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Background Check FAQ’s

A background check is, in basic terms, information which is compiled on an individual which may be considered when determining one’s eligibility for a job or housing.  Employers or property managers determine what components need to be included within the background checks based on the industry, position, or housing unit. These components may include a person’s criminal history information, civil records, driver records, employment records, educational information, license verification, credit information and references.  Background checks may also include drug testing, a physical, and even psychological evaluations or assessments. Applicants are encouraged to consult with their prospective employers and property managers, when determining which of these components are going to be included in the background check. 

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) a background check is termed a “Consumer Report” or “Investigative Consumer Report”.

Notice to Users of Consumer Reports and Obligations

A Summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

New York Correction Law 23-A

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) a background check is termed a “Consumer Report” or “Investigative Consumer Report”.

Section 603 (d) Consumer Report  

In general, the term “consumer report” means any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for

  1. credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes 
  2. employment purposes; or
  3. any other purpose authorized under section 604.

Section 603 (e) Investigative Consumer Report:

The term “investigative consumer report” means a consumer report or portion thereof in which information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with whom he/she is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of information. However, such information shall not include specific information on a consumer’s credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a consumer reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.

Background checks are completed for multiple reasons including compliance with housing, licensing, employment laws and regulations.  Additionally, employers and property managers use background checks to make informed placement decisions, by retaining the most qualified candidates, and mitigate their risk in selecting the wrong candidates. Workplace violence, embezzlement, fraud, and theft are a multi-billion dollar drain on the economy, a cost that could easily be mitigated.  Background checks are an effective tool in preventing this type of drain, in addition to providing a variety of uses that are beneficial to the publics well-being. 

We live in an electronic world where publicity, particularly negative publicity seems to spread quickly. When a negative workplace situation arises. The first question asked by the media, was there a background check completed?  The “wrong” answer could devastate the foundation of a trusted organization.

Organizations owe it to themselves, their employees, customers, and to the public to complete their own due diligence and perform a background check on applicants to try and mitigate risks with homes, the community and in workplaces.

A professional background screener exists to provide the public with safe places to live and work. Professional background screeners are regulated by both the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at the federal level as well as being subjected to the state attorneys general enforcement actions. As a professional screener we must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as state privacy and the consumer protection laws.  

The FCRA, requires professional background screeners and employers to provide consumers with the highest level of protection, this profession employs thousands of people, invests countless dollars dedicated to ensuring employers, landlords, and volunteer groups have the full picture of those who are entering workplaces, leasing rental units, and caring for the vulnerable populations. 

Federal, state laws and regulations along with competitive market forces combined making professional background screeners the most comprehensive, accurate and fair way for employers, landlords and volunteer groups to make informed decisions about a prospective employee, tenant, and volunteer. 

View our background check packages to get started!