The National Criminal Database Search is the best search to start your background check as it confirms Social Security number validity, alias history, and lifetime address history. It also pulls data from all violent and sex offender registries across the country, national exclusion or “watch” lists, state and local department of corrections, as well as county courthouse records. It’s a great staple search because it validates various information and can show potential flags of criminal activity to investigate further all in one search.
The issue with this report is that it’s not a very thorough search. There are twelve privately owned criminal databases across the country. Each database decides which sources to gather information from and how often they want to update the information. As a Consumer Reporting Agency, we have to decide which databases will give us the most up to date information because this is where we start our search. Each database would need to purchase the information from each individual courthouse in all 3,007 counties, and that’s just the county criminal records, not to mention the other jurisdictions previously mentioned. There is no one database that contains every single search nor every single county’s records. Another issue is that even the databases that claim to update regularly aren’t going to purchase information every single day from every single jurisdiction. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly updates, court case information changes every day. Ideally, the National Databases would update their information daily to reflect these changes, but unfortunately this just isn’t the case.
It is very important that all “hits” on this report are verified further due to the fact that all information is pulled by first name, last name, and date of birth only. The only way to verify a potential hit is actually your applicant is to run a direct county criminal search. Counties will generally store full name, date of birth, Social Security number and address for each crime. The National Criminal Database Search is great in theory, but not very reliable. We always recommend running a 7 year county search in addition to the national search to verify directly with the counties an applicant has lived in. The best way to get all the information is to start with the national search and validate from there. It should be on every background check but it should never be the only search ran.