Integrated Security Services, Inc., New York

Private Investigators and Nanny Background Searches

24 Feb

Recently, we received a call from a potential client who found our company the old fashion way, the yellow pages.  The potential client stated that she is a single mom, with two young children.  She was currently working part time, but was recently asked by her employer to work full time. Even though she had family obligations, she did not want to pass up the opportunity to make more money.  However, who would watch her children while she was at work.   Her current babysitting needs were being met by using teens that were recommended by friends.  While the client felt secure, the teenagers were becoming unreliable due to their own social commitments, and they would not be able to babysit during working hours because of school.  Furthermore, the potential client was unable to use a “Nanny” agency because of the cost. She understood that using such an agency would alleviate her from having to screen potential candidates (interviews, background checks, etc.). So, to cut costs, she decided to conduct the interviews, and use our company for the background checks.

Her first question pertained to the necessity of doing a background check, or would the interview process she was undertaking suffice?  Next, was what it would cost? We advised that conducting a background check on someone involved in the service of monitoring a child is absolutely critical before hiring.   In fact, conducting a background search on anyone you plan to hire, regardless of the circumstances, is recommended.  The cost involved in a background search can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the detail involved.  However, contrary to what most people believe, a detailed background check, especially on a nanny, can usually be completed within the client’s budget.

After a couple of phone consultations, she hired us to perform a search on three (3) potential subjects.  We discussed the need to conduct a statewide criminal and sex offender search, proprietary database search (which only licensed private investigators have access to), and a statewide motor vehicle search. Please note, criminal searches and motor vehicle searches can only be conducted on a statewide basis, not nationally.  This will be discussed in more detail in a forthcoming blog. The client was surprised that the cost of all three searches was affordable, and we were able to provide the client with the data within 1 to 2 business days.  We explained that the aforementioned checks were necessary for the following reasons:

  • Criminal Profile and Sex Offender Search: Sounds self-explanatory, but surprisingly overlooked.  Many people are hired, regardless of the industry, without a criminal search being conducted.  Criminal searches are done on a statewide basis, not nationally, and each state has their own jurisdiction and cost involved. Again, this will be discussed in more detail in a later blog entry.
  • Motor Vehicle Search: A motor vehicle check should always be performed, even if you do not plan on having the hired person drive.  If you know that the person has a driver’s license, you should do a search. This report will provide you with moving violations, suspensions and revocations, accidents and alcohol or drug related issues.  You would use this information in order to assess the character of the potential hire.  Again, there is no national motor vehicle search. A driver’s license search is done per state, with different costs involved.
  • Proprietary Database Searches: Many companies that conduct background searches will be accessing data via the Internet.  Licensed private investigators have the ability to use proprietary resources that are only available to them.  This information provides the client with detailed information regarding the subject’s pedigree and financial background.  The search will provide all known addresses, family history and property ownership of the subject.  It will confirm your applicant’s identity, and confirm that the subject’s name and social security number match.  It will provide information on liens, judgments, tax suits and any bankruptcy cases.  This data is all public information that the client can obtain from the courts and municipal agencies, but would be very expensive and time consuming to retrieve.  This database provides a neat and organized history of the subject.   Also, this is not just a statewide search, but national.

The results of our searches were as follows: One subject was clean.  There were no liens, judgments, tax suits or any other negative financial marks filed against the subject. In private investigation jargon, the subject’s information was “uneventful.”  There was no criminal record and the subject had a clean driving record.

The other subject was, for the most part clean. There was no criminal record and the driving history was clear.  However, the subject did have two judgments filed.  The judgments appeared to be based on medical bills.  One of the judgments was already satisfied; the other judgment was open.  However, the judgments were both nominal in amount, and should not be of concern to the client.

The final subject had an uneventful financial and motor vehicle history. There were no listed negative marks.  However, our criminal search reflected that the subject was arrested for theft of services, and convicted. The subject received probation.  We advised the client that this information should be taken into consideration, since the nanny will be alone in the home.

While, Integrated made recommendations to the client, ultimately, the client will decide on who gets hired.  Our company did not conduct any interviews, nor did we check references (we certainly can pursue this part of the investigation if the budget allows).  Our job was to collect and analyze the data.

In essence, a professional background check on a nanny by a licensed private investigation company will provide the client with the necessary peace of mind and may save the client anxiety, frustration and additional costs.

Please note, our upcoming blog will discuss the confusion over searches that can be done either statewide or nationally and the difference of utilizing the services of a private investigator or conducting these searches via the Internet.