Spring is upon us, and with it comes several months’ worth of data and observations reflective of the first quarter of 2022. We’ve crunched the numbers and analyzed the developments so that you wouldn’t have to. Here are some emerging trends for our Client partners who use our background screening, due diligence, and investigative services.
Trend #1: Social Media Monitoring in Field Investigations of Legal Claimants
For 2022, TruView’s Investigative Division continues to be at the top of the wave in applications-based social media monitoring for investigations. Our proprietary, original technologies allow us to extract open-source data from social media sites, platforms, and aggregators—literally billions of posts—which we pass through a series of filters and funnel to Analysts in our in-house Intelligence Unit for their analysis and interpretation as to its potential impact on an emerging or active case.
Social Media Monitoring brings a treasure trove of information to an investigation, allowing the analyst and field investigator to narrow their focus and eliminate extraneous information. Through analysis of a subject’s social media accounts investigators can identify such items as license plates, house numbers, street signs, places of employment, know associates, commonly used vehicles, etc. From Social Media Monitoring we can establish the routines of individuals, following their posts and check-ins to establish a pattern of where they live, work, and recreate. From this information a clear and concise investigative plan can be developed.
Through the knowledge gained our analysts narrow the scope of our interactions. Based on the subject patterns our Intelligence Unit constructs, we devise a plan that focuses on the highest probability of capturing the objectives of the investigation. Our field personnel are sent out with highly detailed case files, maximizing the potential for positive identification of the subject and achievement of the investigative parameters.
As the proliferation of social media continues to grow, so too will the need for analysis that pulls critical information pertinent to an investigation in an efficient and effective manner. TruView is and will continue to be a pioneer in this application, ensuring a more thorough investigation for our Clients now and in the future.
Trend #2: Rise in Due Diligence Investigations for Financial and Legal Industry Clients
It might surprise you to know that Financial Industry transactions – mergers and acquisitions, portfolio management, investments, etc. – often do not include a background screening component to them. Billions of dollars can be exchanged, and yet no one performed a verification of the education and employment records of the players involved beforehand. No one analyzed Financial regulatory bodies for instances of customer complaints and/or industry sanctions. This lack of investigation can not only lead to the very real impact of lost dollars, but also in the tangible impact to a firm’s reputation.
Enter the rise of Due Diligence investigations. Beyond a pre-employment background screen, Due Diligence investigations take a deeper dive into a subject’s information, working to uncover areas that might not normally be considered in your standard check. As it applies to the Financial industry, this includes but is not limited to searches of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD), the National Futures Association (NFA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). TruView has fashioned Due Diligence packages that satisfy both Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks that can easily be conducted at the outset of any transaction, or before the parties sign on the dotted line depending on Client preferences. These checks are being implemented more frequently and will continue to trend upward as firms work to safeguard themselves against reputational risk.
This upward trend is also occurring in the Legal sector, where more and more firms are taking the additional step to not only vet the lawyers, paralegals, and administrators that make up their staff, but also to vet their potential clients. Due Diligence investigations in this sector focus on confirming an attorney’s education, their Bar Association status, any professional reprimands and/or sanctions, and their associations and affiliations. A Due Diligence check of a potential client can ensure the firm is not exposing themselves to undue risk. As a counter to this, the check can also provide valuable information on a client that might be useful in litigation. For these reasons, expect to see the Legal industry continue to deploy Due Diligence investigations in 2022 and beyond.
Trend #3 – States will continue to legislate restrictions on identifiers made public in court records.
2021 saw the states of California and Michigan pass legislation that would restrict the type and number of identifiers made available to the public through official court records. Most notably was the restriction on the inclusion of a subject’s date of birth in the record. This presents a challenge for an industry that relies on accuracy, verification, and documentation. Still, even with this emerging trend and other states signaling their disposition toward similar restrictions, TruView is able to work through the lack of a key identifier using our multi-layered sources approach.
By layering our database, court record, social media, and open source records over one another, we are able to cross reference identifiers outside of a date of birth to confirm the identity of a subject. Some examples of these identifiers include but are not limited to, middle name, home address, known associates, business addresses, etc. Since TruView doesn’t rely on sole source information, instead choosing to follow the FCRA standard of “maximum possible accuracy” through the usage of multiple, verifiable sources, in most cases, we are able to overcome such limitations imposed by state legislation.
Trend #4 – Social Media Monitoring as part of Pre-Employment Background Screening
Last year, we discussed the impact that social media monitoring could have on investigations in progress by helping to locate subjects and/or their family members, vehicles, places of residence, and so forth. In 2022, expect to see the importance of social media monitoring as it applies to pre-employment background screening grow exponentially. By enacting a social media monitoring policy, for both prior to and after hiring, companies will have an important tool for monitor employee behavior on social media channels that could carry over to the workplace, with potentially serious consequences. Monitoring social media will screen individuals for such actions as racism/sexism/intolerance, proclivity to violence, illicit drug use, illegal activity, inappropriate/in poor taste posting, bullying, and other sensitive areas. This usage will continue to set a precedent that online behavior, whether on or off hours, can have detrimental effects to a company, and therefore individual employees can be held accountable for their social media conduct by their employer. As social media monitoring is such an effective and affordable preventative measure, we expect more employers will use such tools in the year ahead.
Trend #5 – Many Background Screeners Will Continue to Roll the Dice on Litigation
Class action litigation specific to criminal background checks in the hiring process from self-proclaimed “fast turnaround” background screening companies hit an alarming 10,000+ cases in 2020 – 2021, with settlements in the millions of dollars. This doesn’t count, according to federal sources, $325 million paid by employers and background screening companies for civil litigation over background screening practices; nor does it count the cost of business disruptions. In 2022, we suspect this alarming trend will continue, as the larger providers in our industry continue to push technology-driven database criminal record searches as a substitute for FCRA-compliant local court searches with human analysis and interpretation. Database technologies are excellent tools for “layering the net” in a background screen (and TruView uses them with great effect) but, while promulgated by some as standalone searches for quick turnaround, they are merely supplemental and cannot provide the accuracy and compliance necessary. As our Clients expect, and as we have promised, TruView will continue to lead in quality service, accuracy, and compliance—we will never roll the “litigation dice”!
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TruView’s intelligence-based background screening and investigative services span nationwide and internationally.
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