Executive Level Background Screening

While many believe background checks are most effectively used to screen entry level employees, I respectfully disagree. I believe the most important and cost effective screenings are at the executive or key personnel level. Do not let past accomplishments nor business prowess cause you to overlook the need for due diligence when filing executive level positions.

While any instance of employee theft can have a large impact nothing will rock the core of your organization like a large scale key personnel embezzlement.

The 2016 HISCOX Embezzlement Study:

“Four of every five victim organizations had fewer than 100 employees; just under half had fewer than 25 employees.”

“More than 40% of thefts were committed by an employee in the finance/accounting function.”

“Average loss = $807,443”

“Those with the most access to and control over the money take the most. The positions with the highest frequency of embezzlement are made up of employees with the access to money or more tenured managers who oversee the financial controls.”

“The type of fraud embezzlers can commit varies by industry. What doesn’t change, however, is the need for access to funds. In the majority of cases we studied, managers were more likely than employees to steal.”

While some may be first time offenders, many had a background that indicated a level of risk. Remember to be proactive and do not let this happen simply because you failed to check.

Call BGI to learn more about Executive Level/Key Personnel Background Checks.

Tenant Background Screening:

Do you conduct background checks on your potential tenants?

BGI is often called upon to locate former renters who failed to pay rent and were evicted. Once a judgement is entered,  in an attempt to recover unpaid rent, the client request BGI locate the defendant and serve them with civil process. We start with a background check to locate their current address. In most instances we quickly find a long history of prior evictions. If the client had ran a pre-rental background check this could have been avoided.

The time, effort and cost from unpaid rent, legal fees and investigation costs could decrease dramatically by simply spending a small amount upfront on competent and comprehensive tenant screening

Remember, “Trust but verify.”

Call BGI to learn more.

Social Media Investigations and Digital Forensics

When it comes to spying on social media sites, getting a screenshot of a Facebook post just doesn’t cut it. In many cases, you will need to establish relevance before you investigate a site, and you’ll need more than just a person’s posts—you’ll need the underlying metadata.

As I have said many times, do not rely on screenshots as evidence in court. While it may get you some initial traction, if challenged, it will not hold up.

If you locate evidence of wrongdoing on social media contact the digital forensic experts at BGI Associates. We will help you by properly authenticating and preserving the evidence for later presentation. Whether you are an employer, plaintiff in a civil proceeding or a spouse you must properly collect and preserve any relevant evidence.

If you proceed without taking such steps and your evidence is thrown out, not only will you lose, you may be subject to sanctions and fines.

Call  BGI to learn more.

USE CAUTION make sure they are LICENSED

Unfortunately, even in our industry it is not uncommon for an individual to represent themselves as a licensed investigator, when in fact they are not licensed to provide Professional Investigation Services. In Michigan it is a Felony to provide unlicensed investigative services.

Do your homework and use common sense when acquiring investigation services. If it does feel right it most likely is not. Be cautious of clandestine meetings in parking lots, cash only payments or checks written to individuals and not a business.

Do your homework. Ask questions. Do they have a formalized office space or website? Do they have standardized forms? Do they work from investigative retainers? Do they provide payment receipts?

You can also check them out at the link below. Remember to always make sure the License is in their name.

Verify a Michigan PI License…

Background Check Reminder:

Whether employment or partnership based, it is important to exercise due diligence prior to solidifying any formal business relationship.

In today’s tech world and considering our increasingly transient workforce, it is essential to remember you can never underestimate the intentions of a prospective employee. It is not overly presumptive nor should it be offensive to exercise caution in such circumstances.

“To whom much is entrusted, much should be required.” – unknown

It is also important to note there is a distinct difference between an “on-line” background check and an actual background investigation. When something so important as your brand and reputation are on the line, it is important you invest in someone you can trust.

Hiring an agency to conduct your background checks should start by building a professional relationship with your investigator. If you are simply directed to a registration page in order to obtain a user name and password, you may have contacted the wrong agency.

In most if not all industries developing a personal relationship with your service provider is considered desirable and instills greater confidence in the consumer. Being on a “first name basis” with your builder, mechanic, baker or chef remains a desirable way to conduct business. The background business should be no different.

There is a reason you have to arrive early and often wait in line. They are good at what they do and you can trust them.

BGI is such an agency.

Word of caution: Due diligence investigations

When retaining professional services it is very important to ensure the business or individual you are hiring is licensed to provide such services. Exercising due diligence in any business relationship is of utmost importance. Even when retaining investigative or other legal services, the provider may not be appropriately licensed or insured.

Here are some simple suggestions for conducting further research.

  • Online research: Does the individual/business have a formalized business name, website, social media pages, a blog or YouTube page? (Be wary of stock photos)
  • michigan.gov: Conduct a business entity or professional license check. If an individual provides a professional license number, but they are not specifically named on the professional license, proceed with caution.
  • Formalized office space: While not mandatory, it is very reassuring when a provider has a professional office space. This is an excellent indicator of the stability and professionalism of any service provider. Make sure you initially meet your provider at his/her office. The condition and location of their office will go a long way towards ensuring you will receive work performed to your level of expectations.

