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11 June 2008 16:13:25

Background Check Is The First Line Of Security

In the last two editions of CASTLES, Homeland Security, examined the dynamics of an inside job, and

one recurring fact is the need to know the character of employees either in corporate organizations or in

domestic settings. This week, we explore the effectiveness of background checks as a preventive

measure against fraud, in an exclusive interview with the MD, Background Check International (BCI).

Excerpts.

What is BCI?

BCI stands for Background Check International, an organization that specializes in the investigation of

individuals' background. We are the arrowhead of the background check industry in Nigeria. It was

established in 2004, but we started business fully on April 1st 2005. Just as the name suggest, we check

the background of individuals. Our vision is to enhance competence and minimize chances of fraud and

dishonesty in business practices and daily living. To this end, our mission is to restore high standard of

integrity and moral rectitude in the society through unbiased and prompt diligence.

What is the scope of BCI operation?

BCI specializes in full service Background Check, Employment Screening, Claims

Verification, Risk Assessment/ Management, Vital documents verification and intelligence services. Our

services are derived from our specializations: we conduct Employees Background Check, that is pre-

employment investigations; Tenant Background Check (TBC) and a variety of other background check

services for corporate organizations regarding their clients or employees including International

Background Check (IBC), Clients/Customers background Check (CBC) Previous Employer Check (PEC),

Personal Reference Check (PRC), and Personality Background Check (PBC). We also do

Educational/credential Verification (ECV) professional Certificate Verification (PCV) Address Tracing

report (ATR), Address Confirmation Report (ACR) Vital Documents verification (VDV) and Risk

Management Intelligence Report (RMIR)

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Is there really a need to check background of individuals in our society?

The problem with our society is people do things at face value. In every facet of our society, we have to

deal with other individuals that we know little or nothing about their background. This has given birth to

people coming up with fake identities and avoidable fraud. This is why it is very important for people to

always background check the people you relate with. Whether you talk about employee-employer

relationship or Tenant-Landlord whatever form of relationship, it is always necessary to check the

background of the other party. If for instance you employ drivers, you need to be sure of the true

identity of who you are about to employ. Once you have information as regard such person(s), it goes

along way to determine how you make your decision.

How relevant is Background Check in our society today?

If there is any society that background check is so relevant and important, it is our society here in

Nigeria, because we have a lot of sharp practices going on around us. Let's start with employment.

Because of the high rate of employment in the society, people are ready to falsify information and come

up with exaggerated resumes. Because the jobs are just not forthcoming, someone that just graduated

2 years ago when he applies for a job where 5 to 7 years working experience is required, beefs up his

resume with false facts. Once he's employed he fails to deliver, because he lacked the requisite

experience.

Letting out properties to tenants which is another area that background check is vital, people let out

their properties on face value and on monetary value, on the basis of “the first person that can make

payment for the property gets it”. Some people have actually paid dearly for this. There had been an

extreme case where a tenant actually got to the point of selling the house he rented, posing as the

owner. It was after the prospective buyers had made payment to the wrong person that they discovered

the house was not even for sale in the first instance. That's why all over the country home owners are

defacing their properties with caveat emptor signs (Beware this house is not for sale, Beware of 419) to

scare away fraudsters. They could spare themselves all this trouble by simply running a check on a

prospective tenant's background. On a personal level, how much do you know of the man you want to

go into business with or the man manning your gate. We need to be more security-conscious and take

background check serious in our society.

Who are your target clients?

We work for corporate organizations and individuals as well. And our services are quite affordable.

Do you think you have what it takes to do a thorough job?

As at the moment we have not less than seven banks that are subscribing to BCI. In the aviation sector,

we can talk of about four companies subscribing to our services. The same goes for the manufacturing

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sector. We also have countless individuals coming in to check their drivers and others to check their

prospective tenants.

These are all testament of our competence. Of course, what we do depends on how far our clients want

us to go, this in turn determine the charge fee. We are trained professionals with background experience

in Human Resources, law, Intelligence Services, Statistics and research methodologies and Human

Capital development. So we have all it takes to run a standard Background Check organization. We have

the professional competence and superior knowledge to explore and fulfil client's request. We are not a

half-baked organization; we pioneered the background check industry in Nigeria, which makes us the

leader in the industry. We are also the first background check organization in Nigeria and the first

African member of National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) the global body

for the industry, based in the United States of America. We are also in partnership with Covenant

Security International, Virginia, USA.

What is the reach of BCI?

Currently BCI maintains a Lagos head office, but we conduct background Check all over the country and

even beyond. We get requests coming in from all corners of this country. We have worked for clients in

South Africa; we have worked on assignment in Ghana and in Europe. Inspite of our presence in Lagos,

BCI works nationwide and globally, anywhere an assignment takes us.

What's your view about insider attack?

According to a survey conducted in the United States, at least 70% of lost revenue in most organizations

is due to insider complicity; this fact is relevant to Nigeria because 70% to 80% of bank robberies that

take place in this country is due to insider's involvement, that's why bullions vans can be attacked just

at the time it is bringing in the money, because some one told them the specific time it will be arriving.

Between 2001 and 2003, Nigerian Banks lost about N34 billion to insider abuse and involvement.

The survey also reflects that at least 33% of job applicants always submit forged certificates or

exaggerated resumes. Of course if they eventually succeed in getting the job, anyone that forged a

document to get in, there is nothing to stop him from forging another document on the job. So an

insider attack is pervasive in our society-at homes and in the office. Its about time we wake up to that

fact.

Your advice to Nigerians about their security?

Background Check is actually, the first line of security. Animals do not commit crimes; and criminals are

not from outer space. They are our neighbours, our relatives, some of them are our church members, or

people we meet in the mosques. We relate with them on a daily basis. It is very important you don't

take people at face value. Let us start getting that security-consciousness by knowing one or two cogent

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facts about the people around us. You don't need to wait till things go out of control and a criminal act

has been committed.

It is the process of background check that can unravel past behaviour of a prospective tenants or

employee. Such information would then be useful as a guide to your future interaction with them. We

need to move from the point of naivety to a state of being informed. Possession of information gives you

power.

My advice to Nigerians is to always check the background of people working for them, the people you

have business dealings with, the people you are renting your properties to, even someone you want to

get married to, so that if he told you he's a medical doctor overseas, you would not discover to your

dismay later, that he was just a lab technician.

Background Check International is located at 27 Adeniji Street, Ogba GRA, Ogba Ikeja, Lagos.

Tel: 234-1-79-20805

Email: bci@bcilimited.com