Issues with Searching Criminal Records through Publically Available Court Websites

Oct 10, 2018
There are issues with searching for criminal records on publically available court websites.  The indented language below was taken verbatim from one state's public access to court information website.  Although it is the language from one particular website, it is reflective of most publically available court websites. Please be aware of the following limitations of the case records displayed: The information may not be a current, accurate, or complete record of the case The information is subject to change at any time The information is not the official record of the court Not all cases from a participating court may be included The information should not be used as a substitute for a thorough background search of official public records. When searching for county criminal records, it is best not to rely on open websites that anyone can access.  These records are NOT the official court record.  Many background screening companies employ "screen scraping" technology to obtain such "county criminal records" that are available to anyone on the web, even though, as listed above, these searches cannot act as a substitute for an actual county court house …

Revised FCRA Summary of Rights For Background Checks Must Be Used as of 09-21-18

Sep 18, 2018
A revised FCRA Summary of Rights must be used starting September 21, 2018. The key compliance impact for companies and other organizations that need to obtain a background check  ̶  be it employee screening, tenant screening, franchisee screening, country club membership screening or other type of permissible business purpose background check  ̶  is that a new FCRA Summary of Rights must now be provided. This required change is due to the recent amendment to the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). The main effect of the amendment is that whenever an FCRA Summary of Rights is required to be given to a consumer, this Summary of Consumer Rights must also include notice of the consumer's right to obtain a "security freeze" on their credit report (which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing their credit file without the consumer's expressed authorization). As an alternative to a security freeze, consumers have the right to place an initial or extended fraud alert on their credit file at no cost. Just last week the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) finally got around to issuing a…

Middle Name is Critical for Proper Background Checks

Aug 24, 2018
Criminal records typically have no Social Security Number attached to them.  Thus searching for criminal records is performed on a legal name and date of birth match.  The challenge is that there are at most 366 days in a year, but there are nearly 330 million people in the United States. No matter how unique your name is, it's likely that at least several if not thousands of people share the same name as you – and with only 365/366 days in a year, it is possible and highly likely with common names – that you share not only a name but the same date of birth.  Thus, when it comes to a background check the middle name is a crucial additional identifier, particularly with common names (but even with not-so-common names).  While there are over 47,000 John Smiths in the US, how many do you think share the name John Sterling Smith? Additionally, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have issued guidance requiring the use of middle names, particularly when common names are searched (even though they do not define exactly what a common name is).  Regardless, the use of the middle name will help reduce false positives and improve accuracy of the ba…

The Real Cost of a Bad Hire

Jul 23, 2018
Hiring employees is generally a gamble.  One never knows if the individual who applies for employment will truly succeed.  Many individuals interview very well.  Unfortunately, once on the job, many do not really work out.  Even those who reach and surpass the proverbial 90-day probationary period are often not your ideal employee.  Yet companies and organizations often keep sub-standard performers employed years after hire, due to the time and expense of conducting a new candidate search and then training another hire. Business owners and managers, either because of inertia, or taking the path of least resistance, often take the position that the "devil you know" is better than the "devil you don't."  But is it?  If you have not conducted a "best practices" employee background check, you could have a potential time-bomb in your organization. A "best practices" employee background check typically costs less than one day of wages or salary for that employee.  Interestingly, the cost of an employee background check pales in comparison to what companies and organizations pay their employees for every day they work.  Employee compensation can easily become thousands or tens of thousa…
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