SafestHires Customer Agreement
Last Updated: July 1, 2022
SAFESTHIRES, INC SERVICE AGREEMENT FOR BACKGROUND SCREENING SERVICES
By registering for a SafestHires account, you agree to the following terms of service. SafestHires may amend, modify, update or substitute any of the terms of this Agreement at any time, and any such changes shall be effective upon posting to this page.
1. SERVICES PROVIDED:
SafestHires, Inc agrees to furnish background information (“consumer report”) on job applicants, employees, independent contractors in accordance with the consumer’s instructions, volunteers or prospective tenants, as requested by the Subscriber. SafestHires, Inc will use its best efforts to deliver the consumer reports requested in an expeditious manner, however, SafestHires, Inc shall have no obligation or liability to Subscriber for any delay or failure to deliver consumer reports caused by the parties providing data or information to SafestHires, Inc, or by any other third-party. SafestHires, Inc is a federally regulated Consumer Reporting Agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act for the purpose of providing consumer reports in accordance with all applicable guidelines and confidentiality as stipulated within applicable statutes.
2. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY/LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:
The consumer report prepared by SafestHires, Inc is derived from databases and records that have been created and maintained by various government agencies, private companies, and other contributors that are not under the control of SafestHires, Inc. Responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in the consumer report and these databases and records rests solely in the contributor. The Subscriber waives any and all claim or claims against SafestHires, Inc arising out of or related to the accuracy of the consumer report, including all contributing information sources.
For any company that will use our services for Employment Verifications: Subscriber will indemnify and hold harmless Equifax, Vendor, Supplier or Talx and its affiliated persons and entities from and against any direct and actual loss, cost, liability and expense (including reasonable attorney fees) resulting from subscriber’s breach of this Agreement.
3. PAYMENT REQUIREMENTS/COLLECTION:
Subscriber agrees to pay SafestHires, Inc. all charges for services rendered to Subscriber. This shall include SafestHires’ service fees plus any government or third-party surcharges / fees required to fulfill orders. If you order a bundled package, containing two or more search types, and you cancel any searches in the package during the order process, you must still pay the agreed-upon package price. If you cancel an a la carte search while it is processing and we have incurred charges for that search before it is complete, you must still pay the agreed-upon price for that search. Packages and pricing will remain unchanged unless our vendors raise the prices they charge us, or we face any government or third-party surcharge/fee increases that are passed on to SafestHires, Inc. Pricing may also be subject to changes that we might make following internal periodic reviews to improve legal compliance regarding consumer reporting accuracy and fairness, as defined by court rulings, laws, regulations, agency opinions and legal counsel’s advice. We will provide at least 120 days notice before we increase our prices, but third-party surcharge/fee increases that are passed on to us would go into effect immediately. Subscriber agrees to pay all applicable charges within thirty (30) days after receiving a SafestHires, Inc. invoice. If you order a service that we must perform work on and the service is subsequently cancelled at your request, or if you fail to respond to requests for more information in a timely manner, and we must cancel the search, you are still responsible for paying the charges for that search. If you pay via ACH, e-Check, wire transfer or other electronic means, you must send a remittance notice by email to email@example.com on the date you issue payment. If the remittance notice has not been received within 60 days following the date the invoice was issued, this may result in your account privileges being suspended until we receive the remittance notice. If you pay by credit card, your payment will be subject to a .02% processing fee. We don’t store card info in our system so auto-pay is not an option. If you pay by card, you must login and pay manually each time. All monetary obligations to SafestHires, Inc. for services rendered which are past due fifteen (15) days or more may, at the election of SafestHires, Inc., bear interest at the rate of fifteen percent 15% per annum. Your account must be secured with a valid credit or debit card. If your invoice becomes 60 days past due, you grant permission to SafestHires to charge the card on file for any unpaid balance on the 60th day past due, or any time thereafter. Invalid cards will result in temporary account suspension until the card has been updated. In the event that external collections or legal action is necessary to obtain the payment of any monetary obligations to SafestHires, Inc., the Subscriber shall be liable to SafestHires, Inc. for all related collection costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by SafestHires, Inc. If Customer disputes any fees, taxes, or other charges billed by SafestHires, Customer shall notify SafestHires in writing of the disputed amount within thirty (30) business days of date of the invoice and provide all relevant information regarding the basis for the dispute. SafestHires shall acknowledge receipt of the disputed information in writing to Customer. All parties agree to work cooperatively to resolve any such disputes. If the Customer fails to provide notice of a dispute as provided herein, such amount is deemed undisputed and due and payable to SafestHires. To ensure maximum FCRA compliance regarding accuracy, you agree that we will verify any criminal database hits by ordering the County Criminal Search from the reporting jurisdiction and that you will pay the charges for this search plus any applicable court fees.
