Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to ACCUFAX! Here are some answers to common questions, but if at any time you need more help, please email or call us at any time.
Why should I conduct a criminal background check?
The answer here is simple. As an employer or entity that uses volunteers you have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment and or a safe place for children. Conducting a comprehensive screening on a potential candidate eliminates the hiring of an applicant with a violent history or falsified past. Accufax provides access to criminal court records in all United States counties, state repositories where available as well as national records and international records.
What is the difference between Nationwide Criminal, Statewide Criminal, and County reports?
A nationwide criminal report contains over 500 million records in most of the U.S. The records are updated monthly to ensure accuracy, however, if clients need up to the minute information on an applicant, a countywide search can provide the most accurate information. A statewide criminal check offers a more cost effective approach to the screening process. In some instances, statewide repositories update their information daily but it may take weeks for the information to appear in a particular index. Therefore, a countywide search must be performed to ensure accuracy.
The use of a countywide search enables court researchers to perform a "Hands on Search" of the court index dockets. A countywide criminal search includes a seven-year background search for misdemeanor and felony records. This method is the most preferred for investigating a person's criminal history and should be conducted in conjunction with a statewide search for best results.
What are common public record terms?
Is there a membership fee?
No membership fee just a one time set-up fee of 50.00 if credit reports are requested we must charge a site inspection fee of 150.00 to comply with the credit bureau standards. Other options available for individual landlords.
How do I pay for background searches and criminal reports?
You are invoiced for the searches requested, and payment is due upon receipt. We invoice once per month. For those that wish to pay with a credit card, Accufax accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
What are some other payment options?
If you would like information on additional payment options, or large quantity search discounts, please contact a customer service representative at 800-256-8898.
How long does it take to get started?
Accufax has made the set up process fast and simple. It takes five minutes to complete the Customer Service Agreement. Upon receipt, we generally have you set up the same day with access to background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The system is straightforward, simple, and user friendly.
When should I use an instant criminal search and why are they less expensive than standard background checks?
We do not recommend the use of ‘instant’ searches because there is no single source that contains comprehensive information about a person’s criminal history.
In addition, this type of search is based on name and/or date of birth of an applicant and if any information is transposed in the search process, valuable information will be missed.
On the back end, if your applicant has a common name you will find that an instant search may provide an overwhelming amount of information and you will be left with the responsibility to disseminate the information and evaluate such within the limits of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Instant searches are less expensive because they are simply a means of tapping into a single data base. There is no hands-on research involved in this process and there is no source that can encompass all criminal information that is available in various counties throughout the United States.
Instant Searches are incomplete and unreliable, and Accufax is not an advocate of offering this type of screening as an option because we would not acting in the best interests of our clients.
I have misspelled person's name in a reporting request. Can I try it again?
You will be charged for all searches you submitted, but we do have the ability to amend reports that are in process and would only charge you for the cost that has thus far been incurred if you notified us prior to completion.
If you submit duplicate and separate requests for the same applicant you would be charged accordingly.
What is the FCRA?
The FCRA is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is the governing act applicable to background searches. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stipulates that certain forms and procedures be followed in order to preserve the rights and privacy of applicants. Violations of this act may create substantial legal ramifications.
Why must I have the applicant's permission to do a background investigation?
It's the law. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act governs background searches, and violations of this act can have serious legal ramifications. In this situation, the FCRA was designed to protect the individual consumer and his/her privacy.
What does the FCRA have to do with criminal searches?
The FCRA governs all background searches, not just credit reports. The Act defines permissible purposes, how the information is handled, what procedures and documentation must be followed, and even defines the procedures for when an applicant is denied a job based on the results. There is a great deal more to know about the FCRA, and we recommend all HR personnel be aware of the impact this act has on your employment decisions.
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If you are planning to participate in an upcoming YWAM program, we can complete the background screening process on your behalf.
To get started, send an email to us at YWAM Attendee and include your full name and reference the program/location you will be attending. From there, we will send you an invitation into our secure site & you will be able to complete the screening segment of your application process.
If you are interested in viewing the details of information that will be provided to Employers that use our Essential Element Screening package, you can get started by using our MY-Background-Check service today.
This report includes our standard hands-on criminal research and results will generally be returned to you within 3 business days.
If you are planning to participate in any camp program that requires a preliminary background screening, you can get started using MY-Camp-Report service today.