It’s a dirty word, but sometimes we all have to do it.

This business practice of hiring someone from outside your company to complete a task is often talked about with suspicion, fear and disappointment.

There’s Forbes analysis of Boeing’s outsourcing troubles.

An example of a German toymaker struggles with too-slow overseas production.

And Sprint’s botched venture with IBM

But then there exist cases where outsourcing has positive, viable, long-lasting outcomes that make both parties, and their clients, very happy. Check out this news release touting the 15th Annual Outsourcing Excellence Awards. Seriously, there is such a thing. Here’s the list of winners:

  • Best Partnership:  AT&T Services Inc./Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corporation

•    Most Flexible: Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc./Capgemini

•    Best Communication: Catholic Healthcare Partners/Dell Services

•    Most Collaborative; Barclaycard US/Firstsource

•    Best Global Services: Carillon PLC/Accenture

•    Most Effective: Verizon Wireless/Océ Business Services 

•    Service Provider Excellence – Best Business Transformation: Accenture

•    Service Provider Excellence – Most Consistent Business Impact: Genpact

  •    Service Provider Excellence – Best IT Enablement in BPO: Wipro

We’ve even discussed on Active Care how outsourcing works well for us and some of our independent contractors.

But, there is a difference between outsourcing and off-shoring. Especially when it comes to background screening. And if you don’t know the difference, it could cost you a lot more than you realize. Whereas outsourcing is most often contracted to an American or at least North American party, off shoring heads overseas or onto a different continent. It’s basically outsourcing in another country. As mentioned in Boeing’s and Steiff’s cases (click on the articles at the top), partnering with overseas entities can carry a host of complications.

*Sub standard quality control

*Cultural work ethic differences


*Shipping and customs difficulties

*Confusion between primary contractor and sub contractors

*Language barriers

*Lengthy supply chains

*Variances in laws

When you throw the knowledge and use of sensitive information into the mix, such as for background checks, this is volatile situation. Here’s why.

People provide Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Applicants have to fork over PII like this during the hiring or on boarding process:

  • Full name
  • Birthday and birthplace
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Vehicle registration plate number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Credit card number
  • National identification number

Obviously, this information is ripe for the picking by identity thieves. But here’s the catch. Once PII leaves US soil, so do American laws that protect it. In other words, if your applicants’ identity is stolen overseas, there’s nothing you or they can do about it.

You may not even know your screening company is off-shoring. There is no law (except for one in California) that states your screening company has to disclose whether it ships your applicants’ PII overseas. So, you may be in the dark the practice is even going on! One way to combat this is to work with a company like Active Screening who has pledged to NEVER offshore PII. There is a robust network of these like-minded companies. Check out ConcernedCRAs.com for more information.

You have no idea how far the information will travel. Once the data reaches its off shore destination, it’s fair game to any identity thief out there with an internet connection. The situation is even worse if the PII is set to someone’s home (whose to say your off shore connection isn’t a college student working from home in Mumbai?). Now you’ve unknowingly sent PII to a place where internet connections are much less secure. Your applicants identity could be stolen or sold a hundred times over.

You’re costing Americans jobs. As if this isn’t startling enough (and if this hasn’t scared the pants off you, I’m not sure what will until your identity is stolen), the more background checks that are sent overseas are eliminating jobs for people in your own country. The same type of people you’re trying to hire! This former background screening employee, who was one of 600 workers whose jobs were eliminated to make room for off shoring with a firm in India, wrote an informative and heartfelt letter about the dangers and ramifications of off shoring in 2012. It’s worth a read if you care anything at all about the American Dream.

Tell us your identity theft story. How was your PII ripped off? What did you, or could you, do about it? Leave your comment below. 

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