Crimcheck is an FCRA compliant background screening company. We typically provide a 7 year scope for criminal and civil records. While many states allow a background screening company to check further, there are 14 states that do not allow for that, so Crimcheck uses the most restrictive laws. If you require information to go back further, please call our offices to discuss.
Crimcheck conducts background checks for employment purposes.
A criminal record check will show if charges have been filed and are pending a disposition or if a case has been dismissed and if a conviction exists for that individual. A basic component of any background check will include a criminal record check. The existence of a court record is usually a good indicator of course that an arrest was initiated before charges were filed. Sometimes, however, charges can be filed without a prior physical arrest. Arrest records and/or police reports are not necessarily public records. Police may chose to keep these private especially if there is an ongoing investigation.
Crimcheck obtains a 3 year driving record history for employment purposes. Insurance companies can retrieve records further back, but the general practice for employment screening purposes is 3 years.
The short answer is no. Since criminal records are public record, courts typically do not provide the social security number of the applicant on the record. The main identifiers on a criminal record are name and date of birth. In very rare instances, some jurisdictions allow for the last 4 digits of the social security number to be verified.
We utilize a proprietary third party database to access social security traces. This data comes from various sources such as credit headers, mailing lists, residential history lists and other non-government sources. Since these sources are non-governmental databases, there are chances that erroneous data could be a part of your record.
A National Criminal Database is a collection of criminal records from various repositories. These sources can include state and local court records, department of corrections, sex offender registries, and various state repositories. This database is by no means a complete list of criminal records from courthouses. There are several states that do not sell their criminal records, so this check should be used in conjunction with other criminal records checks.
Yes. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the law that protects consumers with respect to background checks. You should have signed a consent form allowing your potential employer to run a background check and within that consent form you are told your rights under the FCRA, one of which is receiving a copy.
No. Juvenile records adjudicated in a juvenile court are not open to the public. However, if a juvenile is found guilty in an adult court, those records may be public and could be used in a background check for employment.
Have your candidate give a general time period, such as the month and year. Crimcheck will verify the dates and will produce a clear result if the days verified are within 30 days of the dates provided.
Let the Crimcheck admin team know and we will not contact the employer. We would suggest having Crimcheck verify the employment after the candidate has turned in their notice.
As a very brief summary, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a complex federal law that promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information as reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s), such as Crimcheck. The Act’s primary protection is for consumers, giving them the rights to review and dispute information provided CRA’s. The act also dictates the conditions of which an employer can order a consumer report, how they should handle and dispose of the information, and how they must notification standards if the report causes any adverse action to be taken against consumers. It also specifies the accuracy, type and scope of information that CRA’s can report. The full text of the FCRA can be found here.
What is Adverse Action?
Adverse Action for pre-employment background checks is required as per the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). There is an abundance of litigation surrounding this requirement as many employers seem to be ignoring it.
In relation to employment screening, Adverse Action is the method in which an organization notifies a candidate as to the reasons they may not be hired, based on information returned on the background check report.
Your applicant’s right to dispute their background check results stems from the FCRA. It grants special privileges to your prospective employee being screened.
Below we outline the process that is necessary to complete the required adverse action procedures.
If an employer is going to take any adverse action against a job applicant or employee with respect to their hiring, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee based on the report they must notify the individual about that and provide them with a copy of the report as well as a copy of the CFPB’s “A Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA.” This is called the Pre-Adverse Action letter or notice.
If the individual is ultimately not hired or other employment action is taken adversely affecting the individual, an adverse action letter must be sent.
Before you reject a job applicant, reassign or terminate an employee, deny a promotion or take any other adverse employment action based on information found in a background check report, you must provide the applicant or employee with:
PRE-ADVERSE ACTION NOTICE – This letter notifies the applicant or employee that information in the background check report might be used to take an “adverse action” against them. The purpose of the “Pre-Adverse Action” notice and this step, which is required by the FCRA, is to give the applicant or employee an opportunity to review the report to determine if any information in the report is inaccurate or incomplete and if it is, to contact the CRA to dispute or explain what is in the background check report. Therefore, if you are going to use any information in a background check report that may result in an “adverse action” you must provide the applicant or employee with the following:
- A copy of the BACKGROUND CHECK REPORT – so they can review the findings.
- A copy of the CFPB’s “A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT” – details the applicant or employee’s rights under the FCRA.
