FAQs

Working with Smart Screen

What is Smart Screen Tech?
Background checking has been a manual, archaic and legally risky process in the past. Despite a growing need for background checks with the rise of the sharing economy and freelancing, the process of running background checks hasn't been modernized in decades.

Smart Screen Tech provides solutions and technology in a fast, easy and cost effective way to address this rapidly growing need for more background checks. Automated through the cloud, our API allows automatic processing and 2x faster output as a result. It also makes us one of the most cost effective and easiest solutions to integrate.


Why are background checks important?
Background checks are essential for minimizing risk and ensuring the right candidate is offered a position. Negligent hiring can result in significant economic fallout from loss of employee moral, brand destruction, expensive lawsuits and even risks of sabotage and terrorism. An employer’s best defense is to run a background check to demonstrate that they did, in fact, exercise due diligence and reasonable care while abiding by state laws and industry standards.


What does a typical background check reveal?
A background check can reveal whether or not a person has accurately answered questions on an employment application, including whether or not they have a criminal record and their employment history and education information is accurate.


Which background checks give the best results?
Criminal record searches, generally are at the foundation of an employment background check, due in part to protect its workforce and protect against negligent hire claims.

Beyond criminal records searches, additional background screening options may include Motor Vehicle Records, Employment, Education Verification, Sex Offender lists and Terrorist Watch lists.

Which background checks employers should include in their recruitment process depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which includes the goals and budget of the employer. Please contact our sales team at (646) 934-6192 or info@smartscreen.tech to receive guidance on which background checks are best for your hiring process.


What information is needed for an accurate background check?
Smart Screen Tech relies on a valid Social Security Number. Other than that, we may require a date of birth and their current, and potentially past, legal name(s).


Can I conduct a background check before making an offer?
Generally yes, but not always. While the FCRA does not restrict this, certain state laws do. Hawaii, for example, generally requires that a contingent offer must be made before ordering a criminal records check. Please consult your legal counsel to ensure compliance with applicable state laws.


Are there any standards for deciding which background checks, such as credit checks, are appropriate for certain positions?
Because state laws and industry regulations vary, this is a question best left to your legal counsel. That being said, motor vehicle record checks may be appropriate and advisable for applicants whose job description will include operating machinery or motor vehicles.

Employment check credit reports (which do not provide credit scores) may be appropriate for certain positions, such as those with senior financial responsibility.


Do I need an applicant’s consent to run a background check on them?
The FCRA and certain state laws require the employer to make certain disclosures to the applicant to be checked, and to obtain the written or electronic consent of the person to be checked prior to conducting the check.

The FCRA also requires that the disclosures and consent be on a form separate from the job application. Smart Screen Tech provides a way for an application to provide consent electronically.

Our Checks

How do I order background screening services?
Send a quick invitation link or make an API call. If you prefer to build the background screening process directly into the onboarding flow on your mobile app or website, Smart Screen Tech allows you to do that with ease and flexibility.

To get you started quickly, your account will be authorized and invitation links for your applicants will be provided within one business day.


What type of background screenings does Smart Screen Tech provide?
Smart Screen Tech provides a wide variety of background screening services. The most popular services are criminal searches at the county, state, and federal level; national criminal databases, sex offender registries, terrorist watchlists, motor vehicle records, and civil records; and employment and education verifications.


How long does it take to get started and what is required to get up and running?
Setting up a new account can take up to one business day. Our sales team will help you decide which package(s) are needed. Then you need to provide documentation to verify that you represent a business with a permissible purpose to order and review consumer reports.

Additional requirements apply if the API is used to order live background check reports.


How long does each background check take to be completed?
The results of all our checks are returned instantly, apart from criminal background checks  which can take up to three business days.


Can I carry out a background check on someone without them knowing?
No. You must have your applicant’s consent to run a background check on them. Take a look at our Privacy Policy for more information.


At what point during the recruitment process should I run a background check?
You should always carry out a background check on an applicant before they start work, and inform the applicant that the offer of employment is dependent on a completed background check.

This way, applicants will have an incentive to complete the background check before they can start work. You may wish to subsequently withdraw the offer of employment based on the results of the check.


