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Database Criminal Searches and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Posted in News Articles on 11/02/2009

Does your company use criminal database searches to screen applicants?  If so, Section 613 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act states – A consumer reporting agency which furnishes data from public records which are likely to have an adverse effect on a consumer’s ability to obtain employment shall either supply the information to the consumer at the same time it is reported to the user OR have strict procedures in place to ensure that the information it provides is current and up-to-date.

Criminal database providers update their records on a random basis.  Some providers get updated information provided to them daily, some monthly and some only once a year.  Information may not always be current.  Screening companies have two choices when selling criminal records databases – they can either send the information from the database to both the client and the applicant at the same time, or they can go a step further and check records provided to them through a direct search at the source, usually the county criminal records repository.

BackTrack does sell database criminal records to our clients through our CrimeTrack search; however, we choose to use the second option of making sure the information we provide is current and up-to-date because we feel is a more fair and more accurate method for returning the results.

Prior to a client receiving any information regarding a conviction obtained from a CrimeTrack search, we go directly to the official repository of records for that jurisdiction to verify any information obtained.  You will be notified that an additional search has been ordered due to information received in the database, and will be directed to the specific criminal search in the report.  Information obtained from the database is never reported; we only report the result of the additional search in the actual jurisdiction.  So if there is a criminal conviction, you’ll be informed of that.  If the applicant does not have a criminal conviction, you’ll only receive results stating that there is no record of a conviction – information you can use in a hiring decision.

We feel our clients, and your applicants, are better served through this method.  Why should your applicant have to prove that a criminal record does not belong to him?  We believe this should be part of your background screening firm’s responsibility.

For the full text of the FCRA, click here.  For more information on CrimeTrack, click here or here.  Or for more information on any of these issues, contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694.