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.

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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.

Online Databases: What is falling through the cracks

If you want to know something in the information age, it is usually right at your fingertips.
Since we are oncrackse web search away from knowing the life expectancy of a bob cat or the proper way to install hardwood flooring, it may come as a surprise that criminal records aren’t as readily available.

While some courts do have online databases that an employer or landlord can search for criminal or civil records, and there are some databases that compile information from multiple sources, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of criminal records – 70% – are NOT available in the form of online searches. Where does this leave you, the employer or landlord? There are two options: first, you could use a consumer reporting agency, such as AAA Credit Screening, for your criminal reporting. AAA Credit Screening’s nationwide, statewide, and countywide reports include those records you DON’T see in your online searches, with the up-to-date information that you need to make your hiring or rental decision.

The second option is to take a chance – maybe your applicant’s legal history won’t be a part of the 70% of assault, robbery, or other records that fall through the cracks of online databases. However, this is a big chance to take when it is your workplace or property at stake – so be sure to choose wisely.

So-Called “Free” Background Screening

When looking for a background screening service on any given search engine, what will come up time and time again in your search are the advertisements for so-called “free” background checks. This begs the question: why pay a background screening company, such as AAA Credit Screening, for their services, when you could simply pull a free report off of one of these websites? Listing their services as frfreeee and easy to use, wherein you can initiate a full search right off the homepage, these websites make it seem like a background check is just a simple click away!

Things that aren’t specified on the “free” background screening websites? What is actually included their “background checks.” Often, “background check” is a vague, catch-all term used by these companies; it is a term that often doesn’t even specify what the scope or purpose of a search is before you conduct it. It could be anything, from a public records search to a motor vehicle report, a county criminal report to a bankruptcy search. This can be confusing to anyone who needs a report for a specific purpose, such as to verify that an applicant does not have a criminal record, nationwide.

A second troubling aspect of these “free” services is their dishonest nature. The majority of these websites will allow a search to be initiated for free, show that there are records associated with an individual’s name, and then, upon trying to obtain more information, will prompt the user to pay money for the full report, which would show any actually relevant or necessary details. These details can be especially important to criminal reporting, such as whether the crime committed was driving 5 MPH over the speed limit or if it was armed robbery, whether the offender’s name was Jon J. Smith or John P. Schmidt, or whether the offender was found guilty or the case was dismissed.

A final problem with “free” background check services? The often-overlooked disclaimers. The reason why you can search for an applicant’s name on the homepage of these websites is because of the fine print text that they put at the bottom of the screen: You cannot use these reports for employment screening, consumer credit decisions, tenant screening, or any other purpose that may require FCRA compliance. Essentially, this means that unless you are an individual looking for their own record, you can get into serious legal trouble for using these websites. Why? Firstly, because they don’t require the authorization of the applicant. This violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires all consumer reporting agencies to have the applicant’s permission when furnishing a report. Secondly, because these databases aren’t reviewed, the case records aren’t verified for accuracy, and many of the things that will come up on the report will be out-of-date or simply incorrect.

Relying on a report from a “free” background screening services may seem like a good idea at first, but upon closer examination, but in the end, you always get what you pay for. In this case, that is nothing worth value. These reports are often completely useless, if not because of their inaccuracies, then often because they are searching the wrong areas or not searching for the right kind of record. In the end, to get your report, the company will likely require you to pay a fee anyway, relying on deceptive advertising to convince you otherwise. After paying for the report, you will find its contents irrelevant, as you find out that you cannot legally use the report for the reason you needed it. The biggest difference that separates these companies from consumer reporting agencies such as AAA Credit Screening is the quality of service. From start to finish, AAA Credit Screening provides you with consultation as to the report options that are available to you. Instead of trying to deceive you with hidden fees or confusing language, AAA Credit Screening will confirm your purpose for screening the report before you pay; our reports can be used for all permissible purposes under the FCRA, including consumer credit decisions, employment, and tenant screening. Friendly and capable staff will review every report before it reaches your screen, confirming the accuracy of the information you are receiving.

For more information on AAA Credit Screening, and how YOU can start screening your applicants today, visit us at www.hrbackground.com or give us a call at 1-888-282-0447!

How can you find previous addresses or counties without asking the applicant to write them down? The answer may be simpler than you think.

If you’re an employer or landlord with some applicant-screening savvy, you’ll know that county criminal reports are the most accurate and up-to-date records of criminal history that you can find. While county criminal reports may take a few business days to complete, the non-instant turnaround time is compensated for by the detail and precision of information found on the record.

The one problem with county criminal reports, though, is coverage. When you run a statewide criminal report, you are covering all areas that report to the state. The same goes for when you are running a nationwide criminal report; you get a report that covers most states and territories within the United States. There are, however, gaps in these reports. Not all county courthouses or police departments report to the state, and not all states report to the nationwide databases. How, then, do you get a fully comprehensive report, which covers all areas the applicant has lived at, while maintaining the accuracy and detail that you need in a report that will affect a hiring, rental, or credit decision?

Many employers and landlords will have their applicants write down the addresses they have been at for the past 7 years. The problem with this? If the applicant knows that they have committed a crime in a certain county, they can always omit addresses from that county when they are writing down their account of their address history. Persons with criminal records will assume that you won’t know the difference… and most of the time, they’re right.

This comes to our question: How can I find previous addresses or counties without asking the applicant to write them down? Simple: an address history report. Unlike the “Address Comparison” section on a credit report, which only reflects the address history for the applicant the credit bureau has on file, and the applicant’s own record, which can often leave out certain addresses, AAA Credit Screening’s address history report pulls address information from hundreds of different places, including the U.S. Postal Service, utility bill records, creditors, voter registration records, and other comparable sources.

While the address history report is not classified as a consumer report, and therefore cannot be used to make a hiring or rental decision, it can be used as a tool to determine the counties that should be ran for an applicant’s criminal reports, which are a part of their consumer report and can be used to make an employment or rental decision. This leaves one gap, though, in your comprehensive criminal report: federal felonies. Federal criminal records are created by the federal court system, which exists outside of the traditional county courthouses. See our article on the difference between nationwide criminal reports and federal criminal reports for more information on this topic.

In summary:  If you want a comprehensive record of all possible criminal history for your U.S. resident applicant, you should be ordering 3 kinds of reports. The address history report, which will let AAA Credit Screening know what counties to search for criminal records in. County criminal reports, which will be run in all counties the applicant has lived in during the past 7 years. Finally, a federal criminal report, which will fill the final gap in your comprehensive report.

For more information on why you should be getting a comprehensive criminal report, or to order criminal records for your applicant(s), contact AAA Credit Screening today!