How to Identify
Reputable Background Check Companies
by Glenn Hammer
- National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Membership
- ConcernedCRAs Membership
- Better Business Bureau Accreditation
National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) MembershipThe mission of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) is to promote ethical business practices, promote compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and foster awareness of issues related to consumer protection and privacy rights within the background screening industry.
ConcernedCRAs MembershipConcernedCRAs is a group of like-minded Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA's) dedicated to consumer protection by not sending Personally Identifiable Information (PPI's) Off Shore without Client and Applicant Notifications and by proper and responsible use of National Criminal Databases. ConcernedCRAs.com members are self-certified.
Reputable background check companies only recommend criminal database checks as research tools to widen the geographical area being searched for criminal records. Because of the incomplete and inaccurate nature of a criminal database search, any "hits" are verified with the proper jurisdiction before they are reported to the employer.
While some countries have extremely strong data and privacy protection laws, many places information is sent by some background check companies for off-shore processing have very little if any practical data protection. In some countries private data can be purchased very cheaply. The lack of any meaningful protection once U.S. data is sent off-shore is a major gap in the effort to combat identity theft and to protect privacy. Credible background screening companies subscribe to the standards of ConcernedCRAs regarding the off shoring of sensitive personal information.
Better Business Bureau AccreditationThe Better Business Bureau is familiar to most employers. A business displaying the BBB online seal has committed to adhere to the BBB Code of Business Practices (including the BBB online advertising standard), and has committed to work with its customers and BBB to resolve disputes. Click on the seal to verify that the business is certified and to review BBB records including the history of disputes reported to the BBB.
When reviewing a background check company's BBB listing pay particular attention to the rating (A+ is the highest), the Customer Complaints Summary, the dates when the BBB file was opened and the dates when the business started.
ConclusionBackground checks are one area where the old sayings "Buyer Beware" and "You Get What You Pay For" certainly apply. Employment background checks are an important investment for any employer. Prudent employers will carefully consider who they trust to help them with this critical business function.
Established industry sources are available to help employers identify reputable background check companies.
- National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®)
- ConcernedCRAs: Our Positions
- Criminal Database Limitations: A Database Search Is Not A Background Check
- The Inside Story: The Best Background Check Service
The AuthorGlenn Hammer, founder of A Matter of Fact, a California-based employment background check firm. A Matter of Fact was established in 1994 and was a founding member of The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). A Matter of Fact is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and subscribes to the standards of ConcernedCRAs regarding the off shoring of sensitive personal information and the responsible use of criminal databases. See www.amof.info.