Danny Boice, Trustify CEO
Evidence continues to mounts showing us that traditional background checks are wholly ineffective. The background checks can be for screening employees, buying guns, or vetting drivers, housekeepers, and handyman for an on-demand service.
Here are a few examples of background check failures from the recent news cycle:
1. ABC— January 24, 2019
‘I was in shock:’ Uber ride takes a terrifying turn as Raleigh police arrest driver mid-ride
ABC11 investigated and found Stenulis has had multiple run-ins with the law.
In 2017, again in Raleigh, he was arrested for impersonating an officer.
That same year, he turned himself in for a violent crime in Johnston County. He was accused of shooting two people outside a business while working as a bail bondsman. He’s due in court on that felony charge in March.
2. CNN— February 5, 2019
Uber driver who killed 6 in Michigan gets life sentence
A CNN investigation last year found that ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft have approved thousands of people who should have been disqualified because of criminal records, according to state agencies and lawsuits.
Dalton passed a background check and had no criminal record.
3. CNN — June 1, 2018
Thousands of criminals were cleared to be Uber drivers. Here’s how rideshare companies fought stronger checks
Uber and Lyft’s background checks are mostly conducted by a third-party startup company called Checkr, which uses individuals’ names and Social Security numbers to find applicable information. It checks a national sex offender database, federal and local court records and databases used to flag suspected terrorists.
4. SF Chronicle — July 18, 2018
‘Rideshare Rapist’ case exposes flaws in Lyft background checks
Lyft is scrambling to reinforce its background checks after revelations that an undocumented immigrant who has been charged with serial rape had worked as a Lyft driver.
Background Checks Are Riddled With Flaws
Here are some of the inherent flaws that exist within background checks at-large:
Criminal convictions are most likely going to have been at the state or county level. There are 50 states and 3,007 counties in the U.S. For an automated background check to check for convictions in the US accurately each county, and each state would have to correctly enter the record of the sentence into their system AND make it available electronically and online to be aggregated.
Criminal convictions are all that get registered. Assuming that the bullet above miraculously happened, you still have to remember that we’re only talking about convictions here. It won’t show indictments or charges. It won’t show plea bargains — and 94% of all cases across the US are pleaded down to a lesser charge.
Is public criminal record even the most effective strategy period? The current method of traditional background checks revolves heavily around the idea that criminal convictions speak the most towards a person’s character. Some checks may also look at other public records like tax liens, civil cases. Some may even go as far as pulling credit too (although that requires special permission).
Well, that’s all for today folks. Look for more examples of the background check system failing us in the next installment of this series.