While these are just a few of the many methods you can use to protect yourself from being defrauded, simple common sense can go a long way. Always be weary of a “braggart” and a price that is too good to be true, usually is.

If ever in doubt or you need help conducting your due diligence check, give BGI a call. We would be glad to help.

Learn more at BGIassociates.com


Eight Dollars?

In most of life “too good to be true” is quite obvious. Especially when you are purchasing products and legal or professional services. It is usually easy to convince the average consumer that  “you get what you pay for.”

Often these decisions are made based on personal needs. However, when we are responsible for personnel and manufacturing or producing products for others, most understand increased expectations require increased due diligence.

While this expectation is applied to consumable or durable goods and professional services, seldom do most apply this same logic to organizational safety.

One of the largest responsibilities an administrator, director or manager has is to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for their employees and customers. This increases production, limits liability, enhances safety and helps maintains profitability. This is why the hiring process is such an important part of a successful organization. One of the first steps to ensuring such an outcome is comprehensive employment background screening.

Why do so many continue to stake the reputation of their brand and the safety of employees and customers on an $8 background check?

What do you honestly think you get for $8?

What you will get is a computer generated document consisting of information generated from data bases containing only a small percentage of publicly available information. By best estimates, less that 20% of criminal history information is available through such databases.

In most instances this document will actually contain a statement similar to the following:

“This is NOT a CONSUMER REPORT and does not constitute a “consumer report” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). This report may not be used to determine the eligibility for credit, insurance, employment or any other purpose regulated under the FCRA.”

Essentially, you got what you paid for.

The return on investment from comprehensive employment background screening is widely known. While there are some who bypass the process all together, once you acknowledge the need and importance, your process must reflect the importance of your obligation.

If you want to know more about what you get online vs what we provide please call BGI at (616)239-1040.

You can also check us out at www.bgiassociates.com

Digital Forensics

It is increasingly common for digital evidence to be used in court to determine the innocence or guilt of a particular individual. Regrettably, it is not uncommon for an innocent person to be convicted or a guilty person to be acquitted because of digital evidence.

There are several reasons fort this. While the evidence might be compelling at first glance, it could be misleading. The defendant may also have limited financial resources to rebut the evidence. In some instances a defense attorney without prior digital forensic experience may misread the evidence.

Regrettably, some defendants are pleading guilty based on what appears to be overwhelming hearsay digital evidence without robust defense rebuttal. In these cases, the defense attorney

whose job it is to analyze the evidence, may simply not understand it. This is why external digital forensics consultants can be so important.

Do not allow digital evidence to be presented against you that you have not independently evaluate for accuracy. Your freedom may depend on it.

Learn more at BGI

It can happen to you

Over the weekend ISIS published a listed of U.S. churches in all 50 states urging its followers to strike at Christmas time.

We have been watching our allies in Europe experience violence in the name of Jihad at an unprecedented level. The terrorists have claimed responsibility for the murder of a French priest on Christmas day, the truck attack German Christmas Market, a similar truck attack in Nice, and last years attacks in multiple locations in Paris.

Although this is not a new phenomenon, it is a growing one. In early 2015 two members of the U.S. military stopped an Islamist attacker on a train in Belgium. While there is debate about the attackers’ motivation, his violent intentions were never in doubt. The actions taken by two trained US military personnel saved the lives of many. Training makes a difference.

Attacks such as these will only increase in frequency and severity. While we defeat ISIS and terrorists’ abroad, ISIS has openly pledged to go underground and spread small scale attacks all over the USA.

“On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California..” CNN

“Sep 18, 2016 – ISIS wing claims responsibility for Minnesota mall attack..” CNN

There are two primary things we can do to help stem this tide. First, you must Report Suspicious Activity to local law enforcement. Secondly, you should train and be prepared in the event it happens to you.

Where do you train? How do you stay prepared?

BGI offers Active Shooter Awareness Training to local businesses and organizations who want their staff to be prepared. Our training is universally applicable to workers, managers, students, parishioners, or any interested member of the public. BGI’s Active Shooter Awareness Training Course provides guidance to staff members so they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation. The material provides recommended actions for individuals to take should they be confronted with an active shooter situation.

As an employer you must also remember your obligation under the OSHA general duty clause.An employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate that hazard.” Potential workplace violence or active shooter are such situations. Since this is the case, an employer needs to make training available and reasonable safeguards must be put in place.

Now is the time to stop thinking it cannot happen here.

Learn more at BGI about how you can help keep those that depend on you safer.


Awareness is your best prevention tool.

An awareness of the workplace violence spectrum along with knowledge of prevention and response strategies help increase safety in the workplace.

Always take security measures and be prepared.

Workplace violence will continue to haunt all of our industries. If employees are trained on how to respond and have response plans and procedures to follow, then they can better protect themselves and ultimately be more productive.

Workplace violence awareness and preparedness training should be a part of every organizations current training schedule.

Let BGI work with you to help created a safer environment for your workers, manager and customers. 

Contact BGI today at (616)239-01040 or email us at info@bgiassociates.com

Check us out ay BGI