A background check can be as brief or as in-depth as you like, depending on what you need to know about your job applicants. As the employer, you decide how deep to go depending on the nature of the job and the level of responsibility involved in the position you are hiring for.
Searching for criminal records is a critical component of the background screening process but misdemeanours such as driving offences might not be relevant to your specific hiring requirements. However, the first and most important step in your background screening process is to verify a candidate’s identity.
Start with an identity verification background check
Confirming a candidate’s identity in the first place helps ensure that subsequent background check results will be accurate. You’ll also discover early-on whether an applicant is fraudulently using someone else’s identity.
Identity theft is surprisingly common. There are more than 3 million cases of identity fraud in the US every year and that number is on the rise, increasing by about 45 per cent in 2020, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In the UK, there are close to 180,000 identity theft reports made annually, which means an average of one in every 15 people becomes a victim of identity theft.
That’s why InteliMasters advises customers to verify candidate identities first. Doing so will raise any red flags pointing to possible identity fraud. We can quickly verify whether details such as the name, address and date of birth on an application match the social security number provided. You can also see whether the social security number is associated with more than one individual, which would indicate fraudulent activity.
Don’t assume though that discrepancies arising in identity verification checks automatically indicate criminal activity. There are many perfectly valid reasons for someone changing or hiding personal details, such as transgender applicants that have the right not to reveal details of their previous identity to a potential employer. These are details that our team at InteliMasters can help identify and cross reference to ensure background check results are fair and accurate.
Perform a criminal background check
Performing a criminal background check is significantly more time consuming and costly than identity verification. You may have heard of background screening service providers offering National Criminal Database searches. However, this actually involves checking a wide range of local databases, depending on the country or countries you are conducting your background checks.
In the UK for example, a basic criminal background check, called a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, can pull up recent criminal records in England and Wales but not from databases in Scotland and Northern Ireland, because they are governed by different laws.
On the other hand, when performing criminal background checks in the US, there are thousands of databases. Sources for criminal background checks include:
- Criminal Courts
- Department of Corrections
- Traffic Courts
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Fugitive Lists
One of the biggest challenges our clients face with background checks is staying on the right side of privacy laws. Performing a background check to verify identity and check criminal history by searching public records is perfectly legal. However, you would be breaking the law if you used that information to make a hiring decision without first obtaining the applicant’s consent and approval.
Intelimasters is a background screening agency, not a law firm. This article is for informational purposes only. Nothing in it should be considered as legal advice. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific business and/or individual needs.