Do you have a question about Background Checks?See the list below for frequently asked questions and answers. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact our customer service department at 888-649-6272.
Frequently Asked Questions
While this section is not to be construed as legal advice, nor intended to be comprehensive, here are a few of the legal aspects surrounding background checks. AccuSource always advises its clients to consult with their legal counsel when establishing a background checks program.
Are there any special forms required before I order a background check?
A signed release that has been approved by your legal counsel is needed before you order a background check. A handful of states still require a special release before providing Motor Vehicle Record information. If you request any international services, your Account Executive will provide you with the paperwork needed to obtain the appropriate information. Several states require special releases for Worker’s Compensation Reports.
Do I need to give the applicant something or have them sign something?
Federal law and some states require that an applicant be given written notification before you run a background check.
Is consent of the person to be background checked needed to legally order a background check for employment purposes?
The FCRA and certain state laws generally require the employer to make certain disclosures to the applicant to be checked, and to obtain the written or electronic consent of the person to be checked prior to conducting the check. The FCRA also requires that the disclosures and consent be on a form separate from the job application. AccuSource makes a sample applicant Disclosure & Consent form available to its clients.
What does the term "adverse selection" mean?
As more companies utilize more thorough background checks to evaluate job applicants, the companies that do not conduct background checks are becoming more likely to attract higher percentages of people with adverse records. “Adverse selection” in the hiring context refers to this phenomenon of companies (which do not background screen) attracting an applicant pool that generally has a higher percentage of criminal records or other potentially problematic issues in their background.
You use terms such as "Consumer Report" and "The Fair Credit Reporting Act". What does this mean?
AccuSource is a Consumer Reporting Agency, as defined by the FCRA. Under FCRA terminology, any information we provide to our clients for pre-employment screening purposes is referred to as a consumer report, regardless of the actual screening services performed. Pre-Employment Credit Reports are only provided if specifically asked for by a client.
Are there any costs involved in joining your services?
All Consumer Reporting Agencies are required by the industry to conduct a site inspection of the commercial business address of all new client locations that want Credit Report service. There is a cost to AccuSource for this inspection and for small-volume accounts we must pass it along. After the initial account setup you are only charged for the searches you conduct and in many cases will receive volume discounts. If your volume level qualifies for a discount we can usually absorb the cost of the site inspection as well.
What is the average cost to conduct background checks?
Aside from the internal time a company may spend, background checks ordered from providers range from a few dollars to find addresses to hundreds of dollars for more extensive investigation. Our experience is that on average, the typical packages ordered range from about $30 for basic criminal searches to $100 for packages that include more extensive criminal searches (e.g., Federal Criminal and Terrorist Watch List) as well as employment verifications and motor vehicle records searches.
Are you a member of NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners)?
Yes, we were a founding member of NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners). See NAPBS member directory. AccuSource, Inc.
Can anyone run a background check?
No. Because of the sensitive nature of the information gathered, background checks are restricted to those with a legal “permissible purpose.” AccuSource only conducts background checks on behalf of bona fide organizations.
Product, Service, Results Questions
Can I track results online?
Yes. We will provide you with a username and password, allowing access to our online system. You will then be able to track results as they come in.
How do I conduct a search?
Once you sign the AccuSource subscriber agreement you are able to conduct searches. Any search requested must have a signed release from the person being checked. Searches can be ordered through our web ordering system or through XML integration.
How long does a background check take to complete?
Results are gathered from multiple sources and completed in one to three business days. The process may take longer because a few courts, employers, and schools are hard to contact or slow to respond. Results from these sources are usually back within a week.
If I am looking for a search not listed on your website, can you help me?
AccuSource is always adding additional services. If you request something related to employment screening that we can’t help you with, we will try to refer you to someone who can.
What background checks give the best results?
This depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which includes the goals and budget of the employer (e.g., search speed vs. breadth/depth, budget, etc.). Criminal record searches generally are at the foundation of an employment background check – due in substantial part to protect its workforce and prevent against negligent hire claims. Searching the county courthouses in the areas where the person has lived is an industry best practice. In addition, various database searches can be conducted to identify additional jurisdictions in which it may be advisable to search the applicable courthouse, and Federal level criminal record searches also can be performed. Beyond criminal records searches, additional screening options may include Motor Vehicle Records, Employment and Education Verification and drug testing.
What is the difference between Federal and National?
Don’t get these confused! Neither type of criminal search is perfect or comprehensive. But each serves a different purpose. Federal criminal searches can take place in single or multiple Federal districts across the country. The types of criminal records stored in these locations are related to Federal offenses including crimes that crossed state lines, white collar crimes, etc. There are far fewer Federal records than county courthouse records and the odds of finding a Federal record are lower than a county record, although when a record is found it tends to be serious. National criminal searches are attempts at consolidating criminal records from any counties that will provide records to database owners/managers. These records generally are Felony and Misdemeanor related, are partial or full records that you would find at the courthouses themselves, and may or may not be updated recently. National searches are a great way to search for records on people that moved a lot.
Quality & Accuracy Questions
Are there ever mistakes in background checks?
Yes! The information in a background check was created, compiled, maintained, searched, and reported by fallible individuals. Consequently, it is important to give the applicant the opportunity to review negative information. If the applicant identifies information in a report that is incomplete or inaccurate, we will re-investigate and furnish the required reports, notifications, etc., at no further charge.
How is AccuSource qualified to do this?
AccuSource is a federally regulated Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for the purpose of providing pre-employment screening information in accordance with all applicable guidelines, confidentiality and mandates as stipulated within applicable statutes.
What information is needed for an accurate background check?
By far the two most important pieces of information are a correct Date of Birth and correctly spelled First and Last Name. Next in priority is the Social Security Number. Although criminal records in America generally do not include SSN, this number often is used in 2 ways: (1) often employers will hire AccuSource to “validate” the number to ensure that the SSN is a valid number that was issued AFTER the person was born; and (2) to identify past addresses of the applicant to initiate checks in the associated geographic counties where criminal activity was more likely to have occurred.