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为孩子寻找保姆和保姆的网站再次面临背景调查的批评

Care.com 是一个帮助家庭为孩子寻找保姆和保姆的网站,该网站因波士顿的背景调查失误而受到批评。根据波士顿 FOX 25 WFXT 新闻台的报道,该网站未能标记一名因欺诈和身份盗窃而被判重罪的女性。

这一事件并不是 Care.com 第一次因糟糕的背景调查而受到抨击。此前有几次,家长们指责该网站未能标记有严重犯罪历史的看护人。不过,到目前为止,该公司尚未对其背景调查政策做出任何重大改变。

波士顿事件涉及一对夫妇聘请了一位评价很高的保姆来照看他们的孩子。直到他们发现信用卡账户上有一些可疑的费用,父母才意识到有什么问题。这一发现导致看守人被捕——这显然不是该女子第一次触犯法律。相反,WFXT 的报告指出,这位来自佐治亚州的看守“多年来一直在亚特兰大地铁监狱进进出出”。

报告没有说明这位亚特兰大女子过去曾因何种罪行服刑。对于最近在波士顿发生的事件,她被指控犯有六项重罪欺诈罪,并对所有六项罪名认罪。她将面临 25 年的监禁,法庭将要求她向受害者支付赔偿金。

换句话说,这个特殊情况已经结束。然而,更大的问题——通过 Care.com 的背景调查——仍然非常活跃。Care.com 的工作原理是让父母从不同层次的背景调查中进行选择,以筛选他们未来的保姆。这些等级包括“初步背景调查”、“犯罪记录检查”、机动车辆记录检查选项、将机动车辆检查和犯罪记录检查配对的选项,以及“犯罪调查加检查”。

WFXT 的报告没有说明父母在波士顿案件中使用的背景调查。但是,文章确实说,看护人向雇用她的家庭提供了不准确的姓名。结果,文章说,“家庭支付的背景调查是没有用的。” 在某些情况下,这样的陈述是准确的。对于基于姓名的背景调查程序,申请人有时会通过提供虚假姓名使其雇主难以挖掘犯罪历史信息。

然而,根据 Care.com 网站的说法,每个背景调查层都包含一个“社会安全号码跟踪”。根据 Care.com 网站上的描述,这种类型的检查用于“确定哪些姓名和地址与特定社会安全号码的使用相关联”。描述继续,指出 SSN 检查“用于帮助研究人员确定应搜索犯罪记录的司法管辖区”,并指出“如果社会安全号码未经验证返回,则令人担忧其余部分是否正在以准确的信息进行检查。”

由于社会安全号码追踪被认为是Care.com最基本的背景调查的一部分,因此该公司的研究人员应该能够确定这个特殊案例中的看护人在她的名字上撒谎。除非发生这种不太可能发生的情况,即该女子拥有社会安全号码和她的假名,否则她的谎言本应在背景调查的审查下崩溃。事实上,他们根本没有回避 Care.com 是否进行背景调查的问题。

This incident doesn't mark the first time that Care.com has come under fire for lousy background checks. On several previous occasions, parents have taken the website to task for failing to flag caretakers with serious criminal histories. So far, though, the company has yet to make any significant changes in their background check policies.

The Boston incident involves a couple who hired a highly rated babysitter to watch their children. The parents didn't realize anything was wrong until they spotted a few suspicious charges on their credit card accounts. That discovery led to the arrest of the caretaker—evidently not the first time that the woman has had trouble with the law. On the contrary, the WFXT report noted that the caretaker, who hails from Georgia, has "been in and out of metro Atlanta jails for years."

The report did not say what crimes the Atlanta woman had served time for in the past. For the most recent incident in Boston, she was charged with six counts of felony fraud and pleaded guilty to all six counts. She will face a sentence of 25 years in prison and will be required by the court to pay restitution to her victims.

In other words, this particular case is closed. The larger issue, though—with the Care.com background checks—is still very much alive. Care.com works by letting parents choose from different tiers of background checks with which to screen their prospective babysitters. These tiers include the "Preliminary Background Check," the "Criminal Records Check," an option for a Motor Vehicle Records Check, an option that pairs the Motor Vehicle Check and the Criminal Records Check, and an "Investigative Criminal Plus Check."

The WFXT report didn't note which background check the parents used in the Boston case. However, the article did say that the caregiver provided inaccurate names to the families who hired her. As a result, the article said, "the background checks the families paid for were useless." In certain cases, such a statement would be accurate. For name-based background check processes, an applicant can sometimes make it difficult for his or her employers to dig up criminal history information by providing a false name.

However, according to the Care.com website, every single background check tier includes a "Social Security Number Trace." This type of check, per the description on the Care.com website, is used "to determine what name(s) and addresses are associated with the use of a particular Social Security number." The description continues, stating that the SSN check "is used to help researchers determine the jurisdictions under which criminal records should be searched," and concludes by noting that "if a Social Security number comes back unverified, it raises concerns as to whether the remainder of the check is being run with accurate information."

Since the Social Security Number Trace is supposedly performed as a part of even Care.com's most basic background check, the company's researchers should have been able to determine that the caregiver in this particular case was lying about her name. Barring the unlikely scenario where the woman had Social Security Numbers to go along with her false names, her lies should have collapsed under the scrutiny of a background check. The fact that they didn't begs the question of whether or not Care.com ran a background check at all.

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