Answer

How do you do a background check?

An employer must first establish a background check policy with their company. Once implemented, they can begin performing background checks, usually for pre-employment, but sometimes ongoing depending on the position. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) § 604 – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b, employers are required to provide applicants with a separate written disclosure, which advises that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. The document must consist solely of the disclosure as a stand-alone document. Additionally, the employer also must obtain the applicant’s written consent to order the background check.

DISA accesses a database that consists of more than 180 million criminal record files, which have been compiled from a variety of sources, including local law enforcement, statewide criminal record repositories, departments of corrections, state parole and probation records, local public records sources, etc. to identify pointer data to be verified at the source. DISA also uses data sources to compile counties where a person may have lived. The database file may uncover multiple states/jurisdictions where the applicant had no previous address history. These products serve as a pointer used to determine the jurisdictions in which an individual has lived, worked, or attended school for purposes of criminal history ordering.

The SafetyNet product is DISA's NatCrim product. It generates information from hundreds of different data sources to provide an applicant's address history, name variations, and aliases. The information comes from three general categories: credit bureau header data, commercially available sources like utilities and phone companies, and public sources such as property records, licenses, etc. This information is utilized by DISA as a pointer file to ensure the necessary jurisdictions and aliases are searched for records pertaining to an applicant. This information is utilized internally and our clients do not view the data returned per FCRA regulations.

There are two different types of background checks; instant and comprehensive. Instant background checks, also known as “national criminal database searches” provide general information pulled from a commercially available database. These searches aren’t corroborated against any official county court record. Although they are quick, they can often return with error-filled information, since it’s not derived from a verified source. Comprehensive background checks, like DISA’s, involve multiple National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) FCRA certified employees confirming that all information aligns with the person who is being checked. These individuals also must hold a private investigator license in order to legally be able to research and verify information about the applicant. This process verifies that the information is accurate and is not information from an alias with the same name as the applicant being screened.