Beware of bad background screening


As an employer or business owner, turning to a background screening company to assist you with making an informed decision about whether to hire a prospective employee or not is a wise decision, especially when it comes to wanting to protect your business. However, it is also very important to be weary of companies and websites that claim to provide background screening services, but what they really leave you with is what the industry likes to refer to as “fake background checks.” These types of background checks and background check providers allow criminal records and other red flags to go undiscovered, putting the employer and the business at risk. “Fake background checks” are happening more and more frequently. The scope and depth of a background check provider should be scrutinized closely.

In addition to being cautious of the background check provider you choose to work with, it is also important to be aware of errors that can occur on the actual background check itself. There are a variety of ways that errors can be made on an individual’s record including: Social security numbers get transposed during the data entry process; names, addresses or dates of birth getting mistyped; identities getting confused; and identity theft, which is a serious problem that is occurring more frequently particularly because of the growing practice of criminals using another name when being arrested or convicted of a crime. It can also be challenging to receive a completely thorough report because there are thousands of counties in the United States, and each one has a number of records departments. An overturned conviction that should have been erased from a person’s record may still appear on files stored at a different facility. Whatever the reason, once a mistake goes onto a person’s record, it can be very difficult to correct or remove it.

Although mistakes and errors undoubtedly occur, the frequency of this happening has been disputed by a number of industry professionals and organizations. A 2004 study released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 79 percent of the consumer credit reports surveyed contained some sort of error. However, the General Accountability Office released a study disputing those numbers. The Federal Reserve Board also issued a similar report. In 2007, the Consumer Data Industry Association testified that less than two percent of 52 million credit reports had data removed because it was in error. Regardless of what the mistake is or how it happened to occur on a report, it is ultimately up to the applicant to dispute any errors found during his or her background check and to provide proof that it is indeed incorrect. As an employer, it is just beneficial to be informed of the possibility of these types of mistakes happening.

Even with the risks and flaws associated with background screenings, the industry is still rapidly growing and has reportedly become a $2 billion business. While background checks are a great tool and resource to utilize during the employment screening process, it should not be the only factor used to determine whether or not an applicant should be considered for employment.

Here at VICTIG we pride ourselves on being compliant, using the best data and working with employers that want to good background checks.  We don’t like to offer anything less than our “Nation Wide NetPlus Search”.  This search includes:

  • National Criminal Search – This research is used as a “safety net” search, possibly identifying criminal records in jurisdictions not researched because they were not associated with the applicant’s residential history. This is a database composed of criminal records purchased from private data sources and other criminal record sources. Although it is often sold as a “nationwide” search, it is not. This search is only useful for identifying potential cases related to the applicant. 7 year 3 County specific searches based off of the address history will be run to verify any cases at the county level.  Also If records are found within this database, we will verify the case at the county level to confirm the details of those records, as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • National Sexual Offender Registry Search – Includes all offenders currently registered with the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • SSN Search – Using the Social Security Number of your applicant, we provide a history of previous addresses, date of birth, and names for every person associated with that SSN.
  • Alias Search – We search any alias names that come back on the SSN Search through the National Criminal at no additional cost.
  • 7 year 3 County Specific Search – County level criminal searches are the best source for the most recent and up-to-date case information.  A county search will typically disclose the jurisdiction, type of offense, offense description, case number and case disposition.  All county-level criminal searches are FCRA compliant.  Additional state access fees may apply.
By doing this search we feel it is a very thorough search and will most likely uncover any criminal history that is out there.  We all know that there is not a perfect background check but this is a good start.


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