4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT:
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs the activities of consumer reporting agencies, as well as the users of the information procured from these agencies. A consumer report contains information on the subject’s character, reputation, and other personal data; therefore, use of such information is strictly regulated by the FCRA. Among other things, the FCRA prohibits those with a permissible purpose from obtaining consumer reports unless they disclose to the subject, in writing, that such a report may be acquired, and obtains the prior written authorization of the subject to obtain this background information. The FCRA also requires employers to take additional steps when they make an employment decision based in whole or part on the background information. These steps are intended to give the applicant the opportunity to dispute any information contained in the consumer report. SafestHires, Inc urges all employers to review the restrictions and requirements of the FCRA.
Please read this Notice to Users of Consumer Reports to fully understand your obligations.
The FCRA citation is Public Law 91-508, Title 15, U.S.C. Sections 1681, et seq, and the text of the FCRA is available here: http://safesthires.com/content/uploads/2015/12/fcra-2.pdf. Please note, particularly, the Permissible Purposes of Reports, as well as requirements on Users of Consumer Reports and Obtaining Information Under False Pretenses. Unless requested by a client or by government regulation, SafestHires, Inc reports will cover the previous seven (7) years.
Permissible Purposes: By signing this document, Subscriber certifies that it is requesting SafestHires, Inc to provide screening services only for the purposes of considering an individual for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention, to serve as an independent contractor in accordance with the consumer’s instructions, to serve as a volunteer, or determining eligibility for tenancy, and for no other purposes.
Applicant’s Authorization Obtained: By signing this document, Subscriber certifies that prior to requesting SafestHires, Inc to provide screening services for any permissible purpose, it has provided the subject of the report with a clear and conspicuous written disclosure, in a document consisting solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report is being requested for employment, volunteer, independent contractor or tenancy purposes, and it has obtained the written authorization from the subject to obtain a consumer report for any of these purposes.
A standard federal disclosure and authorization form is available at this link:
Some states an dlocal jurisdictions have their own disclosure requirements. Subscriber further certifies that prior to requesting SafestHires, Inc to provide screening services for any permissible purpose, it has provided the subject of the report with a clear and conspicuous written disclosure form, and authorization form, in states or local jurisdictions, where applicable.
Additional state disclosures can be downloaded at this URL below.
You also agree that you will provide a copy of these federal and state disclosure documents to the consumer upon their request.
Pre-Adverse Action: By signing this document, Subscriber certifies that before taking adverse action (e.g., refusing to hire or any other act that may be considered adverse to the subject’s interest), based in whole or part on information contained in the SafestHires, Inc consumer report, Subscriber will follow these steps first:
A. Provide the subject with a copy of the consumer report; and
B. Provide the subject with a copy of the FCRA Summary of Rights, in the format approved by the CFPB (A copy of this form may be obtained from SafestHires, Inc); and
C. Inform the subject that they have 10 business days to dispute any information contained in the consumer report, or to reply to you with an explanation.
Adverse Action: By signing this document, Subscriber certifies that after providing the applicant/employee with the Pre-Adverse Action information contained above, and after it has given the applicant/employee 10 business days to dispute the information or provide an explanation, if the Subscriber will be taking Adverse Action against the applicant, the Subscriber will send the applicant a follow-up notification that the Subscriber is taking adverse action (e.g., denying employment, etc) based on the information contained in the consumer report.
