Children know Santa Claus as a wholesome, giving, grandpa figure, and it is best he stays that way. We seem to be hearing more and more stories each year of Santa Claus getting fired and even arrested. The last thing you want your kids to see is a handcuffed Santa Claus being led away by police.
That would typically results in your kids asking you the question, “How is he going to bring us our toys if he’s in jail?” This is not an easy or fun predicament for a parent or child to be in. So what can you do to make sure you hire a safe Santa Claus?
Finding the Right Mr. Claus
First of all, how do you hire a Santa? Does he have an 800 number? Is he listed? Maybe you have a Christmas party, festive gathering, or corporate event scheduled for the holidays and a guy wearing a fake beard and red suit just isn’t going to cut it this year.
Believe it or not, there are websites dedicated to hiring Santa Claus for the holidays, and not just any Santa Claus; authentic, bearded professionals. GigMasters.com is a site that lists professional Santa’s for hire by state and city making is easy to search your area. For your Mr. Kringle needs, GigMaster understands the importance of authenticity and professionalism. After all, Santa needs to be on time, have a jolly laugh, his beard on tight, and belly on straight.
The most in demand Santas have their own websites like OldManChristmas.com. He calls his authentic visits stress-free, eliminating the long lines and crowded shopping malls. He’ll come right to your home and spend the evening with you and your family, making for great family memories and photos.
There are a number of other sites that have Santa up for hire including TheSantaGuide.com, where Mr. Kringle himself can put up his own listing and a short bio. You can search your area to narrow down the possible candidates. On The Santa Guide you can find a Santa, hire a Santa, rent a Santa, book a Santa, or reserve a Santa.
Of course, you don’t want your Christmas bash to end up in the news due to a bad Santa incident. That would put a damper on the cheerful festivities. Though we would like to think that the men behind the beards and bright red velvet are as wholesome and jolly as their characters, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, before you reserve Mr. Claus, a quick background check is in order, and maybe even a Google search (using Santa’s real name of course).
What Kind of Credibility Checks Can Be Done?
Besides a background check on Searchbug, you could also try GoodHire.com for your Santa hiring needs. They are FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) compliant and easy to use. The entire process is done online with the click of a button and you’ll receive email updates with progress reports. Of course, for Goodhire, you’ll need Santa’s consent, Social Security number, date of birth, and address, (not his North Pole address). If you’d prefer a stealth like check on his background but do not plan on making a hiring decision based on that information alone, you can hire a private investigator using the SearchBug Assisted Searches.
In either case, it only takes a few days to complete a background check, so even if you’re planning a party last minute you’ll get the results in time for Santa’s big entrance.
References are also a great way to check on Mr. Claus’ professional background. Ask for a couple of contacts that have used his services in the past. Also, contact local event planners who have used Santas and ask who they recommend. It’s always better to do the research and ask around than to end up with a disappointing experience. Shopping malls, churches, and annual festivals are good references to reach out to as well.
This is the year to take your Christmas parties to the next level. Forget the red suit and tangled up beard that is stashed in the supply closet. Give your kids a Christmas experience they’ll cherish forever. Be the hit of the town with a meet and greet at the mall or local shopping center. Sit down with Santa in your living room, book him for the fall festival, or surprise the kids at their school with a special guest. Everyone loves Santa Claus and a safe Santa is the best Santa.
Privacy is important to all of us. It’s understandable that we don’t want our personal information available to anyone and everyone. With more and more of our lives being spent online we can’t help but wonder how private our lives really are. Should we be worried about our privacy as we search the web? Let’s take a look at what search engines really know about us.
Each of us has an IP address that can be identified on every site we visit. The IP address doesn’t give away personal information about us. You could look at it as your internet address, or your domain. An “unresolved” IP looks like a domain and includes information like, location, and internet provider. Let’s say however, that you work for a company who names computers after their users; for example, jane.smith.companyname.com. This is rare and doesn’t give away anything more than a name. The most a search engine will ever know is that someone who lives in Texas and uses an identified server visited the site.
Cookies are very helpful to search engines like Google in that they give search engines insight into where your IP address pops up. They help search engines know how often users visit their site. They also give insight on each person’s behavior. These insights are available for every website owner who chooses to keep track of this data. In a nut shell, it’s a business strategy. Search engines want to know what people are interested in so that they can offer more of it.
