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Do You Need a Pre-Employment Background Check on a Household Employee?

May 23, 2008
It may seem like doing criminal background checks is something that only large employers do. If you are hiring a nanny or maid, you don't need to bother. Or do you?

Many, though not all, employers such as nanny agencies run pre-employment background checks on their employees. However many households prefer to save money by hiring private individuals rather than going through an agency.

Case Study: Hiring a Nanny on the Internet

When you hire a person you let into your home, you are exposing your possessions, your financial records, and even your children to a stranger. Often all you know about this person is what was revealed on a resume or an interview, information that could easily be false.

Consider the example of a Phoenix single father who hired a 19-year-old woman off Craigslist to be a live-in nanny for his infant son. A few days after she moved in, he came home and was horrified to find his son was gone and so were the young woman and her belongings.

After a nail-biting 24 hours, the boy was recovered safely and the woman was taken into custody. Child Protective Services kept the child for a few days before returning him to the father, the latter much wiser.

Had this well-meaning but naive father done a pre-employment background check he would have easily discovered this 19-year-old woman was actually a 15-year-old runaway and suspected drug user.

Could This Happen to You?

Some pundits chose to blame the internet for the situation, saying that it was foolish to hire someone online. However this could just as likely have happened if he had put an ad in the paper, posted flyers at the local college, or hired the friend of a friend.

Some would say that they would never leave a stranger with their child unsupervised. Many of these same people leave their wallets out when the worker is present. Or their checkbook, an old credit card bill, a copy of their Social Security report buried in an unlocked file cabinet, or a host of other things that people could use to steal money or identity.

It pays to be vigilant. We don't lock our doors at night because we think our neighbors or even random passersby are thieves. We do so because even if 99% of the people out there are honest, it only takes one who isn't to slip in and take our valuables. Should you be less careful with people you invite in?

Once you decide to protect yourself with a pre employment background check, be sure to use a licensed private investigator. There are a number of agencies who offer to run inexpensive inquiries, but these are usually superficial investigations that run a quick internet search or an examination of local records. Get the peace of mind that goes with a professional check.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on Pre
Employment Background Checks
, visit http://www.theinvfirm.com.
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