The Background Story

Insider information about background checks and pre employment screening.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Spying for China: Book Review

If you are hoping for your typical spy book, where everything is all rosy in the end, well you can forget about it here. The Guys Who Spied for China is so different it is hard to describe. It just feels so real as the author depicts in fictional form his real experiences with uncovering Chinese Spy Networks operating here in the United States. Nothing about this novel is mainstream. Definitely not your usual stuff. The author had great writing style and the ability to make you feel like you are right in the middle of things. And, believe me sometimes it is spooky enough that you really get the creeps from it all. Other times the author is funny, if you have a dark sense of humor. But at the end of the day, this book has the ring of truth to it, and that’s what I liked the most. There is so much same-same spy genre fiction out there, that this one really stands out from the crowd.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Self Sabotage - Refusing to allow the Employment Background Check

ajcjobs wrote an interesting piece about background checks for employment screening.

Although regulated by state and federal laws, the general practice of conducting applicant background checks is both acceptable and common. Employers must have your permission, but if you don't give permission, they don't have to hire you.

Job candidates should be aware that background checks are commonplace and refusing to submit to one shows that you do have something to hide, despite the statement by the candidate that he didn't have anything to hide. With at-will employment, the employer doesn't have to hire you.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Background Checks are Preventative Maintenance

Carolina News 14 has running an story about the Charlotte Mecklenburg School districts background checking program for educators.

Last week, a teacher at Bruns Avenue Elementary was arrested for doing drugs in an empty classroom, earlier this week a former CMS teacher and current Lincoln county teacher was arrested on drug charges, and last month a Garringer High School teacher was arrested for drug possession.

Drug Testing for all teachers is now necessary to protect students. Of course, all employers and school districts must comply with FCRA regulations when implementing a background checking program. We recommend researching potential vendors a business to business search directory such has portal boost.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Human Resources Directory

As far as web directories go, provides an essential service ton businesses and consumers by providing quality resources from around the globe. There are many business categories for all levels of busines professionals. 01webdirectorie's Human Resurces Directory provides a list of various Human Resources Outsourcing supplies for a full range of HR needs, including recruiting websites, software, employee training and testing and also websites for online pre-employment screening and background checks.

Check out 01webdirectory's Human Resources Directory and discover a vast array of supplies for your varied Human Resources needs. Human Resources Professionals are not only interesting in hiring key employees but also maintain employees and must analyze the potential factors involved with employee flight. One tool in maintaining key employees is providing quality retirement plan services such as 401(k) plans and Non Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans for Key Executives.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Why Public Relations?

Public Relations is an invaluable strategic tool for any enterprise - business, government, or even a personal campaign. One of the best sources for strategic PR is NN Public Relations, based Orange County. Public Relations provides a non-traditional approach to advertising, seeking to maximize advertising dollars for market penetration.

Public Relations firms operate under a veneer of mystery and intelligence gathering techniques-including increasing a network of contacts, usually in the media, for promulgating their client's intentions.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Background checks lead to removal of bus drivers

CNN reports that eight school bus drivers have been terminated for having drunk driving convictions on the motor vehicle records in Ohio. The contractor had apparently not completed background checks on the bus drivers.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Background checks prompted by a bus company lapse that forced the school system to cancel classes for a day have found eight bus drivers with drunken driving convictions, school officials said Tuesday.
"We've asked all bus contractors -- we have four -- to comply with contract provisions and remove drivers with prior drug-alcohol convictions from district bus routes," said Michael Fulwider, a district spokesman.
The school system told the companies to look harder at their drivers' records after one contractor found last week that it had not completed criminal background checks on drivers, Fulwider said.
The discovery by Cincinnati-based First Student Inc. followed the arrest of one of its Columbus drivers on a charge of cocaine possession, and it led the company to ground its Columbus fleet on Thursday. That forced the district, as well as private schools that depend on the buses, to cancel classes for the day.
Police said they found a syringe partially filled with a substance that tested positive for cocaine when they pulled over a bus. State records showed the driver had three convictions for driving under the influence.
First Student last week identified two more drivers with DUI records, and all three were taken off their routes, Fulwider said.
Three other companies also removed drivers with drunken driving convictions, he said.

Monday, January 22, 2007

If Truth Be Told - Online Dating Offers Many Opportunities to Hook Up -- and to Be Rooked. Here's How to Protect Yourself.

