In his 10 years in dirty laundry, Chris Dyer has seen it all, investigating the backgrounds of between 200,000 and 333,000 individuals by his reckoning.

The trend of late is an epidemic of lying.

“Given the recession, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the last year of applicants who have gone off the path with telling the truth,” he said from his PeopleG2 Inc. office in Orange County, Calif. His company counts clients throughout the tristate region, notably “a lot in New York City,” north to Pine Bush and the Capital District, and extensively in Fairfield County, Conn.

“People say they have a certain degree and they don’t,” Dyer, 35 and the company CEO, said with the surety of someone who will find you. “They say they were a manager when they weren’t. They’re taking a big chance with their reputations.”

He’ll check you out for as little as $10 to $15 or he’ll put you through the wringer for $250 – the Platinum Plan. Contracts, he acknowledges, cross a broad spectrum of applicant numbers and depth of curiosity. As he spoke, the ink had just dried on a deal to investigate would-be West Coast EMTs.

It can be funny at times, he says: “You would not believe the level to which people will misrepresent themselves on a resume. For our own employees  who have just started, some of it can be funny for perhaps the first hundred. The level of dishonesty; they can’t believe it.”

The danger could not be clearer. The new hire who has lied and who is now in over his or her head or an under-qualified manager or a big rig driver with a checkered driving record in another state.

Dyer puts great stock in human contact, chatting up contacts. He knows, he says, the value of spoken inflection and the value of how questions are asked. “You get people talking.”

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