Friday, September 17, 2010

The Cost of NOT Conducting an Employee Screening

by Joe Hoover

Here’s THE BIG QUESTION: “What risks do I face if I
don’t screen an applicant?”

These are THE RISKS:

(Note: This is a “worst case” summation of the major costs of NOT doing a
thorough background check.)

• Possibility of being liable; of being sued
• Negative news coverage and possible loss of reputation of the company
• Stress of litigation and the investigative process
• Cost of legal defense, even when not guilty
• Loss of time, productivity, and income; another training period
• Loss of equipment and property if by theft
• Cost of training a new hire
• Loss of income/profits in general
• Theft, embezzlement, a shooting, a sexual assault


A person with a job in the accounts receivable department, if inclined, has the
advantage to embezzle. An unscrupulous person employed as a cashier might be of a mind to steal from the till. A job that involves stress and close proximity to
others could result in violence aimed directly at you or your employees. A heavy
equipment operator with a drinking problem or medical issues could cause serious
injuries or death. You could be held libel.


. . . He talked the good talk, stated he had experience in allied fields, and had participated in various related endeavors and projects and enterprises - expertise and experience you could use in your business. Six months down the
road he’s calling in sick and showing up late. That’s when you find out about his drinking problem. And the five DUIs you didn’t know about. And it could be way down the road before you discover any of this . . .


That $19.95 “Criminal Search” you ran: You’re not sure whether he even gave you his correct date of birth! The “Search” results came back: He was “clean.” Of course he was...

Add to the dilemma six months of poor production and the repercussions of poor management on the subject’s part. Plus, once again, your time is on the line; you’ve got to go through the unpleasant interviewing process all over again . . .

But, now, finally, the bad experience is behind you and you’re ready to move on. It was costly, but you’ll survive. Right now you’ve got to hire somebody else.

All that money you spent on training the first loser, and you’ve gotta’ spend it all over again . . .

What it boils down to is: you saved a couple hundred bucks. You could have lost your company!


By not conducting a background screening at all, you, as the employer, could be subject to lawsuits and crippling penalties - plus court awards - if an employee you didn’t check out commits a crime against a fellow employee or a client.


The cost of employee theft and fraud and the cost of recruitment and retention are some of the things that keep Human Resource professionals up at night.


Governing bodies and courts in the United States have created laws regarding employers' responsibilities. It pays to KNOW who you are hiring before you put your clients and employees at risk. What if the guy had been driving the company vehicle and got into an accident; maybe injured or killed somebody. Or hurt somebody in the warehouse while he was operating a fork-lift.

Was he going into people’s homes, representing your company? What if he commits a crime, like rape? You could be held liable. What if he was a sex offender, a real risk to you and your employees, and you didn’t check?

Theft from employees is always a possibility. It’s not just your property either; he might have stolen your client list!

He could have been a repeat “Workman’s Comp Offender,” looking for an easy mark: You.…


Not all risks can be measured in dollars alone. Consider loss of talent, loss of morale, loss of reputation. By law, an employer must exercise due diligence in hiring to ensure that people selected do not pose a threat to others. Poor hiring decisions can have long-term financial and legal ramifications for employers and your other employees. A meticulous pre-employment screening can significantly reduce the risks.

Read the complete "The Risk of NOT Conducting an Employee Background Check" article.

Investigative Professionals performs complete and thorough Background Checks. Conduct an Employee Screening.

How to Conduct a Surveillance

by Joe Hoover

These types of investigations may require surveillance.

  • Relationship (pre-relationship, romantic & domestic)
  • Child custody
  • Worker's compensation & insurance claims
  • Employee theft
Bounty hunting

Important! Of all these, non-professionals should attempt only Relationship Investigations surveillance. All other cases should be handled by the pros.

Who Should Attempt Surveillance?

You can follow and observe someone you know, but to do so you must take extreme cautions. If the target is known to you, you might be better off to hire a trained PI, or recruit a friend or two to do the surveillance for you.

Evidence Gathering for Court

If you conduct surveillance for the purpose of gathering evidence to be presented in court, your timed and dated notes, videotapes, and photographs will have much more credibility with judge and jury if there was a witness present who is willing to testify on your behalf.

Types of Surveillance

There are two types of surveillance: tailing, or shadowing (on foot, or by private and public transportation), and fixed surveillance - also called "the stakeout."

Plan Ahead

Gather all information about the target's habits and haunts before you attempt surveillance. Know the neighborhood you'll be working. Plan possible routes your target might take. Cover yourself by preparing an alternative plan you can put into action should things suddenly go awry. If you've done your homework, you may be able to reestablish a tail even if you lose it.