Confidentiality and Legal Use of Information: By signing this document, subscriber certifies that it acknowledges the sensitivity and confidentiality of the information contained in the consumer report and Subscriber agrees that information obtained from a consumer report will not be used in violation of any applicable state or federal equal employment opportunity laws.
Indemnification/Hold Harmless: By signing this document, Subscriber acknowledges that it has read and understands the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Subscriber agrees that it will comply with all such requirements and Subscriber agrees that it shall defend, indemnify and hold SafestHires, Inc, its directors, officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns, harmless from any and all claims, liability, costs or damages whatsoever arising out of or related to Subscriber’s failure to comply with the requirements of the FCRA, or other federal, state or local laws and regulations that govern the use of consumer reports. Subscriber further agrees that it shall defend, indemnify and hold SafestHires, Inc, its directors, officers, employees, agents, successors and assigns, harmless from any and all claims, liability or damages whatsoever arising out of or related to the accuracy or use of the services or data provided under this Agreement.
Identity Theft and Fraud Alerts: If a consumer believes they are a victim of identity theft or fraud, please refer them to the major credit bureaus. Contact information for the credit bureaus can be accessed here.
Consumers who believe they are victims of identity theft have certain rights. Information about these rights can be accessed here.
SSN Address Trace Accuracy: If you have a county criminal search or statewide criminal search in your package, with access to more than one county or one state, once our system runs the SSN Address Trace, it automatically runs a county criminal search in the counties where the person has lived and / or a statewide criminal search in the states where the person has lived (based on the addresses revealed from the SSN Address Trace). Information for an SSN Address Trace is provided by a multitude of sources, including credit bureaus, banks, and utility companies. However, the accuracy of the data is only as reliable as the information reported to these sources. In rare situations, data entry errors by creditors at the originating source may result in a name and address of someone who is not your candidate appearing on your candidate’s SSN Address Trace, and this may result in a county criminal search or statewide criminal search being automatically run on that address. We have no control over this. By using our services, you accept that this may happen and you agree to pay for any costs we incur, including court fees, if this happens.
5. Arbitration and Class Action Waiver
PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY — IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND GOVERNS HOW YOU AND SAFESTHIRES CAN BRING CLAIMS AGAINST EACH OTHER. THIS SECTION WILL, WITH LIMITED EXCEPTION, REQUIRE YOU AND SAFESTHIRES TO SUBMIT CLAIMS AGAINST EACH OTHER TO BINDING AND FINAL ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS, NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY CLASS, GROUP OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION IN COURT.
5.1 Agreement to Arbitrate
In exchange for the benefits of the speedy, economical, and impartial dispute resolution procedure of arbitration, You and SafestHires mutually agree to give up our right to resolve disagreements in a court of law by a judge or jury, and, as described below, agree to binding and final arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq.
You and SafestHires agree that this arbitration agreement is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, and shall survive even after these Terms or any Services terminate.
5.2 Claims Covered by Arbitration
Other than the exceptions in Section 5.4, You and SafestHires agree that any disagreement, claim, or controversy arising out of or relating in any way to these Terms (including its enforcement, breach, performance, interpretation, validity, or termination), or Your access to and/or use of the Services, or the provision of content, services, and/or technology on or through the Services (hereinafter, “Claims”), shall be resolved by final and binding arbitration to the fullest extent allowed by law.
5.3 Delegation to Arbitrator
If there is a disagreement about the arbitrability of any Claim (including questions about the scope, applicability, interpretation, validity, and enforceability of this arbitration agreement), You and SafestHires agree that this threshold disagreement shall be delegated to the arbitrator (not a court) and that the arbitrator shall have initial authority to resolve such threshold disagreements.
