Why Fingerprints Fall Short in Background Checks

Sep 12, 2020
There is a myth about fingerprints, that they are the magic elixir for obtaining criminal records. In fact, certain positions particularly those that involve vulnerable populations, such as children, the disabled, and the elderly, sometimes require by statute, fingerprints for background checks on individuals who come into contact with members of these groups. Sadly, there is a lack of knowledge that no panacea exists when it comes to background checks, and most people, including politicians who make our laws, also are misinformed about the efficacy of fingerprints. The fingerprint database only contains about fifty percent of all the crimes in the USA. Further, there is no criminal database that exists anywhere that covers the entire country. In addition to missing about half of all crimes in the USA, some of the other drawbacks to fingerprints include: Can only be used for certain limited types of background checks Turnaround time tends to be slow Clearance cards are usually issued for multiple years, and crimes can occur in between Arrest records are included, even though the individual may have never been charged with a crime. Arrest records alone cannot be used to de…

Social Media Screening – Are You Doing It Compliantly?

Aug 10, 2020
Social Media Screening has not been part of a traditional background check. This was due to compliance requirements of laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), among other laws as well. Fortunately, companies can now obtain compliant social media screening from a select number of reliable background screening companies that are also CRAs (consumer reporting agencies) to help ensure compliance with the FCRA, as well as other regulations. In today's digital world, not only do consumer opinions spread quickly through social media, but the negative social media activity of employees, franchisees, apartment residents, students, volunteers, country club and other organizational members, can be directly associated with your company, organization or brand. Because of this new reality, employers and other organizations would be remiss to not consider a candidate's social media and public online activity - insights that are not captured through a customary background check. A social media background check should scour an individual's online activity for behaviors that could put companies, organizations and brands at risk, by identifyi…


Jul 17, 2020
The three-year anniversary of the most sweeping changes to credit reports in decades just occurred (July 1, 2017 - 2020). Yet, I continue to be amazed at the myriad of people who are in industries that use credit reports but are still unaware of the critical data that has been omitted from credit reports for now over three years. The modifications to credit reports in July of 2017 were a direct result of a lawsuit settlement against the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This settlement resulted in the creation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP). NCAP mandated that the three credit bureaus could only report public records, i.e., bankruptcies, civil judgments and tax liens, if sufficient PII (personally identifiable information) existed on the record, and if the records were updated at least every 90 days. PII includes name, date of birth, social security number, and address. Civil judgments and tax liens are public records that typically have only two of the four PII. That is why they disappeared from credit reports in July of 2017. However, civil judgments and tax liens comprise crucial data for numerous industries. As a nationwide cons…

Should Furloughed Employees Be Background Checked Again

Jun 10, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting devastating economic impact it has had on the U.S. (and global) economies, resulted in many employers having to furlough employees. The nation sheltered in place in an attempt to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. Many businesses literally closed overnight – some temporarily, but sadly some permanently. However, the CARES Act and the monetary actions of the Federal Reserve Bank has pumped trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy. This has helped to stave off a total economic collapse as occurred during the "Great Depression." As the U.S. economy begins to reopen, employers are beginning to call back furloughed employees. Many of these employees had background checks performed when they were originally hired. Employers are asking if furloughed employees should undergo another background check, as they are recalled to active employment. Furloughed has a legal distinction when compared to being terminated from a job. The furloughed individual is still considered an employee, simply an unpaid one. Whether an updated background check (or drug test) is required with a furloughed employee is likely a matter of choice, that may however, be m…
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