Debt collection firms fail to conduct criminal background checks on employees

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Would it scare you to know that debt collection companies employ people who have criminal records for identity theft, rape, check forgery, assault, and drunken driving offenses? That's what is happening and it's quite alarming. It appears that even though their employees have access to countless consumer credit, financial and personal identifying information -debt collection companies don't find it a priority, or even policy, to screen call center employees for criminal backgrounds.

The state of Minnesota though, is one of a handful of states that  require debt collection companies to perform individual criminal background checks on the collectors they employ.

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman put a number of the state's largest debt collection firms on notice this week that he is prepared to take disciplinary action against them for allegedly failing to conduct criminal background checks on individual collectors.

The eight debt collection firms MN recently put on notice include;

Allied Interstate Inc.
AllianceOne Receivables Management Inc.
Bureau of Collection Recovery
I.C. System Inc.
Financial Recovery Services Inc.
NCO Financial Systems Inc.
Receivables Management Solutions Inc.
Van Ru Credit Corp.

A Star Tribune investigation recently found that collectors in Minnesota routinely lie about their criminal backgrounds in order to get work in industry call centers. Their crimes include identity theft, rape, check forgery, assault, and drunken driving offenses.

Read more at The Star Tribune:

 Minn prepares crackdown on debt collectors ...investigation recently found that collectors in Minnesota routinely lie about their criminal backgrounds in order to get work in industry call centers

Criminals land jobs as debt collectors: These are people who can find out where you bank, where you live, even where your friends and relatives live,

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I believe it is so profound that the laws today have not changed to help govern collectors against debtors who are abusive and harrassing. It is always reported what a collecctor has done but not the debtors. Debtors have have made racial slurs, deragatory comments, and harrassing phone calls to collectors over the years and no law protects the collector. There have been undocumented facts that debtor’s will purposely take out debt and not pay the debt back just to wait for that collection call to bait a collector into violation of FDCPA regulations and and then sue the company and the collector to obtain civil funds. It is not made public debtors who abuse the financial system by over extending themselves in credit debt and then claim harrassment when they are contacted to pay the debt’s back. I thought our country was built on responsiblity and accountability. America allows the freedom of debtors to request credit but have no responsibility in paying it back? I do not excuse the fact that their are collectors very few I might add that have crossed the line in collecting debt. Collections companies do not tolerate underminding tactics by collectors and are immediately punished by termination of employment when caught in the act even before and when there is no lawsuit obtained. I also believed when our country said that when you do the crime you do the time, and there have been collector’s and people in general that have committed offenses in their past and have paid their dues. These collector’s that have a criminal past have made changes to their life style and are planting their feet into a new life thru employment instead of crime, paying tax’s instead of filing for disability or welfare. Americans some say they do not want to carrie the load of others who are not working but living on the goverment system but then we punish them by not giving the a right to employment and to become a tax paying citizen by writing articles thru the Star Tribune. If a person was truly given a fare shot at Equel Opportunity of Employment in the United States then you would not have the issue of one hiding their background but openly discussing it and proving their skills and character for who they are today. What if it was you that had a petty offense 10 years ago and have not committed a crime since that time. Do you feel you should have the right to Equel Opportunity of Employment like everyone else or should you be put on watch or banned from making a living because of your past. How come no article is written about the greed of the FDCPA attorneys that look for debtor’s like chasing an ambulance to file suit against companies and then they file astronomicle amount of money in attorney fees. These attorneys will prep these debtors to change the true story of the call they had with a collector so they can place a claime against an agency or law firm that collects debt so they can fill their own pockets. No one has stated why lawsuits against agencies and lawfirms have gone thru the roof in numbers. The economy is down and every one has taken a large hit including collection firms. So you have more debtor’s filing suit and more attorney’s that have left one filed of practice to practice suing debt collection companies now and more money made by these attorney’s in the past 2 years then ever before. Hmmmm Think about it

Although I have a big problem with DUI, I do not lump that in the same category of fraud (id theft) or aggressive crimes (assault+) cited. It may be unlikely those being collected on have lots to take via id theft...but dealing with it can certainly ruin your month. I am not comfortable that these individuals have this level of access because of their employer.

All great points! How long does it usually take for all problems to manifest themselves?

I agree with you and applaude you for your rational thinking on most everything you have said except for one major issue for me that you you might want to consider. You claim there is no equality for persons wanting to get a job in collections after they have commited a crime and served the debt to society, they are being discriminated againsy because of their criminal background. I owned a Skip Tracing company for many years. As time went on I hired an office manager that was responsible to do backgrounds on potential employees and report their findings to me for final approval. On one ocassion this step was missed. The potential new hire did not disclose to our HR that he was convicted of sexual assault on two minors under the age of twelve and by a person in a position of trust nor did he disclose that he is a registerd violent sexual offender. He did not disclose that he served nine years in prison and is on 20yrs parole as such an offender. He did not disclose that a condition of he parole was that he could not have contact with any minor child under the age of 18 in any fashion or form or fashion what so ever including employment. He in fact lied on almost all the application and later discovered his refrences on the application were paid by this idiot to lie for him. They all had the story of this guys background down as if it was scripted in Hollywood. This person willfully and knowingly violated his parole and eventually caused the loss of approximately 2 million dollars a year in gross receipts to my company, potential law suites from debtors and clients and due to client losses I had to lay off 15 dedicated workers until I was able to replace the lost contracts. And let me tell you why and how. My company served some of the largest auto finance companies in the USA. Over time this employee developed cordual relationships away from my office and without my knowledge with clients. This employee eventualy divulged his true name and offered his personal email to some individual collections staff of my clients. One day one of those collectors was a bit more than curious about the employee and punched his name into the web adding a little background my employee had given him and whala the cat was out of the bag. The following morning I received a call from a Vice President of the largest prime auto lender in the USA asking me if I knew that I was employing a convicted sexually violent predator. Told him I would check into it and get back to him. I called the individual into my office and he confirmed his background and my worst nightmare. When I called back and talked to the VP he immediately and without hesitation suspended all accounts holding in my office for no less than six months and to be reviewed after that time for re-instatement. 2 million dollars gone in five minutes. Why because I directly put their company in harm by hiring a convicted felon who was given in my office by my client acces to all their customers credit history, employment locations, home locations spouses and relatives information, access to informational data basis that the general public could never get access to and so on. The first mistake I own as I was ultimately responsible for this employees hiring or not. Had I known then what I know now I would have never hired this person. You might call that discrimination, but I dont. Not when the lives of so many people were affected or could have been affected. Many of my clients debtors are local to my community. Just think what would have or could have happened if that employee had taken private and protected information on a debtor from my office and harmed them in some way, showed up at the debtor home around the corner from our office and committed a haneous or violent crime against the debtor or his family. The VP was a reasonable person and considering my company is one of the highest overall rated companies in the industry, stellar reputation for being honest and ethical, I was given a second chance to retain the contract at a later date. So the ending of this is now I have an employee that can bring suit against me for discrimination in the work force should I fire him. My attorney advised me to retain his services, but do not give him any new account and by virtue I could obviously justify the work slow down. How did he finally leave? Some mystery person located and called his parole agent and spoke of the incident. I was given notice to appear in a criminal court and give testimony as related to the employee. He was eventually convicted of willfully violating his parole and sent back to prison. He will not be eligable for another parole hearing for five years. So yes, I ABSOLUTELY believe there should be laws inacted that make it a criminal offense for a convicted violent felon to not disclose his criminal history to a potential employer. I believe that companies like mine that display the highest of ethical standards be protected fron civil liability when a violent felon has willfully lied and destroyed the livelyhood of many law abiding people.

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