5.4 Claims Not Covered by Arbitration
This arbitration agreement shall not require arbitration of the following types of claims: (1) small claims actions demanding $10,000 or less brought on an individual basis and within a small claims court’s jurisdiction; and (2) applications for provisional remedies, preliminary injunctions, and temporary restraining orders, including those relating to actual or threatened infringement, misappropriation, or violation of a party’s copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents, or other intellectual property rights.
5.5 Class Action Waiver
Except as otherwise required under applicable law, You and SafestHires agree to bring and resolve any Claims only on an individual basis, and not as a named-plaintiff or class member in any class or representative proceeding. You and SafestHires acknowledge and agree that we are each waiving the right to participate as a plaintiff or class member in any purported class action lawsuit, class-wide arbitration, or any other representative proceeding as to all Claims (hereinafter, “Class Action Waiver”). Further, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one party’s claims and may not preside over any class, consolidated, or representative proceeding, unless you and SafestHires agree otherwise in writing.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this arbitration agreement or the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) Rules, specific disagreements about the scope, applicability, enforceability, revocability or validity of this Class Action Waiver may be resolved only by a civil court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator. If there is a final determination that the Class Action Waiver is unenforceable as to certain claims brought on a class or representative basis, then those claims shall be severed from any remaining claims and may proceed in court, but the Class Action Waiver shall be enforced in arbitration on an individual basis as to any remaining claims to the fullest extent possible.
5.6 Arbitration Rules, Procedures, and Costs
You and SafestHires agree that the arbitration shall be administered by the AAA before a single arbitrator mutually agreed upon by the parties, and if the parties cannot agree within thirty (30) days after names of potential arbitrators have been proposed, then by a single arbitrator who is chosen by the AAA. The arbitrator will apply the terms of this arbitration agreement and the applicable AAA rules, which are available at www.adr.org or by calling 1–800–778–7879. If You are an individual person, the arbitrator shall apply the AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules. If You are not an individual person, but are an entity or company, the arbitrator shall apply the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules.
If You are an individual person and bring a claim solely for monetary relief of $10,000 or less: SafestHires will agree to pay for any filing, administrative, or hearing fees charged by the AAA. If the arbitrator finds that the substance of Your claim or the relief sought is frivolous or brought for an improper purpose, however, then the allocation of fees will be governed by the AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules.
If You are an individual person and bring a claim for monetary relief exceeding $10,000: The AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules will govern payment of administrative or hearing fees charged by the AAA, including limiting Your filing fee to $200. In addition, fee waivers or other forms of cost relief at the arbitrator’s discretion may be available. If the arbitrator finds that the substance of Your claim or the relief sought is frivolous or brought for an improper purpose, however, then the allocation of fees will be governed by the AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules.
If You are not an individual person: The AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules will govern payment of administrative or hearing fees charged by the AAA.
The arbitrator shall have the power to decide any motions, including dispositive or summary judgment motions, brought by any party to the arbitration. The arbitrator may grant any remedy, relief, or outcome that the parties could have received in court to resolve the party’s individual claim, including awards of attorney’s fees and costs, in accordance with the law or laws that apply to the Claim. The arbitrator shall provide in writing to the parties the basis for any award or decision. Judgment upon any award rendered in such arbitration will be binding and may be entered in any court with proper jurisdiction.
Except for the Class Action Waiver in Section 5.5, if any clause within this arbitration agreement is found to be illegal or unenforceable, that specific clause will be severed from this arbitration agreement, and the remainder of the arbitration agreement will be given full force and effect.
If you are an individual person, You have the right to opt-out and not be bound by this arbitration agreement by sending written notice to SafestHires — clearly indicating your intent to opt out of this arbitration agreement and including the name, phone number, and email address associated with Your account—via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or U.S. Mail (SafestHires, Inc., 6841 Virginia Pkwy, Suite 103 – #121, McKinney, TX 75071). Your opt-out notice must be sent within 30 days of Your agreement to these Terms. If You do not opt-out of this arbitration agreement within the 30-day period, You and SafestHires shall be bound by the terms of this arbitration agreement in full. If You opt-out of this arbitration agreement within the 30-day period, it will not affect any other, previous, or future arbitration agreements that You may have with SafestHires.
