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Busting the Myth of the National Criminal Search

MYTH BUSTERS – don’t be fooled!

What have “Big Foot”, “National Criminal Search”, “Multi-Jurisdictional Search”, “National Crime Information Service” got in common?
If you said they are all a myth, you would be correct.
While none of these searches exist, many background screening vendors will convince you they do and will have you believe they are all you need for a background check. Let’s debunk that myth here and now.
First and foremost, there is only one truly national criminal record database known as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and that is maintained by the FBI. It is accessible only by government and law enforcement, and when mandated by state or federal legislation. It is not generally available to employers for background screening.
SingleSource Services, as a member of ConcernedCRAs ( is committed to debunking this myth. ConcernedCRAs, a group of ethical background screening vendors who maintain the highest standards of truth in business, have made it their goal to ensure that employers are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of these types of database searches.
If not truly a “National Search”, then what are they? Generally speaking, they contain records from the Department of Corrections, States, Counties, and other proprietary sources compiled into a database. NONE of the databases resold for employment purposes have a “National” records capability, since by “National” we mean every jurisdiction. They all vary, though not greatly, depending how much data has been purchased. They all fail to meet the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as the data is not the most up to date available.
However, most of them do contain the records of all states' Sex Offender Records, a search that is crucial for any employment, and especially in areas where contact is made with children, elders, or the vulnerable as part of the job. This set of data is usually current.
Therefore, there are caveats in the use of these databases:
  • The jurisdictions covered should be fully disclosed, as data is added daily and the list of jurisdictions searched for the subject may be needed for future reference.
  • Understand how often the database is updated.
  • No action should be taken on records found, until they are verified at the source of origin, such as the county court of jurisdiction.
The issues surrounding the FCRA and the requirements for taking adverse action based upon a consumer report will be the subject of our next article.
News & Events
SingleSource Is Now a Service Offering of ClearStar, Inc.
October 12-14 Single Source at National HCAOA Conference, Kansas City
"Thank you SingleSource Services for your drug screens! They are excellent! We use the 10 panel with the adulterant testing. Since we screen candidates regularly for our clients, we need reliable drug screens. The I-Cups read quickly, are accurate, and most of all, do not leak! We can use them with confidence, presenting quality drug-free personnel. Thank you for the great drug screens and the exceptional customer service."

Ashley Flannery - Branch Manager
Spherion Staffing Services
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