Background Report or Background Investigation
Do you need a background REPORT or a background INVESTIGATION?
Every week we get a stack of requests for background reports on people. There are lots of reasons to investigate someone’s background. Often times it is associated with on ongoing investigation that we are working on. Other times it may involve a possible roommate, fiancé’, business partner or something like that.
Whatever the reason is for needing the information, it is important that you have a specific goal in mind for the request. In a lot of cases we get requests for reports, when they really need an investigation.
Background Report – a background report is a collection of public data gathered together from a large collection of databases. In some cases, you have to be law enforcement or a licensed private investigator or some other licensed professional to have access to the data. This report is used to generate leads that have to be VERIFIED. It is true that you will spend your hard earned money to get this data, and it SHOULD be correct, but we never count on that being the case.
A portion of the data that is often requested is from the NCIC (Nationwide Crime Information Center) that is often maintained by the FBI. A study done by Kenneth Laudon for the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) found that only 25.7 percent of the records sent by the FBI’s identification division were “complete, accurate and unambiguous.” A higher percentage, about 46 percent, of the criminal history records in the NCIC met these standards. When Laudon checked a sample of open arrest warrants on file with the FBI against records in the local court houses where they originated, he found that over 15 percent of them were invalid, either because there was no record at all of them or they had already been cleared or vacated. Thus 15 percent of the warrants on record put their subjects at risk of being arrested for no justifiable reason. This is reason enough for it to be double-checked. If you look into the accuracy of the other records that may have been missed then you can see why the reports are should only be used as a beginning reference or leads to track down and verify.
Background Investigation – During an investigation we take the background report and start verifying the information starting with the criminal history all the way down to property records, UCC’s and other public information. We also verify the residence, check employment, and look at other hard assets that they may have such as vehicles. We look at their social media and may even chat with the neighbors or coworkers.
If you really need to know about someone, a report is a good place to start, but if it is really important, spend the extra couple of hundred to get the whole story. It is well worth it.