Why you should choose a PBSA accredited agency?

Why you should pick a PBSA accredited agency? Did you know that out of the hundreds of background screening agencies to choose, less than 1 in 5 of them are actually accredited by Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) ? 


When you work with PBSA accredited agency such as InteliMasters, you know you are getting professional service delivered by qualified experts that understand accountability. In this regard, the PBSA’s accreditation program gives a seal of approval widely recognized as the industry gold standard for consumer reporting agencies operating in the United States and worldwide.

What does PBSA accreditation cover?

The PBSA’s program gives screening agencies tools and expertise in the following essential areas of recruitment:

  • Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Compliance with industry & labour laws
  • Compliance with privacy laws
  • Data protection & information security
  • Client education
  • Researcher and data standards
  • Verification services standards
  • Business practices

How background screening agencies acquire PBSA accreditation

To become PBSA accredited agency, background screening service providers have to demonstrate full compliance with the accreditation standard established by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC).

Compliance is demonstrated through rigorous audits of the background screening firm’s documentation, policies and processes. The audits are performed by an independent third-party auditor every five years to ensure the firm is consistently adhering to compliance standards to remain accredited.

What about background screening agents without PBSA accreditation?

Consumer reporting agencies that are not accredited by the PBSA are not audited by any official body so you have no way of knowing whether their ethics and processes are up to the rigorous industry standards set out by the association. They only have to comply with Fair Credit Reporting Act, as does any organization handling personal data and information. 

Legislation governing the way employers screen prospective employees is continually changing. However, while consumer reporting and background screening agencies are not legally obliged to understand the ever-changing laws, PSBA accredited screening organizations must continually stay abreast of compliance changes in order to remain accredited.

How does the PBSA uphold background screening standards?

As well as auditing background screening agencies and providing guidance for them, the PSBA is an active lobbyist in the US capital for continually maintaining and improving background screening standards and legislation.

A recent example of the PBSA’s influence over such legislation is the Michigan date of birth (DOB) redaction from public records, which could potentially prevent employers from carrying out the most basic background check to verify a candidate’s identity if passed. 

Checking a candidate’s date of birth against their social security number is one of the first steps in the background screening process to verify the candidate’s identity and ensure against identity fraud; a very common occurrence. If passed, the Michigan date of birth redaction legislation could prevent employers from even starting the screening process, so the PBSA worked hard to raise awareness of the issue and how it could impact recruiting; managing to put a hold on the legislature for six months.

Trends bringing change to background screening laws

You don’t need a crystal ball to know there will be changes in legislature that make things more complicated than before, especially with increasing dependence on digitized and automated processes and the subsequent privacy laws surrounding data collection on and off line. Here are some trends to keep abreast of in the coming years:

Enforcing laws and making claims in court is usually a matter of interpretation, and differs from state to state, but we can rest assured that there will always be opportunities for individuals to claim they were discriminated against in one way or another.

Take the current trend in identifying individuals with gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns. Simply referring to someone as ‘he’ or ‘she’ could land you in court fighting a discrimination case.  

Ban The Box legislation, prohibiting employers from asking about candidates’ criminal history, has been adopted by about half of the US states and continues to gain acceptance. 

New laws regarding marijuana use and drug testing standards are also expected to come into play in the near future.

Recent privacy laws have given job applicants and consumers much more scope for taking legal action if they believe their personal information has been misused or abused. These laws will only continue to become more complex, increasing the potential for litigation.