Updates That Will Affect Your User Account Login: Multi-Factor Authentication

On 11/15/2017 we will begin requiring all user accounts to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). This is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by using a combination of two different components. The first time you log in on after this day, you will receive a 6-digit code via a method of your choosing (text, authenticator app, or email) that you will then be required to enter before you can finish logging in to your account.

For your convenience, you do not have to verify every single time you log in. You will only be prompted to re-authenticate every once in a while, to continue maintaining your device security, or whenever you log in on a new device.

The next time you log in after 11/15/2017, before you are able to access our site, you will first be prompted to choose your authentication method:

You have three options for your second authentication method: text message, authenticator app, or email.

MFA options

Text Message

If you choose text message, you will be asked to enter your phone number into the available field for where you would like to receive texts. A code will then be texted to the phone number you provided, and you will type that code in before you can finish logging in to your account.

 

Authenticator App

If you have a smartphone, you may choose to use an authenticator app. If you choose to use an authenticator app, you will receive a QR code to scan and set up your app. A code will be displayed on the app after set up, and you will type that code in before you can finish logging in to your account.

 

Email

Email is less secure than text or app, so if you choose this option, you will be prompted to certify that you do not have a device that can use the other methods and acknowledge that it is less secure. A code will then be sent to the email you provided, and you will type that code in before you can finish logging in to your account.

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Key Differences between In-House and Outsourced Background Checks

If you or your company perform background checks on tenant or employment applicants, it is important to decide whether in-house or outsourced background checks are right for you.

First, what is the difference between in-house versus outsourced background screening?

In-house background screening is when a landlord, realtor, or employer individually searches sources for background screening. A common example of this would be a landlord calling a tenant applicant’s employer to verify the applicant’s position and wage/salary. Another instance of in-house background screening would be a hiring manager visiting a county courthouse’s databases to search for records under an employee applicant’s name.

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Outsourced background screening is when a landlord, realtor, or employer hires a third-party background screening company to take care of their background checks. Typically this third-party is either a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) such as AAA Credit Screening Services, or a “Reseller” that purchases its background reports from a CRA. Processes vary from company to company, but in the case of AAA Credit Screening Services, the landlord, realtor, or employer (“client”) sends in a request along with the individual’s application and/or authorization form(s), specifying the scope and type of background check that they would like, such as a Nationwide Criminal Search or a Worker’s Compensation Report. From there, AAA Credit Screening Services procures the report information and returns it to the client requestor.

The main arguments for and against in-house and outsourcing background checks are as follows:

In-house Background Screening Pros:

  • Background checks do not have to conform to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), meaning they can include searches for information going beyond seven (7) years of history
  • No service fee, other than those charged by the sources (e.g. courthouse record clerks, high school registrar’s offices)

In-house Background Screening Cons:

  • Scope is limited to what the landlord/realtor/employer can do on their own, without the use of CRAs or Resellers. Usually this means visiting county courthouses and police departments for criminal records or contacting the applicant’s references left on their resume or application. Some counties do not have online or phone access to court or police records.
  • Background screening is a time-consuming process, especially for those who are not in the background screening industry. A single applicant’s background check can take hours of work; for a human resources worker paid the industry average of $62,960/annually, in-house background screening can be a waste of company time and resources.

Outsourced Background Screening Pros:

  • Third-party background screening companies typically have a wide scope of searches. AAA Credit Screening Services, for example, is able to perform criminal background checks at the county, state, or nationwide level. Additionally, AAA Credit Screening can obtain criminal records from foreign countries, something that is simply impossible for most individual landlords, realtors, or employers performing in-house background screening. AAA Credit Screening also has access to certain searches that are not available to most individuals, such as Social Security Number Verifications or Business Credit Reports.
  • Time and resources used on background screening are limited to the amount of time spent ordering the report and the cost of the report as purchased from the third-party background screening company. A client can purchase a Statewide Criminal Report from AAA Credit Screening and have the report turnaround in one business hour, or spend weeks of time and hundreds of dollars on court access fees, trying to search the county courthouses within the state for criminal records.

Outsourced Background Screening Cons:

  • Individuals must careful with the company they chose to perform their background checks. CRAs and Resellers who do not hold a membership with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) may be unreliable, or not conforming to industry standards, leaving clients with low-quality, unfinished, or falsified reports.
  • Third-party background screening companies must conform to the guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This means that on most searches, CRAs and Resellers can only return 7 years’ worth of history. The FCRA also requires that the client’s permissible purpose (such as tenancy, employment, extension of credit, or insurance underwriting) for background screening be determined by the CRA or Reseller before any background screening can occur. Additionally, the FCRA mandates that all consumer reports (that is, credit or background screening reports on individuals) must be authorized by the consumer, that is, the individual whose background is being reported, in writing.

AAA Credit Screening Services is not only a member with the NAPBS, but also an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and a partner of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). AAA Credit Screening Services has a global reach for background checks, able to perform searches in many locations that other companies are not. AAA Credit Screening also stays up-to-date on tenant, credit, and employment background screening laws so that its clients can be protected from undesired litigation.

