that consumers can search by registering with the site, often at no charge.
Eakins says this type of investigative work has helped him uncover a considerable number of irregularities over the last 18 years. Falsified resumes, company fraud, executive mismanagement, EEOC issues, and even executive criminal offenses have been exposed. “We find that people tend to fudge details when we do pre-employment and background checks,” says Eakins. “At least 25% of the biographical information [we find about executives] is inaccurate.”
While fear of corporate scandals may cause investors to be more careful, Ken Janke, chairman of the National Association of Investors Corp. in Michigan, cautions consumers not to view findings such as an interruption in earnings growth as a death sentence. The rule of thumb, he says, is to have patience when investing. “Individual investors are more successful if they invest for the long term,” Janke says. “Sometimes the information on a company may be negative, but the real concern is whether it will have a long-term effect on the company.”
Janke also encourages investors to check the proxy statements of public companies to find out if any corporate actions have been made before the shareholder’s annual meeting. Proxy statements, which can be found on the company’s Website, often include votes on proposed board members, directors’ compensation, or other company matters that can impact the business.