TopTenREVIEWS' top picks for the best background check services.
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There’s rarely a time when you should be more cautious than when hiring a new employee. During the interview and screening process, you’ve got lots of time to check all the facts and make sure you’re making a good hiring decision. After the hiring is done, you’ll have a hard time fixing your mistakes. That’s where background check services come in. To safeguard your business, a comprehensive background check is a must.
Robert Siciliano, a personal security, identity theft and background check expert, said there are two main reasons more and more businesses are conducting background checks on potential employees.
"They don't want to bring lowlifes and dirt bags into their organizations and they don't want the liability of foreseeability," Siciliano told BusinessNewsDaily. "They are a tool to reduce liability and help make informed decisions on hires." [For a side-by-side comparison and a breakdown of costs for the best background check services, visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews.]
While background checks can provide a wealth of information for employers, Siciliano said the checks, which examine things like criminal history, driving records and credit checks, can have their downsides.
"They're not always accurate and can be a false sense of security," he said.
Barry Nadell, a background check expert with Nadell Investigations, said there are several things employers should consider when hiring a background check service. He believes it is critical that the service hired is able to conduct the types of searches that are relevant to the position for which the candidate is applying.
"Don't be 'cheap,' as a very good comprehensive search isn't as expensive as you might think," Nadell said. "Further, understand the processes of the screening company and make sure they access the primary source data when there is a potential that the reported information could be deemed negative."
While 20 years ago many companies couldn't even be talked into to pre-employment background checks, today you would be hard pressed to find a business that doesn't use them, Nadell said.
"It is a very important thing to perform when doing due diligence on a potential hire," he said.
With so many options available, it can be difficult for employers to know which service best suits their needs. To help weed through the choices, BusinessNewsDaily's sister site, TopTenReviews, does extensive in-depth reviews of background check services. Here are its top three recommendations:
1. US Search
US Search is TopTenREVIEWS' 2014 Gold Award winner for providing a wide range of search options, customized reports and a no-hit, no-fee guarantee. Having been in business for more than 10 years, US Search givesbusinesses access to billions of records in seconds. Users can choose from instant results, comprehensive reports that provide feedback within 24 hours or expert-assisted searches. Overall, the service is easy to use and provides accurate results.
Searches and Reports: US Searchoffers many types of information about people being investigated, including multiple options for checking criminal histories and court records. The results will depend on the amount of information available, but could include case numbers and a description of the charges levied, case filing dates, arrest data, dispositions and sentencing information. The service also can provide contact information, marriage records and Social Security number (SSN) verification. In addition, financial checks, such as debt collection information, real estate reports and asset searches, are available. Many searches return results instantly, and others do so in less than 24 hours. Advanced searches that use the court runner service take longer, depending on the requirements of the order. The services' website, USSearch.com, offers one of the largest collections of search options on the market. These include several background search options, as well as business and real estate searches.
Help and Support: Free customer service is available by phone. In addition, the service offers an online FAQ page and email support.
Intelius earns high marks from TopTenREVIEWS for providing some of the best background checks and criminal history reports in the industry. The site browses government databases for public information and uses proprietary and commercial databases to find data, such as private cellphone numbers and email addresses. Its offerings include privacy services and Internet reputation services that help ensure the data is accurate. Intelius returns results quickly, is easy to use and offers a range of pricing options and comprehensive information about what its reports include.
Searches and Reports: Inteliusprovides information such as phone numbers, property ownership information, email addresses and death records, as well as IP addresses and social networking profiles. Employment history and sex offender checks are also available. While the service is primarily for consumers trying to find old friends, relatives and business partners, employers also have the ability to search commercial records, driving records and credit checks. Intelius also can send a person to any county courthouse to get public records that aren't available online in order to find criminal and civil case details. When conducting a search, the service will initially bring up a free preview that includes a list of names and, if available, ages, cities of residence and possible relatives. This makes it easy to rule out irrelevant results. Users have 13 different options of reports beyond the basic background checks, people searches and criminal histories.
Help and Support: Live support is offered by phone and email. A blog and online FAQ page are also available to users.
BeenVerified was this year's TopTenREVIEWS' Bronze Award winner for its ability to find a wide variety of information about an onlineacquaintance, long-lost friend or soon-to-be roommate, its reasonable prices and good customer service. While the service cannot be used for pre-employment background checks, it can be used by individuals to research their own names to find out what a hiring manager may see in an employee background check. This service uses a wide range of sources to find accurate information about anyone that needs to be researched and it organizes the information in a way that makes sense so users don't waste their time sorting through it. Additionally, the BeenVerified website is clean and easy to navigate and provides a decent amount of information in the report preview so users can be reasonably certain they have found the right person before they invest any money.
Searches and Reports: When conducting searches, users of BeenVerified are able to see anything that is public record, including address and phone number histories, and marriage, divorce and property records. A listing of a criminal records will include information about felony or misdemeanor charges, including sex offenses and arrest dates. While BeenVerified does not employ detectives to help conduct searches like some competing services do, they do have court runners.
Help and Support: This is one of the very best background check websites for customer service. Customer service representatives are available by phone and the BeenVerified FAQs and other Web pages also are helpful when users have a question.