5.9 Pre-Arbitration Notification and Negotiation Process
Prior to initiating an arbitration, You and SafestHires each agree to first attempt to negotiate an informal resolution of any Claims covered in Section 5.2. This pre-arbitration negotiation shall be initiated by providing written notice to the other party—including a brief written statement describing the name, address, and contact information of the notifying party, the facts giving rise to the Claim, and the relief requested. You must send such written notice to SafestHires via email (email@example.com) or U.S. Mail (SafestHires, Inc., 6841 Virginia Pkwy, Suite 103 – #121, McKinney, TX 75071); SafestHires will send such written notice to the email address You have provided to SafestHires.
During this pre-arbitration negotiation, all offers, promises, conduct and statements, whether oral or written, made in the course of the negotiation by any of the parties, their agents, employees, and attorneys are confidential, privileged and inadmissible for any purpose, including as evidence of liability, in arbitration or other proceeding involving the parties.
After a good faith effort to negotiate, if You or SafestHires believe a Claim covered in Section 5.2 cannot be resolved informally, the party intending to pursue arbitration agrees to notify the other party via email prior to initiating the arbitration. In order to initiate arbitration, a claim must be filed with the AAA and the written Demand for Arbitration (available at www.adr.org) must be provided to the other party, as specified in the AAA Rules.
6. ATTORNEYS FEES AND COSTS:
In the event a dispute arises with respect to this Agreement, the party prevailing in such dispute shall be entitled to recover all expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in ascertaining such party’s rights, and in preparing to enforce, or in enforcing such party’s rights under this Agreement, whether or not it was necessary for such party to institute suit or submit the dispute to arbitration.
7. GOVERNING LAW:
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas.
The failure of either party to insist in any one or more cases upon the strict performance of any term, covenant or condition of this Agreement will not be construed as a waiver of a subsequent breach of the same or any other covenant, term or condition; nor shall any delay or omission by either party to seek a remedy for any breach of this Agreement be deemed a waiver by either party of its remedies or rights with respect to such a breach.
This Agreement shall inure to the benefit of and bind the heirs, personal representatives, successors, and assigns of the parties.
Subscriber may cancel their account with SafestHires, Inc. by providing 60 days written notification in advance of the cancellation date. If subscriber wishes to cancel service due to performance concerns, Subscriber shall email the reasons to firstname.lastname@example.org and give SafestHires 30 days to remedy the concerns. Subscriber is obligated and must adhere to the FCRA and/or other federal, state and local laws or regulations governing the use of consumer reports, despite cancellation. SafestHires, Inc. recommends that all Disclosure and Release forms must be kept on file in a secure location for a period of at least five (5) years.
11. PROPRIETARY INFORMATION:
The entire SafestHires background checks website, which is accessible via this Uniform Resource Locator (URL), https://secure.safesthires.com, is proprietary and collectively considered a Trade Secret. This includes all information, images, colors, features, functions and supporting software code.
The Subscriber company agrees that existing, future and former employees or contractors will not share their login credentials to the SafestHires background checks site at URL https://secure.safesthires.com with any non-subscribers.
The Subscriber company agrees that existing, future and former employees will not attempt to capture or possess any video or images (digital, printed or reconstructed video or images) of the SafestHires, Inc background checks website at URL https://secure.safesthires.com.
The Subscriber company agrees that existing, future and former employees will not show any video or images (digital, printed or reconstructed video or images) of the SafestHires background checks website at URL https://secure.safesthires.com to any non-subscribers, at any time, for any reason.
A non-subscriber is any third-party who has not received express written authorization from SafestHires, Inc to access the SafestHires, Inc background checks website at URL https://secure.safesthires.com, including but not limited to, independent contractors, customers, lawyers, investigators, auditors, government employees, or other agents working for or affiliated with other pre-employment screening companies.
