Online Background Checks

Online Background Checks: Is Faster Better?

The Perils of Online Background Checks 

Let’s face facts. We’re an on-demand society. Regardless of how we may like to label one specific generation, whether we’re baby-boomers or millennials –  we want answers to our questions immediately. Smartphones, tablets and apps for everything imaginable have made waiting for anything almost impossible. Background checks are no different and online background checks have gained popularity in this new on-demand age.

When a company has a position to fill, it loses money every day that position is open. Not only is there not a person in the position adding value, but money is also being spent on combing through possible candidates and finding the right fit. When that likely candidate is found, no one wants to spend more time and money on pre-employment screening. Thus, the idea of a quick online background check appears.

While it may seem to be the quickest and best way to screen a potential employee, online background checks can lead to bigger problems in the end if they are not performed by a professional screening company. A full background check can add time to the process but it can also save employers from costly lawsuits.

Online background checks can be a quick way to find out information, however; they are much more susceptible to mistakes.  The reason is that a physical person is not examining the report and verifying that the report is on the correct person. Things like a middle initial, wrong social security number or clerical errors can return incorrect information.

Errors can happen regardless if an employer uses a pre-employment screening company or simply runs an online check, however; the chance of such errors falls dramatically when using a reputable consumer reporting agency (CRA).

Clerical Errors

In Gina Marie Haynes’ case, a dropped fraud charge wasn’t removed from the online data on her. The online background check companies that troll the internet for reporting purposes continued to report that information.

If the report had been run through a reputable background screening company, the fraud charge would have been verified by a court runner. The court runner’s job is to verify in person when a charge is shown on a person’s background report. The court runner would have had access to the physical criminal file and known that the fraud case was dropped. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in Haynes’ case, causing her to miss employment opportunities.

 Mistaken Identity

Ryan Hower Rush from Omaha, NE applied for a position with Uber and was shocked when his background check showed a suspended license, three convictions for drunk driving and multiple other criminal findings.  Ryan Hower Rush has a clean driving history.  Ryan Harvey Rush does not. The background report was ordered and returned under the wrong middle name.

This type of error is another example of the reason it is important for an employer to know where the information for background checks is coming from and if it has been thoroughly checked.

Consumer reporting agencies have a duty to examine any criminal findings and verify that the information reported is correct as well as verifying that the report has been filed for the proper person.


The best way to avoid situations like the ones discussed in this post would be for employers to avoid quick checks that can return inaccurate information. Use due diligence to find a CRA that has a reputation for returning the right information EVERY time, not just sometimes or most of the time.

Individuals can take their reports into their own hands by ordering a background check on themselves. This allows the person to review any potential harmful information that may come back on a background check. Think about it: we run credit reports on ourselves to make sure they are accurate, don’t we want all of our records to be accurate?

When considering the use of background checks into your hiring efforts, make sure you are aware of the facets that distinguish one provider from the next. At Sentinel Background Checks, our team has more than three decades of industry experience and is dedicated to providing an unsurpassable level of accuracy, service and attention to our clients. Call 888-725-2535 today to learn more about our many solutions. Whether you’re an employer screening a potential candidate or an individual wanting to verify your records, we can help!