Fingerprinting is often one of the first steps in conducting a criminal background check. Choosing the right provider is essential to ensure accurate results and avoid missing relevant candidate information.
Fingerprinting can search various records, including federal, state, and local criminal databases. However, it is essential to remember that fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks do not necessarily tell the whole story. Inconsistent recording practices and the failure of state and local authorities to report arrests with their associated fingerprints to the FBI can leave holes in information that a comprehensive criminal database search would reveal. This is where the flexibility of digital fingerprinting can make all the difference. In contrast to traditional ink fingerprinting, where applicants must go to a central location and roll their fingers over a card, live scan technology allows fingerprinting to be conducted on-site at any time and day of the week. It reduces turnaround times significantly and can be integrated into hiring and applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Moreover, using fingerprints as identification is more secure than using demographic details such as date of birth or name, which can be forged or manipulated in several ways. While there are many reasons to consider including a fingerprint-based background check as part of your pre-employment screening, you must work with a provider who offers a broad range of services to provide the most comprehensive and accurate results possible. Employers often utilize fingerprinting and criminal background checks to ensure a thorough and reliable evaluation of prospective employees’ histories before hiring.
Most of us have had a criminal history background check run on us for employment or obtaining security clearance to access certain facilities, people, and resources. These checks are generally based on comparing an individual’s fingerprints against the federal criminal database, but even the most experienced examiner can make mistakes. Unlike a name, which can be easily changed by forgery or mistyping, fingerprints are unique and challenging to fake. This is one of the reasons that they are used by law enforcement to identify suspects at crime scenes. While most people have high-quality fingerprints that can be quickly recorded, many prints left behind at a crime scene need better quality. This can be due to smudging, age, and other factors that make it challenging to distinguish the ridges of a print. In addition, the FBI fingerprint database relies on state police departments, who have the constitutional right not to share their data with the federal government. As a result, it could be more accurate. For these reasons, employers should always conduct a thorough criminal record search in conjunction with fingerprinting.
Fingerprints are unique and a powerful tool to help identify criminals. Unlike other details such as names, dates of birth, or social security numbers that can be manipulated in various ways, fingerprints cannot be altered.
Fingerprints found at crime scenes are called latent fingerprints, and they can be cross-checked with records from other police databases to link crimes together or to place suspects at the crime scene. Fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks are more accurate than searches based on other demographic details. When employers add fingerprinting to their screening processes, they must ensure applicants can easily access the service and complete the process. Choosing a provider with multiple locations open many hours a day allows candidates to quickly get fingerprinted without driving long distances or delaying their hiring processes because of scheduling conflicts. Once applicants submit their fingerprints, they are queued up to be analyzed by the FBI’s electronic system. They are first converted into digital images and then matched to fingerprint records. If the records match, a notification is sent back to the requesting agency.
Unlike cookies, which track your browser from site to site, generating those annoying and battery-draining online ads, fingerprinting is a more hit-and-miss tracking method. It’s also more difficult to block, relying on unique characteristics that are only accessible remotely to map out your user profile. Latent prints are found at crime scenes and compared to records in police databases, including the international fingerprint database. This links crimes together or identifies suspects at the crime scene. Various forensic techniques are used to detect these prints, such as simple powders or chemicals applied in situ. More advanced chemistry-based methods like ninhydrin, diazafluorenone, ethyl cyanoacrylate polymerization, and vacuum metal deposition have been developed to detect fat layers as thin as one molecule with great sensitivity. Fingerprints are detailed, nearly unique, difficult to alter, and persist over an individual’s lifetime, making them a good choice for identification. This is why they’re used in criminal background checks, including noncriminal justice national background checks under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services National Background Check Program.
It’s much harder for hackers to breach biometric security systems with fingerprints than with passwords or ID cards. It’s also nearly impossible for hackers to guess an employee’s fingerprint pattern the way they can guess a password or PIN. Fingerprint background checks rely on law enforcement databases like the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) to search for criminal records associated with the person’s fingerprints. This provides a more comprehensive and accurate picture of the candidate’s history than background checks relying solely on self-reported information. In addition to being more secure, fingerprinting offers a higher level of accountability at the workplace. Because fingerprints are non-transferable, it’s harder to share passwords or ring in on behalf of a coworker—a practice known as “buddy punching.” The technology is also more dependable than photo IDs and can’t be easily stolen or faked. This makes it an excellent option for industries that need to monitor attendance and employee work time. Moreover, fingerprinting technology seamlessly integrates with hiring platforms and technology like applicant tracking systems for convenience and ease of use.