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June 1, 2010

April 2010 Newsletter

How to Select a Security Firm, Understanding the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Avoiding Road Rage

April 2010                                                                                               Issue 3

This issue touches on three topics that are important to corporations and also valuable to their employees:

Selecting a Security Firm – Tom Owen, Director of Security at U.S. Security Care, Inc., provides the questions buyers should ask and the criteria they should use when evaluating potential firms.

Fair Credit Reporting Act – Greg Kirsch, Director of Investigations and Pre-employment Screening at U.S. Security Care, Inc., addresses a federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Avoiding Road Rage – Bill Addis, a former state trooper and team leader at U.S. Security Care, Inc., provides tips on how to avoid and handle enraged drivers.

If you have a security related question of any kind, please do not hesitate to contact us.  If there is a topic you would like to read about in our newsletter, write to us atpiersond@usscinc.com.

Richard Wolfson

President

U.S. Security Care, Inc.



EVALUATING SECURITY FIRMS

The need to hire experienced, qualified security personnel to protect employees and physical assets has been growing over the last few years.  Corporate leaders that need to protect their employees and assets have hundreds of firms to choose from both in the US and around the world.

Tom Owen, Director of Security at U.S. Security Care, Inc., breaks the selection process into two parts.  The first part is determining what needs to be protected.  The second part is deciding the manner and methods of achieving the desired protection.  Owen recommends the following list of considerations for each part.

Four Criteria for What Should be Protected

Owen recommends the following four criteria for determining what should be protected:

•     Intangible Asset – Proprietary business practices or product information.

•     Tangible Asset – A facility, equipment or high value objects.

•     Human – Individual or group of individuals such as an executive and/or

workforce.

•     Special Event – Venue access and the assurance of orderly conduct by attendees.

Five Considerations for Determining the Appropriate Protection

Owen suggests the following questions:

•     Can protection be provided solely by physical means?

•     Can protection be provided solely by technological means?

•     Can protection be achieved through the use of security personnel alone?

•     Is a combined physical/technology/human approach best?

•     What responsibility and priority is given to each component?

Determining a company’s security needs is very specialized and requires experienced expertise.  Owen suggests the most efficient and best way is to engage a security consultant.

“The function of a security consulting firm is multi-faceted,” said Owen. “The consultant should conduct the following assessments:

•     Current and anticipated threat and risk levels.

•     Vulnerability to the assessed threat and risk.

•     The current means and methods of mitigating vulnerabilities.

•     Recommendation of appropriate modification or upgrades to the means and

methods of mitigating vulnerability.

Once the assessment process has been completed, the selection of the product and/or service provider can begin.”

Selection evaluation should be very similar to any other “hiring” process and the following questions should be asked:

•     What are the knowledge, skills and abilities of the product or service provider?

•     Do they have the training and experience in providing the desired products

and/or services?

•     Can references (past clients) be provided?

Owen cautions buyers to be leery of smaller firms who claim to provide any and all products and services within the numerous segments of the security industry.

Owen concludes with this final warning: “Obviously the smaller the company (and corresponding number of principals and employees), the less likely it will contain personnel who have acquired the comprehensive training and experience needed to achieve a professional level of expertise in the various areas of security specialization.”

 



FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT’S IMPACT ON HIRING

 

Greg Kirsch, Director of Investigations and Pre-employment Screening at U.S. Security Care, Inc., addresses a federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), that many have heard or read about, but don’t completely understand what it means for companies and prospective employment candidates.

What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

Kirsch: “The Fair Credit Reporting Act is an Act of Congress to protect consumers when they apply for loans, jobs and certain other things.  It is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  However, it does not only regulate financial information.  The FCRA regulates the dissemination of all consumer information to third parties.  Under the FCRA, a consumer is basically an applicant, whether it is for a car loan or a job.

“The FCRA defines specific parameters on what can and cannot be reported by a Credit Reporting Agency (CRA), such as U.S. Security Care, Inc., to a third party about an applicant or consumer.  For instance, under the FCRA, arrests not resulting in conviction beyond seven-years cannot be included on a Consumer Report.  However, as a CRA, when U.S. Security Care, Inc. searches a court house for criminal records, we may in fact see non-convictions outside of that seven-year reporting period.  It is then our duty under the FCRA to not supply that information to the deciding party.

