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Background Check Resource Center

Welcome to our background check resource center. This area is designed to give useful links and answer frequently asked questions about background checks and our other services. If you do not find what you need, please contact us.

Additional tips can be found in our blog.

SentryLink does not provide legal advice and will not be liable for actions based on what is written here. We urge you to check any legal questions with your attorney.

General

Employers

Consumers


What information do I need to run a background check on someone?

Our national criminal background check requires a first name and last name. The system will figure out common first name variations such as Tom, Thomas, Tommy, and so on.

If you intend to use the report for employment screening, tenant screening, or any purpose related to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you must include a date of birth. We recommend using a social security number as well if you have it.

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How do I open an account?

If you are paying by credit card, you can sign up online just by submitting your first search -- the system will walk you through setting up a password-protected account so that you do not have to enter the credit card information each time. This is the fastest and easiest way to set up an account with us.

If you cannot pay by credit card, or if you require access to driving records or credit reports, some paperwork is required. Please contact us for more information.

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Do I need a release form to do a background check? Do you have one we can use?

If you intend to use a criminal background check for employment purposes, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to obtain written permission from the applicant in a clear and conspicuous manner. (There are some exceptions for the trucking industry.) If you do not have a form already available, click here for our release form. You are welcome to edit it as needed.

Our release form is in PDF format, which most computers already have. If the form does not open properly in your computer, you may download a free copy of Adobe Reader.

You do not need to send copies of your release forms to SentryLink.

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What legal requirements do I need to be aware of?

Employment screening is covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and applicable state laws. Key requirements of the FCRA include:

  • Written permission from the applicant is required before performing a background check for employment screening (see our earlier discussion for more details)
  • If you intend to take "adverse action" against someone as a result of performing a background check, including but not limited to termination or failure to hire, you must do the following prior to taking the action:
    1. Provide the subject of the report with a copy of the report, along with SentryLink's contact information
    2. Provide the subject of the report a written summary of their rights under the FCRA.

Regarding the rules for adverse action, it is important to realize that they are designed to protect the subject of the report in case there are errors in their record. Proper notification allows them a chance to dispute the results with SentryLink or the relevant agency. Therefore it is very important that these steps be done prior to taking the action.

Additional regulations may apply. SentryLink does not provide legal advice and will not be liable for any actions taken or not taken as a result of the statements here.

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Can I set up an invoice account rather than using a credit card?

Yes. We will need to have you fill out a credit application first. Please contact us for more information.

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I have a very large number of checks that need to be done. Do I need to enter them one by one on your web site?

No, we have other options for you -- you can submit names to us via Excel spreadsheet or other formats. A small per-file charge may apply. Please contact us for more information.

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Will the person I am doing the search on know that I have done it?

No, all searches on SentryLink are anonymous to the extent permitted by law.

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I don't have a credit card, and I'm not part of a business. Can I still use your service?

At this time all consumers must pay for our services by credit card. Only corporate accounts have additional payment options.

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Is your website secure?

Yes. Our website is protected by SSL encryption and other methods. All web communications, including credit card numbers, are secure and encrypted.

If you need to e-mail us for any reason, please be aware that e-mail is not secure.

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My criminal record appears on your website, but there is an error in it. Can this be fixed?

Yes. SentryLink is committed to providing accurate and legal records. Please contact customer service and we will help you with the necessary steps to get the record corrected.

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