The more research you do the better. Get to know the neighborhood. Find out where you can sit, where you can be. Learn to be patient.

Learn how to get off the street. One technique is to sit on the driver's side and not the street side: you're waiting for someone. Or, sit in the back seat and slump down.

A female is nowhere near as obtrusive as a male. Obviously she's waiting for her husband.


The kind of stakeout you perform will be determined by the area in which you'll be working. A neighbor's home, a hotel or motel room, an associate's office - these are but a few of the stakeout positions from which you can observe, take photos, and videotape what transpires.

Mobil Stakeout

A stakeout is most often accomplished in a car, van, or truck. A comfortable room or an office from which to watch your target would be optimum, but that kind of observation post is generally difficult to arrange. In a quiet neighborhood, you are always more conspicuous than if parked, walking, or standing on a busy city street. In a run-down section of the city, nothing but old cars parked on the street, your shiny new car will stand out and attract attention. Think about borrowing or renting an older car to use in these areas. In nicer residential areas, curious residents will notice you sitting in your automobile and will come by to check you out. Or they'll call the police, who, if they arrive, will question you and ask you to leave.


Perform a reconnaissance to familiarize yourself with the area before beginning the stakeout.

Also, Do These Things:

  • Top off the gas tank in case you have to follow your target a distance.
  • Check all exits of the house, apartment, or office building you intend to observe.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that will blend in, clothes the target will not recognize.
  • Wear sunglasses and a baseball cap to disguise your face and hair.
If the target knows you, he or she may still recognize you by body shape, coloring or other features and traits, even if you are fully disguised.

Anticipate where target is going; change to clothing appropriate to the environment, i.e. bathing suit at the beach, dressy clothes in a fancy restaurant.

On The Scene

If possible, park in front of a store, bar, or service station. Slide over to the passenger side or slump down in the back seat: You’re waiting for someone while reading a road map or newspaper. Surveillance takes time; learn to be patient. You may be sitting in one spot for a long while. Minimize eating and drinking to alleviate the need to break surveillance to locate a bathroom.

Change Appearance

Take along a couple of changes of clothes to fit in where your subject might be going.

Cover Story

Prepare a cover story in case you're spotted, identified and questioned. The cover story you prepare for the police or a suspicious neighbor may not be a good cover story for your target if he or she spots you.

Read the complete "Surveillance Techniques" article.

The field of private investigation is widely diversified and requires a variety of skills to fill a growing list of specialties. Training and skills you may already have, like photography, electronics - and especially a knowledge of computers - can be very valuable assets for the investigate business. Learn how to get started, where to go for help, and what each state requires.

Secrets of Top Private Eyes -  Private Investigator Training Course - Get Started Now!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Asset Searches for Debt Collection

by Joe Hoover

Asset Searches

People hide assets for a variety of reasons that range from personal to business in nature, but essentially they have property or money that they do not want discovered. Hiding of assets is not always a sign of criminal intent, but just as often it shows a moral or ethical failing in a subject’s character in that they feel there is a reason to hide all or a portion of their wealth from scrutiny. This article delves into the concept of hidden assets and details a methodology for uncovering such property or wealth.


 There are clearly situations of a business or personal nature in which it is essential to check for the possibility of hidden assets. Knowledge of such assets can make a big difference in the establishment of grounds for particular types of interpersonal actions or the furthering of certain business relationships. And of course the law enforcement community needs to monitor underworld activities, a part of which is watching for laundered or hidden assets, especially those that might end up being removed to offshore accounts. Thus, an asset search is vital to full disclosure of resources in a variety of matters both civil and criminal. The primary reasons for an asset search in the private or family sector are evaluated below:

Entering into a New Business Venture – If one is considering investing in a new business, bringing a new investor into an existing company or contemplating a merger between companies, it is essential to conduct a thorough background check on the individual or corporation. Such a check also includes a comprehensive assets search.

Prior to Entering into a Lawsuit – It is important to conduct an assets search prior to filing suit against an individual or company to determine what assets or regular income is present in the event a judgment is ordered by the court (see below). It is not worth the cost of legal fees to file a suit against a person or company that will be unable to pay any court-ordered sum. It is also important to determine what assets or property could be attached on an uncontested basis once a judgment is issued, assuming victory in the suit. If the entity to be sued has nothing of value that can be taken, there is no point in entering into a suit.

