As 2016 comes to an end, and a new year begins, it’s a good time to review your company or organization’s background screening policies and procedures. Whether your background screening needs are employee screening, volunteer screening, franchisee screening, membership screening, contractor screening, or resident and tenant screening, an annual review will help ensure that your organization is best protected to mitigate risk and increase profitability.

The first process to implement is a policy to confirm from government ID (usually a driver’s license), the legal name and date of birth of the individual being background checked. So many companies fail to institute this crucial initial step. If exact legal name and date of birth are not verified and used in the background screening process, the results of the criminal background check can be compromised. This is because most criminal records do not have a social security number attached to them, so most criminal records are returned by matching the exact first and last legal name, and the date of birth of the individual being searched. Thus checking government ID is critical in order to obtain valid (versus invalid) criminal records search results.

Another important item to review is the form and the process of obtaining a signed valid authorization from the individual being background checked. Employee screening has the most stringent disclosure requirements both in terms of the initial authorization form, and in the FCRA-mandated Adverse Action Notices (FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal law that governs background checks). However, proper disclosures and authorizations are also required for tenant screening, franchisee screening, membership screening, and other types of background checks.

If you need advice and expertise, contact a reliable background screening company that is also a consumer reporting agency. You should avoid “background screening companies” that specifically disavow being a consumer reporting agency, as these companies are therefore admitting that they do not comply with the FCRA; they also typically sell outdated, non-verified information. This will help keep your organization in compliance with the FCRA, and also safeguard consumers who are being background checked to ensure their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act are maintained, should the consumer need to dispute their background screening report.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi. President, Reliable Background Screening.