Background Screening

SecurTest Criminal Records Accuracy

Steven C. Millwee, CPP (Board Certified in Security Management)[1]
SecurTest, Inc.

Executive Summary

Accuracy of criminal history background reports are essential to access control, security clearance, and employment background investigations. Historically, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has faced significant challenges in background screening due to lack of dispositions found in their records and the difficulty to obtain updated disposition records. By its nature, the FBI's NCIC records are designed to archive arrest records, though it continually reminds law enforcement and court sources to transmit dispositions.

The recent testimony and reports by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Office of Inspector General (OIG) concerning fraud by some investigators relating to security clearance investigations, have elevated the discourse for quality control and assurances. Importantly, SecurTest has never been the subject of a complaint, failed audit, civil or criminal action, lawsuit, or class action lawsuit in federal or state court over its background screening reports, processes, or any other matter.[2] The key differentiator for SecurTest in ensuring legal compliance is its patented iReviewNow System and its mandated internal and external processes.

SecurTest, with its iReviewNow System, is the only commercial background screening provider with a patented solution that engages the subject and source provider (courts and government repositories) in the background investigation process to authenticate the accuracy of records. This study details the key differentiators that led HRO Today to name SecurTest the number one background screening provider in the nation based exclusively on independent customer satisfaction and accuracy surveys.

Analysis and comparison of over 1,000 fully adjudicated FBI reports to SecurTest reports evidences an accuracy rate of 99.97 percent when compared to FBI records, where such records show full dispositions. Where the FBI records lacked dispositions, SecurTest was able to secure the records to adjudicate the records in 99.9 percent of instances. Upon dispute by a candidate, we re-verify convictions with county, state and federal court records, which validates an accuracy rate of 98.2%. The most common reason for discrepancy was a mismatch of data in which the clerk of court had not updated the subject's record. For instance, the subject was reajudicated by the court to a no conviction, withhold adjudication or similar status followed by the court expunging the record upon successful completion of the sentence. However, the subject (criminal defendant or counsel for the defendant) or the court failed to report the re-adjudication to the clerk of the court, which still recorded the conviction.

FBI Records Often Lack Dispositions

The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division serves as the nation's central repository and custodian for fingerprints and related criminal history record information, often referred to as the NCIC. The bureau has no authority to change or alter its information. An individual wishing to dispute his criminal record must write the bureau, as there is no other method for disputes.[3]

The FBI dispute process requires the bureau to contact the agency with jurisdiction over the data, such as the county or federal court, and verify the accuracy of the data. This process is not in real-time.

In issuing Public Law 110-180, Congress found that nearly 21,000,000 criminal records are not accessible by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and millions of criminal records are missing critical data, such as arrest dispositions, due to data backlogs. The primary cause of delay in NICS background checks is the lack of -
(a) Updates and available State criminal disposition records; and
(b) Automated access to information concerning persons prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm because of mental illness, restraining orders, or misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence.

There is varying standards used by States in reporting final dispositions to the FBI.[4]

It is also important to note that criminal records are often incomplete and inaccurate. A DOJ report states, "No single source exists that provides complete and up-to-date information about a person's criminal history."[5] Even the best maintained record systems are incomplete, often lacking final disposition information in 50 percent or more of the records. If criminal records were a perfect reflection of a person's criminal history, the need for this discussion would be less critical.[6]

The Attorney General reports the following:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains a criminal history record repository, known as the Interstate Identification Index (III or "Triple I") system, that contains records from all states and territories, as well as from federal and international criminal justice agencies. The state records in the III are submitted to the FBI by central criminal record repositories that aggregate criminal records submitted by most or all of the local criminal justice agencies in their jurisdictions. The records in the III are all based on 10 rolled fingerprints, which provide a positive, biometric match between the individual and his or her record. Although it is quite comprehensive in its coverage of nationwide arrest records for serious offenses, the III is still missing final disposition information for approximately 50 percent of its records.

