Morrisons is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom. Recently, they faced a challenge when an employee leaked thousands of personal staff details online, which included salaries, bank account details and addresses. This post discusses what companies like Morrisons can do to prevent information leaks.
Police have arrested a man who is suspected of leaking this information; he did have access to the data. Under the Fraud Act, enacted in the UK in 2006, if convicted, the man could potentially face up to 10 years in prison.
When the security and privacy of thousands of your employees is at risk, you must thoroughly vet your team members. Here’s how.
One of the most effective ways to prevent employee fraud or employee theft is to hire and retain employees that can be trusted with sensitive and confidential information, and have a long history of doing so. This can be determined via thorough and comprehensive employee background checks.
We’ve provided tens of thousands of background checks over the last 40 years. Since we have access to the largest database of personal information in the United States, our investigators (who are former Federal agents from the FBI, DEA, IRS or Secret Service) can delve deeply into an individual’s history to uncover criminal records, fraudulent behavior, reasons for gaps in an employment history, and many other telling pieces of information. The database contains highly proprietary information not available to the public or through the Internet. It is of such a high standard that all background information documents are considered court-ready in Federal, state and local courts. This allows employers to gain a very clear view of whom they are going to be working with.
Why are these background checks critical to keeping the criminal or devious people from gaining access to your secrets? We have found that about one out of ten applicants has a criminal record. Many of our statistics indicate that almost half of all resumes have false or purposely entered erroneous information. The cost to perform these searches can range from a few hundred dollar to a full comprehensive report which cost about eight to nine hundred dollars. This is a small price to pay for the due diligence that should be conducted when someone is given the “keys to the kingdom” at your company. Be proactive in protecting your assets, not only with potential employees but with vendors, business partners and even competitors.
Supervisory and management personnel should also be interview by a seasoned private investigator. Using someone experienced in the art of interview and interrogation can lead to some amazing findings. (Read our recent post on this subject matter, here.) Often times when told about such an interview, the applicant doesn’t even show up for it. Many times these key positions are filled by applicants after the company has spent thousands of dollars in the recruiting process.
Don’t be an employer who says “I don’t want to scare them off by subjecting them to an interview by a PI.” If your employees are worthy of working for you, they won’t mind it one bit.
Often times we suggest to our corporate clients that we try to penetrate their security blanket to obtain their trade secrets as a competitor might do. This always leads to the exposure of vulnerabilities and the tightening of security measures.
Dealing with the aftermath
In the case of Morrisons, quite a bit of damage has already been done. The employee information was taken down fairly soon after it was published, but having bank account information posted online for any amount of time is too much. Criminals only need the info to appear for a moment to be able to use the data for purposes of identity theft. In addition, lawsuits by those who have been damaged result in litigation costing in the $100,000.00 to $500,000.00 range for your company. Many jury awards in negligent hiring cases can be returned in that same monetary range. Just one case then can easily result in a one million dollar lost for your company if you combine the attorney’s fees and judgments awarded.
When personal information that was posted online is used for fraudulent activities, those affected will naturally want to take immediate legal action to recover any lost assets. This is another situation in which a skilled private investigator can be quite helpful. Most private investigators can track any illegal activity of your identity including your name, address, phone number, date of birth and your social security number.
The Morrisons case is an unfortunate example of why it is so critical to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting your business, personal information, and assets. If you’re not doing your best to put trustworthy people in charge of critical information, give us a call.