How to Make it Easier for a Background Investigator to Contact You
It seems every day we hear a new story about some company or government agency getting hacked by unknown perpetrators who steal sensitive identity or financial information. Think…….Yahoo, LinkedIn, Oracle, Target, State Department, Office of Personnel Management, and the Internal Revenue Service just to name a few. As a result, we follow the advice of experts who give us tips such as putting a freeze on our credit accounts, never giving out personal or financial information over the phone, and verifying the identity of individuals who try to solicit information.
Now imagine you are a background investigator trying to complete checks for a security clearance applicant. You have a badge that identifies you as a representative of the Office of Personnel Management (or some other agency) and an electronically signed release form the applicant that says you can obtain information about them. Everyone cooperates and gives you what you need, piece of cake, right? Wrong! In today’s world where paranoia about hackers and impersonators trying to steal your information abound, background investigators are finding it more challenging than ever to get even the simplest checks done. For agencies like the CIA, NSA, or NRO whose investigators are making follow-up calls and checks for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access requests, they cannot even disclose to the source as to who they work for. Just the other day I got a call from an SCI access applicant concerned about an investigator from an unnamed three letter agency who asked her to unfreeze her credit accounts so that they could run a credit check for the investigation.
Here are some tips for security clearance applicants and those undergoing upgrades, periodic reinvestigations, or SCI access processing:
- Ensure all of the contact information for the sources you list on the SF-86 are accurate and up to date, and then make them aware you are undergoing the clearance process and that they may be contacted by an investigator.
- If you put a freeze on your credit accounts, prior to completing and releasing your e-QIP, take the freeze off for 30 days and ensure you are monitoring your accounts for any unusual activity during that time.
- If previous employers you worked for have a company policy where a specific company release of information must be signed in order for them to provide any information then get it done with the company directly so that when the investigator makes contact there is no delay in obtaining the required information.