But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom
preserves the lives of its possessors.




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  1. Did you know there are many different types of criminal history searches and no single database holds them all?

    It is critical that you know exactly what type of criminal information you are getting when comparing different background companies. Some companies have key words listed with their website. It can be very misleading and you may think you are getting one search when in fact that’s not what you are receiving at all.

    1. Fingerprint record check – This is referred to as a NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) record. It is most accurate in making sure you have the correct person but costly. It can be done at the state level and federal level; federal level can only be obtained by applicant unless the position is mandated by state statute.
    2. State criminal history files – These records come from a statewide court system or a statewide repository. Search can include arrest and convictions; may require a signed authorization. Files may not be up to date.
    3. County criminal history files – This is a county courthouse search of records; most up to date data.
    4. Federal criminal search files – This search covers federal crimes which are not listed on state records. (ie. racketeering, money laundering, large drug charges, crimes committed on federal property, etc)
    5. National Criminal Database Search – This is probably the most misunderstood search. The public may be misled in thinking this is an all-inclusive search. In fact, this search is a proprietary database created from massive downloads of public criminal record information. It is an instant search but records may only be updated periodically and may not include all states. PCG Screening Services will only provide conviction information within the last 7 years from this database search. If records are needed to be searched further back than 7 years, the client must specify their requirements. A list of covered areas can be provided upon request. This search is not FCRA compliant and any hits must be researched at the local level before client makes an adverse decision.
    6. Incarceration/Correction Search – Only covers subjects who have been incarcerated in a state or federal prison.
  2. Why can’t I just google search my employment applicant?
    1. First, you must have the applicant’s permission to do a background check for employment purposes. In addition, you are putting your company at risk for a claim of hiring discrimination if a hiring manager views an individual’s social media profile and the profile indicates the applicant is part of a protected class (e.g. age, race, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc).
  3. Why can’t I just allow the applicant to bring in their own report?
    1. To answer that question, there are other questions you need to ask. Do you know if the results are accurate are legal? Do you know where the person has lived? Do you know the FCRA and EEOC guidelines in what to consider? Outsourcing this service will be more efficient and provide more legal protection. Contact our office for further details.
  4. Do I have to give the applicant a copy of their background screening report?
    1. If you are considering making an adverse decision based on information received for an employment applicant, you must give the applicant a copy of their report. Some states require you to give the applicant a copy of the report whether you make an adverse decision or not.
  5. What is a social security verification?
    1. With PCG Screening Services, a social security verification will include the year and state the number was issued. It will also include the applicant’s name; often, a date of birth; and probably most helpful, previous addresses. You might want to run a criminal check in those locations. Other companies may call this search a social trace. They also may break the service up into two services: one stating just the state and year the social was issued and the other search may provide addresses.
  6. Are criminal records searched by name, date of birth, or social security number?
    1. It depends on where the record is being searched. All requests are searched with name provided. If you need alias names ran you must specify and it is an additional search. Local county records are usually checked by name and date of birth. Some repository records will try to match all three fields. Usually there are two requirements for a hit. Some records may be searched by name only. In those instances, PCG Screening Services will provide possible hits. If you think it could be a match, you must request further research to determine the match.

***Helpful Resources

FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act)
Notice to Users of Consumer Reports
Summary of Consumer Rights

(City, County, Zip Code and Area Code look up service)

(Put your address in to view map of sex offenders in your area)

***PCG Screening Services, LLC has no control over the content of these third party sites and is not responsible for their content.*

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