1-800-588-1774 Email Us
Login

FAQ

What is a background check?

A background check is comprised of various searches that are designed to reveal different kinds of information about a person. While some organizations use background checks to qualify volunteers or potential tenants, they are mostly used to determine a person’s suitability for employment or professional advancement within a company. Companies conduct background checks to protect their workforce, customers and assets, and to minimize their exposure to negligent hiring claims.

What are the different types of searches that can be combined into a background check?
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TRACE
Using credit bureau databases, we ensure your candidate is using their own social security number.
 

 

ADDRESS HISTORY
We work with the major credit bureaus to locate and verify previous home addresses.
 

 

NATIONAL CRIMINAL RECORDS SEARCH
If your candidate has been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor outside the counties where they have lived, you’ll want some way to discover this. The National Criminal Records Search is a database that can help reveal possible criminal activity. However, this search should only be used as a pre-screening tool and never be relied on for final hiring decisions.
 

 

COUNTY COURTHOUSE CRIMINAL RECORD SEARCH
To get the most up-to-date, detailed criminal records quickly, SafestHires connects to more than 1,200 county courthouses and we employ a nationwide network of court runners to manually check criminal history in counties where courthouse integrations have yet to be established.
 

 

DOMESTIC TERRORIST WATCH LIST SEARCH
Make sure your applicant isn’t a known terrorist, drug trafficker, or importer of weapons of mass destruction.
 

 

GLOBAL TERRORIST WATCH LIST SEARCH
Expand your most-wanted search to international criminal and terrorist databases.
 

 

SEX OFFENDER REGISTRIES SEARCH
Our criminal background checks can go a step further to reveal registered sex offenders.
 

 

EDUCATION VERIFICATION
It’s easy to fake a diploma. We call schools directly to verify your candidates’ educational background and we are also integrated with the National Student Clearinghouse – a third-party service that rapidly verifies education credentials in more than 4,000 colleges nationwide.
 

 

EMPLOYER VERIFICATION
Be certain your candidate’s resume isn’t padded. We’ll contact previous employers to your candidate is being truthful about their work history.
 

 

MOTOR VEHICLE RECORDS SEARCH
Check to see if your candidate has a valid driver’s license and a clean driving history.
 

 

PROFESSIONAL LICENSE VERIFICATION
Verify an applicant’s professional license and whether the license is in good standing.
 

 

DRUG TESTING
If you need to fill any jobs that require clear thinking and a steady hand, be sure your candidate has not been using any controlled substances.
 

 

DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS
Many regulatory agencies will monitor people employed in healthcare and financial services positions, and maintain records when people in these positions have been disciplined for abusive, unethical or inappropriate conduct. Find out if your candidate’s name appears on these lists.
What kind of background check is most reliable?
Many factors contribute to a background-screening package that’s most effective for a given business, including the industry, the expected turnaround time, and budget. Criminal background screening is generally the foundation of a pre-employment background check, while additional services, like Education Verification and Employer Verification can reveal candidate dishonesty or other character traits that can help inform the hiring decision.
 
Where does SafestHires get its data?

SafestHires partners with a variety of FCRA-certified providers whose comprehensive databases compile state and federal records. Our team of experienced court researchers conducts on-site courthouse record checks, while a team of educational, license and employment search specialists pursue direct verification of candidate credentials.

What information must a candidate provide before I can run their background check?

You will ask your candidates to provide their information using our candidate consent form. At a minimum, we require a candidate’s full legal name, Social Security number, email address, date of birth, and current home address. SafestHires will let you know if more information is needed.

Why must I obtain the person’s written consent before running a background check?

In order to legally run a background check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that employers obtain written authorization from the job candidate or employee before they can be screened. The FCRA also requires the employer to certify to the screening agency that they have obtained written consent and will follow other rules concerning adverse action. This must be done just prior to the screening company processing the background check for each candidate.

Where can I find a consent form that is legally compliant?

