You’re interested in running background checks in Western New York. So, where should you start? Follow these five steps to successfully (and legally) conduct a background check on someone.
How to Conduct a Background Check
Know the Rules
Let’s say you want to find out more about a new hire, a current employee or tenant. This should be easy, right? You simply type their name into Google and see what pops up. Not so fast! This data could not only be inaccurate but also illegal for you to use. Federal laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the FCRA, protect the rights of individuals. Plus, many states, counties and cities have additional restrictions. Although these rules may seem excessive, remember background checks aren’t always 100% correct. And you don’t want to make a major decision about someone based on misinformation.
Find a Reputable Provider
A background screening company or third-party provider can help you find the information you need legally and efficiently. For the best results, look for services accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). These organizations complete a rigorous series of audits every five years to consistently deliver the highest-level industry standards. They understand all the correct procedures, rules and regulations.
Ask for the Person’s Permission
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), businesses must receive consent from individuals before requesting consumer information from a third-party. This needs to be expressed in a stand-alone document. It cannot be hidden within the job application. Why is this necessary? If a screening does contain damaging information, a person should know and be given the opportunity to challenge possible mistakes. The U.S. government has taken a strict stance toward protecting consumer rights too. In the past decade, companies ranging from Amazon to Target have paid out millions of dollars for FCRA violations. (CBS News, 2019)
Request a Report
Once the paperwork is in order, you can go ahead and request a report. Usually, you need a person’s full name and social security number. An accredited provider will walk your through this process. Also, keep in mind, background checks may include anything from criminal record searches to credit reports to academic verification. Some companies provide various levels of screening (at different price points) while others offer customized packages.
In most cases, if someone passes a background check, you don’t need to follow up. However, there are exceptions. For example, someone may request a copy of their report regardless of the results. On the other hand, if you’ve found something that raises concern, you must follow the FCRA’s pre-adverse and adverse action process. This process lets the person know there is a problem and gives them time to dispute any potential inaccuracies.
Would You Like to Conduct a Background Check on Someone in Western New York?
Metrodata Services offers background screening services in Buffalo, New York and beyond. As a PBSA accredited provider, we’ll make sure you receive accurate information while remaining compliant with federal and local laws. Learn more about partnering with Metrodata today!