Do You Really Know Who Is Conducting Your Employment Screens?
Buzzfeed recently published an expose on one of the nation’s largest background screening provider’s business practices and placed a massive spotlight on what can happen when screening companies rush their processes and make grave mistakes.
Why Offshoring Matters
When a background screening company “offshores” its processes, it is not only outsourcing its customer service, it means that sensitive, personal identifying information (PII) like social security numbers are sent overseas to be processed. This presents several issues, including the safekeeping of the information. When PII is offshored, it is no longer subject to U.S. privacy laws, providing little to no recourse to American victims of identity theft as a result of this practice. Data breaches, identity theft and loss of privacy, not to mention the actual processing of criminal record reports all pose serious potential risks when a company moves it operations halfway around the world.
The quality of a search is also called into question. Relying heavily on screen-scraping technology, as the company in the Buzzfeed article does, the quality of a search can be impacted, especially at the county level. While some counties host their records online, not all databases are created equal. Without the human element verifying information, records can slip through the cracks or even show up on the wrong person’s report. When a processing center is on the other side of the world, how can you be sure that the guidelines and standard operating procedures are being followed without exception? You can’t.
The increasing practice of offshoring caused a group of like-minded consumer reporting agencies who were worried about the future of the screening industry to found www.ConcernedCRAs.com, a website dedicated to consumer protection. This group, of which AmericanChecked is a founding member, is committed to adhering to and promoting safe data practices, including absolutely no offshoring.
Verification of Hits
The practice of verifying hits on a background report is as fundamental as learning your A B C’s. Any and all hits should be verified through a live search of the county where the incident took place. Searches at the county level yield the most up-to-date, accurate information. This also verifies identity, ensuring the report you receive on the person you’re potentially going to hire is accurate.
It is poor practice to rely solely on the information received through developed technology without this live search component. Time is money and a complete, thorough review of an applicant, including a live county search, barring mercy of court locations, can be completed in just as timely a manner.
What offshoring sacrifices in security and accuracy, it also sacrifices in customer service. Offshoring call centers are often a cause of frustration for both the clients who are looking for information about their orders and consumers who are disputing their reports.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – the guidelines to which all CRA’s must adhere – screening companies are to reinvestigate, confirm, correct and/or delete disputed information within 30 days. When larger companies offshore their dispute process, the circle of information is often not completed.
Conversely, AmericanChecked follows all FCRA guidelines and takes consumer service seriously. When clients call, they are answered by our staff of FCRA certified experts and 98.7% of calls are handled by their first point of contact. No bouncing around from department to department. The difference between the large, volume-based companies and the smaller, more agile firms is night and day and could mean the difference in the safety of your employees and the people you serve.
Companies looking for an employment screening provider should consider a company that never offshores its domestic reports, is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners and puts an emphasis on both accuracy and turnaround time as well as customer service.
At AmericanChecked, we put our clients first. We believe that there should be a high level of trust between a company and their background screening provider. It’s not only an integrity issue, it’s also a safety issue. When suitable candidates are passed over due to wrong information or, worse, when unsuitable candidates with documented, reportable histories are cleared through a background check, it costs employers money, time and – sometimes – their reputation. Companies need to be able to rely on the security and safety of sensitive information as well as the veracity of the reports provided. For more information, call (800) 975-9876.