Who Am I Dealing With?? Watching Your Back(ground) Checks.

Lately, we are requested quite often to research the backgrounds of prospective employees, personal and business partners and corporate entities.

With our now internet-enabled reach (not just to locate web-based information but to network with other investigative specialists), we are able to access nationwide data as to the personal, work and credit backgrounds of potential new hires.  We have gained the ability to likewise perform these background search services on a global basis for those seeking new business alliances, products and services.   Today, given the mobility and globalization of people and companies, often the backgrounds of the those with whom we might form potential partnerships are, at best based on hazy anecdotes and very basic, publicly available information.  Unfortunately, these types of non-professionally investigated histories can easily be manipulated, i.e., by net savvy perception managers.  For this, and many other reasons (personal security, access and information verification, to name several) we will always steer people away from the alleged “free” searches available online.  If one is serious about researching a potential employee or partner’s background, get it done right — by an experienced, highly rated private investigator.

Below we outline several types of background searches, their information yield and best applicability situations.

Basic Background Check, Individual:

Primary Uses:  Prospective new hires, subject identification, tenant verification.

Should yield:

  • DOB & Alias Names
  • SSN Verification
  • Address History (20 yr)
  • Address Summaries
  • Others Residing w/Subject
  • Possible Phone #s Associated w Subject (landline/mobile)
  • Email Addresses
  • Nationwide Criminal Profile (Includes State & Nationwide Criminal Databases, National Warrant Databases, Department of Correction Records, Nationwide Sex Offender Check)
  • Property Transactions
  • Civil Judgments, Tax Liens, & Evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Registered Vehicles *
  • DL Information *
  • Voter Registrations
  • Hunting & Fishing Permits
  • Professional Licenses
  • Possible Work Affiliations
  • Relatives & Associates

*In available states.

Recommendation: If the new hire will have access to accounting and or client information, we also suggest obtaining a release to conduct a standard asset search.

Comprehensive Background Check, Individual:

Primary Uses:  Prospective partners, major settlement/award cases, potential private care (nannies, housekeepers, home nursing aides…) and personal/business financial services providers (attorneys, accountants, brokers…)

Should yield:

  • All of the above plus :
  • Credit check (obtain authorization)
  • Financial background (to include but not limited to assets, banking information,  involvement in fraud investigations)
  • Professional background (to include but not limited to being a named party in any legal action, professional sanctions, industry rating)
  • Verified (in person/voice) and thorough reference checks

These are basic searches to conduct in the above referenced circumstances.  Of course, no two files will ever be the same and each search should be geared towards individualization.  A good professional investigator will know where to look and when to dig deeper.

As always, stay safe.

Divorce, 2015 and Dating Strangers.

divorce rate global 2014

(Check out the global divorce stats on the above map.)

The divorce rate for the U.S. holds at 53% but, at least in this category, we are not No. 1.   And, while the divorce rate is still high in the U.S., it is surpassed by Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, all ranking higher than 60%.

The dubious honor of the highest divorce rate in the world goes to Belgium with married couples divorcing at a staggering 70%!  The lowest official rate is in Chile with 3%.

Returning to a domestic focus, marriages in the Untied States are actually stronger today than they have been in decades.  The divorce rate spiked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the past three decades since.

According to the recent New York Times article in its The Upshot section, The Divorce Surge Is Over, but the Myth Lives On

About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce, according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist (who also contributes to The Upshot).

So it appears that marriages are going the distance in larger numbers as people have adjusted to the myriad of societal shifts, two-income households, the feminist movement (two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women as women have become increasingly economically empowered), technology, etc.,  that contributed to divorce in the past.

We’re now curious to see how the current trend of meeting prospective spouses online will ultimately impact on the divorce rate.  We already know technology’s effect on marriage. From USA Today:

Findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put the percentage of married couples that now meet online at almost 35% — which gives what may be the first broad look at the overall percentage of new marriages that result from meeting online. About 45% of couples met on dating sites; the rest met on online social networks, chat rooms, instant messaging or other online forums.

We have seen the impact of social technology in our field as more and more single people looking for partners have retained our services in conducting background searches.  In traditional partnering, people have relied on meeting family and friends of their date to vouch for them.  That safety barrier has been turned on its head now as meeting family and friends is now usually one of the very last steps in online dating.

If you are considering or already involved in online dating, before you arrive at the stage where having a background check performed on your potential serious dating partner is prudent, we suggest that you up (rather than relax) your guard as, really, you are meeting pure strangers.   To that end:

  1. Meet in public places that are in your date’s area of residence and that s/he frequents often.  This may allow you to potentially meet people who know your date and provide an insight to your date’s character.
  2. Maintain the contact with “normal” hours of communication.  Because we can now communicate at all hours doesn’t mean we should.   When we are tired or distracted (work, child care, etc.), we miss many cues from others that may be helpful in identifying your online friend’s true personality.   And certainly don’t get into the habit of talking at midnight.  In real life, would you be chatting it up with people at that time?  Probably not unless it’s an emergency. Keep it real.
  3. Arrive to your date destination in separate cars – and leave that way, even if you are going to a mutually agreed upon after-date venue.  Remember,  you do not know the person sitting across from you at the dining table.  You should always have the option to leave of your own volition.
  4. Have a friend of family member on stand-by, regularly checking in with you.  You know why. Usually, we advise otherwise for privacy reasons but when dating people from online, TURN ON YOUR CELL PHONE’S LOCATION FUNCTION!
  5. Trust your instincts.  If your date is making you nervous or uncomfortable – for any reason – leave.  Remember, that is your choice.  You are with a stranger.  Remaining safe trumps being polite.

All in all, online dating is here to stay and will increase to the point of being the majority method for meeting potential spouses.  Social online interactions also already influence the divorce rate, so it will be interesting to monitor the nascent dating revolution.  We’ll keep you posted in future articles upon researching the newly developing data.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.