For employee screening, no! Not if you want to avoid a lawsuit
Many people ask, "Are there free background checks?" The real answer is, not if you will use the background check information for hiring purposes. In fact the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case that deals precisely with companies that provide free or cheap background check services. You can read more about that case here.
Most of the companies that offer free background checks online aren't providing what they promise. They lure people to their website to sign up for additional paid services. They will only provide vague basic details free of charge and then charge for the needed complete in depth information. The information given in a free background check are from resources that can be found online. However, that information should not be trusted. Most of the time, it is very basic and not reliable. Worse than that, most of the time free information is not legal to use for hiring employees.
Why isn't information from these reports reliable?
Any background check that doesn't charge for it's services usually uses public records to match individuals names against criminal histories. The one huge issue with this is many people have the same name. Other issues include inability to confirm that the criminal records provided actually match the person you are researching.
Reliable criminal record information must be verified at the county court house level. That means contacting the actual county courthouse where the criminal record is housed and confirming specific items like full name, address and date of birth.
Unfortunately, county courthouses do not operate for free. Each county court house has different charges for accessing their information. Without that information a criminal record is not verifiable and can't be used for considering a potential employee.
Why should I pay for an employee background check?
To get more reliable and in-depth results, employers should do research with a paid background check services company like HireSafe. Our criminal record searches adhere to regulations set forth by the FCRA and various state agencies. This makes our reports compliant with regulations that oversee background check's used for hiring.
This is a better option than a free background check. You will receive detailed information about your applicant. This helps employers make smarter hiring decisions.