Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Background Checks - Are They Reliable?

Criminals Passing Employee, Tenant, & Youth Assoc. Background Checks

Do you have convicted criminals working with or for you?
Should you be worried about the criminal background of your nanny or child's coach?
Do any of the teachers at your child's school have a criminal past?

The answer is probably YES.

Now some may say that's not possible, because they know, for a fact, their work, child care, and all their teachers and coaches must pass a background check.
The answer is still YES.

How do I know this?
I am fairly well known nationwide for performing professional background checks. For over the past 12 years I have performed over 30,000 professional background and record checks. In those years I have come across many frightening cases, including numerous checks performed on coaches and nannies that came back with duis and drug offenses, employees with theft records who have been put in charge of collecting or handling money for their employers, teachers who were charged with rape and drug offenses, and even a case where I checked a person who was convicted of murder who was hired at a pediatrician office while on parole. What is most frightening about these cases, is that I found that almost all of them involved the person passing a previous background check to attain their position.

So how does this happen?
Today many companies, youth agencies, school institutions, and individuals are cutting cost and are relying more and more on instant database background checks. The instant background check companies range anywhere from public companies such as Intelius, US Search, etc, to your more popular public and private database companies such as Choice Point and Lexis Nexis (Choice Point appears to be the current popular choice for Youth Associations (coaches) and School Institutions (teachers)).

Often instant database background checks are inexpensive ranging anywhere from $20 - $50. Their basic background check will generally check limited nationwide and state criminal databases, department of correction records, and the sex offender registries.

For instant database information, database companies rely mainly on state repository, PRIORS (Public Record Indexes of Record Searches), and national public database systems. The problem with this is that many counties dont send criminal court records to a state repository or public databases. In fact, nearly 50% of all crimes are not reported to these databases. Some states are worse, such as Indiana, in which over 70% of crimes are not reported.

These companies also check criminal information from state department of correction records and sex offender registries. Department of Correction records will often times reveal no criminal background. Most state agencies only report active inmates while nearly all do not report county imprisonments. The sex offender registry database that is run by local government agencies is a reliable a database, however the problem with most registry databases currently are that most of them are way behind on updates. New offender information and changes are taking way to long to show up in their systems.

So what is a reliable background check that is available to the public?
The most reliable background check is one that not only checks multiple databases for more comparison data, but also checks criminal court case records. The most reliable source of criminal records is directly from the county court in which the crime was committed.

I would also advise a check the verifies social security number information, date of birth, aliases, and address history so you can be sure that the person the background is being run on is the correct person. There is also checks that check driving records, credit, and property information.
Now these type of checks may cost a little more than the 20 to 50 dollar database company search, but you will be confident to you know whether a person is actually a criminal or not.

What if our company or organization is unable to afford the higher cost checks?
Here are some of my suggestions to companies concerned with cost:
  • Perform checks only on individuals who you plan to hire or put in position. Passing a background check should be the last process performed before position placement.
  • Perform different type of background checks based on position. For example, it may not be necessary to perform a driver license or credit check when it is not applicable.
  • Perform your own reference checks. If you have the time, why pay for someone to check with past employers, education institutions, and character references. Plus my experience has shown that references are willing to divulge more information to a hiring company than a outside company that performs background checks.
  • Have your future hires, or placements share the cost. Most persons are willing to share the costs if passing the background check is the last step to attaining the position.

Ken Burbridge 
Licensed Detective - State of Indiana
President/Owner - Burbridge Detective Agency
Contracted Federal Investigator
Phone - 219-629-3260
Fax - 219-940-3926
Web - http://www.indianaprivatedetective.com/
Detective License #: PI20700205 

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