Can I order à la carte background screenings?
Smart Screen Tech provides the flexibility to add all the background screenings you need while cutting out those you don’t. Please contact our sales team at info@smartscreen.tech to learn more about the options.


Why is a Social Security number required?
A background check uses a SSN for two reasons. The first is to establish some trustworthiness of the information, by validating whether the applicant provided a SSN that is real and issued after the provided date of birth. The second is a SSN helps to find past addresses associated with the applicant so that more targeted searches can be used.

Without a SSN, information could be obtained that are related to someone with a similar name but not the exact person you are trying to run a background check on.


Why is a date of birth required?
A criminal background check on a person without their date of birth may come up with inconsistent searches, requiring more time to perform the background check. The d.o.b. is a primary identifier used by almost all courthouses in America.


What is a legal name?
A legal name is the name that identifies a person for legal, administrative, and other official purposes. For the most part a person’s first legal name is their given birth name registered on their birth certificate. Other legal names are incurred during a legal name change, such as what occurs during a marriage.


What if an applicant changed their legal name, such as in the case of a marriage?
This could impact searches for criminal records. We require these past legal names to provide an accurate search.

Background Check & Compliance

What is accreditation?
The National Association of Professional Background Screeners offers an accreditation program for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) located in the United States of America.

Governed by a strict and thorough set of professional standards, the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) has become a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to an employment background screening-affiliated organization for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement.


How long do regular background checks take?
Comprehensive background checks take about two business days on average. Extended processing times of up to a few weeks can occur for criminal searches depending on what courts are being searched and how quickly a given courthouse processes search requests. This is most often the case when records are archived.


Does Smart Screen Tech sell my information or my applicant’s data?
No. We do not sell any information about you or your applicants to anyone.


How secure is Smart Screen Tech’s cloud-based solution?
Numerous studies have established that data stored in the cloud is less likely to be lost, deleted or leaked than data stored on a personal computer. Smart Screen maintains bank-grade security using 256-bit SSL encryption.

All our data is fully encrypted at rest and in transit, and we employ state-of-the-art firewall and backup technology. All our data is continuously backed up in several high-security access-controlled data centers in different locations.


Are there any invasion of privacy concerns surrounding background checks?
We never carry out any background checks without the applicant’s consent. Take a look at our Privacy Policy [LINK to Privacy Policy] for more information.


Are Smart Screen Tech’s background checks international?
Yes. We carry out background checks on individuals in more than 240 countries and territories.


Can I store the information on my employees for future reference?
You may legally keep the information for the length of time they are working for your company. However, you must delete their information within 7 years of the employment ending.


How long does Smart Screen Tech keep an applicant’s data?
As long as an applicant gives us their consent, their data is held until the applicant or their employer requests for it to be deleted.


Can I retrieve an applicant’s data if I accidentally delete it?
Just in case you accidentally delete a record, we hold a backup on a secure remote server that holds the data for 24 hours.

Accounts & Billing

Can I cancel my account?
Yes. You can always delete your account and all the data associated with it. We ensure that data is irrevocably deleted once the need for it has ended, in accordance with Data Protection Regulations.


Does Smart Screen Tech charge a monthly fee?
No. With Smart Screen Tech, there are no monthly bills or payments. Our system is completely pay-as-you-go, and you’re free to top up whenever you like.


Is there a minimum spend?
No. You can buy as many background checks as you like through our pay-as-you-go system.


What are my payment options?
We accept payment through card or bank transfer.


Do I need to pay for extra users?
No. You can add as many users as you need to your account without incurring extra charges.


Does Smart Screen Tech offer discounts?
Yes. With Smart Screen Tech, you receive discounts depending on the amount you top up. Take a look at our Pricing to see exactly how the system works or contact or sales team at (646) 934-6192 or info@smartscreen.tech to learn more.


Are there fees for set-up, support, adverse action, or any other costs?
No. All of these services are offered at no additional cost.

The Adverse Action features are available for employment screening and simplify efforts to ensure a compliant screening process. Our applicant support is available via phone, email, and applicant portal to assist candidates and guide them through the process.


Why aren’t criminal checks discountable?
Smart Screen Tech, along with all other providers of criminal data, buys this data directly from governments at standard, non-discountable prices.