Collecting on a Judgment – When the court order a sum of money to be paid as part of a civil action, a judgment is issued, this is simply a court order for the payment of funds. It is rare for the defendant to simply pay the amount ordered on the spot. The judicial system only orders payment, but collection is the responsibility of the plaintiff. A judgment will stand for ten years, but can be extended to become permanent. However, this requires that the defendant, who is now considered to be the debtor, be questioned in a deposition or hearing under oath regarding their financial status. If the debtor is going to surrender an item of property such as an automobile or boat, be certain to do an asset search before taking possession. If there are any liens against the property, taking possession may also bring with it liability for the lien.

Divorce – The finances involved in a divorce can often become rather complicated. It is not uncommon for a spouse to hide assets that would be open to dispute. An asset search of the party being divorced is very important to be certain that all assets are accounted for.

Child Support/Alimony – Public child support enforcement agencies are ill- equipped to locate parents who evade their child support obligations. Quite often the errant parent will attempt to hide assets, thus pleading an inability to meet child support or alimony payments. In child support cases, once the parent is located, information regarding their wages or any hidden assets should be given to the proper child support enforcement agency that can then facilitate collection.

Contestant of a Will – Quite often personal assets may be hidden and not disclosed in a will. Potential beneficiaries or those entitled to a claim against the estate should search for the possibility of hidden assets.

Read the complete "Searching or Assets," article.

Investigative Professionals performs complete and thorough Background Checks. Conduct an Assets Search.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Due Diligence Background Checklist

by Joe Hoover

This checklist provides guidance for anyone wishing to accomplish a thorough and complete Due Diligence Background Check. Before proceeding, you might want to check your state’s requirements concerning legal matters and, “Due Diligence.”

Personal Information & Identity Verification

The goal here is to positively identify your subject. Database data derived are from credit reports, utility bills and magazine subscriptions. Results will vary depending on the information you provide. When comparing data derived from these initial searches, discrepancies will stand out like a red flag!: A different DOB or SSN; one or more AKA’s – these disclosures may indicate an area of concern. One will question: “Why . . . ?”

Important: Before proceeding with anything else, run these additional searches to complete a thorough Personal Information and Identity Verification:

Social Security Number Check
DOB validation
Preliminary Name and Address History
Second Name Search
Credit Header Search
National Death Index Check
Driver's License Information
Driving Record History

Once you have accomplished the Identity Searches listed above, run these important searches:

National Background Trace Detail Report
Phone Summary
Verified Addresses
Previous & Non-Verified Addresses
Possible Properties Owned by Subject
Possible Associates
Possible Relatives
Possible Neighbors

Business Relationships & Professional Information

An individual's assets are often discovered in the name of a business or partnership. Personal and business collateral is often provided for business loans. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings may include the name(s) of bank(s) that provided the business loan(s). A Business Credit Report will provide meaningful, invaluable information, like the names of owners and top management, as well as giving credit ratings within the particular industry of interest.

Business Search
Business relationships and Corporate Affiliations
Company Name Search
UCC Filings
Legal Actions
FEIN Search
Professional License Searches
FAA Registrations
Vessel Registrations

Professional Verification

These searches verify employment, professional licensing, and educational achievement. This is very important information required when conducting a comprehensive Due Diligence Background Check.

Education Verification
Employment Verification

Financial Information

If you hold a judgment or are considering a lawsuit to collect money you are owed, real property (with the exception of exempted real property), vehicles, aircraft, and boats, are easiest to attach.

Nationwide Property Ownership
Deed Transfers
Motor Vehicles Registration

Civil Court Records

Check Civil Court Records for lawsuits, judgments and liens: These records will reveal a great deal about a person's financial situation, and reliability. Some filings, like liens, lawsuits and judgments, often appear as a "derogatory" dis-closer on a credit report.

Evictions, Lawsuits, Judgments & Liens National Bankruptcy Records Search
Federal Civil Court Search

Criminal Records

To conduct a through and complete criminal records database search, first
confirm your subject's previous addresses, including the counties of residence. All states do not operate a statewide criminal courts database. All states do not contribute or report to a national database. Therefore, there is no national database of all criminal records. Always check four levels of criminal records: National Department of Corrections (DOC), for current and past felons; Federal Criminal, for crimes that fall into the federal jurisdiction; Statewide Criminal, for those states that have such a reporting system; and, of course, County Criminal Courts records, the most concise and up-to-date records available to all.

Arrests Warrants
Federal Criminal Records
Nationwide Criminal Record
State Criminal Record
County Criminal Record
Sexual Offender Search

Print the "Due Diligence Check-List"

Investigative Professionals performs complete and thorough Background Checks. Order a Due Diligence Background Check.