and balances, as well as other bank assets. The rationale was simple: if a candidate was experiencing difficulty managing their personal finances, then how effective could they be on the job in making leading or other financial decisions that might affect the company’s bottom line. Further, if the candidate was experiencing severe personal financial stress such as payment delinquencies, liens and collection activities, would it be prudent for the financial institution to hire and place such candidates in positions with access to cash and assets that might prompt dishonest behavior like theft or embezzlement? Continue reading
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), approximately 97 percent of all retailers in the U.S. utilize background screening procedures in the hiring process.
Retailers know the importance of keeping their employees and customers safe, which is why they use different types of background screening components, including checking criminal, credit, motor vehicle/driving records, as well as drug history, social security number traces, and education and identity verifications.
The findings released by the NRF were based upon a survey of 96 individual retail and restaurant companies. “Nearly all retailers polled (96.6%) utilize background screening as part of their applicant hiring process.”
For information on the background screening services First Contact HR can provide in the retail space, click here.
Each week we will be answering common questions we get on background checks, drug testing and other HR industry practices. Got a question? Ask us at info@FirstContactHR.com
Question #3: Why do I need a “background screening” firm? Isn’t most information about a person’s background online?
Contrary to popular opinion, criminal and other searches are not ‘available online. Very few county court records are accessible online, and then only with special access procedures and fees. Most of the advertised sources of online criminal history do not come directly from the courts, but is retrieved from databases that are not always accurate or current.
Always ask if their searches are direct from the originating source or are they simply pulled from a purchased database. To learn more about internet searches, read a previous post on Internet background searches.
For more questions and answers, visit www.FirstContactHR.com and just Ask!
This is the official company blog for First Contact HR. Here, you can expect to find content ranging from hiring insights from professionals in the filed of human resources, company newsletters, information about upcoming events and industry presentations, and general information of what’s going on with First Contact HR!
About: First Contact HR provides employment screening services, including drug and alcohol testing, identity validations, criminal and credit records research, attitude and knowledge testing, driving records, identification badges and employment and education verifications.