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Reasonable Procedures – Maximum Accuracy

Like most legal documents the FCRA can be a minefield to navigate.  Pages and pages of statutes, codes, articles, sub chapters, who wants to read this stuff?  Perhaps because the language is so dry many companies have made the mistake of ignoring a very important section that is key to protecting your business.

This is section 1681, otherwise known as reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy.  Verbatim the sections reads: “Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares a consumer report it shall follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates.”  This does seem like a common sense protocol for most any background screening company, right?  When reporting information a screening company should make the effort to ensure the report is correct, that’s our job after all.  However, where this can and often does become an issue is with regard to the use of database records.

The most common database records are those found in searches like the National Criminal and the National Sex Offender Registry but these can also include Medical Sanctions, Global Watch Lists, and others.  Any service that searches a third party database as opposed to the “live” records at the source is considered a database search.  While these searches can offer excellent benefits with regard to speed and automation, some are closed within minutes of being ordered, they also pose the greatest challenge to ensuring maximum possible accuracy.

That’s because a database is just that a database.  Records complied and stored for years by third party companies do not always reflect the most current and up to date status of those records.  For instance, let’s say an individual is convicted of a DUI.  The record of that DUI conviction is obtained by the company that administers the database and moving forward will appear when the individuals name is run through their system.  However, a few years later lets say that individual is able to have their record expunged.  Once the expungement takes place the conviction is no longer part of the public record.  If you were to search for this individual in the county court of record there would be no trace of the DUI.  Yet, because the database record providers do not obtain expungement information from the courts the original conviction will likely remain in their database.  For a CRA to report this record from the database search would be a violation of the provision to ensure maximum possible accuracy.

It is for exactly this reason that Eagle Screen policy prohibits our reports from containing any potentially adverse information from a database source without first confirming the information reported with the official source.  That means any National Criminal search that results in a potential hit will be verified with a county or statewide criminal search to ensure the information is true and up to date.  It also means that potential hits in Sex Offender, Medical Sanctions, and other database services are always verified at the source.  Our team makes every effort to ensure these verifications are conducted in an efficient but more importantly accurate manner.  Where other firms may cut corners to return database information, Eagle Screen makes the extra effort to ensure the accuracy of our reports.

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