To start outsourcing your background checks today, complete AAA Credit Screening Service’s new customer sign up form or call our friendly customer service staff toll free at 1-888-282-0447 to speak to a live representative during business hours.

So, you just ordered a verification….

Things to keep in mind:

1 – Turnaround times vary and are not guaranteed  clock

Verifications are rarely completed within 1 business day.  Most verifications require human interaction, not just automated computer searches.  This usually results in longer turnaround times. Our guidelines for verifications are 3-5 business days, however they are just guidelines. A minority of searches will exceed that time frame. Always call our office if you have a tight deadline and we can recommend a course of action.

2 – Results vary and are not guaranteed

A – Verifiers are not legally bound to respond to our requests.

B – Verifiers may have policies that prohibit some or all information be shared with    anyone other than the applicant.

C – Verifiers may not respond to our request.

We will always contact the verifier with the information provided to us three times.  If no response is received after three attempts, the verification will be closed.

3 – YOU are responsible for contact information  speech

It is important that your applicant provide detailed contact information for all verifications.  If we do not have a contact name and phone/fax number or email for the verifier (employer, landlord, etc.), we will be unable to fulfill your request.  We will notify you if that information is missing when your order is submitted and will close the verification request if the information is not received within 3 business days.

4 – Additional fees?!

Some verifiers charge additional fees or use a third party to complete verifications.  An example of this would be the companies THEWORKNUMBER.COM and DEGREEVERIFY.COM.  There are several others, however these two are the most common.  We will contact you if a verifier indicates there will be an additional charge to get your permission to continue with the verification and charge your account.  You may decline to proceed and the verification will be closed.

5 – Can I get a refund? coins

Our staff work diligently to get the information you require.  Once a verification has been started, no refunds will be given, regardless of the outcome of the verification.

Why do background screening companies use court documents instead of social media or Google to perform their screens?

Using entities like Facebook and Google can result in discrepancies between a person’s factual history and the information provided online.  Online records can also confuse those who are background screening as they may have common names or even have relatives in which they share a name with.  What does that mean for employers and landlords?  It means that the information found online has no promise of accuracy and can hinder and harm the selection psocial mediarocess.  In addition to these concerns, there have been cases where information presented online can be taken out of context such as the case with Sherry Sherrod, the former Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the US Department of Agriculture.  A blogger posted excerpts that were taken from an event of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which were misconstrued as racist.  The result?  Sherry Sherrod was met with demands by government officials to resign.  In short, Mrs. Sherrod turned around and sued the blogger and a co-defendant.  She was offered a higher position by the USDA but declined.

What should employers look for on background checks?

Employers should have specific goals for considering individuals with a criminal history.   For instance, the United States Department of Labor reports that nearly 2 million American employees experience violence in the work place within each year.  Employers that operate their businesses in high stress atmospheres or serve alcohol may want to contemplate hiring individuals with prior record of violent crimes.

In other cases, employers who operate their business based on a delivery system may not want to employ those with DUI records and repeat drug abuse.  As well as those records, they may also want to review the number of traffic laws broken which may sometimes appear on a person’s reported history.

In addition, unless the potential employee is on the sex offender registry, reporting agencies are legally bound to only reveal records that have occurred within the last seven years.  Going outside of these bounds may result in legality problems and lawsuits.

Another type of background screening which is often sought after includes credit history.  The results of this screening may indicate that the potential employee has had or may have questionable history of mishandling debt.  These records could go hand in hand with persons who may have a recording of theft or fraudulent charges on their criminal record.  Employers that create an environment in which the employees complete monetary transactions may want to scrutinize between applicants who have documentation on their record which indicates financial trouble.

In addition to the previously mentioned reports, employers must also take into account a person’s employment history.  Verifying the terms on which someone has left a job and whether they are qualified based on experience to take on a newly offered role can greatly affect the workplace.

So what does all of this mean for employers?  It means that employers must greatly consider in which way they differentiate between those they wish to hire and those they wish to not.   Being thorough about having a set of goals and guidelines will assist the employer in deciding in which areas they want to review of a person’s background.

As always, AAA Credit Screening is here to help determine which types of reports will best suite your needs. Give us a call today! 888-282-0447

Do errors in background checks occur?

Yes of course! Errors can occur for various reasons. AAA Credit follows specific protocols to ensure the correct information is reported, but at times there are still mistakes. That is why the FCRA best practices requires adverse acerrorstion protocols. Every applicant should know exactly what is being reported about them that may adversely affect the decision of the landlord or employer, and the applicant should be given adequate time to have a record changed if the information has an error. If an applicant states that the information being reported is an error, the applicant will need to contact the company that provided the report and have them open an investigation to get the correct information reported.

What does it mean when a Social Security Number is flagged on a background check?

A Social Security Number cannot be flagged on a background check, but mismatching information returned from SSN search may be flagged. A SSN verification and/or trace searches the Social Security Administration data base by SSN. The information thRed-Flagat is returned is name, date of issuance, validity of number, address history, and state of issuance. If the information that is returned does not match the information provided by the applicant, the results may be flagged. An employer or landlord may choose the specific circumstance that the information would need to be flagged.