Identity Theft and the Criminal Background Check
What would you do if you needed a job, but thought that a criminal background check might turn up negative information on you, like the credit cards you stole and used, or the four shoplifting arrests you’ve had?
An idea used by some people to get by this minor inconvenience is to assume someone else’s identity. Then, unless your potential employer submitted your fingerprints to a background check expert, no record, at least for you, would show up in a criminal background check.
Admittedly, many companies go beyond the basic criminal background check as part of their pre employment screening process, but others don’t. Using another’s identity is fairly commonplace among illegal immigrants who can’t legally work in the US without a valid social security number, but is also used by legal residents that have something to hide, or are fugitives from justice. Those with a past to conceal often use the identification of a friend, relative, or acquaintance that they are able to get the identification from and use it until they either quit or are found out.
There is also the possibility that the person whose identification is being used has a criminal history, but that is a whole new problem, both for the employer and the applicant.
There are other steps to take to validate identity. Be very careful when examining identification documents such as a driver’s license or social security card. Both of these can be easily faked. Compare suspected documents against those that you know are genuine and note any differences, be sure lamination is correctly sealed and hasn’t been tampered with, and that the physical description and photo matches the applicant.
A criminal background check on a person with phony identification is worse that no background check at all, because it has been paid for, and the results are worthless. Extra effort to determine true identity is sometimes worth it.
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