Jan. 12, 2007— Katherine Flansburg met her boyfriend through, a free online dating site. Several months later, they moved in together. Everything seemed to be going well until one morning when they were woken up by a loud banging on the door.
Flansburg, 26, a real estate agent in Santa Clarita, Calif., was shocked to discover that their unexpected guest was her boyfriend's wife. Moments later, a fuming Flansburg rummaged through her boyfriend's desk drawers and found recently filed paperwork for a legal marriage separation, as well as an IRS earnings statement that showed her boyfriend's salary was only one-quarter as much money as he'd told her.
"He was a piece of work," she recalled.
As long as people have been dating, there have been tales of liars, cheats and thieves. In the Internet age, with the anonymity offered by e-mail, and with people blogging about their bad experiences, it seems like there are more examples of nefarious behavior than ever.
In the pre-Internet days, if a woman wanted to find out about her beau's background, or if a man wanted to make sure his new girlfriend wasn't a gold digger, they would have to hire a private investigator, an expensive and time-consuming process. But 21st century daters have new tools that give them easy, inexpensive access to outlets through which they can run background checks on potential mates by tapping into databases and computerized records.
Digging for the Truth
Flansburg was just one of 16 million Americans who have logged on for love, according to a 2006 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. If she had run a background check on her boyfriend before they moved in together and gotten serious, Flansburg may have found out that he was still married or that he'd lied about his earnings. More and more online daters are doing background checks, and some are discovering lies about their mate's age, education, employment and ownership.
The Los Angeles-based Corra Group, for example, used to specialize in employment background checks. But recently it launched a separate Web site for dating-related searches.
By signing up online for as little as $39, along with the name and birth date of a significant other, you can get information about a person's address history, property ownership, as well as any bankruptcy claims, civil judgments or aliases. For $20 more, the search includes criminal records, and an $89 fee gets you a nationwide federal crime search.
Co-founder Gordon Basichis, 59, has 20 years of investigatiive experience and says that requests for background checks are on the rise, especially around Valentine's Day. While about 75 percent of his clientele is female — largely professionals in their mid-30s to 50s — the Corra Group also receives nearly 25 percent of its dating-related inquiries from men. "If they met someone online, they just want to know — 'who is this person?'" Basichis says. "People want to know if someone's full of it."
Many of his calls come from single moms who want to find out if their suitor has a sexual predator history. Other times, it's as basic as verifying a person's profession. And the information rolls in quickly. The company typically turns around a background check in one day.
Pigs, Not Seals
Skipp Porteous, 62, founder of Sherlock Investigations Inc. in New York, is also seeing an increase in online dating inquiries. Background checks for daters are "snowballing," he says, because "you don't know who you're really talking to."
Porteous, who started his investigative career in Los Angeles during the 1960s, will do anything from surveillance to simple background checks. Relationship investigations now make up 20 percent of his work, and he says that at least half the time, his research uncovers people who have told lies about themselves. That number is so high because most of his clients already have an intuition that something doesn't sound right about their sweeties.
"They're suspicious to start with, and we find that their suspicions are usually correct," he says. Porteous frequently digs up lies that involve age, marital status, earnings and education. But some go even beyond that. "Guys love to say they're ex-Navy Seals," he says.
Currently, popular dating sites such as or provide online safety tips but don't mandate background checks to post a profile. tells users: "Because privacy is of the highest importance at, we don't require background checks." But some dating services — including and The — do.
In 2003, Herb Vest, 62, founded the Dallas-based, a site that encourages "safer dating" by requiring background checks on everyone. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony or sexual offense is banned from the site. "If they do come on, and we catch them, at that point we turn them into their parole board and the feds," he says.
Vest ran a finance company for nearly 20 years before deciding to start After tying the knot in 2003, he decided to launch a dating site with his wife. "We both decided that we had something remarkable and wanted other people to experience the same thing," Vest said. After learning that an estimated 30 percent of online daters were married, according to a 2002 Marketdata study, Vest decided to enforce marital checks on anyone wanting to access
But it's not always easy to screen out people who are married. "Our program uses about nine billion hits of different databases," he says, referring to the complex computerized system used to identify if a potential user has a spouse. "We're serious about this." So serious that he's encouraging all dating sites to follow suit. Vest is trying to help pass legislation that would require online dating services to either conduct criminal background checks, or prominently disclose on their Web sites that they don't.
But Basichis says that if a dating site starts requiring background checks, it can send out mixed messages. "On one hand, the site is promising you the hero or heroine of you dreams, while on other hand, they're saying, 'let's check on them first.'"
So what's a single girl or guy to do? Liz Kelly, a 41-year-old Los Angeles dating coach and author of "Smart Man Hunting," recommends that online daters first go the Google and MySpace route. People will portray their real selves on a site like MySpace, but exaggerate certain things on their dating profile.
Kelly knows this all too well. Before her current relationship, she had been on 200 dates in just four years. Many of her online matches lied about their personal traits — and about 90 percent of them lied about their height.
A Screening Method
So, how do you get the truth before it's too late? "You're meeting a virtual stranger, so you have take precaution," said Kelly, who has developed her own online strategy for some of the love-seekers she coaches. Her suggestion: Share two e-mail exchanges, one 15-minute phone call and a one-hour coffee date.
"I recommend that you don't do a background check right away," she advises. "You want to leave some room for romance." Then, she says, if there's chemistry, people can run a background check if they think something sounds off.
Sometimes these searches, however, come up flat.
Despite her past experience, Flansburg, for example, isn't completely sold on them. "I've seen background checks. They're not clear," she says, referring to the lack of information some of the searches turn up.
Flansburg's unpleasant discovery about her ex-boyfriend hasn't deterred her from scouring the Internet for love. "I've met some nice people since then." However, she only uses paid services now. She thinks that more married people log on to free online dating sites because nothing will show up on their credit cards statements.
These days, Flansburg is much more inquisitive and aware, admitting that she has even considered looking through a guy's glove compartment or at his cell phone's "recent call" list. "You have to do your own research," she says.
Basichis agrees, and urges online daters to look for red flags. "Everybody's bigger than life — until you meet them," he says.
Safety tips for Internet dating (according to dating coach Liz Kelly):
Never give out a home phone number.
Use an anonymous e-mail (don't use your entire name as your e-mail alias).
Always meet in a public place and in a neighborhood you know.
Women, in particular, should always get the man's number first and use caller ID to block (*67) for the first call.
Don't share home addresses. Always give a general area instead.
Dating Red Flags (according to Corra Group's Gordon Basichis):
Listen closely for inconsistencies in stories involving ownership, family background and living situations.
If he or she asks you to cash a check.
Watch the way the person behaves around your kids.
If the person is telling you about him or herself and can't account for a long stint of time.
If he or she doesn't have any friends or never introduces you to his friends.
If the person says he or she owns property, or a boat, for instance, and you never see it.