One of the more alarming news items of recent weeks is that the credit bureau Equifax, one of the three largest credit bureaus in the United States, has sustained a major data breach. It is estimated that around half of all U.S. adults with a credit rating – 143 million people – have likely been affected by the data breach.
It’s been reported that the hacking cybercriminals made themselves privy to names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and home addresses. The credit agency released this news on September 7; however, it’s likely that the data breach happened several months ago.
Are Job Applicants Who They Say They Are?
Identity theft is a very real risk in situations like this. The most likely ways the information will be used will be to get access to credit and cash fraudulently. However, it’s possible that a whole new identity could be created in order to start a new life and/or get a new job.
This major data breach underscores the importance of verifying identity in potentially sensitive situations. Companies looking to take on new hires should be especially careful. In addition to screening for criminal background and credit history, it’s crucial to ensure that each applicant is really who they say they are.
Adding to the controversy is the way the Equifax company is handling the situation. Anyone who wishes to check if their information was compromised during the hack by using the Equifax security website must agree to waive their right to sue the credit agency. The language of these terms is included in the fine print of the service, and many people have “agreed” to it without being fully aware of the exact terms.
Employment Screening and Verifying Identity More Important Than Ever
Employers tend to use background checks if the position calls for it. For example, a credit check is often conducted for persons who will be managing money in a job. However, this recent news has revealed that checking for criminal activity and honesty is an important safety measure for every type of employee in every type of job.
The recent Equifax security data breach underscores the potential risk of fraud in every hiring situation. Is the person who they say they are? What is their true past?
The Equifax data breach should give every employer pause regarding who they are hiring and what each individual will be bringing to the job. With resume fraud increasing as well, it’s never been more important for employers to screen applicants in order to verify identity and past history.
To Prevent a Data Breach Computer Security Should Always Be a Priority
This incident is also a cautionary tale for businesses that make a practice of storing sensitive data in their computer systems. Companies should take the time to reassess their computer security in order to ensure that firewalls and other security measures are the very best they can be. Not doing so could put the personal information of everyone associated with the company at risk.
Now more than ever, employment screening and background check security are crucial to smart hiring and optimal staffing. While there are always variables where human beings are concerned, professional employment screening increases the odds of making the right choice.