Does Smart Screen Tech have a web-based or API product?
Smart Screen Tech has an industry-leading web solution that offers quick configuration and customer flexibility. Screening candidates with the web-based product is as easy as sharing an invitation link and then checking and reviewing the results on the Smart Screen Tech dashboard. It’s just that simple!


What is the process for approval to access the Production API key?
Contact us at (646) 934-6192 or info@smartscreen.tech and explain the context in which you would like to use the Smart Screen Tech platform. Our customer success team will discuss your use case in more detail to verify that it is compliant with current regulations. Once this is approved, you will get full access to the production API key.


Can Smart Screen Tech run background checks on minors?
No. Smart Screen Tech does not provide any screening services that cover the background of minors.


What is the adverse action process?
If your company reviews consumer reports as part of the background screening process, then you must follow the adverse action process when information on any consumer report leads in part, or entirely, to an adverse decision including but not limited to: not hiring/contracting, severing employment/contract, or denying a promotion.

First, the pre-adverse action notice must be sent. This includes legal notice that information on the report has lead you to the potential adverse action. The notice must include:

  • Instructions on how to initiate the dispute process
  • Instructions on how to provide additional information or evidence of rehabilitation
  • A copy of their background check report
  • An FCRA notice
  • Other state specific attachments, as applicable

If the applicant does not respond to this notice within a specified period of time (typically seven days), then a final or ‘post adverse’ notice is sent.

This entire process, while seemingly an operational burden, is important and can be carried out with ease using the tools made available by Smart Screen Tech.


Is Smart Screen Tech accredited?
Yes. Smart Screen Tech is accredited by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) as recognized by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

To become accredited, consumer reporting agencies must pass a rigorous onsite audit, conducted by an independent auditing firm, of its policies and procedures as they relate to six critical areas:

  • Consumer protection
  • Legal compliance
  • Client education
  • Product standards
  • Service standards

General business practices


How is Smart Screen Tech compliant?
Smart Screen Tech is FCRA compliant in all 50 states. Compliance is enforced through our proprietary compliance engine, which is built into our application. Visit our Compliance Portal to learn more.


Can Smart Screen Tech run background checks on individuals without a Social Security number?
Only Motor Vehicle Records can be obtained without a Social Security number. The Smart Screen Tech criminal background screening processes require the applicant’s Social Security number.


What are county court and DMV pass-through fees?
Approximately 10 percent of all counties in the United States charge a record access fee, which is mandatory when conducting a criminal records search. The fees vary by county. See a complete list. Each state DMV charges a fee to access motor vehicle records. The dollar amount varies by state. See a complete list.

Smart Screen Tech passes through both of these fees without adding any surcharges or processing fees. An itemized list of DMV and court fees incurred is made available on your monthly invoice.


What obligations do employers and entities have when running background checks?
As you set, establish, or maintain your background screening program, there are many obligations to be aware of, including state and local law, the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act), and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) Guidance.

Based on a variety of factors, there are limitations to what information you have access to via consumer reports and also how entities are allowed to utilize the reports.

Smart Screen Tech helps you manage many components of this requirement by way of our compliance engine, which automatically accounts for reporting requirements on a state-by-state basis. Guidance from an attorney familiar with background screening is advised to ensure risks inherent to the process are minimized.

Integrations

How can I partner with Smart Screen Tech?
Smart Screen Tech is an API Company and eager to partner with solution providers that make compliant use of its background screening solutions. Please contact the Smart Screen Tech Partner team at (646) 934-6192 info@smartscreen.tech to discuss the possibilities.


Does Smart Screen Tech integrate with my HR or ATS system?
Smart Screen Tech integrates with many leading HR systems. See a list of our partners. If you cannot find your platform, please contact our sales team at (646) 934-6192 info@smartscreen.tech for more information as we regularly add integrations.

Data, Security & Privacy

Where does Smart Screen Tech get its data from?
Smart Screen Tech is plugged into hundreds of registered databases and data sources, extracting up-to-date information every time a check is requested.

Smart Screen Tech’s multiple data sources include national criminal databases with millions of records, courthouses across all 3,200 counties in the United States, state sex offender registries, the Federal Court PACER system, and state Department of Motor Vehicles.


Does Smart Screen Tech need permission to access these databases?
Smart Screen Tech is registered with the relevant Data Protection bodies globally to grant access to registered databases.