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Frequently Asked Questions


Have a question about our background screening services? Check below for our list of frequently asked questions. If your question is still unanswered, contact us today and one of our friendly office staff members will be happy to answer your question for you.


Why should I do a background check?

Background checks have become an important part of today’s society. Both the leasing and employment markets have become incredibly competitive and as a result, applicants often make false claims or exaggerate on the facts of their work and residential

history. They often do not disclose past criminal history or leave out important information.


What does a pre-employment background check consist of?

The background check that we process will depend on your requirements, which will depend on the position you are trying to fill. Some questions to consider - Will the job candidate be handling cash transactions or have direct access to your company ’s financials

? Will your applicant work with Children?  Does he/she have a criminal history that would prohibit contact with a child?   


A background check is meant to verify whether or not the applicant has been truthful about not having a criminal record, their education and employment history. Criminal record searches and reference checks are the most common background checks, 

however, Beacon Background Screening Services highly recommends Social Security Number verification, 7 year address trace as well as credit history checks.  A thorough background check will give you the details you need to know if your applicant is someone you can trust and someone you want representing your company.


How much does a background check cost?

The value of background screening is determined by how much you would pay to protect your business interests.  What it would cost to hire legal counsel to get you out of a legal position that an employee has got you into or the price of an eviction and the damages to your property caused by a bad tenant?  The cost of background screening varies depending on the extent of the package that you choose.   Packages start as low as $20 per application.  We pride ourselves in working closely with our clients to understand their needs, then customizing packages that not only protect their interests but fit their budget as well. Call us today for a free evaluation of your requirements.


Does an applicant have to consent to a background check?

Yes. State laws and the Fair Credit Reporting act regulate who is permitted to access your consumer report information and how it can be used. It is a legal requirement that you must obtain written or electronic consent from the applicant prior to any background screening company conducting a criminal record search, credit history check or reference check. Under the FCRA, a business must have a “permissible purpose” to access a credit report.


What background checks will convey the best results?

An experienced Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) will follow the standard best practice.  The more comprehensive a background check is, the more accurate and reliable the results will be.  We require a complete and signed release of information, along with a legibly handwritten or typed application, and the confirmation of a Government Issued Photo ID 

(including verification of the spelling and date of birth) in order to provide you with the most accurate and reliable information.


What information does employment background check reveal?

A comprehensive employment background check can help reveal whether or not a person has truthfully responded to the questions on an application or information they provided on a resume.  Depending on the employer’s objective, the background check can be as simple as checking county criminal records, or as comprehensive as checking Federal criminal records and motor vehicle records, verifying past employment and education.  The ultimate goal is to verify that the applicant has been forthcoming and that has disclosed any information that is relevant to the position applied for.  Check the screening services page for detailed information.


What information does a tenant background check reveal?

A comprehensive tenant background check will reveal if the applicant is whom he/she claims to be. Our reports reveal information about possible criminal records, previous evictions, where the applicant has lived in the last 7 years and their credit worthiness by accessing a personal credit report. We also offer the verification of employment and calls to prior landlords. Check the screening services page for detailed information.


How should we decide which background check is the best choice for our company?

There are many opinions as to which background check is best for your business. We are happy to discuss your needs in detail during a free consultation – However, some questions to consider are: Is your application operating a company vehicle and requiring insurance? - Then you would want to check motor vehicle records.  Is your applicant expected to pay you monthly or handle and company’s finances? – Then you would want to check credit. And are you hiring an individual to enter people’s homes or work with children? – Then you would definitely require criminal records and sex offender search. There are several things to consider when choosing which package is right for you.


How long does background screening usually take?

The times for processing background checks vary significantly based on the package selected.   Most reports are processed within 24 business hours, however more thorough background checks may require additional time.  Occasionally, when county records are not readily available a manual search may be necessary and can delay the final results. Contacting previous employers and landlords, may also require additional time and follow up. However, in either instance, we will provide you with a preliminary report and notify you when the results are finalized.


Why is a Social Security Number required?

An SSN is required for a background for 2 primary reasons. The SSN is used to establish some trustworthiness of the information. Validating whether the applicant provided an SSN that is real and issued after the date of birth and does not belong to an individual that is deceased.   Also, the SSN helps to find past addresses associated with the applicant. This information is then used to be certain that the criminal searches are done in those counties where the individual has previously resided. Without an SSN, addresses obtained could be related to an individual with a similar name, but may, in fact, be a completely different person.


What if I don't have the Date of Birth?

The Date of Birth is a required identifier in all background checks.  The Date of Birth is a primary element used by most Courts. Many people today have similar names or use aliases, and without a DOB reliable criminal information cannot be obtained.

What is the difference between a multi-jurisdictional background check and a comprehensive background check that Beacon provides?
We strongly encourage our clients to become educated in regards to the options available from online companies. There is no comparison between a multi-jurisdictional database and searching Local County Courts for both criminal and civil records.  It is our opinion that multi-jurisdictional databases are not a replacement, but a lower-cost option to quickly conduct a criminal search of a large area.  In most cases, databases described as "national or nationwide databases" are not what their name implies.  The databases do not include all states and/or counties, and as such these reports quite often lack updated information or may miss records altogether.  At the local county level, the cost to research may be greater and the time encountered longer, but the results more reliable. At Beacon Background Screening we find that by focusing on areas of current and past residence, the number of records hit averages higher than a general database search.


What is the FCRA?

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the fairness, accuracy, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that governs how a consumer reporting agency (CRA) handles your credit information. It is designed to protect the integrity and privacy of your credit information. The FCRA protects your right to access and correct any inaccuracies in your credit report and provides you with remedies if a credit reporting agency or information furnisher violates your rights. This section is not meant to act as legal advice, nor is it intended to be comprehensive.  Beacon Background Screening Services, encourages all its clients to consult with their legal counsel when establishing a background screening program.


What are the FCRA compliance basic steps?

  1. Permissible Purpose – Be sure you have a permissible purpose.

  2. Authorization – When ordering a background check, obtain written consent from the individual that a consumer report can be obtained.

  3. Disclosure - In a written document, inform the consumer that a background check may be obtained as a condition of employment. The disclosure can't be combined with any other form except the authorization.

  4. Certification - As the "end user" of consumer reports, you must certify the following to the screening firm:
    - You will only obtain background checks with a permissible purpose.
    - You have made a clear disclosure to and obtained consent from the consumer before ordering a report.
    - You will not use the consumer report in violation of any federal or state equal opportunity laws.
    - If you make a negative employment decision based on information on the report, you will properly follow adverse action procedures, as outlined below.

  5. Adverse Action – In the event adverse information on a report is used by you to make a negative employment decision, you must take the following actions before rescinding an offer of employment or terminating an employee. Remember, taking adverse action involves a two step notification process:

  • In a written, oral, or electronic pre-adverse notice, inform the consumer of: 

  • The name, address, and telephone number of the background screening company that assembled the report.

  • The fact that the background screening firm did not make the adverse decision and cannot explain why the decision was made.

  • His/her right to a free file disclosure if a request is made to the screening firm within 60 days.

  • His/her right to contact the screening company directly to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information on the report.

  • Once the pre-adverse notice is sent, allow the consumer 5 days to contact the screening company to dispute the report. After 5 days, if you do not hear from the consumer or the background check provider, proceed with your final employment decision.

  • If the consumer disputes information on the report, the screening firm will perform a reinvestigation that must be completed within 30 days and at no cost to the consumer. The screening company must update you and the consumer of the reinvestigation results.

  • If and when making a final adverse decision, you must send the consumer a final adverse notice.

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