WINDOW OF DISPUTE
After a reasonable amount of time has been provided to the applicant or employee to review the report, and you intend to make a final decision not to hire the applicant or retain the employee, you must take one additional step. That is the Adverse Action step and, under the FCRA, you must provide the applicant or employee with an ADVERSE ACTION NOTICE, notifying them that an adverse action is being taken against them – such as not hiring them – based on information in the background check report. This notice can be sent in writing or electronically.
An Adverse Action Notice tells the applicant or employee about their rights to see information being reported about them and to correct inaccurate information. The notice must include:
The name, address and phone number of the CRA that supplied the background check report;
A statement that the company that supplied the background check report did not make the decision to take the adverse action and cannot give them any specific reasons for the adverse action; and,
A notice of the person’s right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in the report and to get an additional free report from the CRA that supplied the background check report if they ask within 60 days.
Note: The above information is intended as a general overview of the Pre-Adverse and Adverse Action steps under the FCRA and employers should consult with their legal counsel regarding specifics. Also, several States have adopted their own version of the federal FCRA which may impose more limitations on background check reports. For instance, California has their own requirements related to such reports and which are not addressed in this guide.
Approximately 10% of all counties in the United States charge a criminal record access fee, which is mandatory when conducting criminal records searches. The fees vary by county.
Each state DMV charges a fee to access driving record reports. The dollar amount varies by state.
Crimcheck passes through both of these fees without adding any surcharges or processing fees. An itemized list of DMV and court fees incurred is made available on your invoice.
FTC – Disclosure Publication
On April 28th, 2017 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published an informational piece which provides information to employers about Disclosure and Authorization forms. Listed below is their published advice.
If your company gets background information on prospective employees, it’s likely you’re covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Before you get a background screening report, the law requires that you make certain disclosures and get a prospective employee’s authorization. Is it time for a FCRA compliance check?
Background screening reports are “consumer reports” under the FCRA when they serve as a factor in determining a person’s eligibility for employment, housing, credit, insurance, or other purposes and they include information “bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.”
If your company uses background screening reports to make hiring decisions, here are some steps the FCRA requires you to take:
1. Before you get a background screening report about a prospective employee, disclose to the person that you intend to get the report and then get their written authorization allowing you to do that.
2. If the background screening report reveals something that may cause you to decide not to hire the person, you must notify them of the results of the report and provide them with a copy. Next, you have to give them sufficient time to review the report so they can challenge any elements that might be incorrect.
3. If you ultimately decide not to hire someone based in whole or in part on the contents of a background screening report, you must provide a notice to that person that states they weren’t hired due at least in part to the result of the background screening report.
Companies often ask how to make the required disclosure and get the prospective employee’s authorization. It’s easier than you might imagine. Under the FCRA, you must provide the prospective employee with a clear and conspicuous written disclosure that you plan to get a background screening report about them and you must get the person’s written authorization that gives you their permission to compile the report. It’s OK to put the required disclosure and your request for their authorization in one document. Just be sure to use clear wording that the prospective employee will understand.
Some companies trip themselves up by using complicated legal jargon or adding extra acknowledgements or waivers. Here are some examples of the kind of things that shouldn’t be in this simple document:
Don’t include language that claims to release you from liability for conducting, obtaining, or using the background screening report.
Don’t include a certification by the prospective employee that all information in his or her job application is accurate.
Delete any wording that purports to require the prospective employee to acknowledge that your hiring decisions are based on legitimate non-discriminatory reasons.
Get rid of overly broad authorizations that permit the release of information that the FCRA doesn’t allow to be included in a background screening report – for example, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.
That extra stuff not only makes it harder for the prospective employee to understand the main purpose of the document, but it also may violate the FCRA. Adding other acknowledgements or releases of liability is beyond the scope of what the FCRA permits in this document. If you have additional waivers, authorizations, or disclosures you want to give to prospective employees, do it in a separate document. Don’t include them in the FCRA disclosure and authorization document.
It boils down to this: Complying with the FCRA’s disclosure requirement for the use of background screening reports is easy. You can do it in a few sentences. Just include a simple, easy-to-understand notification that you will obtain a background screening report, perhaps with a simple explanation of what information will be included in the report. The request for the prospective employee’s authorization should be in plain language, too.
That’s it. Nothing else is required – and nothing else is permitted by the FCRA.
Keep it simple. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.
