Unfortunately, with the prevalence of low-priced, Internet-based, point-and-click-to-order background checks, the public has been duped into believing that they are actually getting something they are not. The belief that, for $50 or so, you actually receive a thorough background check of any value is truly a misperception. In reality, such Internet-based background checks provide, at best, a very basic, cursory investigation. Furthermore, many investigators and suppliers of cheap background research do not even know that the product they are supplying is substandard and inadequate. The result is that you, the consumers, are really getting an inferior product for your money.
Many consumers are “wowed” by database printouts that look extensive; however, if examined closely, these printouts usually contain a lot of irrelevant, incomplete, and inaccurate information. In many cases, you are presented with a report that really gives you everything EXCEPT what you need. Here are the facts. Real background checks consist of a combination (or all) of the following:
- Criminal history via court records research in ALL relevant jurisdictions
- Civil court records research in ALL relevant jurisdictions
- Traffic/driving records research in ALL relevant jurisdictions
- Verification of education, work history, certifications, training, and ALL other relevant claims
- Interviews of references, former employers, co-workers and, perhaps, current and former neighbors
- Credit and financial condition research
- If appropriate, surveillance to document activities and their consistency with claims.
Of course, not all background checks need to be so comprehensive as to include all of the above; however, if you intend to have criminal records checked, you should actually have them checked. The fact is that there is no legally accessible resource of any kind that you or a private company can access providing nationwide coverage of law enforcement, criminal, or civil court records. NONE! The only such resource is the National Criminal Information Computer (NCIC) system, which is only accessible by law enforcement officials, and there is almost no situation in which a company or individual can lawfully order inquiries through this system. You and any law enforcement officer who facilitates an inquiry can be criminally charged for its unauthorized use. Furthermore, none of the databases that purport to provide background checks can access that system; in reality, companies that utilize databases are only able to access data from a select few courthouses, or purchase historical data in order to run your query. This information is often outdated/incomplete the day it is purchased, since some background search companies purchase their data only yearly or even less frequently! They then sell it to each other at different intervals, rendering it even less dependable. Unless you are willing to rely on such outdated, unreliable data, you clearly need the experienced, professional resources that the experts at Prudential Associates can provide.
By choosing Prudential Associates, you deal with a firm that understands the shortcomings of database resources and carries out its research in ALL of the correct jurisdictions. This usually (although not always) entails checking records manually at the appropriate courthouses or via direct access to such records in real-time.
Considering what is at stake, can you really afford to trust unproven resources? The fact is that you cannot have a competently performed, thorough background check for $50 or $100; it just cannot be done. If complete accuracy and thoroughness are not important to you, then an unproven, inexpensive resource may suffice. However, please note that on more than one occasion, we have had to rescue clients who went the “cheap route,” missing a criminal arrest in an applicant’s history, only to later suffer a workplace violence incident. Similar scenarios happen all the time, exposing the victim’s employer to possible legal action. Also, the Fair Credit Reporting Act has major implications for companies running pre-employment background checks (and this does not just pertain to running an applicant’s credit report). Therefore, it is advisable to have your corporate counsel examine every aspect of your intended research to ensure full compliance.
If you want the “real thing” done right, then call us. We will help you determine in which jurisdictions you should have research conducted, if such jurisdictions are directly accessible via our computers, and what level of complexity is appropriate given the purpose of your research requirements.
Contact us. Remember to ask for our Background Levels and Rate Sheet.