If this confidentiality provision is violated by any authorized user of the Subscriber company, the Subscriber company agrees to be financially liable to SafestHires, Inc for any actual and projected losses plus attorney fees resulting from the violation. This penalty shall be enforceable for as long as the Subscriber company’s users have access to the SafestHires background screening system at URL https://secure.safesthires.com.
By completing a user account and using the SafestHires, Inc background checks system at URL https://secure.safesthires.com, the Subscriber has read and agrees to be legally bound to the terms and conditions of this agreement.
You also authorize us to verify any criminal records obtained from a database search (aka unverified criminal records) by ordering the criminal record on file from the originating court, at full price, including court costs, because no controls exist to ensure the accuracy of criminal database records.
12. SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION:
Please see below for important information about our services, compliance, best practices, possible third-party fees and how we address possible errors. Please save this information so you can refer to it from time to time and share it with any colleagues who have a need to know.
13. CHANGE OF TERMS:
Important Information About Legal Compliance
We are not lawyers. We consult lawyers concerning legal compliance for employment background checks and to help clients minimize their legal exposure, we strongly urge them to do the same.
You may have your own legal counsel that you trust, but we strongly recommend Littler because they have a dedicated practice group comprised of lawyers with expertise in background screening legal compliance and they also have nationwide reach.
In fact, your own legal counsel may wish to consult the background check experts at Littler, to clarify or confirm something before they advise you. Our point of contact is:
Chad Kaldor | https://www.littler.com/people/chad-j-kaldor
In addition to consulting experienced legal counsel before designing and implementing an employment background checks program, please follow this link and be sure your program – at a minimum – follows the rules described here.
That said, we do require our customer service team members to obtain their FCRA Certification from the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. The program is for individuals in compliance or legal roles as well as anyone who regularly deals with compliance issues within their organizations. The content and exam focus on complex Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance issues.
This is a 12-hour educational program, administered by an employment law attorney, followed by an exam. To earn the certificate, applicants must receive an 80% or better on the exam and must retest every two years.
Concerning the disclosure & authorization form, our version of this form was prepared by legal counsel and we share our version of this form with our clients as a professional courtesy. We do so with the caveat that we are not lawyers and that some legal experts may differ in their opinions about the legality of certain words and phrases contained in this form.
For this reason, we do not warrant that the form is 100% legally compliant and we encourage you to consult an experienced employment law attorney before using our form or any version of it.
Important Information About The SSN Trace & Address History Search
What is a Social Security Number Trace & Address History Search?
The SSN Trace & Address History Search is a search based on the social security number submitted by the applicant. The search itself returns all the credit header information associated with that SSN. This does not mean a credit check is being run. As consumers and employers are sometimes confused, this bears repeating: credit header information is not the equivalent of a credit report and does not involve credit scores. The information returned on a social trace product are all the names, including aliases and variations, all the dates of birth, and all residential addresses on file that are associated with that SSN.
Once the SSN trace is returned, the background screening firm combs through the report to extract names, aliases, and jurisdictions to conduct the various criminal records searches. This exercise can actually be more of an art than a science for the following reasons:
Because consumer information is entered and compiled countless times over from various consumer databases, inaccuracies such as typos, transposed digits and misspellings are not uncommon. Additionally, the following scenarios must be considered in reviewing the contents of a social trace.
· Names of other individuals such as parents, spouses, family members may appear on the SSN trace if they have ever co-signed for the applicant or if the two individuals’ names appear together on an application for credit.
· The names and DOBs of both father and son may appear on the same social trace for men who are second, third, etc. generation and bear the same name (e.g. George Williams II & George Williams III or Michael James Jr. and Michael James Sr.)
Sometimes, an SSN Trace will not return any results due to:
· The applicant’s limited credit history, often a result of their young age and absence of credit history
· The applicant’s limited credit history if she/he was only recently assigned a social security number
· Data entry error by the client
· Reporting error by the applicant
· Fraud by the applicant
. Hyphenated last names
. Legal first name not used (i.e., “Cathy” vs. “Catherine” or “Bob” vs “Robert”)
. Recently married individuals
What an SSN Trace Does Not Do
Users of background reports should understand that the SSN Trace does not verify or confirm the validity of a social security number issued from the Social Security Administration.