To search engines you need to be one easily identifiable individual. This is where cookies come in. When your browser talks to Google it does so using a unique numeric ID. This is how search engines know who you are. These sites still have no personal information of yours. It simply recognizes your computer. Because, after all, your entire household could be using one computer and a site would have no way of knowing who is using it at any given moment. Cookies should not be considered a threat. They are simply gathering information about sites (not necessarily you). Its job is to report back and tell site owners what is popular and relevant to users.
Now let’s say that you give personally identifiable information to a search engine. Personally identifiable information, also known as PII, means that a company has personal information that lets them know who you are. When it comes to Google cookies, Google has no idea who you really are. They don’t know if you have blond hair or red hair, if you’re short or tall, if you are male or female. They have no idea. They only know your browser.
However, in another example, say that you are a Yahoo user and you created an account with them; giving your name, address, age, and additional information. This lets Yahoo know who you really are. Yahoo now has personal identification information on you. This means that when you’re logged in, Yahoo, or any other search engine where you’ve logged in, has your search information and your login information.
The next step for search engines is personalized search results. The first attempt at personalized search results was a flop. Yet, just because it didn’t work out the first time doesn’t mean it won’t be attempted again. Search results for this give users customized results based on their age, sex, and other personal information. Thankfully, this would require search engines to need registration from users which means that you could opt out simply by not signing up.
We’ve already seen some personalization with the search engine Bing that uses social media accounts to share with searchers what their friends are interested in and if they’ve done a similar search. We also see searches related to our current locations, giving us results in our area. For example, if you search “seafood restaurant” on Google, local results will come up in the search results.
Google and Yahoo (along with other search engines) do not collect personal information on you without your knowledge. As we covered before, creating an account with a search engine does in fact give them your personal information. Any information that Google and Yahoo collect from your account is not disclosed to a third party as stated in their privacy policies. When you do a search on Google that information is recorded. Google records the search, the time of day, the browser type, your internet address, and user ID. All of which is anonymous information. Google also does not give search histories to third parties. If you see personalized ads in your searches, that is the cookies at work.
When a company only knows you by your cookie ID you are completely anonymous. It’s only when you login to a user registration system that you become a real live individual, at which point you’ve given up your anonymity. This may sound scary, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Search engines like Google and Yahoo are big brands that are trusted by many users. These companies, along with others, have a reputation to keep up and are not looking to break the trust that their customers have in them. In the end, it’s up to you on whether you wish to keep your anonymity or not.
Modern technology has brought about a whole new realm of crime. There are crimes being committed using cell phones, computers, or any other type of mobile device using a network.
These crimes are labeled as “cybercrimes.” This is an area of illegal activity that is growing rapidly. Not only do tech savvy criminals take advantage of the convenience of modern technology, but they also can commit the crime with speed, accuracy, and anonymity, in most cases.
To give an example of the varying degree of cybercrime, it can be used to steal a person’s identity, gain secure knowledge from a computer database, place attacks on computer data and systems, delve into and access a person’s financial services, spread viruses, spread child pornography, and email scams, which are more commonly called “phishing.” This is just the beginning of a growing list of the ways that modern technology is assisting these criminals on a daily basis.
The internet is available all over the world, which gives cyber thieves a large playground to play on. The nature of the lewd acts is an expanding global problem. It has come to light that terrorists are using the World Wide Web to recruit others to join their forces. These acts have heightened the threat of security, both nationally and internationally.
The larger scale of these crimes that can be committed through cyber space, by terrorists or other individuals, leaves many, normally secure, infrastructures feeling vulnerable and insecure. These infrastructures include government computer systems, large corporation’s networks, power plants, and electrical grids, to name a few.
What used to be a small handful of individuals or small groups infiltrating these networks, has now turned into organizations and large terrorist groups. These tech savvy professionals have started working together; merging their resources and knowledge has made them a force to be reckoned with.
What is being done to Stop Cybercrime?
An organization called INTERPOL (the acronym standing for International Criminal Police Organization), which is made up of 190 countries banding together to form a network of police, is doing its part in fighting cybercrime. The advantage of this organization is to provide an international database for identifying criminals; focusing on the areas of terrorism, public safety, war crimes, crimes against humanity, piracy, drug trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, computer crime (or cybercrime), weapons smuggling, and more.
