Exactly How Accurate Are Fingerprint Background Checks? 

It is commonly thought that a fingerprint background check is an all-encompassing background screening. No two fingerprints are alike, so the background check would be accurate, right? However, the criminal records associated with the fingerprint are sometimes incomplete. We will go into detail explaining what a fingerprint background check is, the industries that use it, and its accuracy.  

What is a fingerprint background check? 

Fingerprints used to be stamped onto a paper card and sent to an expert who would compare the fingerprint to the others in the database. Now, fingerprints are captured digitally from a scanner. This process is cleaner and faster than what was previously done. Fingerprints are stored in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database. 

What does it show? 

A person’s fingerprint can identify a lot of information about a person. A fingerprint can pinpoint a person’s birth date, name, address and employment status. It can also identify a person’s criminal record, which includes criminal arrests, charges, and dispositions of cases. Over 70 million criminal backgrounds along with fingerprints are stored in the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). 

Do companies still use fingerprint background checks? 

In short, yes. Many industries are mandated to include fingerprinting in their pre-employment background screening. Some of these industries that require fingerprinting are education, health care, and child care. Millions of Americans each year apply for these positions and are fingerprinted. 

 How accurate is a fingerprint background check? 

No two fingerprints are the same, which is why fingerprinting can be accurate. A fingerprint can’t be faked. However, the record that goes along with the fingerprint isn’t always complete. 

In the case of fingerprint background checks, some records, such as misdemeanor drug offenses, public intoxication and disorderly conduct, can be missed simply because the crime is a ticketed offense in that area and doesn’t require being fingerprinted in the first place. 

The associated information is oftentimes inaccurate or incomplete. For case dispositions, many records that are submitted to the FBI do not include the court’s final ruling. Sadly, there is no universal reporting methodology and local regulations vary, which is a big part of the problem. It is up to the states and local agencies to decide what is reported to the FBI database. 

What is a good solution? 

The best solution is not to depend solely on one source expecting to return a 100 percent accurate and completed criminal background report. Combined reports are the best options to get a thorough background check.  

That is why at SELECTiON.COM® we always recommend a thorough approach to your pre-employment discovery and background check procedure. 

We bundle reporting based specifically upon the needs of our clients, combining granular criminal reporting from the actual counties of residency and the most complete national criminal database in the industry. 

Contact us today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can take your employment background check process to the next level. 

NOTE: The contents of this article are not legal advice for your particular situation. You should neither act nor rely upon anything stated in this article without first consulting your own legal counsel. 

Article by SELECTiON.COM®

Founded in 1991, SELECTiON.COM® is one of the Nation’s leading providers of pre-employment background screening services. We offer the largest network of in-house researchers, the fastest turnaround on criminal background checks and drug screening, and unsurpassed customer service. Our web application, FASTRAX Select™, allows employers to verify an applicant’s background check information quickly and accurately from the convenience of a personal computer. Average turnaround time on criminal background searches is 2 business days. Thousands of employers nationwide rely on SELECTiON.COM® to help them make smart hiring decisions.