Are You Exposing Your Candidates to Identity Theft

Your job candidates provide their confidential information, like their Social Security numbers and other personal data, to you with the expectation that it will be safe. They naturally assume that you’ll take measures to protect that information from identity theft. Unfortunately, not all screening companies guard candidates’ information as well as you might think.

Many screening services routinely outsource background checks to companies in other countries, such as India and the Philippines. Often, businesses in these countries aren’t subject to the same regulations and safeguards as those in the U.S. Therefore, your candidates’ information is much more vulnerable to theft and misuse.

Here are three crucial reasons why you should avoid using screening companies that send your candidates’ personal information to background check facilities outside the U.S.

1. You have no control over outsourced information

Heightened awareness of identity theft has spawned numerous federal identity theft laws in the U.S. Additionally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which governs screening companies, was amended in 2003 to provide additional measures of protection.

However, companies outside the U.S. aren’t bound by those laws. Many have little, if any, protection for personal data. Typically, the countries performing background checks were chosen because they offer a way to cut costs, not because they’re known for their protection of private information.

Screening companies that outsource have no way of knowing what’s actually being done with your candidates’ information once it has been sent overseas. All too often it can become part of a batch of cheaply purchased personal data.

2. Your job candidates have little recourse for action

If your job candidate becomes a victim of identity theft as a result of an outsourced background check, it’s unlikely he or she can enforce privacy rights overseas. Since U.S. laws don’t apply, it’s unlikely that a foreign police department will help.

There’s little practical chance of access to courts that may or may not assist, and the cost to pursue the issue is probably prohibitive for most victims.

3. Your business could be held liable

Small screening companies are routinely acquired and absorbed into the process of larger screening companies. If you’re using a smaller company that’s acquired by a larger one, there’s a possibility that your background checks will now be outsourced.

You probably won’t be made aware that checks are now being sent overseas, what country will be performing the check or what protection, if any, is in place to guard your candidates’ information.

Some states have passed legislation, such as California SB 909, requiring employers to notify a candidate if their information will be sent offshore. Employers who don’t notify candidates could potentially be held liable, even if their screener does this without telling them.

There‘s little meaningful protection against identity theft once information is sent overseas, so ask your screening company whether they perform background checks in-house or outsource them.

But not all screening companies outsource background checks. Learn how Insperity Employment Screening’s teams of specialists verify credentials in-house and go directly to the source for background information.

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