History Check

Reviewing your Personal History record and correcting inaccurate information could be the difference between you and another candidate when applying for a job. In today's security-conscious work environment, over 92 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks. With IdentoGO’s Personal History Check service, you have a fast and secure way of obtaining the same information many employers receive.

Please note: this information is for your personal use only, and not for employment or licensing submission.

Background Check FAQs

What is a background check?

This answer varies widely. Background checks can include Name-Based Checks, Employment Reference Checks, Education Checks, Sex Offender/Violent Offender Registry Checks, Credit Checks and Criminal History Checks. Each addresses a specific area of a person’s background. While each one is valuable in its own right, none of them are comprehensive and can independently confirm that a person has a “clean” background. Most of the background checks listed are self-explanatory, with the exception of Name-Based and Criminal History Checks. The subtle differences are explained below.

Name-Based Background Checks

Name-based checks are a validation with a specific set of databases using a person’s name as the qualifier. Name-based checks are inadequate for a number of factors, including issues that arise over common names (i.e., John Smith), issues with incorrect or incomplete recordings to databases, and the need to run multiple checks if a person has had multiple names (i.e., maiden and married name). Name-based checks are one of the easiest and most common background checks to be subjected to and are probably the most likely to have incomplete, missing or misidentified findings. Name-based checks are widely available on the internet and advertised on TV. Typically, there are little to no vetting requirements in place with the Background Check provider to insure that the person initiating the background check should even be running such a check on another person.

There are credible companies that do a good job of due diligence with regard to vetting entities submitting name-based checks. These companies also do the best job of compiling internal databases of criminal conviction data and sex offender registry data. Name-based checks range in price from $5 and up, depending on the specific databases being checked, what information is being verified and how much research is required. A standard National Criminal Database background check with a reputable background check provider will cost in the range of $20-$30. If conviction information is identified, additional costs are incurred to request local courthouse records. Additional checks on housing history, credit history, employment history, etc. can all be requested for an additional fee and will take time to complete. These checks should be done for every name that a person has gone by; including names that may have been recorded erroneously (wrong spellings or different middle initials, for example).

Criminal History Background Checks

Criminal History Checks (CHRI) are different than name-based checks in that the background check is being done at the state (or federal, or both) repository level. Every state in the U.S. along with the FBI maintains a repository of criminal history information. This information includes arrest and conviction information for all criminal arrest submissions and a specific segment of non-criminal records (i.e. applicants processed for fingerprints for criminal justice employment, some military, etc.). For example, if someone is arrested, a record of that arrest is submitted to the state criminal history repository. County clerk offices, prosecutor offices and other judicial offices then process and submit updates to the criminal history repository as criminal cases pass through the legal system. The processes followed by agencies can vary broadly, with some having fully automated tracking/reporting systems, while others have systems that require manual data entry to update the repository data. In a time when local governments have encountered increasingly fewer budget dollars to spend on technology, many smaller counties and municipalities have been unable to keep up with the demand for final disposition updates to the criminal history repository.  

Criminal history repository agencies are then tasked with updating their databases to the FBI’s central repository. Criminal fingerprint and arrest records are generally made bilaterally (meaning, that an arrestee’s information and fingerprint are submitted to both the state repository and also to the FBI repository). The only variance to this is for some local ordinances, which may not be submitted to the FBI repository (typically very minor offenses).   

Criminal History Checks can be done via one of two methods: Name Checks or Fingerprint Checks. Many states have evolved to a place where they have electronic interfaces to their CHRI systems, which permits authorized entities to run name-based checks against the criminal history repository. In a few states, the state Criminal History Repository also permits residents to do self-record reviews, typically through their electronic portal. In a few states, the self-record review process has evolved and employers use the electronic portals, along with employee consent, to conduct name-based criminal history checks.

The other means of conducting Criminal History Checks is via fingerprint submission. Authorized entities are permitted to submit fingerprints (either via hard card or an electronic network) to the criminal history repository’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). Authorized entities are those state (or federal) licensing agencies that have been granted legislative authority to process, review and receive criminal history information from the central repository for the purpose of insuring that licensees are of sound moral character, free of criminal convictions, and/or are otherwise worthy of a license to function in a certain role.

Authorized entities (typically licensing agencies, like Personnel Management, Department of Insurance, Department of Children/Families, Professional Licensing Bureaus, etc.) will be authorized by their respective legislative code to receive both arrest and conviction information from the central repository. Additionally, these groups must receive FBI approval for authority to have their fingerprint based submissions be sent to the FBI with access to the results of these checks. Typically, professional licensing bureaus will only receive conviction information. Agencies that handle licensing of personnel in positions of trust impacting children, the elderly or other trusted functions will typically be able to review both arrest and conviction information.

CHRI results (either a No Record response or a “Rap Sheet” or “Hit” if there are records in the central repository) permit licensing agencies to make decisions on the suitability of an applicant for licensing approval on a broad level. These checks allow licensing agencies to quickly and efficiently make suitability decisions about licensing on a granular level for large number of constituents. It’s an efficient method. Some licensing agencies only do name-based CHRI checks, but because of the reasons noted, those name checks can be problematic for applicants with common names and costly for licensing agencies.

What is a certified FBI channeler, and why is certification important?

Only certified FBI channelers have access to FBI and state fingerprint databases. Non-certified commercial entities that perform “name only” checks are considered to be consumer reporting agencies since the information they collect is for resale. These entities gather criminal history records from various places such as county courthouses and often miss or exclude important information that is relevant to a criminal history record. These inconsistencies can lead to job applicants either obtaining a position they shouldn’t have or for applicants being unjustly denied employment.

What is AFIS and how is it used for background checks?

An Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) uses digital imaging technology to capture, transmit, store and analyze fingerprint data.

Historically, a number of state criminal history record repositories used name checks as the sole method of searching their state criminal history files because fingerprint-based searches commonly entailed long mailing and processing delays, which are inconsistent with the needs of record users with time-critical requirements. The development and implementation of AFIS and related technologies for the electronic capture and transmission of fingerprint images has made it possible to dramatically reduce fingerprint transmission and processing times to within 24 hours at both the state and federal levels. The FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is the largest biometric database in the world with fingerprints and criminal histories for more than 70 million subjects in the criminal master file and more than 34 million civil prints.

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