What is the difference between comprehensive and instant background checks?

Answer

Instant background checks are more commonly known as “national criminal database searches” and provide general information pulled from a commercially available database. Although they have a quick return, the information is not corroborated against any official county court record and can provide inaccurate information as it’s not derived from a verified source. Comprehensive background checks are all-encompassing and 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. This prevents mistaken identity matches that sometimes occur with instant checks when a person with the same name as the applicant has hits on their record. Employers must be cautious when choosing a background screening process because choosing an instant check over a comprehensive check could lead to fines and lawsuits if they don’t abide by the guidelines set forth under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).