Background Checks


The job of shredding documents in-house is usually done by someone in a position of trust.  In large organizations, this is usually done by someone within the security department.    The security department's job is to protect the assets of the organization.   If sensitive information were to get out, the negative result could be disastrous.  SHREDDING IS A SECURITY FUNCTION!

Once an organization makes the decision to outsource the task to a shredding service, they've placed their trust entirely in the hands of this service.  The only control you have at this point is the selection of the vendor.   Why would you place your trust in a vendor if they don't take every possible precaution in their hiring process.

 "Why would you require less of your shredding service than you do your own employees?"

Remember, there is no governing authority in the shredding industry.   Just because someone buys a truck and pays a little bit of money for a bond, doesn't make them a security company.   BONDING COMPANIES DON'T DO BACKGROUND CHECKS.  THEY DON'T EVEN ASK FOR THE EMPLOYEES NAMES!!!    A bond doesn't protect you.    Putting a uniform on a criminal makes him a criminal in uniform who now has access to your business and employees.   A criminal with a picture badge is still a criminal.

Many shredding companies use database companies to conduct background checks on employees.  These background checks are very limited.  Many counties don't allow access on-line.  Records could be missed because of misspelled names by the person conducting the background or the court clerk who entered the information.   Did they check all variations of the name?   How many jurisdictions were checked (county and state)?  How many different states or counties did they live in?  There is too much left to chance.

S.1743  Private Security Officers Employment Authorization Act of 2003  -     was signed into law by President Bush.

In the state of Pennsylvania, a security company can request nationwide fingerprint background checks through the state.  With this new law, they have another option through the FBI.   The end result is the same.

Be very careful of shredding companies claiming to be Security Shredding Companies or if they classify their workers as security officers.

SOMETHING TO PONDER:  Mr. Don Walker, Chairman of Pinkerton Security, Executive Member or American Society of Industrial Security and on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Security Guard Companies testified before Congress on behalf of S. 1743 and urged this legislation to "ensure that persons who are convicted of serious crimes are identified before they are deployed to protect our citizens and their property".

During his testimony he gives an example of the State of California.  In 2003, 69,000 persons applied as security guards and 13% or 9,000 were rejected as a result of the nationwide fingerprint background check.  The three most common reasons they were rejected was sex-related crimes; battery/robbery and burglary.  Data also showed that registered sex offenders frequently attempted to obtain a "Guard Card".

If this many bad-apples applied for a job where they knew fingerprint background checks were being conducted, imagine how many will apply for a job knowing no fingerprint background is done.  

The example given was for California, but I'm sure the result is similar in other states.

DOES YOUR PENNSYLVANIA SHREDDING SERVICE CONDUCT NATIONWIDE FINGERPRINT BACKGROUNDS?  If not, ask how they can do security shredding if they aren't a security company.   If they tell you they are a security company, they should have court documentation to prove the statement.

I would be interested in hearing any horror stories along these lines or will respond to questions about background checks. You can email me at

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