Putting A Price On A Background Check


Mandy Moody
ACFE Social Media Specialist

How much could a background check save your company? One million dollars, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. That is how much money a 67 year-old woman embezzled over a seven-year period while working as a volunteer bookkeeper at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. When the bookkeeper was hired in 2003, the archdiocese did not conduct criminal background checks and, subsequently, didn’t catch the documentation of the woman’s former grand larceny conviction.

While the archdiocese does conduct background checks now, this story is a fair warning to those still hesitant about whether they are worth the cost and time. Also, companies wonder if it is enough to solely conduct a criminal background check. A frequent misconception is that there exists a massive, centralized data repository that stores every piece of information the government has ever collected on every person. In truth, information is often incomplete, and fragmented between different agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Given that the level of depth and scope will vary based on the purpose of the search there is not a universal way to perform a background check. The background check for a construction worker will not be the same as that for a high level manager and a check on an individual will differ greatly from one performed on an organization.

It is because of these questions, concerns and costly embezzlements like the one described in the story above that we recently released a new self-study course, Conducting Effective Background Checks. This course breaks down the fundamentals of performing background checks and details how to develop a background check policy.

It also covers major laws that govern background checks including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, various anti-discrimination laws, financial and health privacy laws, considerations for state-specific laws and anti-corruption statutes.

Insight: watch this short preview of the course to find out more.