Nor is the SSN Trace a comprehensive identity verification tool. If an employer submits to its background check provider an applicant’s SSN that in turn produces identifying information that does not match that of the applicant or that does not produce any results at all, the employer needs to pursue further verification with the applicant directly.
Ultimately, it is the employer’s responsibility to verify the applicant’s/employee’s identity through the I-9 or other process. The social security trace is not a tool used for this purpose.
With this in mind, if you are using the option we provide with our county criminal searches, where we show the counties the person lived in from most recent to oldest, keep in mind that if there are several alias names associated with this person on the SSN Trace, the system will populate these names by the counties they lived in, in alphabetical order of the alias names. This means the “One County” option may NOT be the most recent county the applicant lived in. To ensure you cover all counties the applicant lived in, it is important to select the most inclusive option, covering all counties the person may have lived in.
Important Information About Criminal Database Searches
The Nationwide Criminal Database Search, also called a “National Sweep” or “Nationwide Review” or “NationScreen,” or “Criminal SuperSearch” is a multi-jurisdictional compilation of criminal records from participating states and counties across the US.
Though “National” in scope, the data is compiled from multiple public record data sources and is NOT an entire compilation of all criminal records from all states.
Some state and county courts upload criminal records to databases infrequently and some never upload criminal records to databases. There are no laws requiring courts to upload criminal records to any databases.
The Nationwide Criminal Database product DOES NOT substitute for an in-person courthouse search of criminal records (County Criminal Search).
Additionally, when records are being entered into criminal databases by people at the courthouse, sometimes the information is entered incorrectly, which can produce a “false positive” based on an incorrect name match or incorrect date of birth match.
Also, criminal record information on database searches is often abbreviated or incomplete, making it impossible to fully decipher. If this is the case, the only way to decipher the information is to order the county criminal search for that county, which will reveal complete information on the crime and the disposition.
For these reasons, the Nationwide Criminal Database Search is a Non-FCRA Compliant Product.
This means that if you rely on the results of a Nationwide Criminal Database Search alone, without first independently verifying the criminal record’s accuracy (before contacting the applicant or taking adverse action against them), your company will increase its exposure to government enforcement agency sanctions and/or litigation.
Other criminal database search products that are Non-FCRA Compliant and require independent verification before contacting an applicant or taking adverse action include:
– Statewide Criminal Database Search
– Nationwide Federal Criminal Search
– 50-State Sex Offender Registries Search
The criminal records contained in privately owned databases are filed by name and date of birth, not Social security Number. If your applicant provides you with a false date of birth to conceal a criminal record violation, or if the person ordering the background check accidentally enters the date of birth incorrectly or if the database record lists the applicant’s date of birth erroneously, then the only way to discover if the applicant has a criminal record when using a database search is if your screening provider’s system is equipped to search for “close date of birth matches” and then delivers these records to you. If you receive a “close date of birth match” record, the only way to verify if the record actually belongs to your applicant, before making a hiring decision, is to order the criminal record on file with the originating court. The default setting in our system is to deliver criminal database records with “close date of birth” matches as well as exact matches. If you prefer to receive exact matches only, please notify customer service.
The industry Best Practice for obtaining a person’s criminal history follows:
1) Find out which counties the applicant has lived in using the SSN Trace & Address History Search.
2) Conduct an in-person courthouse search (performed by an experienced court researcher) for criminal records in the applicant’s existing and past counties of residence.
3) Conduct criminal database searches (i.e., Nationwide Criminal Database Search, Statewide Criminal Database Search, 50-State Sex Offender Registries Search, Federal Crimes Search) to detect possible criminal activity in counties other than where the applicant has lived.
4) Independently verify any criminal record “hits” returned from a database search by ordering the criminal record on file from the reporting jurisdiction.
