Is a $50 Background Check Worth the Money?

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Is a $50 Background Check Worth the Money?

All you have to do is Google “background checks” and you will be presented with many companies offering Internet-based, low priced background checks.

Don’t be duped by these companies.

No company that charges $50 can do a thorough background check that’s actually worth the money. All you get is a basic and cursory list of publicly available information. You are not even getting what you pay for with searches like these.

Database printouts may look extensive, but it you examine them closely, you’ll discover that a good deal of the information is incomplete, inaccurate and irrelevant. You may receive a lot of information, but very little of it is actually valuable.

Just the Facts

Arm yourself with the facts about what you should expect if you actually want to find out any information of value. Real background checks include some or all of these:

  • Civil court records in every relevant jurisdiction
  • Court records-based criminal history in every relevant jurisdiction
  • Verification of work history, education, training, certifications and verification of any other claims
  • Driving and traffic records researched in every relevant jurisdiction
  • Research of credit report and financial condition
  • Interviews with current and former co-workers, employers and current references, and in some cases, former and current neighbors
  • Surveillance, if appropriate, to document the subject’s claim consistency and activities

Not every background check needs to be as comprehensive as the inclusion of these areas above. However, criminal checks should be double-checked, rather than simply run with a quick computer check.  Click here to find out more about this.

There is not any resource that you can legally access that will cover nationwide reports related to civil court, criminal court records or enforcement.

The only database with this type of information is the National Criminal Information Computer (NCIC) system. This can only be accessed by officials in law enforcement, and there are rarely situations where you or a company can run lawful inquiries through the system.

If you or any unauthorized person attempts inquiries through NCIC, you may be charged with a criminal offense for unauthorized use.

Online Background Check Companies

Companies who run background checks online do not have access to the NCIC database. Online background check companies use databases from just a few courthouses and other sources so outdated that the information may not be complete when you purchase it. Companies that specialize in Internet background searches may only purchase data on a yearly basis. Some purchase updated information even less frequently.

If you want accurate information, deal only with companies that understand how to provide full research in each of the proper jurisdictions. This may involve manually checking records in local courthouses or checking these records with direct access.

Don’t Trust Unproven Resources

$50 or $100 will not buy you a complete and thorough background check, despite what these websites may claim. If you want complete results, you will need to pay for them. Don’t use cheaply priced sites and find yourself in a bind, when you find out – too late – that your new employee has a criminal record, and may have been involved in a violent workplace incident.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act limits what you are allowed to check as far as pre-employment is concerned. This affects background checks, as well as credit checks. Have your corporate attorney examine each aspect of your research plans to ensure that you are fully compliant.

If you need a complete and full credit check done, consult us – we specialize in doing it right. We can help you in determining the proper jurisdictions in which research needs to be done. We know how complex the research needs to be, depending on your specific requirements.