Unfortunately, we see examples of a bad background check almost every day.  Below are a few unfortunate examples of an individual or business who opted to take the “short road” in terms of their background check provider and failed to uncover critical information.  For each example, you see where the “red flags” were not seen (or even looked for) by their respective background check provider.

A growing number of individuals and corporations are now conducting “some form” (used loosely) of a basic background check.

While certainly spending the time and expense to conduct, at minimum, a criminal record check should be recognized and applauded, many consumers (unbeknownst to them) end up utilizing a fly-by-night investigative firm, turn to one of the many advertised online background checking websites or end up doing what we like to call a “fake background check.”.

The fact remains that all background checks are not created equally.  The scope and depth of the background check provider should be scrutinized closely.

Here are five examples of background checks that failed to uncover critical information:

  • A 92-year-old woman was swindled out of more than $30,000 by her home care provider who was hired through a reputable agency.  The family later learned that despite passing an employment background check with her agency, the home care provider had a lengthy criminal history.  Turns out that the background check failed to uncover a prior drug conviction, several recent prison terms, and a court issued restraining order to keep the Care Provider away from her own child.
  • A background check on a newly hired Pastor in Texas failed to show that he was previously charged with capital murder, kidnapping and armed robbery for his part in the robbery of a convenience store in which two people were killed.
  • A Los Alamos minister was fired after he was found to have a prior criminal conviction for sex crimes against a Pennsylvania boy.  Church officials later said that the company they paid to do the background check on the Minister failed to uncover the conviction.
  • Even law enforcement cannot seem to get it right.  The Charlotte Police Department reportedly failed to uncover that a newly hired police officer’s former girlfriend had taken out a domestic violence protective order against him.
  • Cook County, Illinois officials had to rescind a high-paying job offer after discovering the man they were about to hire was found to have been sued by his former employer for theft, was under investigation by the FBI for millions of dollars in alleged contract fraud, and had admitted to sexual relationships with co-workers. Cook County’s human resources department reportedly conducted a background check that came out “clean.”

Final Thought

There is a major difference between doing something the right way and carelessness.

The above examples are just a sampling of some of the inherent risks we take when establishing any new professional or personal relationship.

As the saying goes, “if you are going to do something, do it right” and be sure to always ask questions!


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