“Conviction histories have no reporting limit under the FCRA, though other adverse items that are older than seven or 10 years (depending upon the type of information) are generally banned.  Additionally, non-convictions outside of seven years can be reported if an applicant is expected to make a salary in excess of a specified amount identified in the FCRA.  There are also several states that have enacted individual state statutes to the FCRA, such as Texas, limiting all conviction history to seven years unless the expected salary is in excess of $75,000.  With all of the variations, the reporting issues can get very complicated.

How does the FCRA impact individuals?

Kirsch: “The individual’s rights are specifically outlined in the FRCA.  Whenever a consumer report is requested on an individual, a valid, signed Authorization for Release of Information form must be on file for the applicant.  Additionally, it is our recommendation to provide applicants with a copy of their Rights Under the FCRA at the time the authorization form is completed.

“If an adverse action such as a “decision not to hire” is taken on an individual based on the consumer report’s results; that individual must then be provided with:

•     Specific information outlined in the FCRA

•     Pre-Adverse/Adverse Action notice

•     A copy of the report which they are entitled to at any time

•     A copy of their rights under the FCRA

“There are also specifically defined guidelines regarding the dispute of any information found in the report by the applicant.  Within a set period of time, the CRA will engage in a re-investigation as needed regarding the disputed item and provide a follow-up report to the involved parties indicating the results.”

How does the FCRA affect employers?

Kirsch: “When potential employers request a pre-employment screening on an applicant, they immediately become a responsible party under the FCRA.  Since a CRA such as U.S. Security Care, Inc. is not aware of the actual hiring decisions and plays no role in the decision making process, the prospective employer is expected to provide applicants with the proper adverse action documentation previously mentioned when applicable.  That information contains the CRA’s contact information for dispute purposes.  As a CRA, U.S. Security Care, Inc. will engage in all of the necessary re-investigation efforts once an official dispute has been placed. Prior to that, the CRA’s primary responsibility is only to report items of official record as deemed reportable under the FCRA.”



AVOIDING ROAD RAGE

As spring gives way to summer and the economy improves, more people will be driving their automobiles.  As the highways become congested, tempers will begin to flair.  Bill Addis, a team leader at U.S. Security Care, Inc. and a former state trooper, recommends the following three strategies for avoiding road rage:

Courteous Driving

Do not cut into line or cut anyone off.  Allow other drivers to merge smoothly in front of you. Keep right and allow faster moving vehicles to pass.

Avoid Glaring and Making Rude Gestures

There is no way of knowing whether the motorist you are making faces at is  looking for someone to vent their frustrations on. The driver may have just been fired, or suffered some other significant loss that may have greatly affected his or her mood. Even if another driver does something you perceive as obnoxious, it’s better to ignore it.

Avoid Mean-Spirited Actions

Do not dart into an open parking spot that another driver was obviously waiting for.  Avoid blocking driveways or double-parking your car. Lastly, using a handicapped spot if you’re not actually handicapped is a major breach of etiquette and also against the law.

10 Ways to Avoid Enraged Drivers

Everyone makes driving mistakes, acknowledges Addis, so gesturing an apology is the best course of action.  In the event an apology is not sufficient and the driver is intent on following you or acting aggressively, below are 10 ways to avoid a physical confrontation:

  • If a person rolls down his or her window and starts cursing at you, do not respond.
  • Keep your window rolled up and avoid eye contact.
  • Drive away as soon as you can.
  • Never get out of your car to confront the individual. You could find yourself looking down the barrel of a gun, or facing someone with a baseball bat.
  • In the event you get followed, don’t drive home or stop your car. Find a police officer or police station, or use your cell phone to dial 911.
  • Let your harasser see you talking on the phone; that’s often enough to deter him or her.
  • If no police officer or police station is around and you are frightened by someone attempting to follow you, stay on well-traveled roads. Avoid pulling off onto a side street.
  • If possible, drive to a busy shopping center parking lot or public place where people are milling about. If you are followed, honk your horn repeatedly to attract someone’s attention or possibly mall security patrols. It’s unlikely your pursuer will stick with  you.
  • If you can, jot down the plate number of the car, as well as the make, model and color.
  • If the encounter seemed serious enough, file a police report.

The key to avoiding road rage is being courteous, staying calm and not being drawn into a course of action that could lead to someone being seriously hurt or worse.


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