There are several reasons why a crime that an applicant admitted to did not appear on their background check report:
- The applicant may never have been convicted.
- The crime may be out of the scope of the background check request.
- The charge may have been amended down from what they were originally charged with, resulting in a lesser charge; oftentimes we find that an applicant is not familiar with the specific title of the amended charge.
- The case may have been expunged or sealed.
The New York Office of Court Administrators (NYOCA) charges a $96.00 fee to search their state owned criminal record databases. This fee is passed on from Crimcheck to the client with no additional markup, but is necessary in order to access court records in New York.
Yes, but there are some restrictions that apply to credit reports which are used for employment purposes.
First, a company should review with their general counsel the laws in their state regarding the use of credit reports for employment purposes. Many states, cities, and counties have passed legislation prohibiting the use of credit reports in the hiring process except in very narrow circumstances, such as when it is required by law or when the credit report results are substantially related to the applicant’s current or potential job.
Second, before your company can receive credit bureau data, a site visit and audit must be conducted. Crimcheck can help coordinate this audit at your place of business. There is an additional cost to this credentialing process. Some of the items that are verified during the site visit are; the offices are secured,and located in a commercial building, IT and computer security protocols are in place and being followed, and that consumer report disposal requirements are being met.. Once Crimcheck has received notification of a successful site audit, the company will be able to add credit reporting to it’s list of available services from Crimcheck.
Nationwide, over 150 cities and counties have adopted what is widely known as “ban the box” laws. Sometimes referred to as “Fair Chance Laws”, Ban the Box legislation refers to banning the box on employment applications that ask whether the applicant has any criminal records, and many also limit the timing of the background check in the application process. The passage of these laws is meant to redirect employers to consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal record.
There are over 25 states that have adopted the policies, some of which apply only to public employers —California (2013, 2010), Colorado (2012), Connecticut (2010), Delaware (2014), Georgia (2015), Hawaii (1998), Illinois (2014, 2013), Kentucky (2017), Louisiana (2016), Maryland (2013), Massachusetts (2010), Minnesota (2013, 2009), Missouri (2016), Nebraska (2014), New Jersey (2014), New Mexico (2010), New York (2015), Ohio (2015), Oklahoma (2016), Oregon (2015), Rhode Island (2013), Tennessee (2016), Vermont (2015, 2016), Virginia (2015), and Wisconsin (2016). Nine state laws—Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont—have banned the criminal record history question on job applications for private employers as well.
Employers should review their application process and employment policies with a local attorney to ensure that their hiring process follows applicable labor laws with respect to Ban the Box and other employment laws.
Criminal record and sexual offender searches are the most common background checks, although needs vary by industry. The transportation industry and organizations that require driving as part of the job typically add the driving record to the search.
In order for Crimcheck to ensure accurate results, you will need to provide a full name (First, Middle and Last name), a social security number, and a date of birth.
Yes. Certain state laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that you must obtain written or electronic consent from the job applicant before a third-party screening company like Crimcheck conducts any criminal record search, credit history check or reference check.
When making personnel decisions – including hiring, retention, promotion, and reassignment – employers sometimes want to consider the backgrounds of applicants and employees. For example, some employers might try to find out about the person’s work history, education, criminal record, financial history, medical history, or use of social media. Except for certain restrictions related to medical and genetic information (see below), it’s not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s or employee’s background, or to require a background check.
However, any time you use an applicant’s or employee’s background information to make an employment decision, regardless of how you got the information, you must comply with federal laws that protect applicants and employees from discrimination. That includes discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; disability; genetic information (including family medical history); and age (40 or older). These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
In addition, when you run background checks through a company in the business of compiling background information, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FCRA. This publication explains how to comply with both the federal nondiscrimination laws and the FCRA. It’s also a good idea to review the laws of your state and municipality regarding background reports or information because some states and municipalities regulate the use of that information for employment purposes.
Before You Get Background Information
In all cases, make sure that you’re treating everyone equally. It’s illegal to check the background of applicants and employees when that decision is based on a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older). For example, asking only people of a certain race about their financial histories or criminal records is evidence of discrimination.
Except in rare circumstances, don’t try to get an applicant’s or employee’s genetic information, which includes family medical history. Even if you have that information, don’t use it to make an employment decision. (For more information about this law, see the EEOC’s publications explaining the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.) Don’t ask any medical questions before a conditional job offer has been made. If the person has already started the job, don’t ask medical questions unless you have objective evidence that he or she is unable to do the job or poses a safety risk because of a medical condition.