Minimum Background Screening Standards

SecurTest adheres to the most stringent internal and external requirements to ensure its reports are accurate, transparent to the subject, and validated by an actual review of court, law enforcement, and other government sources. Due to Federal and State regulations, a competent background investigation cannot be performed for a marginal sum, nor can steps be discarded. Learning these basic terms will help you evaluate SecurTest, determine if other providers meet these standards, and will enhance your confidence in the accuracy of SecurTest Background Reports.

An important measurement of a provider is whether they have been the defendant of a State or Federal lawsuit, or class action lawsuit, or other similar claims by various government agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Inspector General (OIG), and others have never claimed or filed suit against SecurTest regarding the accuracy of its reports.

SecurTest complies with, among others, the following legal mandates.

FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act): A United States federal law (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.) that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information and criminal history information. Employers and background screening providers must adhere to the FCRA in regards to the creation and use of background reports.

EEOC Guidelines: Guidelines issued by the EEOC that recommend employers only consider the last seven years in regards to criminal arrests and ten years for convictions. Advises employers to consider the gravity of the offense, the age of the offense, and the position sought, which is part of the exclusive iReviewNow patent.

Adverse Information: Criminal history that could lead to the candidate being ineligible for the position. The employer determines what constitutes adverse information, but in general it refers to criminal convictions or records the employer uses to make hiring or retention decisions.

Adverse Action Letters: When criminal convictions are found and a candidate is deemed ineligible, the employer (or its background screening provider if contracted to do so) must send a pre-adverse action letter, copy of the background report, and FCRA rights. A reasonable time after the pre-adverse action notice (generally five days), the employer must send the individual a post adverse action letter when it decides to not hire or retain the subject. SecurTest provides Adverse Action Letters at no additional cost through its patented iReviewNow System.

Consumer: Subject of the background report, often referred to as the candidate, applicant or employee.

Social Security Number Trace: A Social Security Number Trace allows us to determine if the candidate has provided a real SSN and if the candidate's name matches the data returned by the trace. This search reveals aliases and jurisdictions of residence. Knowing where a candidate has resided allows us to search those areas in a County/State search. SecurTest verifies whether the SSN is valid, whether it matches the name and date of birth data provided by the candidate, and, if so, whether there are any known aliases. SecurTest uses the SSN Trace to determine which states and counties require a County/State search.

County/State Search: A search of the available jurisdictions in which the subject has lived. This search is a direct search of court records and is not a database search. We have direct connections to many jurisdictions or send court researchers to the courts to conduct real-time searches.

National Criminal Search: A search of available databases for criminal convictions. Per the FCRA, any information found in criminal databases is considered archived data and must be verified with the court of conviction. Verification is critical to obtain up-to-date information, as archived data may not have expungements or other court orders that prevent the information from being used in employment decisions. SecurTest verifies all adverse information found in the National Criminal Search with the court of conviction.

National Sex Offender Registry Search: A search of all available Sex Offender Registry Lists. Included in our basic background search, SecurTest verifies all adverse information.

Terrorist Watch List Search: A search of all available Terrorist Watch Lists. Included in our basic background search, SecurTest verifies all adverse information.

Federal Criminal History Search: A person may be convicted on the federal level, but not on the state of county level. This means convictions can be found in federal jurisdictions but nowhere else. SecurTest searches all federal jurisdictions, where as many providers do not cover federal convictions.

iReviewNow: SecurTest's exclusive patented FCRA and EEO compliance and protection system. Allows the subject of the report to see the report contemporaneous to when the employer sees it, allows the consumer dispute any inaccuracies, and allows the consumer to provide information about rehabilitation efforts and other FCRA and EEOC protected mandates. The only patented system that ensures full FCRA and EEO compliance.

The FCRA requires all adverse information to be confirmed by the state or county of conviction. If a background screening provider lists a "National Criminal Search," but does not mention verifying the data through direct court access (often called a state/county level search), they could be in violation of the FCRA.

Objective Measurement of Background Screening Providers It is imperative that the background screening provider meets FCRA, EEOC, and State laws or mandates. A common misconception is that all providers are alike. The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and many employers have selected SecurTest with its patented iReviewNow as the de facto standard.

Minimum Standard


Adhere to the FCRA by verifying all adverse information?


Adhere to the FCRA by allowing the consumer contemporaneous access to their report, immediate ability to dispute, and the option to provide information on rehabilitation efforts?


