How many of you have heard of sextortion? I have to admit it was a new term for me. Well, a huge sextortion case was revealed this week in a small community near Terre Haute, Indiana. And it has been tagged the largest sextortion case to date.
Richard Finkbiner has been charged with intercepting hundreds of sexually explicit photos of teenage boys that they thought were being sent across a private chatroom network. Finkbiner used social media to identity and track down the boys and then threatened to use the intercepted videos to turn them into “gay porn stars” unless they agreed to make videos and send them to him. This is a developing case with charges filed in Indiana and Michigan but federal prosecutors believe there could be hundreds of victims.
So let’s look at two lessons Finkbiner has taught us:
- Sex offenders will take tremendous risk to satisfy their evil desires; and
- Richard Finkbiner will not show up in most background checks.
Both lessons are frightening. It is true that sex offenders are highly motivated.
The reason that this case will not show up in most of your background checks is because you are relying on cheap, instant database searches. Even organizations doing quality criminal records checks are at risk of missing this sex offender.
Why? Because this case is a federal crime. Remember the difference between state and federal courts? If not, here is a refresher.
The federal courts are not synonymous with national. The federal courts deal with crimes committed against the U.S. which in the past tended to be white collar crimes or more recently acts of terrorism.
However, over the past 10 years we have seen a growing number of drug cases and internet crimes (sexual exploitation, child solicitation, identity theft, fraud, etc).
The majority of volunteer organizations are not receiving any data from the federal courts because they are relying on a $10 instant criminal background check. You would be about as well off to flush the $10 down the toilet.
The federal courts must be searched separately. The great news is it is very inexpensive to conduct federal criminal record checks.
So unless we have added the federal search to our package, we run the risk of allowing the Finkbiners of the world into our organization. It is not work the risk to save less than $5.
Yes, for the price of a supersized meal at McDonalds you could protect yourself against Finkbiner.
Criminal background screening is not a commodity nor is it just a “feel good” program. It is serious business that requires serious commitment.