Many of these groups seek to recruit, or plant people in organizations to steal information and or commit large scale frauds themselves. The reason they put these plants in organizations is to skim identities (identity theft) and to carry out embezzlement schemes. Some of these gangs are known to be violent and use coercion and threats of violence to persuade their targets to assist them. In the case of illegal aliens, it is known that they sometimes hold relatives hostage to force the illegal to do their bidding. It is also not unknown for employees to be kidnapped, or black mailed and forced to provide information and or give access to financial assets.
Here are some generic guidelines to protect any business. Since personal safety can be at stake, these are also good guidelines for an employee to evaluate their own safety in their workplace.
- Protect your employee's personal information as diligently as you protect your customers. This includes having their full names displayed anywhere where someone use the information to find out where they live.
- Personnel information and home telephone numbers should be protected and never thrown away without being destroyed. This information should be secured and limited access maintained. Often plants are in contract agencies, such as those that provide janitorial/guard services.
- Train employees with access to sensitive information and or financial assets to vary their routes to work and be wary of anyone following them.
- If one of these employees fails to show up for work and there is no apparent reason find out the reason why. Ensure you have good emergency contact information on each employee.
- Avoid letting the public be able to distinguish, which employees are new.
- Make your employees aware of gang recruitment efforts and ask that they report any attempts to a responsible party. Ensure that the employees are comfortable by maintaining strict confidentiality standards.
- Develop law enforcement contacts (Federal/Local) to determine if plants are known in your area.
- Be wary of changes in an employees financial situation, such as coming into unexplained amounts of cash.
- When applicants are applying for sensitive/responsible positions ask why they want that position and watch their demeanor when they answer.
- When doing reference checks on applicants do a reverse directory to ensure who you are calling. This can be done for free on the internet.
- Do thorough background checks, inclusive of criminal and credit records. Ensure the data on all reports matches the application and that any presented identification documents are valid. Be wary of applicants where no credit history exists, or it doesn't match other documents that show their personal history.
With all of the recent data intrusions and large scale frauds, it is imperative that the business world become more diligent in protecting their people and assets. Awareness is key and more and more, every person out there is on the front line of protecting our society at large. Should you spot any of this activity in your workplace, report it through the proper channels at work and or to the authorities.
To view a memo from the OCC on this subject, click on the title of this post.