Fingerprinting Background Checks

How do you do a background check with fingerprints? Contrary to popular belief of everyone’s fingerprints stored in a government database, only fingerprints of criminals and government officials are stored in a database but, in terms of doing a criminal background check, looking up someone’s fingerprints in databases by the FBI or Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) can give a more thorough picture of a person’s criminal past that asking for information about names, addresses, and a date of birth won’t give. As a person can lie about these pieces of information to cover up a criminal past, getting fingerprints and a photograph for a criminal background check can uncover any potentially hidden information about a job candidate.

How does this work? For any criminal background check involving fingerprints, the job candidate needs to have his or her fingerprints and photograph taken. This information is then matched with fingerprints collected for an arrest – if this candidate did have an arrest – stored by the FBI or CJIS. The information about the crime itself is attached to the fingerprints. For an employer doing a background check, the fingerprints of the job candidate are put on a small blue colored card called an FBI FD-258 card and the card is mailed to CJIS. The results of the criminal background check then come back in two weeks. If an employer takes fingerprints for a background check, they’re destroyed after the background check. If a person applies for a new job, he or she will need to be fingerprinted again to another criminal background check.

Individuals can do personal criminal background checks with fingerprints. In this case, the paper being used is a large orange colored card and the procedure is similar to that done through an employer. However, as many police stations don’t offer this service to the public, finding a location to do a personal criminal background check with fingerprints may be difficult.