Archive for November, 2015

Fentanyl Laced Heroin Killing People at a Record Pace

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

74 Overdoses reported in Chicago during a 72-hour Period

Heroin laced with fentanyl is killing people at a record rate across the nation, especially in Chicago. Recently, 74 people in the Windy City overdosed on fentanyl-laced heroin in a three day period. This is more than double the same three-day period last year. However, the problem is not limited to Chicago. According to the DEA, during a period from late 2013 through 2014, there were at least 700 fentanyl-related deaths nationwide. As a result, the DEA issued a nationwide health alert in March.

This increase in heroin overdoses is attributed to users obtaining heroin that was cut from fentanyl, which is a very strong synthetic narcotic, according to Diane Hincks, the emergency room director at Mount Sinai, which is a Chicago based hospital. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cutting fentanyl with street-sold heroin amplifies its potency to life-threatening levels. Effects can include respiratory depression and arrest, unconsciousness, coma and death. The last major outbreak of fentanyl-related deaths took place between 2005 and 2007, killing more than 1,000 people across the country. Dozens in the Chicago area died of overdoses, stated the Chicago Tribune.

Screening Companies Pay $16.5 million in Fines, Penalties, and Restitution for Multiple Violations

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

TeleCheck Agrees to pay $3.5 million to settle FCRA Violations

TeleCheck Services, Inc., a Houston based consumer reporting agency (CRA), along with its associated debt-collection entity, TRS Recovery Services, Inc., have agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This settlement matches the second largest fine paid by Certegy Check Services, Inc. earlier this year for similar violations.

TeleCheck compiles consumers’ personal information and uses it to help retail merchants throughout the United States determine whether to accept consumers’ checks. Under the FCRA, consumers whose checks are denied based on information TeleCheck provided to the merchant have the right to dispute that information and have TeleCheck investigate and correct any inaccuracies.

The FTC’s complaint alleges, among other things, that TeleCheck did not follow proper dispute procedure, including refusing to investigate disputes. The complaint also alleges that TeleCheck failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of the information it provided to its merchant clients as required by the FCRA, and failed to promptly correct errors on consumers’ reports.

In addition, the complaint alleges that TRS, which handles consumer debt taken on by TeleCheck and furnishes information about consumers to TeleCheck, violated the requirements of the FTC’s Furnisher Rule, which requires entities furnishing information to CRAs to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information provided. The order settling the FTC’s charges requires TeleCheck and TRS to alter their business practices to comply with the requirements of the FCRA and the Furnisher Rule in the future. This case is part of a broader initiative to target the practices of data brokers, which often compile, maintain, and sell sensitive consumer information. Consumer reporting agencies like TeleCheck are data brokers that sell information to companies making important decisions about consumers, such as their ability to get credit or pay for goods and services by check.

Screening Companies Pay $13 million in Restitution and Civil Penalties

General Information Services and its affiliate, Inc., agreed to pay $13 million in restitution and fines to settle charges by CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) that they violated FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) by failing to ensure their reports had accurate information about job applicants. According to the CFPB, the two companies did not have policies to ensure the accuracy of the information obtained by them for criminal history and civil records checks for people with common names since there was no middle name requirement and no audit process.

As a result, the CFPB stated that nearly 70 percent of complaints filed by job applicants about the criminal history in their background checks resulted in a change or correction. Job applicants reported that the errors included inaccurate criminal records, crimes that had been expunged or dismissed, and misdemeanors reported as felonies, according to the CFPB.

Although the South Carolina-based companies did not admit to wrongdoing, they did signed a consent order with the CFPB to pay $10.5 million or $1,000 per person to affected job applicants and a $2.5 million civil penalty. The companies, which generate more than 10 million job applicant reports annually, also agreed to establish a written process to ensure information obtained during their background checks were accurate.

A minor mistake, a careless oversight or a small violation may not seem important, but when it comes to the background screening process these trivial errors have cost employers millions of dollars in fines, penalties, judgments, lawyer fees and lost time. As a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), Global Safety Network (GSN) understands, follows and advises our clients on compliance and regulations while establishing a legally defensible process to ensure that even the small errors won’t cost you big bucks. Call GSN today to learn more about our Background Screening Solutions customized for your business and industry.


The Effects of Cocaine

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. It produces short term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness, in addition to potentially dangerous physical effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

GRAND FORKS, ND – Cocaine (COC), also known as benzoylmethylecgonine (BE), is a strong addictive stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. An estimated 36 million Americans have used cocaine in the past, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Cocaine is commonly snorted and inhaled or smoked in the form of crack-cocaine. Crack is simply a smokeable form of cocaine and gets its name because when smoked, the baking powder residue left in it crackles.

Essentially, any psychoactive drug hits the brain quicker when smoked than any other method. The heat eliminates the other ingredients, so the user gets high grade cocaine. The Crack trend really pushed the acceleration of cocaine use in the USA. Cocaine can also be injected into the veins; however, this is the least common method currently used. In 2013, there were 1.5 million current cocaine (including crack) users age 12 or older, according to NSDUH.

Effects of Cocaine
Mental effects, which can begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes, include loss of reality, feeling of euphoria, or agitation. Signs, Symptoms and Risks Physical signs, symptoms and risks may include:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Large pupils
  • High blood pressure and body temperature
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Lung problems, when smoked
  • Blood infections
  • Sudden cardiac death

An estimated 36 million Americans have used cocaine in the past. – NSDUH

After only short period of use, there is a high risk that addiction will occur. It is estimated that one million users tried cocaine for the first time during the past year.