Fraudster concept

As technology progresses and organisations digitise, the risk of fraud has also increased. Having the ability to detect a dishonest employee, a fake company or a romance scammer is essential.

Fraud is not a remote subject that we only read on the papers; it is now a common occurrence. In both our personal and professional lives, we are being targeted by fraudsters regularly. Receiving phishing emails, being lured to click on deceptive websites, reviewing CVs that embellish one’s qualifications, reading fake online reviews – things like these are now part and parcel of living.

At the same time, our law enforcement agencies are not equipped to cope with such a high volume of fraud cases occurring daily. This unfortunate situation is not unique to the UK; it is a global crisis. Fraudsters, from all corners of the world, conjure up malice tricks consistently to cause harm to their suitable targets for personal gain. Even old tricks still work – CNBC reported in April 2019 that the ‘Nigerian prince’ email scam, one of the longest-running internet frauds, still cause Americans US$700,000 a year.

Fraudsters will not go away

In 1979, Marcus Felson and Lawrence Cohen proposed a theory of crime. They argued that there are three elements which will lead to a routine level of criminal activity in society. The three elements are supply of motivated offenders, availability of suitable targets, and lack of capable guardians.

It has been discussed among scholars that fraudsters will continue to target the population at large because these three elements are ever-present. Realising that fraudsters won’t go away is key because it means we can’t afford to have the ‘it won’t happen to me’ syndrome. In other words, we need to stay vigilant and take proactive steps to keep ourselves safe and protect our investments.

Consequently, there has been a growing demand to verify a potential employee you want to hire, a prospective company you want to do business with, and even a likely partner in life. Accordingly, we have updated our background checks pages recently to reflect the importance of verifying a person or a company.

Why do you need to conduct background checks on a potential employee?

Company A was advertising for a creative director and had asked each applicant to share their portfolio. One candidate stood out because his portfolio contained many excellent pieces of work. But when we ran pre-employment screening, it became apparent that he did not have the work experience he claimed he had. He also took other people’s work and passed them off as his own. The candidate did not just tell a few white lies on his CV, he was a fraudster.

At Blackhawk Intelligence, our pre-employment screening is more extensive than DBS checks. We aim to verify:

  • Identity
  • Qualifications
  • Reference
  • Previous employment
  • Professional membership
  • Corporate affiliation
  • Credit history
  • Legal proceedings
  • Criminal record
  • Other issues found through discreet enquiries

Why should you run a company or business background check?

Person A heard about a life science company which was developing a new type of artificial organ through a business associate in a networking event. He searched for them online, read many articles and concluded that it was an excellent company with tremendous potential. He invested £100,000 into the company. But a few months later, the company was placed into administration. The directors of the company had been using company funds for personal gain. These directors had been involved in other failed companies in other countries before, something that Person A would have known if he had engaged our company checks service to delve deeper.

At Blackhawk Intelligence, our company or business background checks aim to verify:

  • A company’s legal status
  • A company’s history and business address
  • A company’s credit worthiness
  • If it has the appropriate license or permit to operate
  • If it really belongs to a reputable trade body
  • If it has any legal proceedings
  • Confirming its directors and decision makers
  • International search, anything from registries to financial statements in another country

Company or business background checks can yield new opportunities too

It must be said that checking up a company or a business can be more than an exercise of caution; it can give you leverage and reveal tremendous new opportunities too.

For instance, knowing who the decision makers are (and their background) in an organisation can prepare you in a negotiation, or approach them directly to discuss a new venture.

Why should you run an individual background check?

Person C was a widow who got to befriend a person with a respectable job from a dating website. Very quickly, this person asked for her mobile number and started to send text messages, spinning heart-warming stories to lure in the widow. Within weeks, the widow began sending the person money. It was then the children of the widow realised that something was amiss. They engaged our individual background check service to conduct a thorough search and very quickly, we found that the profile on the dating website belonged to someone else and the widow was actually talking to a fraudster.

Cases involving individual background checks are often more challenging because victims often feel ashamed and choose to remain silent. Even when money is lost, some victims may be reluctant to share exchanges (which could be intimate in nature) that they had with the fraudsters to assist with the investigation process.

At Blackhawk Intelligence, our individual background checks specialists do not judge any person or situation. We handle each case professionally and discreetly. Our aim is to verify:

  • Identity
  • Employment
  • Corporate affiliation
  • Criminal record
  • Other issues found through discreet enquiries

General tips to keep you safe

In an ideal world, it would be convenient to share the top 10 tips that you can do to keep yourself safe. But in reality, there are just too many types of fraud, anything from fake CVs, employment scams, contractor scams, investment fraud, payment fraud to romance scams. There isn’t a comprehensive list that can list all types of fraud and successfully address every prevention method. So in this article, our background checks specialists aim to share a few general tips which you can use to keep yourself safe:

  • Accept that fraudsters can target anyone and any organisation.
  • Fraudsters are likely to claim that they are professionals, have worked for or are currently with a well-known organisation or government agency.
  • Acknowledge that a simple online search is probably not enough. Fake websites, emails and social media profiles are easy to set-up. Most of the time, you need to delve deeper.
  • Never lower your guard. Fraudsters often work to gain your trust quickly before sending you unexpected requests through phone, text or email. Treat each request as suspicious and do not respond immediately.
  • Don’t share any personal data unless you have taken the appropriate steps to verify with the company or authority involved by calling a publicly-listed number (not the one supplied to you in an email or over the phone).
  • If a candidate, a business partner or a potential suitor seems too good to be true, ask plenty of questions, and remove any guesswork by engaging a background check company.

Blackhawk Intelligence, background checks specialists

At Blackhawk Intelligence, we have helped many companies and individuals, both in the UK and from abroad, to conduct background checks on potential employees, companies that you want to invest or do business with, as well as likely suitors one has met online.

Our background checks services aim to:

  • Verify the person you want to hire is who they say they are
  • Verify the company you want to do business with is being honest
  • Verify the decision makers of a company before engaging them
  • Make sure the likely suitor is not a fraudster
  • Make sure the individual who makes big promises to you is not manipulating you into breaking the law
  • Fulfil due diligence
  • Keep your company safe
  • Safeguard your reputation
  • Save you time, money and stress
  • Provide peace of mind

We are trusted by companies and individuals because:

  • We discuss your case with you before taking any action, so you know the scope and the fees before you start
  • We respect confidentiality
  • Our investigative methods include database, resource, network and discreet enquiries
  • We verify, analyse, and cross-reference before giving you the final report
  • We can assist with international/ cross-border cases
  • We deliver outstanding work with no hidden charges

To find out how our background checks specialists can help you with pre-employment screening, company or business background checks, or individual checks, call us on +44 (0)20 8108 9317 or use our online contact form.

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