What is a National Criminal Background Check?

February 10 2021
3 min read

Before you hire someone, it is important to conduct a thorough background check to verify that they are who they say they are and ensure they won't pose a threat to you or your organization.

Every company is also different, so what is required by a specific company may not be the best for another. Therefore, it is important to have an understanding of what different checks consists of so you can make an informed decision when you are considering hiring someone to work for your company.

What is a National Criminal Background Check?

A national criminal background check is one of the most commonly used checks in background check packages.

It searches a database to locate felonies and misdemeanor records that may have occurred at the county or state level. It's an essential starting point for a criminal background check. It may locate records outside of where the candidate has resided.

Orange Tree's National Criminal Record database contains over 500 million records from over 1,000 sources, including Department of Corrections, Administrative Offices of the Court, County Courts, Departments of Public Safety, Bureaus of Investigations, Criminal Apprehensions and Parole and Probation, County arrest data, and other warrant lists and registries.


Why should you do a National Criminal Background Check?

State and county borders are easy to cross, and people may commit a crime outside of where they live. This search helps widen the search beyond where they have lived and may catch potential criminal records that may not show up immediately or in a statewide search.

For example, let's say your candidate has only ever lived in New York but committed a felony in Florida during a trip. If you only searched New York, you wouldn't know about the crime committed in Florida and could be putting your workplace at risk.

Performing a national criminal records check is an effective and affordable way to widen your search to find possible records outside of where your candidate has lived.

What are the limitations of a National Criminal Background check? 

A database is an aggregation of many jurisdictions. Depending on the database your background provider uses, records may be limited by how frequently and thoroughly the sources are updated.

For this reason, at Orange Tree, we use database searches as a locator to expand your search.

This search also does not include information from non-electronic county courts or federal level crimes. For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, a county criminal search is recommended with the National Criminal Records search.

What is the FCRA requirement for a National Criminal Background check?

Section 613 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has special requirements about the use of public record information (ex. from database searches) for employment purposes. When a potential criminal record is found, background screening providers must do one of two things.

  1. Notify the consumer that public information has been found, which may adversely affect their ability to obtain employment, provide the name and address of the person receiving the information.

  2. Maintain "strict procedures" that ensure the information collected is accurate and up to date.
To ensure our clients receive accurate and timely results that are FCRA compliant, Orange Tree automatically performs a confirming search of found records at the county/state courts.

Ready to get started with criminal background checks?

Orange Tree provides comprehensive background solutions explicitly designed in the employer's best interest. We regularly help our clients create screening packages based on the responsibilities and risk level associated with their open positions. We design compliant, legally defensible solutions that align with our client's specific business policy.

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