Criminal Background Checks
InCheck helps you build better criminal search solutions
A criminal background investigation is one of the most critical parts of the background screening process, as it is primarily used to validate the accuracy of information provided by applicants. In other instances, it is used to determine if an applicant meets the predefined criteria of certain safety-sensitive positions.
It’s important to understand some of the most widely-used search products to ensure your screening process is capable of identifying the information your organization is seeking. The wrong combination of products and search scope can create unwanted problems if caught on the back end. InCheck will help you create an investigative package that’s right for you.
Popular criminal search types are detailed below.
Person Search or SSN Trace
This search tool is just that – a tool – to assist in determining the jurisdictions and possible name variations to be searched per your protocol requirements. This product uses information from consumer reference files that is reviewed by our investigations team in accordance with defined internal procedures. Because the data we receive with this product often contains additional information not attributed to the candidate, the search results are not included with our reports to ensure there is no inference of candidate dishonesty or error. When the information found in the search results does not match the information provided by the candidate, InCheck will contact the candidate to validate the information at hand.
County Criminal Search
Almost all felony and misdemeanor cases are filed in county courts. Most search protocols involve a seven or ten-year search of the counties a person has lived, worked, or attended school. We’ll report information we are legally permitted to, as there are jurisdiction-based reporting restrictions InCheck is required to follow. We’ll also apply client-specific reporting protocols to ensure the information you receive is not only legally reportable, but is filtered to match your exact specifications. While many county court records are accessible through electronic methods, many more require the use of a nationwide network of court researchers who will physically conduct searches onsite at the actual courthouse. The combination of electronic sources and traditional “court runners” is an important factor in quality of service. This is where industry knowledge and expert insight create an advantage, as the best networks require diligence to identify the best process at the best price for each of the 3,000-plus counties in the U.S.
Federal District Search
Federal case files are maintained electronically and are available through the internet-based Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. PACER allows anyone with an account to search and locate appellate, district, and bankruptcy court case and docket information. Examples of federal crimes include mail fraud, carjacking, credit card fraud, animal cruelty, or hate crimes, to name a few. While the frequency of identifying federal crimes is much lower than misdemeanor or felony cases identified at the state or county level, these are generally higher-profile cases of significant interest. Often, federal searches are associated with management or executive level background check packages.
National Criminal Search
This can be a great tool to assist with identifying possible criminal history information in locations where a person may not have lived; locations that weren’t searched at the state or county level per the person’s residence history. While this search product contains millions of records from various sources throughout the country, its strength is based on the availability of information from each individual county and state. Thus, the search is stronger in locations where more information is available. It is a best practice and FCRA requirement for InCheck to validate potential criminal history information identified on a national search by conducting a county criminal search in the jurisdiction(s) where the information originated, to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information prior to reporting it to our client.
Statewide Criminal Search
Much like county searches, most client search protocols involve a seven or ten-year search of the states a person has lived, worked, or attended school. State searches also identify felony and misdemeanor criminal history information. Like national searches, statewide criminal searches require validating possible criminal history information by searching the primary source – the county – in which the information originated, prior to reporting it to our client. While state searches might provide wider coverage, they are only as strong as the counties that report information to the state repository. If you’re unsure whether a state or county (or both) is the right search type for your organization, one of our experienced sales associates will be happy to share our insight to assist with your decision-making process.
National Sex Offender Registry Search
The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is the only U.S. government website that links public state, territorial and tribal sex offender registries in one national search site. The NSOPW presents the most up-to-date information as provided by each jurisdiction. Information is hosted by each jurisdiction, not by NSOPW.gov or the federal government. The search criteria available for searches are limited to what each individual jurisdiction may provide. Thus, search results should be verified by visiting the individual jurisdiction’s public registry website for further information and/or guidance.
Understanding your requirements, skill sets and locations will help us recommend the appropriate screening products for your organization.