Can Background Checks Be Wrong?

Can Background Checks Be Wrong?

When considering a new background screening provider, it’s important to understand the accuracy of background checks and what to do if they yield incorrect results. While background checks are generally reliable, there are instances where they can be wrong. This could be due to various reasons including clerical errors, mistaken identities, or outdated information. Recognizing this possibility is crucial, especially for organizations seeking comprehensive, fast, affordable, and legally compliant background screening services.

Why Inaccuracies Happen in Background Checks:

  1. Court Records and Latest Disposition Information: It’s important to note that sometimes court records may not be updated with the latest disposition information. This means that the most current status of a case might not be reflected in the record, potentially leading to inaccuracies or outdated information in a background check.
  2. Removal of Identifiers from Court Cases: Some courts have removed personal identifiers from court cases, making it difficult to accurately match records with individuals. This can pose a challenge in ensuring the correct association of court records with the right individual during a background check process.
  3. Diversionary Programs and Expungements: Completion of diversionary programs or expungements may not be processed by the courts in a timely fashion. This delay can cause inaccuracies in background checks, as records that should no longer be present (due to completion of diversionary programs or expungement) might still appear.
  4. Accuracy and Timeliness of Background Checks: As highlighted in the materials from EDIFY Background Screening, maintaining accuracy and up-to-date information in background checks is crucial. EDIFY emphasizes the importance of not relying solely on “instant” checks but ensuring that the information is timely, accurate, and up to date.
  5. Human Error: Typos or misinterpretations in data entry can lead to inaccuracies.
  6. Mistaken Identity: Common names or similar personal details (like date of birth) can sometimes be mixed up.
  7. Outdated or Incomplete Records: Databases might not have the most current information, leading to misleading results.
  8. Jurisdictional Variations: Differences in how data is recorded and updated across various jurisdictions can affect accuracy.

The Dispute Process:

Applicants who believe there are inaccuracies in their background check have the right to dispute the findings. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates this process. Here’s how it generally works:

  1. Notification: Applicants must be notified of the results and provided with a copy of the report if it leads to adverse action, like job denial.
  2. Dispute Filing: Applicants can file a dispute with the background check provider. This should be done promptly, typically within 30 days of receiving the report.
  3. Investigation: Upon receiving a dispute, the background check provider is required to conduct a thorough investigation, usually within 30 days.
  4. Correction and Notification: If inaccuracies are found, they must be corrected. The applicant and the organization requesting the background check are then notified of the corrected results.

Choosing the Right Background Screening Provider:

Selecting a qualified consumer reporting agency is crucial. Providers like EDIFY Background Screening prioritize accuracy and legal compliance. Here’s why you should consider a provider like EDIFY:

  1. Comprehensive and Compliant: Ensures adherence to FCRA and local and state laws, reducing the risk of legal complications.
  2. Advanced Technology: Utilizes up-to-date technology for accurate and efficient background checks.
  3. Expertise and Experience: Offers skilled professionals who understand the nuances of background screening.
  4. Affordable and Fast: Balances the need for thorough, compliant background checks with the demand for speed and cost-effectiveness.


While no background check system is infallible, choosing a provider that emphasizes accuracy and compliance can significantly minimize errors. If inaccuracies occur, a robust dispute process is essential for rectification. We at EDIFY Background Screening commit to delivering efficient, affordable, and accurate background checks, ensuring you make informed decisions based on reliable data. Trust us to support your organization’s needs with our expertise and technology-driven solutions.

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