If you get background information (for example, a credit or criminal background report) from a company in the business of compiling background information, there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand:
- Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format. The notice can’t be in an employment application. You can include some minor additional information in the notice (like a brief description of the nature of consumer reports), but only if it doesn’t confuse or detract from the notice.
- If you are asking a company to provide an “investigative report” – a report based on personal interviews concerning a person’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and lifestyle – you must also tell the applicant or employee of his or her right to a description of the nature and scope of the investigation.
- Get the applicant’s or employee’s written permission to do the background check. This can be part of the document you use to notify the person that you will get the report. If you want the authorization to allow you to get background reports throughout the person’s employment, make sure you say so clearly and conspicuously.
- Certify to the company from which you are getting the report that you:
- notified the applicant and got their permission to get a background report;
- complied with all of the FCRA requirements; and
- won’t discriminate against the applicant or employee, or otherwise misuse the information in violation of federal or state equal opportunity laws or regulations.
Using Background Information
Any background information you receive from any source must not be used to discriminate in violation of federal law. This means that you should:
- Apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older). For example, if you don’t reject applicants of one ethnicity with certain financial histories or criminal records, you can’t reject applicants of other ethnicities because they have the same or similar financial histories or criminal records.
- Take special care when basing employment decisions on background problems that may be more common among people of a certain race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; among people who have a disability; or among people age 40 or older. For example, employers should not use a policy or practice that excludes people with certain criminal records if the policy or practice significantly disadvantages individuals of a particular race, national origin, or another protected characteristic, and does not accurately predict who will be a responsible, reliable, or safe employee. In legal terms, the policy or practice has a “disparate impact” and is not “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
- Be prepared to make exceptions for problems revealed during a background check that were caused by a disability. For example, if you are inclined not to hire a person because of a problem caused by a disability, you should allow the person to demonstrate his or her ability to do the job – despite the negative background information – unless doing so would cause significant financial or operational difficulty.
When taking an adverse action (for example, not hiring an applicant or firing an employee) based on background information obtained through a company in the business of compiling background information, the FCRA has additional requirements:
- Before you take an adverse employment action, you must give the applicant or employee:
- a notice that includes a copy of the consumer report you relied on to make your decision; and
- a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” which you should have received from the company that sold you the report.
By giving the person the notice in advance, the person has an opportunity to review the report and explain any negative information.
- After you take an adverse employment action, you must tell the applicant or employee (orally, in writing, or electronically):
- that he or she was rejected because of information in the report;
- the name, address, and phone number of the company that sold the report;
- that the company selling the report didn’t make the hiring decision, and can’t give specific reasons for it; and
- that he or she has a right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report, and to get an additional free report from the reporting company within 60 days.
Disposing of Background Information
Any personnel or employment records you make or keep (including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to hiring) must be preserved for one year after the records were made, or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later. (The EEOC extends this requirement to two years for educational institutions and for state and local governments. The Department of Labor also extends this requirement to two years for federal contractors that have at least 150 employees and a government contract of at least $150,000.) If the applicant or employee files a charge of discrimination, you must maintain the records until the case is concluded.
Once you’ve satisfied all applicable record keeping requirements, you may dispose of any background reports you received. However, the law requires that you dispose of the reports – and any information gathered from them – securely. That can include burning, pulverizing, or shredding paper documents and disposing of electronic information so that it can’t be read or reconstructed. For more information, see“Disposing of Consumer Report Information? Rule Tells How“.
To find out more about federal anti-discrimination laws, visit www.eeoc.gov, or call the EEOC toll-free, 800-669-4000 (voice); TTY: 800-669-6820. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. The EEOC investigates, conciliates, and mediates charges of employment discrimination, and also files lawsuits in the public interest. For specific information on:
- Pre Employment medical inquiries: see Preemployment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/preemp.html.
- Medical inquiries during employment: see Questions and Answers: Enforcement Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda-inquiries.html.
- Genetic inquiries, including inquiries about family medical history: see Background Information for EEOC Final Rule on Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 at www.eeoc.gov/laws/regulations/gina-background.cfm.
- EEOC recordkeeping requirements: see Summary of Selected Recordkeeping Obligations in 29 C.F.R. Part 1602 at www.eeoc.gov/employers/recordkeeping_obligations.cfm.