Adhere to the EEOC by allowing the consumer contemporaneous access to their report, immediate ability to dispute, and the option to provide information on rehabilitation efforts?


Have an average of two (2) Business Day Turnaround Time for Background Reports?


Have an average of one (1) Business Day Turnaround Time for Reinvestigations?


Have an internal auditing process for accuracy, turnaround times, and compliance?


Perform both a National Criminal Search and a County/State Level Search?


Perform a Federal Criminal History Search?


Perform a National Sex Offender Registry Search?


Perform a Terrorist Watch List Search?


Provide FCRA mandated Adverse Action Letters if a candidate is deemed ineligible at no extra cost?


Have iReviewNow (the only system that ensures full FCRA and EEOC compliance)?


Objective Measurement of Reporting Accuracy, Legal Compliance, Quality Controls and Assurances

SecurTest has performed over 1.5 million background checks for various federal government users since 2009. Our reports have been used in more than 150 government installations and facilities across the United States and its territories, processing millions of trusted ingresses per year. Government installations include Navy, Army, Coast Guard, NASA, and Marine Corps.

One measurement used by SecurTest for reporting accuracy is comparison of its background reports with FBI CJIS or NCIC background reports. During various phases of our background screening steps, our findings have been compared to FBI reports. Moreover, our background screening processes and reports have been vetted for compliance with their Memorandum of Understanding standards.

During my term as president of ASIS International in 2002, I helped lead ASIS in becoming the ANSI approved body for developing security and human resources standards. As a result of this work, ASIS, SHRM and NAPBS developed the only standard/guideline, "Preemployment Background Screening – ASIS GDL PBS-2009." NAPBS adopted this standard and participated in writing and vetting it before its publication.

As the inventor of the only background screening and legal compliance system, iReviewNow, we make accuracy and compliance the foundation to our success. iReviewNow provides a comprehensive methodology for ensuring the subject of the background investigation has reviewed his or her background report, certified its accuracy, and provided explanations and rehabilitation information pursuant to the EEOC and FCRA mandates.

SecurTest and each employee or independent contractor that investigates or inspects any background reports/documents are bonded, trained and accredited by iReviewNow, LLC and SecurTest in accordance with NAPBS' Background Screeners Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) standards and the ASIS standard, in performing services in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

SecurTest, as a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), ASIS International, and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is committed to adhering to the highest standards for reporting accuracy, legal compliance, and consumer fairness and transparency. SecurTest complies with each of the accreditation standards set forth by NAPBS, ASIS and SHRM. Government agencies, including the FBI, and commercial clients have the ability to audit our findings to ensure we maintain strict compliance with both legal mandates and industry standards.

1 Steven C. Millwee, CPP, is the inventor of iReviewNow and president and CEO of SecurTest, Inc. He is the past president of ASIS International and was the architect for its Standards Commission leading it to become the ANSI body for the "Pre-Employment Screening Guideline ASIS GDL PBS-2009." See BIO.
2 Lawsuits, unless resulting in a finding by the court, or regulatory actions should not be interpreted that a background screening provider, employer, or user of the background report violated the law or an industry standard. However, a review of these lawsuits and actions was the genesis for the iReviewNow patent. Moreover, readers are encouraged to read the compilation of federal lawsuits, class action lawsuits, and various federal government reports, which often demonstrate several issues that SecurTest and iReviewNow resolve, including, among others:
• Accuracy of the report
• Validation of adverse information
• Transparency of the report to the consumer or subject of the report
• Ability for the consumer to dispute inaccuracies
• Ability for the consumer to explain derogatory or adverse information
• Ability for the consumer to explain or provide documentary evidence of rehabilitation
• Ability of the user to use iReviewNow for individualized assessments, as mandated by the EEOC most recent mandates, when the candidate's report is being used for employment purposes.
• Ability of the user to consider the nature and gravity of the criminal offenses.
• Ability of the user to consider the age of the criminal record.
• Ability of the user to consider the position for which the consumer will work and the associated risks based on the individualized assessment documented in iReviewNow.
3 FBI -
4, 5, 6 Attorney General Report: