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Hiring New Staff: Catch a Catfish with Background Checks

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Hiring New Staff: Catch a Catfish with Background Checks

With changing times comes big changes in the hiring process. Many companies are moving to make hires online during this global pandemic, which means an increased need for background checks.

Avoid Hiring a Catfish

While exciting, hiring new staff online can come at a cost.

Without meeting in person, do you really know who you’re interviewing or talking with?

Avoid hiring a catfish.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how background checks help you hire new staff.

What is a Background Check?

A background check is a way of uncovering information about an individual. Typically, a background check is completed when someone applies for a job. This could include a criminal record check, credit check (with permission), bankruptcy, education verification and more.

For example, if you’re applying for a job (or even a volunteer position) where you work with children, you’ll likely need a background check. A background check will reveal whether or not you have a criminal record. In particular, whether or not you have any child-related charges made against you.

Here’s another example.

Let’s say that you started a new relationship. You want to make sure that the person you’re falling in love with doesn’t have a secret past. Running a background check will confirm whether or not the information they’ve told you is true or false.

Background checks reveal a lot of information including,

  • Education
  • Financial Status
  • Criminal Records
  • Vehicle Records
  • Marriage Status

Background Checks: What’s Legal and What’s Not?

When it comes to background checks, you need to know that someone searching through your trash isn’t legal.

A legal background check doesn’t include bank statements. It also doesn’t include secretly recording an individual on video or audio either.

Knowing what information is legal in your province and city is important. If you don’t run a background check properly, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.

This is why many businesses work with a private investigator for all their background check needs.

Why Work with a Private Investigator?

Hiring a private investigator or agency to run background checks on potential hires will save you time, aggravation, and can help to ensure you hire someone who will be a valuable asset to your business.

Private investigators receive training on the best and most advanced background check methods available. They know where to look to find information quickly and they keep updated with new technologies on a constant basis. Depending on the type of information you require, you’ll receive all the pertinent information you need about a potential online hire.

The most common background check is a pre-employment screening, but you can also ask for reports on a person’s professional background (licenses), criminal record, legal and litigation status, bankruptcy status, as well as court case information, if available. And unlike the standard background check that you can order online, a private investigator’s report is far more extensive.

Comprehensive background checks won’t just include basic details or Yes and No answers. Each report will contain detailed information to help you determine whether or not they are who they say they are and whether they are the right fit for the job.

If there’s something suspicious about a potential hire, a private investigator will uncover the necessary information before you hire them, saving you time and resources.

The Impacts of Cat Fishing

Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake persona online. The purpose of this fake persona is to trick others into sending money (or to conduct other abusive acts).

Catfishing is becoming a larger concern, thanks to the rise in hiring employees online.

It is very easy to create a pretend persona online. This makes it even easier for someone to lie on their application and pretend they would make a great employee.

Cat Fishing: Not Just a Dating Problem

The most common type of catfishing happens online. It also happens quite often in online dating.

Online activities take place from behind a computer screen. This makes it incredibly easy to pretend to be someone else.

Many people take advantage of anonymity. When it comes to dating, people use different pictures and even make up entire backgrounds to trick people.

Unfortunately, catfishing is no longer just a dating problem.

Some people apply the same methods when applying for a job. They intend to commit fraud or receive payment for work they’re not qualified to complete.

Hiring New Staff Online

Hiring new staff is an exciting time for any business. New employees mean growth, and expansion, which are two very positive things.

However, how companies hire in today’s economy is slightly different from two years ago.

Many businesses have moved to hire new staff online instead of in person.

At first, it might not seem like a big change, but there’s a difference between hiring someone face to face, and online.

In addition to running a thorough background check, here are a few tips to help you make the right hire.

  1. During the interview process, make sure to use a video conferencing service. This will help you to see the potential hire face to face.
  1. Add a few steps to your hiring process. Instead of just HR running the show, have the potential hire speak with several people within the company. These people could include another employee on the team, the manager, and even a VP or CEO.
  1. Call the potential hire’s references. References can provide additional information that will help you to make a good hiring decision.

Other PI Services

In some situations, you might want to invest in a private investigator if you believe you’ve made the wrong hire.

A private investigator offers many other services in addition to background checks like surveillance on existing employees for instance.


Surveillance is the act of watching an individual as they go about their daily activities. A licensed private investigator is an expert in conducting surveillance to catch a catfish employee.

Surveillance is generally conducted from a non-descript vehicle. A private investigator will locate the employee and observe them.

Generally, a private investigator would not run surveillance as part of background check processes. Surveillance is usually conducted when an employer suspects the employee is engaged in illegal activity.

You can also hire a private investigator to conduct undercover work in your business if you have reason to believe that you’ve hired a catfish and they are stealing from your company.

Hiring a trained professional to inconspicuously monitor the employee can help weed out any fraudulent activity before it can cause any serious impact on your bottom line.


A locate is an investigative service that helps you to find (or locate) a missing person or asset.

So let’s say that your employee disappears. That’s when you notice a lot of products are missing, in addition to company funds.

You can hire a private investigator to do a locate.

A private investigator will do everything they can to find the missing employee. A private investigator will also do everything they can to find your missing product and money.

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM)

Moving work online also means you need to consider the fact that not everyone using the world wide web has good intentions.

Hackers spend a lot of time figuring out different ways to collect private and sensitive information. This doesn’t just apply to individuals. It also applies to businesses.

The last thing you need is to have your company secrets in the hands of a competitor or hacker.

A private investigator can run a bug sweep. They can also check your devices for malware and other problems. A private investigator can do the same for all your employees.

In addition, a private investigator can uncover the leak and find the hacker. They will expose any weaknesses in your network and the individuals responsible.

TSCM services keep your online information safe.

Decrease the Risk with a Background Check

While background checks might seem like something you can handle on your own, finding the right information is best left to a professional.

A private investigation agency like The Smith Investigation Agency can bring you peace of mind. Hiring a private investigator to help you with your background check needs can also give you the time and energy to focus on what matters: hiring the right candidate for the job.

Whether you’ve moved your hiring process online, or still interview in person, a thorough background check on a potential hire benefits any business.

Get more involved in your hiring process! Learn more about background checks and the types of services private investigators can offer a business like yours.

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.