Edward Snowden is back in the news but this time he’s not the one under fire. Instead USIS, the company who vetted Snowden’s background is in the hot seat. It was no surprise that after Snowden’s actions the government would open an investigation into how he was cleared to handle such sensitive information; however, what was uncovered came as a shock to the US government who now is suing USIS for fraud.

About the Case

The US joined the case against USIS in October but did not file a complaint until this week. They are accusing USIS of using a practice called “dumping”, which is the return of incomplete reports in order to increase profits. It is believed to have begun in 2008 and has been going on since; the result is over 665,000 incomplete reports paid for by the government. The departments involved in the suit include Defense, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security. Considering the nature of many of these jobs the thought of incomplete records is scary to many officials.

About the USIS

USIS is a national background investigation company, which was established in 1996, serves over 95 federal agencies to date. The company re-branded themselves in 2006 and by 2008 had established new revenue goals. The new goals are the speculated reason for the fraud. USIS is responsible for security clearance and vetted both Edward Snowden who leaked government secrets and Aaron Alexis who killed 12 people at the DC Navy Yard.

About Workplace Fraud

In this particular case the US was losing money without knowing due to the fact that USIS was an outside vendor. This is one type of fraud but there are many others, including some that can take place internally. For most businesses by the time fraud is caught major damage is already done. The warning signs are typically there but hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. Here is a list of common warning signs as well as a few ways to prevent fraud.

Workplace warning signs:

  • Loss in profit
  • Inventory off
  • Reports are difficult to locate
  • Employee who is never satisfied: constantly upset.
  • Someone who finds ways around a system: or doesn’t “like” the current system.
  • Control freaks: employees who will not delegate or give up control.
  • Beware of what seems like a star employee: employees who come in early and stay late are more likely to commit fraud.

Steps you can take to prevent fraud:

  • Educate your staff: educated staff will be more aware of what is happening around them.
  • Conduct audits: Surprise internal and external audits will deter employees from committing fraud due to the increased risk of being caught.
  • Screen your employees: reference checks can save you from hiring the wrong person
  • Designate one person to review sensitive material: Less hands in the pot reduces risk.
  • Set up a reporting system: Employees will feel more comfortable reporting with a system in place.

This story’s main focus was fraud but something else can be taken away from this giant mess. If you are going to rely on a Consumer Reporting Agency – take your time, do your homework and check credentials before you make a decision. Just because a company is established with a specialty you need, that does not mean they are qualified and trustworthy.  Active Screening is dedicated to providing each client with timely and accurate results without cutting corners. To find out more about Active Screening’s solutions please visit our webpage and request a product demo from one of our experts.

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