There are flaws in the FBI fingerprint database. Many U.S. agencies rely on the FBI fingerprint database when hiring individuals who have access to the vulnerable in society including the elderly, children and developmentally disabled. This puts this population at risk because the database is flawed due to incomplete information.
Counties don’t always send their reports to states and some state officials don’t always put country reports into the database. The FBI database relies on each state to send its arrest and conviction records but, as noted this information is incomplete.
Traditional Background Checks vs. FBI Fingerprint Checks: What are the Differences?
When considering the various kinds of background checks available, it can be difficult to determine which provide the most information and are the most accurate. Many traditional background checks rely on a variety of sources and interviews to provide an accurate assessment of an employee and their past. Others, like many run by the government, rely on fingerprints and the data to which they are connected.
The FBI conducts what it calls Identity History Summary Checks (IdHSC). In essence, these checks cull court and law enforcement records to find all of an individual’s criminal history. In some instances, information based on federal employment, naturalization, or military service are also included. The IdHSC use fingerprints and their associated records as the basis for reporting, so any activities involving the government and an individual’s fingerprints could be included.
However, an IdHSC does not include information that traditional background checks turn up. Past non-government employment history; bankruptcies, liens, and judgments; education verification; motor vehicle records; and more would not be included in the FBI’s check because fingerprints would not be connected to those activities. Additionally, a number of high-profile incidents of late have highlighted the flaws and holes in the federal background check system due to incorrect database entries and misfiled information.
In addition to corrections to the federal information system, companies and individuals can ensure they have the most up-to-date information by ordering a thorough background investigation not fully reliant on government sources. Looking into an individual’s employment history, educational background, Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctions, department of motor vehicle history, and more can paint a fuller picture than a check based on fingerprints alone.
Alliance Risk Group is well versed in background investigations for a variety of industries and can help you to mitigate risk when it comes to your potential hires and current staff. Our background checks do not rely on fingerprints, and we use a variety of sources to provide a thorough and complete look at your potential hires to ensure accuracy. Phone interviews with past employers or educational institutions can make a big difference when it comes to providing the whole picture of an applicant’s past. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today!
To read more about background checks and how they can help mitigate risk in your industry, click here.