Your new potential hire has just left your office following a final interview. You feel great about their attitude and they appear to have the pedigree of a top candidate. They have all the signs for success: a resume full of great experience, stories about converting tough clients, and the charisma/charm and character you’ve only ever read about in hiring books.
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.
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!
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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.