As a SafestHires customer, we provide access to our FCRA compliant consent form so you can obtain the appropriate authorization needed to run a background check on a job candidate, volunteer applicant, potential tenant or employee.

Is my candidate’s sensitive data secure?

Absolutely. All transmission of personal data uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), a robust protocol for encrypting data online. The secure connection is used in the checkout process for payment protection, and whenever you’re logged in to the site.

How does SafestHires deliver reports?

To protect your candidates’ privacy and ensure the security of their data, background reports will be available on the SafestHires background screening website. You’re automatically notified by email when a report is complete, with the option of incremental notification upon completion of various sections of the report.

How long does it take to complete a background check report?
Report delivery time varies with report type. Our Basic Report offers the speediest delivery, often nearly instant, but any criminal hits should be verified by first ordering the county criminal record on file in the reporting jurisdiction.
 

 

The Standard Report adds an on-site county criminal record and Terrorist Watch List check, which takes approximately 1–3 days. Finally, the Premium package (which adds employment and education verification to the mix) can add another day or so.
What if I don’t have a candidate’s Date of Birth or Social Security Number?
SafestHires requires the candidate’s date of birth (DOB) and Social Security number (SSN) in order to run a report. An individual’s DOB is used as a primary identifier by nearly all American court systems and this information helps ensure the accuracy of our reports. The SSN is used to obtain the person’s residential address history from the credit bureaus so we may run a county criminal record search in those counties.
 

 

If you can’t or don’t wish to collect sensitive information from the candidate, you can request that the candidate securely provide his or her information to SafestHires directly. Simply order a report and select the option for the candidate to complete his or her information through our Order w/Invitation process. Companies that choose this option will only need to submit the candidate’s legal name and email.
 
What if the candidate has changed their name?

Accurate names are critical to retrieve criminal records. Industry best practice is to conduct background checks of each name used within the last seven years. Because an “alias” name is, in fact. a different name, it will be treated as a separate background check.

What happens if I discover the report has missing, incomplete or inaccurate information?
Though we utilize every possible resource and follow every Best Practice to prevent this from happening, sometimes these scenarios can’t be avoided. When it happens, it is most likely due to human error by a person outside our organization, who we did not train and do not supervise.
 

 

If this does happen, please contact us right away by emailing support@safesthires.com or calling 800-588-1774 and we will resolve the matter to your satisfaction, as quickly as humanly possible.
 
Where can I find old reports?

Your reports will be archived inside your account for as long as you need access to them, up to 7 years. They are available by clicking the tab called “MY Reports” and searching by name.

Can I receive a hard copy of my reports?

At the time you are viewing a report, you will be able to print a hard copy.

Is it possible to cancel a report once it has been submitted?
No. Due to automation and the speed that our system processes requests, once the order has
been submitted, it cannot be stopped or “undone.”
What laws or regulations govern the use of background checks?

The Bureau of Consumer Protection, a Federal agency, has compiled an excellent summary of compliance standards for pre-employment background screening here.

There is a broad regulatory framework covering pre-employment background checks, including:
 

 

THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (FCRA)
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates how employers perform employment background checks on job applicants. It protects individuals by ensuring the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information gathered by the consumer reporting agency (CRA). Beyond credit checks, the FCRA covers any background report, such as driving records and criminal records obtained from a CRA like SafestHires. Read the full text of the Act here.
 

 

FAIR AND ACCURATE CREDIT TRANSACTIONS ACT
This act helps prevent identity theft and improves the resolution of consumer disputes, accuracy of consumer records, and use of and access to credit information.
 

 

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
The statute prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities who are qualified to perform essential job duties.
 

 

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
Title VII of this act prohibits discrimination by covered employers (those who have fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year) on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or transgender status. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency responsible for enforcing laws against workplace discrimination, including Title VII. See the What You Should Know page on their official site for more information.
 

 

In addition some states have unique background check laws. Be sure to experienced legal counsel to make sure your screening program complies with all applicable laws.
 
