Background Checks Are Important Even for Temps

Today’s workplace doesn’t look like it did a few decades ago. Increasingly, it’s made of freelancers (the “gig economy”), part-timers, job-sharers, third-party contactors and temporary employees. While this may reduce the cost of doing business, it also creates complexities employers need to plan for in advance.

Hiring is a difficult and time-consuming process, and many employers believe they can lower the bar a little when they’re hiring temporary employees. After all, how much damage could a bad temp hire do in a short amount of time?

Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Temp Steals Permanent Employees’ Identities

A cautionary tale from the second installment of the new CNBC Make It series HR Confidential shows how hiring a temporary worker without a background check led to identity theft for the worker’s colleagues at one company.

A senior HR manager for a foreign banking interest was approached by several employees who reported their identities had been stolen. The manager was ultimately confronted by the local postmaster general and postal police officers (who were armed with guns!)

“The guy was a temp employee who we had hired through an outside agency to work in our file room,” the HR manager told CNBC’s HR Confidential. “When you have 3,000 employees, their personal files quickly pile up, so we hired him to clean up each person’s file, add information to them and put them away. However, he was going into these files, taking people’s social security numbers and stealing all of their information.”

How a Background Check Would Have Helped

The temp, as it turned out, was already under investigation by the post office for fraud. The culprit and a friend were signing up for credit cards with the stolen identities and having the cards delivered to their home addresses. The post office was able to easily make the connection between the individual, his address, and the fraudulent credit card applications. Unfortunately for the bank, the damage to employees was already done, and it cost the company a lot of money to help employees clean up their credit.

“For the employees who had their identity stolen, this was such a nightmare,” the HR manager told HR Confidential. “It took some of them more than a year to get this solved. I also felt somewhat responsible because I’m the one who hired the temp and this happened under my watch. I did the best I could in providing support.”

Make Background Checks Routine, Even for Temps

Always perform background checks, even for temp employees (just like you would for a full-time employee), especially if the temp will be handling any personal or sensitive information. Full-service pre-employment checking companies like DataCheck, LLC can ensure that any temps you hire are fully vetted.

Contact DataCheck to inquire about professional pre-employment services such as criminal background checks that protect your workers and your business from identity theft, fraud and negligence.