This Week (Year) in Background Checks – TWIB 2008

Time for our final TWIB Notes installment for 2008.  We thought we would ring in the new year by revisiting both highlights and low-lights from the world of background checks as we report them on this blog and on employeescreen University.

In the first quarter of the year, we launched employeescreen University and redesigned our blog.  We have used these communication vehicles (and sometimes soap box) to bring our readers up to speed on all things background screening.  We have also been able to bring important HR and Security issues to the forefront and could not be more pleased with the results.  Evidently, a few people have been paying attention as our following continues to grow.  In fact, earlier this month we received an iNova Award for Excellence in Corporate Websites!  We hope to continue this trend by adding many more exciting features to employeescreen University in the coming year.

In June, we launched the employeescreenIQ podcast series, This Week in Backgrounds Checks (TWIB).  This series brought us some exciting podcast interviews from various trade shows and our “weekly” (ok sometimes) show.  Through this medium we discussed issues such as Social Networking, Diploma Mills, FTC Red Flag Guidelines, and our 2009 Background Screening Trends. We also released our study “Facts About Education Falsification“, in addition to our new white paper “Known Diploma Mills Resource Guide“.

Towards the the end of the Summer and beginning of Fall we announced a few Applicant Tracking System (ATS) partnerships including iCIMS and Both of these strategic alliances can aid our clientele in the quest to expedite the on-boarding process while saving both time and money.

Unfortunately, the story of the year is the economy.  2008 will be known as the year the economy went south.  The year started out strong for most, however there were signs of an upcoming disaster.  Economists argued about when a recession is actually a recession and pundits debated how hard we would be hit. We wrote often this year about the importance of performing background checks in a declining economy.   After the finger pointing ends (its still going on) and the dust settles, we will look back with relief that we are out of the worst economic times of our generation.  We can only hope this happens early in 2009!

The most viewed and debated post on our blog this year by far was the Chef Robert Irvine Story.  Food Network fired Chef Robert Irvine for lying on his resume.  We have received countless comments and commentary on this ‘controversial’ story.  We look for this debate to continue.

That’s all folks!  Thank you for your interest in this blog and for your feedback in 2008.  It has been an interesting year to say the least and we look forward to developing more thoughtful and informative content in the coming year.  As always, if you have questions or comments, send them to:

Listen to our TWIB wrap up show below:

Have a happy and healthy new year. See you in 2009!

12/30/2008 Recession Adds to Ex-Felons' Job-Hunt Woes

[Recession Adds to Ex-Felons’ Job-Hunt Woes (12/30/2008) (,0,2454997.story) *Orlando Sentinel* The bill to make it easier for records to be expunged died amid opposition from employers who said they need to know the criminal backgrounds of the people they hire.

[Read the full story here . . .](,0,2454997.story)

12/28/2008 USCIS Revises Employment Eligibility Verification Form Requirements

By now many of you are aware of the mandate that all federal contractors must utilize an electronic employment eligibility process (either E-Verify or other commercial programs) to determine an employee’s right to work status. However, did you know that the government has revised the list of acceptable identity documents?

The biggest change: expired documents will no longer be accepted. This means that all forms of identification must be valid at the time that the I-9 form is completed. Check out this excerpt from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Employers must complete a Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States. The list of approved documents that employees can present to verify their identity and employment authorization is divided into three sections: List A documents verify identity and employment authorization, List B documents verify identity only, and List C documents verify employment authorization only.

The rule eliminates Forms I-688, I-688A, and I-688B (Temporary Resident Card and older versions of the Employment Authorization Card/Document) from List A. USCIS no longer issues these cards, and all that were in circulation have expired. The rule also adds to List A of the Form I-9 foreign passports containing specially-marked machine-readable visas and documentation for certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). The rule makes other, technical changes to update the list of acceptable documents. The revised Form I-9 includes additional changes, such as revisions to the employee attestation section, and the addition of the new U.S. Passport Card to List A.