Please find below a couple articles describing the risks associated with using criminal database searches as a stand-alone tool in trying to discover a person’s criminal history.
Important Information About Possible Fees & Surcharges
Sometimes, we have to pass on additional fees or surcharges to the customer.
Some courts charge a fee to obtain their records. We do our best to keep clients informed about which courts do this and the amounts they charge. Follow this link for more information.
All states charge a fee to access a driving record. Follow this link for more information.
Some employers require us to use a third-party service for education and employment verifications.
These services charge us a fee, which we must pass to our customer. See below for fee ranges, which can differ depending on the specific service being used and their fee structure.
Employment Verifications: $8.00 – $45.00.
Education Verifications: $1.00 – $60.00
The fee amounts vary based on the contract between the employer or university and their third-party verification vendor. These are pass-thru fees only.
If you will be ordering Workers Comp reports, you can view the fee schedule by following this link: Workers Comp Fee Schedule.
Important Information About Military Veterans
It’s advisable to ask your candidates is they ever served in the military and if they did serve, you should request that they supply you with a copy of their military separation document, which is called a Form DD-214. This is the same form for every branch of the military. This form will explain the nature of their separation. If they were discharged under honorable conditions (honorable discharge), your inquiry may stop here. If the reason for their separation was “other than honorable,” “dishonorable,” or “bad conduct,” you should inform us so we can conduct further investigation into the reason for this type of discharge. Depending on the nature of the discharge and the channels we must go through to obtain the information, it can take a few days to several weeks to obtain the records, but doing so can substantially decrease your risk of liability.
Important Information About Turnaround Time
Rapid turnaround is a key performance metric for all companies that use background checks. The sooner the report is complete, the sooner you can proceed with the on-boarding process.
We have worked hard over many years to speed up turnaround time with data integrations and by selecting the fastest and most reputable researchers in the market, but this is where our direct control ends.
Many other factors that are beyond our direct control can impact turnaround time, including responsiveness of the people accessing the information, such as court clerks, employers, education institutions and other third parties. Their responsiveness is dictated by their staff levels, hours of operation and workload, which we do not control.
As such, the best we can do is provide average turnaround times, based on millions of searches processed in our system over many previous years.
While our average turnaround times are considered among the fastest in our industry, there will be rare situations beyond our control where a search takes longer than average, and very rarely, where it takes much longer than anyone would consider to be reasonable.
In these rare, and very rare situations, the best we can do is to keep you informed about our progress in the admin notes area, explaining the status and the steps we are taking to expedite the search. Also, knowing that delays are possible, we attempt to mitigate this by being honest, setting realistic expectations, providing exceptional customer service and charging reasonable prices.
Important Information About Possible Errors
As mentioned previously, background checks are a necessary but imperfect process. There is a possibility that inaccurate or outdated information might get delivered to you on a pre-employment background check?, or that a screening company might accidentally miss a record during the search process. This possibility is increased with international background checks as requests are processed through various parties and the legal systems/statutes/polices vary greatly overseas.
Every background screening company encounters errors from time to time and they usually result from ?the user’s sole reliance on ?criminal database? records, ?or ??from ?information gathering errors committed by an ???independent court ?researcher ?or ?human error by courthouse staff, or from data entry or product selection errors committed by the person ordering the background check.?
The FCRA, which is the federal law governing the use of background checks for hiring decisions, recognizes that such errors are inevitable which is why screening companies are given 30 days to correct errors that are disputed.
The best you can hope for is to work with a screening company that:
1) Will be transparent with you about this possibility and the causes, and;
2) Follows industry Best Practices to minimize the potential for ?missed, ?inaccurate or outdated information being delivered and;
3) Has a reputation for rapidly correcting such errors in the rare instances that they happen.
If a screening company is up front about this possibility and commits to minimizing and quickly resolving these situations, then you will know you are dealing with a highly ethical company that will go the extra mile to deliver the most accurate information possible.
Important Information About Privacy