- General Background Check Terms
- Legal Terminology
- Criminal Search Definitions
- Identity Search Definitions
- Verification Definitions
Illustrated below are common Terms and Phrases related to the variety of background screening services available to your and your company, regulatory and statutory compliance terms, definitions, and other discussion points for your hiring program..
General Background Check Terms
Adverse Action: This is a negative employment action such as not hiring an applicant; not promoting or not retaining an employee, due to discovered background information.
Applicant: The subject of the inquiry, a job applicant, or current employee who is the subject of an employment verification, reference check, or complete background report.
Authorization: Obtaining written permission from the applicant/employee for the background investigation to be conducted and conveyed to the Employer or Third Party.
Background Check: Usually refers to one item of information in a background report; i.e., one academic background check, one employment verification check, one driving record check, et al. However, sometimes this term is also used to describe the background report in its entirety.
Background Investigation: Another term for background report or background check.
Consumer: The person who is the subject of the background report; the person who is seeking employment, retention, or promotion by an employer or for some other transaction.
Consumer Report: Under the FCRA, one of two official names for a background report. The other name is “investigative consumer report.” Most often the distinction between a “consumer report” and an “investigative consumer report” is that a “consumer report” contains only factual information while an “investigative consumer report” contains some opinions. Example: “Was s/he employed by your company?” This calls for a factual response. “How did s/he perform on the job?” This calls for an opinion.
CRA: Consumer Reporting Agency, as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Consumer Reporting Agency: Related to CRA, so this is another name for a background screening company, similar to our firm. Any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information, or other information, on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce, for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports, is generally considered to be a CRA, under FCRA guidelines.
Disclosure: Refers to the document and the process of informing an applicant/employee that he/she will be the subject of a background report.
DLN: Driver’s License Number
DOB: Date of Birth
EEOC: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
End-User: The entity, typically an employer in the case of employment screening, a property owner in the case of tenant screening, that originally requests and ultimately receives the qualified search results in the form of a consumer report.
Employment Purposes: The term “employment purposes,” when used in connection with a Consumer Report, means a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.
FCRA: Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Fair Credit Reporting Act: The federal law that regulates entities who are in the business of providing reports on consumers’ credit standing, character and reputation (consumer reports). It should be noted that the Act has been expanded to regulate not only credit reports, as the name would suggest, but information derived from public records associated with consumers’ criminal records and civil litigation histories, as well.
FTC: Federal Trade Commission.
Federal Trade Commission: The government agency responsible for the administration of the FCRA. This agency has issued many binding and non-binding opinions interpreting the FCRA. Further, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the more recent designated FTC agency to handle policy and issue guideance, for FCRA matters.
Final Adverse Action: Referring to the document and the process when a negative employment decision is made, the applicant/employee receives notice of the decision.
First Notice: Another name given to a pre-adverse or preliminary adverse action.
GLBA: Gramm-Leach Bliley Act.
Identifier(s): Facts used to determine whether a public record belongs or matches to a subject, e.g., Full Name, DOB (Date of Birth), SSN (Social Security Number), DLN (Driver’s License Number), address, gender, physical description, identifying marks, and other data.
Investigative Consumer Report: Under the FCRA, one of two official names for a background report. The other name is “consumer report.” Most often the distinction between a “consumer report” and an “investigative consumer report” is that a “consumer report” contains only factual information while an “investigative consumer report” contains some opinions. Example: “Was s/he employed by your company?” This calls for a factual response. “How did s/he perform on the job?” This calls for an one’s opinion.
NAPBS: National Association of Professional Background Screeners.
National Association of Professional Background Screeners: a non profit trade association founded in 2003 to represent the interest of companies offering employment and background screening services.
Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users under the FCRA – Prepared by the Federal Trade Commission, this document must be given by the background screening company to employers before background screening information is provided to the employer. This most current version of this document was released on 11/19/04.
Partial Name Match Only: A partial Name match to gathered data is established by the initial inquiry, but there is lacking additional personal identifiers, such as a complete DOB, DL Nunber or SSN Number, to the information found. This is also called a “Name Match Only”, in some circumstances. To validate this type information, more work must be done to meet FCRA compliance and to match the record to the Subject name.
Permissible Purpose: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), this stated Act definition is the legal purpose for one obtaining a background report or a given task.
PII: Personally Identifiable Information is known as PII data. This would include a Complete Name, a Married or Alias Name, an Address, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Driver License Number, and similar items that match to the subject of your inquiry and background report.
Personally Identifiable Information: See PII data noted above.
Possible Record: Information of a potential record requiring further research, due to the fact that it may or may not be a precise Match with the subject, or the data may not otherwise be reportable, under FCRA or other guidelines.
Preliminary Adverse Action: Referring to a Notice, a document, and/or the process when a negative employment decision is being considered, or has been established in the application process. The applicant/employee receives notice, whereby a copy of his/her background report and A Summary of Rights (under the Fair Credit Reporting Act) is issued by the employer. This notice is also referred to as a “Pre-Adverse Action Letter”.
Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft: Prepared by the Federal Trade Commission, this document must be given to applicants/employees who believe they are the victim of identity theft
Reportable: 1) Refers to a term used with screening best practices. Gathered results can be legally reported to an End-User—the standard for information that complies with applicable laws and guidelines, such as the FCRA and state consumer reporting laws.
Second Notice: Another name for “Final Adverse Action Letter”.
SSN: Social Security Number
Summary of Rights: A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act: Prepared by the Federal Trade Commission, this document must be attached to a background report being provided to an applicant/employee.
Unreportable: Not reportable information under FCRA guidelines. See Reportable.
User Certification: A document provided by the background screening company which must be signed by the employer before the screening company will provide background reports to the employer.
User of Consumer Reports: An employer who, as part of an employment decision, considers the information in a background report.