Background Screening

- What to Expect

Free Background Screening is something many vendors will offer when you search online for background screening services. As we have to do in this time of false advertising and deals too good to be true, we have to ask the question: "Why should I pay for a background check from a background screening company such as AAA Credit Screening Services when I can get information for free?"

Something that these so-called "free" background screening websites is what is included with their "background checks". The term is used very vaguely and doesn't specify the purpose or the scope of the search before it is conducted. They can gather information from a variety of sources including public records, motor vehicle reports, county criminal records, or bankruptcy searches. If you need a report for a very specific purpose, it can be confusing to determine which reports you need, for instance if an applicant background check needs to be run statewide, nationwide, etc.

Another cumbersome aspect of "free background checks" is their dishonest nature. These sites hook you by offering and even starting your order for free, and they reveal a snippet to lure you in even more and then you are prompted to pay to see the full report to obtain anything that is actually useful to your company. Small details are etremely important, for instance making sure that the offense that is showing up under say Mike Louis is really Michael C. Louis or Mike W. Lewis and so forth. It is not uncommon to get "untrue" information due to mistaken identity. Running legitimate reports with the applicants permission, social security numer, etc. ensures more accurate reporting results.

Last, but not least, a problem with the "free" background screening service companies is the fine bring regarding how the reports are to be used. What most people miss (usually at the bottom of the screen) is the fact that the reports are not to be used for employment screening, tenant screeing, consumer credit decisions or any other purpose that requires FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) compliance. What this means is that if you are a legitimate business, propery manager or landlord, you can be faced with serious legal consequences if you use one of these sites.

The reasons are
  1. Because running reports on one of these sites means that they didn't require the authorization of the applicant to run the background check, which is a violation of the FCRA that requires consumer reporting agencies to have an applicant's permission to run background and credit checks.
  2. Websites that aren't legitimate background screening companies' databases aren't reviewed, which means their records aren't verified for accuracy meaning that information furnished could be out of date, or incorrect (as in cases with mistaken identity)
It is not advisable to rely on "free" background screening services when it comes to making business decisions. It is good advice to remember that "you get what you pay for" which may not be anything of actual value when it comes to these online sites. Many of these types of reports can be completely useless due to inaccuracies as well as the fact that they many not search the "right areas" for the type of record that you need, even after you made a payment to them, and then of course you aren't legally allowed to use the info (as mentioned above). This can just waste a hiring manger or landlord's time and they will probably end up having pay again to run a report with a legitimate background screening company before the actual hiring or renting decision is made.

AAA Credit Screening Services is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (napbs) and FCRA compliant (so you can use them for hiring and renting decisions) and provides accurate, quality service, quick turn around time and knowledgeable customer service staff that assists customers with running reports as well as the reading and interpretation of reports.