INTERPOL has a cybercrime program which provides continual training on the ever-changing faces of these illegal activities. The ways in which the organization is providing training is by exchanging information among the members of the organization through regional meetings and international conferences. The organization also provides training courses to establish professional standards and maintain these levels; it coordinates international operations, as well as assisting in them; it establishes and maintains a global contact list of officers available for cybercrime investigations; provides investigative and database services when a member country has experienced a cyber-attack; it builds partnerships with other private sectors and international organizations; it alerts the member countries when a threat has been detected; and it provides a secure internet portal for access to documents and operation information.
More importantly, the INTERPOL website provides searchable databases. A user can search databases in three categories; wanted persons, missing persons, and INTERPOL Worldwide. The wanted persons search will provide information on all wanted persons in a list along with a photo (if available) and details of the crime they committed; however, a user can also search by several different criteria, such as last name, forename, nationality, age, sex, eye color, hair color, and what country they are wanted in.
The missing persons list works the same way and providing the same search criteria. INTERPOL Worldwide will bring up a world map with the number of wanted and missing persons shown for a certain area. From there, a user can drill down by clicking on the number, and continue this process until they get to a specific region they are looking for. At that point, the options are broken down into two categories of missing and wanted; the user can click on either to get a detailed persons list, as well as a photo, if available. You can even click on the person’s “details” link to see the crime they are wanted for.
Are There Other Databases that Provide this Information?
There are other websites that will provide information on cybercrime criminals that are still at large. One of these sites is The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or better known as The FBI. The FBI site will provide a photo of the wanted criminal and a detailed description of the crime they committed. A reward is offered in some cases.
SearchBug’s new assisted investigative services can be another resource for accessing a criminal background. A background check can help you determine if a person you may potentially do business with, live next door to, work with, socialize with, friend on Facebook, connect to on Linkedin, or follow on any other social media site is connected to someone that may be wanted for a cybercrime.
A principal’s job is to ensure students are educated properly and that they are under the guidance of a safe and reliable instructor.
A thorough background check must be conducted before hiring a new teacher in order to ensure the safety of the children in a school.
It does not matter if you are a principal of a school, run a daycare, or provide tutoring services. If you manage a group of children and hire a new teacher to interact with the children then you are obligated to check into the background of each individual that you hire. While you can’t make a hiring decision based on these background checks alone it can help you get a glimpse into the person’s history.
You can start off with a basic background search on SearchBug.com. The search feature allows you to validate a person’s name and place of residence. Take things a little further using the next step to get the details of the information.
If you want to dive even deeper, you can try the new investigator services provided by SearchBug. The private investigator services now available through Search Bug allows you to conduct a thorough background check on someone. Now you won’t be left with doubt as to whether or not someone you hire is trustworthy or not. When someone is going to interact with kids you want that individual to have a clean record.
What Steps Can Be Taken to Investigate a New Teacher?
Your first priority might be to conduct a criminal background check. A person with a felony is not someone you likely want to be around children. Any misdemeanors should be looked at closely, but more than likely you don’t want someone with any type of criminal record to be around students. Private investigators have the ability to look deep into a person’s past to view any crimes committed. People have the ability to expunge criminal records such as misdemeanors from their record. This means that normal background checks might not pick up on a person’s crime in the past.
Determine the validity of a person’s resume. It’s sad but a lot of people lie on their resume in order to get a new job. Have a private investigator check the previous employment of a potential candidate for hire to verify his or her resume. Avoid hiring someone that has lied and provided false information on an application. You might not know when he or she is telling the truth and you should not have to deal with someone that you cannot trust. Trust is the most important factor to take into consideration when hiring someone that is going to be around children all day long.
Review a person’s driving record to understand how he or she operates on the road. The way someone drives can say a lot about his or her personality. You do not want someone that is aggressive and reckless taking care of children. If the potential teacher takes students on a field trip and drives then it could put them at risk. Avoid as many bad scenarios as possible to limit the chance that a child is put in danger.
Private investigators can help you make a final decision on who to hire, to teach, and to care for students. Find the best candidate possible that is a reliable, honest, and trustworthy person. The development of your students rests on a teacher’s guidance. With a small investigation you can weed out the bad candidates from the good ones and hire someone of true value.