employee background

Employment Background Checks: What You Should Know About the FACT Act

employment background checksIn our home, we have two waves of kids heading out to school each morning. We have 3 out the door early with a 30 minute gap before the other 2 head off to middle & pre-school. This morning I used the 30 minute interval to sip a cup of coffee and read through my credit reports from the 3 credit bureaus.  I know, exciting stuff.

And fortunately, it was pretty mundane reading.  I checked the 3 credit scores and did not see anything in the reports that did not belong.

But it did hit me that it might be a good idea to deviate from our normal blogging topics that are geared toward keeping you and your organization safe and discuss employment background checks and the FACT Act.  I know, you are reaching for cup of coffee to get you through this article.  However, this little known law provides a lot of consumer protection.

First, the FACT Act is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that allows consumers (you) to obtain a FREE copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax).  There are additional identity theft protections but the law is geared toward protecting consumers.

Why is this law so important?  A study in 2004 by the U.S. Public Interest Group found that as many as 80% of credit reports have inaccuracies.

So if that is an accurate sampling then we can deduce that is more likely than unlikely that our credit report has errors.  I learned this first hand.  Three years ago I found a collection on my credit report that did not belong to me.

A healthcare organization had a delinquent account under the same name as mine and when they did a search of their network, they found my name and SSN and attached it to my credit history.  Boom!  That easy my credit score took a hit.

That is why I obtain and review my credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus every year. And here is how you can do it:


or call:  877-322-8228

Have you reviewed your credit report recently?  If not, what are you waiting for?

What is Average Turnaround Time for Employee Background Checks?

employee background checksIs it not true that we all want things to be done at the snap of our fingers?  Yes, we live in a world where technology has made us impatient.  We want information and we want it now! I have to admit that I fall prey to the “instant syndrome” myself.  I am always connected and generally can find the answer to any question I need on my PC, laptop or iPhone.  Well, I also must admit that it is 48 degrees with a misty rain and I am sitting in my car watching my son’s baseball practice while multi-tasking and writing this article.

So, yes I understand the world wants employee background checks instantly.  You have hiring managers breathing down your necks to get somebody hired for the open position and they need them yesterday.

However, we need to understand the significant risks that instant background checks present to our organizations and it is well worth waiting 1-3 days for a comprehensive background check.

You may still be asking why not?  I watch CSI and they can tell us everything in a split second by keying information into a database or lifting a fingerprint off of a glass.  This makes for great TV but the criminal record system in the U.S. is disconnected and this is an impossibility.

Let me explain why our comprehensive background checks cannot be completed instantly:

  • County Criminal Search:  We have developed new technology that allows us to search county courts through our system.  It might reduce our turnaround time from 3 days to 1 but we still require a review of the report and any possible records to determine they are reportable under federal, state or local laws.
  • Records Need Verified:  Any possible record found in a database MUST be verified with the court of record to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  This protects your organization and the applicant.
  • Re-Check of National Sex Offender Registry: Our national criminal database contains information from sex offender registries but we take it one step further and manually re-check all applicant names against the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • SHS Client Services Representatives Review ALL Reports:  This provides protection to your organization and your applicants.  It also makes your reports completely actionable if there is undesirable information.

The bottom line is employees are a huge investment and you have made a wise decision to implement employee background checks so let’s make sure we do them correctly.  Instant background checks are attractive and promise the moon but in reality leave organizations vulnerable to an unsuitable hire and expose us to the risk of a negligent hiring lawsuit.

Download our 10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Background Screening Firm and make sure the firm understands best practices.

Are you concerned with your turnaround time?  Leave us a comment below.