- Using arrest and conviction records to make employment decisions: see Questions and Answers about EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII at www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/qa_arrest_conviction.cfm.
- Whether arrest and conviction records act as an automatic bar to all employment: see Reentry Myth Buster: On Hiring/Criminal Records Guidance at csgjusticecenter.org
- Background on the EEOC for small businesses: see Get the Facts Series: Small Business Information, www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/smallbusiness.cfm.
To find out more about federal laws relating to background reports, visit www.business.ftc.gov, or call the FTC toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. For specific information on employment background reports, see:
- Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act & social media: What businesses should know.
- Background screening reports and the FCRA: Just saying you’re not a consumer reporting agency isn’t enough.
- Reentry Myth Buster: Criminal Histories and Employment Background Checks.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law.
Myth #1: Criminal Records are held by Social Security Number.
It’s a common misconception that criminal records are held by Social Security Number. After all, a person’s SSN is one of the most distinguishing identifiers, since it’s completely unique to each person. However, that is not the case. Criminal records are held primarily by Name and Date of Birth only. When submitting a candidate’s information, the FULL name (middle name or initials are helpful as well) and Date of Birth are crucial. Even a small mistake such as a minor misspelling can result in an inaccurate
Myth #2: If Criminal Records are not filed by SSN, the SSN can be used to verify the information, right?
While a candidate’s criminal record history cannot be searched using their SSN, some courts can further verify the information using their SSN as an identifier. However, due to identity theft concerns, many courts never even see someone’s SSN and therefore it usually cannot be used as an identifier.
Myth #3: Warrants and arrests are public record
While some courts may be able to investigate and view this information, most cannot. More importantly, in many states, warrants and arrest records are not available for pre-employment purposes. Warrants and arrest records are public records, but as the old adage states, people are innocent until proven guilty. For that reason the majority of employers do not consider arrest records until they result in convictions.
Myth#4: There is one National Database of criminal records
There is no database that holds all criminal records for every jurisdiction in the country, except for the FBI NCIS database that is not available to private employers, screening companies, or the public. Though there are many purported “National Criminal Database Searches” for sale on the internet, they are spotty and incomplete, and the records that are contained could be stale, out of date or contain unverified or inaccurate information. A NCD is a good supplementary service to add to a service package, but it is not recommended as standalone service.
Myth #5: The driver’s license number is not required for a Motor Vehicle Record
In order to access a candidate’s driving records, the driver’s license number and state of issue must be submitted. Driving records are not held by name only and there’s no way to access a candidate’s MVR without this information. This information must be provided by the candidate and a signed release must be on file.
Myth #6: There is one big database where everyone’s employment history is stored.
The only way to know where a candidate worked is by asking them. There is no database (outside of the IRS) that stores everyone’s employment history. There’s no way to know where someone worked without them disseminating the information themselves. The candidate must provide the employer’s company name, location, phone number, position and dates of employment in order for it to be verified.
Myth #7: Dates of birth are not an important identifier.
A candidate’s Date of Birth is the number one identifying piece of information. A date of birth must be submitted for every candidate or their criminal history cannot be investigated. Furthermore, their DOB must be accurate. Even if it is one day, month or year off, the search will be inaccurate and will yield completely different results.
Myth #8: I should use social media to screen potential candidates.
Searching a potential candidate’s Facebook page may seem like a good way to learn more about the candidate’s personal behaviors; however it could violate several EEOC discrimination laws. Also, many states have passed laws regarding the use of social media in the workplace. It’s best to err on the side of caution and consult your legal department to get your company’s policy before searching any social media sites.
eFetch Academy is an educational portal for our clients which contains resources for compliance, expert articles, webinars, background screening education, forms & downloads, client alerts, training, and more!
Not sure about the employer best practices for employment screening? Utilize eFetch Academy to find educational resources which help keep your company compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, State FCRA laws, Ban the Box legislation, EEOC recommendations, and other topics.
Working together, we can help you promote compliance throughout your talent acquisition processes. Crimcheck.com aims to become your strategic partner that provides you access to the industry best practices.
Generally, a SSN trace, county/federal/nationwide criminal search, and sex offender search are included. It will take roughly 3-5 business days to complete and then an email with the new report will be forwarded to your attention from [email protected]. If you wish to process the background screening for $45, please follow this link.