Why can’t I just Google candidates for their background info?
What you learn about a candidate from an Internet search engine may include relevant personal information, but the law dictates that background data for employment evaluation be assembled by a “consumer reporting agency” that “regularly” prepares reports for a fee to employers. A search of a person’s name through an Internet search engine does not generally meet this definition. More important, Internet search results lack credibility and are often easily manipulated and inaccurate.
 

 

In addition, the FCRA also regulates how far back employers can search through a candidate’s history for different types of information. These different time restrictions are necessary considerations to ensure legal hiring practices. Because Google searches do not inherently take these nuances into this consideration, companies can find themselves in legal trouble if they make hiring decisions that don’t take these requirements into account.
 

 

Finally, a Google search can expose you to information about a candidate that you are not legally allowed to consider in making an employment decision (like disability status, gender identity and more), leaving your company vulnerable to charges of discrimination.
 
How can I minimize my company’s legal exposure?

SafestHires helps make pre-employment background screening easy, legal, and ethical. We offer step-by-step instructions to assist you in complying with federal law, including the relevant forms when necessary. In addition, we have federal notices for your reference, and a compliance certification for review. We cannot offer legal advice, but you can have legal counsel review your proposed screening processes to consider and ensure that you are complying with federal, state, and local laws, regulations and guidance.

How do I get a copy of the FCRA compliance rules?

Your responsibilities as an employer under the FCRA can be accessed here. Additionally, we provide assistance throughout the process, and offer guidance tailored to each step of the process. If you’re a fan of fine print, you can find the text of the Fair Credit Reporting Act here.

What is negligent hiring and how can I avoid a negligent hiring lawsuit?
Negligent hiring is a claim made by an employee against their employer, alleging that if the employer had engaged in more due diligence when screening the worker, a history of similar conduct would have been revealed which should have disqualified the worker from consideration.
 

 

For your company to be held liable for negligent hiring, the plaintiff must prove that:
 

 

An employee intentionally injured a co-worker, customer or client, AND
 

 

Few, if any, pre-employment checks were performed, and that if they had been, those check would have likely revealed a worker’s propensity toward violent behavior, OR
 

 

The employer, knowing a worker’s propensity toward violence, did not provide proper supervision and security.
 

 

Some states have even stricter standards for employers to meet. Because the exact standards for a finding of negligent hiring vary from state to state, you should check with an employment law attorney familiar with negligence law in your state.
 
What do I do with a background check report after making a hiring decision?

The Federal Trade Commission’s Disposal Rule mandates that when you’re done using a background report, you must securely dispose of the report and any information you gathered from it to prevent unauthorized access to or use of the information. If you have paper copies, shred ‘em! SafestHires takes care of the digital copies, by deactivating reports after one year (but of course we still list them in your history).

Can we automatically deny employment based on any criminal record found?
No. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits blanket exclusions. Employers must evaluate each candidate’s criminal record on a case-by-case basis. If a rejected candidate has been convicted of a crime that is not job-related and correlated to a business necessity, the employer may be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
 

 

If the conviction meets this criterion, the employer must still follow FCRA rules that give the candidate notice in advance and provide the candidate with an opportunity to explain or contest the veracity of the information. Read more.
Are the legal requirements to obtain consent the same for contractors & volunteers?

Yes.

How do I dispute inaccurate information on a background check report?
If you believe there is inaccurate or incomplete information in your report, you have the right to file a consumer dispute with SafestHires. We will reinvestigate the report free of charge, and make any necessary changes within 30 days of receiving the notice of dispute. Download the SafestHires Dispute Form and fax it to our support team at 214-270-0640 or mail it to SafestHires, 6841 Virginia Pkwy, #121, McKinney, TX 75071. In the Nature of Dispute section, try to be as precise as possible about why you believe the disputed element (or elements) is inaccurate or incomplete. If you have supplementing documentation (e.g., a court expungement letter, proof of employment, et cetera), be sure to include these with your form. Your detailed explanation and/or support documentation could help to expedite the reinvestigation process and resolve your dispute quicker.