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Background Checks and Professionalism

Posted in News Articles on 06/20/2012

The background screening industry has taken some knocks in the news lately. The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has released a report called “Broken Records: How Errors by Criminal Background Checking Companies Harm Workers and Businesses.” This study claims that mistakes on criminal records in background screening reports are rampant and are costing applicants jobs.

Our response to this study is simple – the results on criminal records checks are only as good as your provider.

Does your provider search directly through courthouse records or are they using a database for this information?
We go directly to the courthouse records for all of our criminal searches. While BackTrack does offer a criminal database called CrimeTrack as a supplement to the courthouse records search, any “hit” or criminal record found on CrimeTrack is also researched directly through the courthouse records before it is reported to our clients. Database records are not as up-to-date as courthouse searches and may contain dismissed cases or expunged records – information that should not be used for a hiring decision. By going directly through the courthouse, we ensure that the information we provide is timely and accurate.

Does your provider follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which states that Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) are required to “follow procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of consumer information?”
All criminal records are researched thoroughly before they are reported to our clients. We check records to match by the applicant’s name, the date of birth, physical descriptions, addresses reported and any other identifiers listed in the record. Section 607 of the FCRA places burdens on CRAs to be sure that the information they provide is as accurate as possible. In addition to following maximum possible accuracy with the courthouse, records are also rechecked in-house before they are released to our clients.

Does your screening provider follow the dispute resolution process or provide a way for your applicants to dispute information they feel is incorrect?
Section 611 of the FCRA gives applicants the right to dispute information provided about them. This ensures that applicants have the right to correct any record they feel is incorrect. We have procedures in place for your applicants to contact our office and to be connected right away with someone who can take care of their dispute. Any disputed information is handled as a priority and is re-verified by a member of management. And while the FCRA does allow the dispute process to be completed within a 30 day time frame, we make these a priority and get them done much more quickly because we know that a hiring decision depends on the information we provide.

Is your provider accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®)?
BackTrack was in the first class of background screening agencies to be accredited by the NAPBS®. Of the 58 standards in which a company must be in full compliance, nearly 1/3 of them deal directly with criminal records and/or the accuracy of information provided to our clients. We are in full compliance with all of those standards, and we monitor our background screening process to ensure we stay in full compliance.

So, who are you getting your criminal records from? An online database or from a provider who understands and follows the law? For more information on this topic, contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694.