As identity theft becomes an escalating risk for Americans, we find that the Oakland Mayor’s office failed to conduct a background check on an intern who turned out to be a known embezzler (SF Gate report here). Patricia Williams allegedly stole the bank account information of 100 donors to their Holiday Toy Drive, stole the identity of a co-worker, and charged over $10,000 on stolen account information.
In a world where private information is so easily obtained and used for fraud, every business, especially government offices, should be conducting background checks. If government offices and businesses are skimping on background checks because of the cost, imagine what this incident cost the Mayor’s office. I wouldn't be surprised if the phones have been ringing off the hook and the attorneys have already moved in for a negligent hiring kill.
Fortunately, there are solutions for those who are victims of identity theft. Because identity theft is the number one crime today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working diligently on solutions to help consumers. By ordering your own credit and criminal background checks you can monitor discrepancies and control who sees your information.
In addition to monitoring your own background checks, the Identity Theft Red Flag Rules issued by the FTC will be going into effect in November. Financial institutions and other users of consumer reports will now have to closely monitor your accounts for identity theft and identity fraud and respond appropriately to prevent and mitigate damages.
Go to www.MyBackgroundCheck.com to learn more about how you can take control of your personal information.