Employers must use the revised Form I-9 for all new hires and to reverify any employee with expiring employment authorization beginning 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The interim final rule is available in the Related Links section of this page and was submitted to the Federal Register on Dec. 11, 2008. The Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 (M-274) will be updated to reflect these changes and will be available on the USCIS website in the near future. The current version of the Form I-9 (dated 06/05/2007) will no longer be valid as of 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Read the full USCIS release here

Other Related Links:
Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule Is Final!
Federal Contractors Now Mandated to Use E-Verify
employeescreenIQ Electronic Employment Eligibility Process
I-9 Compliance: A Smart Solution for an Overlooked Process

12/28/2008 Shokrana Guilty of Hiding Past

[Shokrana Guilty of Hiding Past (12/28/2008) ( *The Daily Star* A judicial probe body has asked the Election Commission (EC) to take legal action against BNP candidate Mohammad Shokrana of Bogra-1 constituency for concealing criminal records in the affidavit attached to his nomination papers.

[Read the full story here . . .](

12/27/2008 Recruiting the Best

[Recruiting the Best (12/27/2008) ( *New York Times* Of the young people in his largely middle-class community who express interest in an Army career, roughly 70 percent do not qualify . . .

[Read the full story here . . .](

12/23/2008 Former Boy Scouts Leader Gets Five Years for Molesting Boys

[Former Boy Scouts Leader Gets Five Years for Molesting Boys
(12/23/2008) ( ** The council said that since 2003, background checks are conducted on potential leaders and that leaders are not permitted to be alone with boys.

[Read the full story here . . .](

Stories of the Absurd: Happy Holidays! You Have the Right to Remain Silent…

I love these types of stories.  Clever cops, half-witted hoodlums, what could be better?

Holiday ruse helps Cook County round up fugitives

Suspects lured to hotel with promise of pay for participating in survey

By Jeff Long, Tribune Reporter – December 22, 2008

More than 60 fugitives were arrested when they showed up at a suburban hotel to collect what they thought was $500 for filling out a marketing survey, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Sunday.

With 61 arrested there and other arrests related to the sting, the total number of fugitives nabbed was 230, Dart said.

Investigators sent letters from the fictitious company “Shoptastic Solutions,” telling those with outstanding warrants that they had been selected to participate in a survey that would help retail stores figure out shoppers’ needs during the holiday season.

By scratching off a box for a CASH PRIZE, the recipients learned that if they showed up to take the survey they would win $500, or DOUBLE that amount in GIFT CARDS!

“Positively no gimmicks!!” the letter says.

“We tried to tap into people’s Christmas spirit,” Dart said, “then threw a big Grinch on top of it.”

The recipient’s “shopper number” on the letter was actually the number of his or her arrest warrant, Dart said.

“I wish we had more stupid criminals,” Dart said, adding that some of the people arrested congratulated authorities on the ruse.

About 6,300 letters were sent to people with warrants, but many were returned because the recipients had moved. Dart said making fugitives come to police is cheaper and easier than sending police after them.

“We took a lot of dangerous people off the streets,” Dart said.

Among those arrested was Raymond Russell, 56, of Chicago, who has allegedly failed to pay child support for 13 years and owes nearly $90,000 in back payments.

Justin Taylor, 27, of Elgin, had an outstanding warrant for driving on a revoked or suspended license, officials said. Dart said he drove to the hotel and had 2.5 grams of marijuana with him, which he allegedly told police he had planned to smoke in celebration of collecting the $500.

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

This is a great blog posting I came across this morning about resume fraud.  It’s about a women named Andrea Stranfield who lied on her resume and years later came clean! She wrote a book about her experience.

To Lie or Not To Lie – There Is No Question

When creating your resume, it is important to maintain a balance between including relevant information without overwhelming the interviewer with superfluous detail.  Further, you should only include details you can provide evidence for, should this be required. There have been several documented cases of people lying on the resumes and suffering the consequences. And the worst outcomes don’t always involved simple job loss.

Andrea Stanfield, for instance, told her employer that she had a business degree, when she didn’t. She paved a well-regarded career for herself in management for several years before the stress of the lie became too much and she decided to come clean. She wrote a book about her experience called “Phony! How I Faked My Way Through Life”. Audio interview: Phony: How I faked my way through life Her story certainly makes you want to think twice about any level of resume deception.

Of course, nowadays it’s fairly difficult to tell too big of a big lie. Background checking by recruitment companies is stringent, and employers often turn to third party investigation firms to make sure that the wool isn’t being pulled over their eyes.