Vendor screening is an essential part of any company’s procurement process. It involves an assessment of potential suppliers and vendors to determine their suitability and reliability to meet your company’s needs.  Vendor background checks help protect against dangerous criminals, as they allow companies to verify the criminal history of potential vendors and assess the risk of doing business with them. By conducting background checks, companies can uncover criminal records, including convictions for violent crimes, fraud, theft, or other offenses that could pose a risk to your company.

Performing criminal background checks on vendors involves conducting a search of public records to identify any criminal history.  You should note that a reliable background screening company should be able to facilitate this process for your company.  Here are the steps to follow when performing criminal background checks on vendors:

  1. Obtain written consent: You must obtain written consent from the individual being screened, before conducting a criminal background check. This consent should be specific to criminal background checks and should outline the nature and scope of the investigation.
  2. Identify the jurisdictions: Determine the jurisdictions where the individual has lived, worked, or gone to school. This will help you determine which criminal records to search.
  3. Verify identity: Verify the vendor’s identity to ensure that you are conducting the criminal background check on the correct person. This typically involves requesting government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, state identification card or passport.
  4. Search criminal records: Search criminal records in the jurisdictions where the vendor has lived, worked, or gone to school, generally in the past seven years.  This may include county, state, and federal criminal records. Again, it’s important to use a reliable background screening company to ensure the accuracy of the information.
  5. Review the results: Once you have obtained the criminal background check results, review them carefully. Look for any criminal convictions or charges that may indicate a potential risk to your company.
  6. Consider the relevance of the results: Consider the relevance of the criminal background check results to the vendor’s relationship with your company. For example, a vendor who will have access to sensitive data or who will work with vulnerable populations may require a more extensive criminal background check.
  7. Comply with regulations: Ensure that you are complying with any applicable laws and regulations regarding criminal background checks. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of consumer reports, including criminal background checks on vendors.

In summary, performing criminal background checks on vendors requires obtaining written consent, verifying identity, identifying jurisdictions, searching criminal records, reviewing the results, considering the relevance of the results, and complying with regulations. By following these steps, you can help identify any potential risks and make informed decisions about the vendors you work with.  A reliable background screening company can make vendor screening, important for your company, a process of relative ease.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening

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