Verify Your Background Screen Provider Has These Certifications

April 22, 2020

Companies want a safe workplace. A critical step to achieve this is having a robust background screening program. The program should be designed specific to an organization's needs. Likely, the program will include distinct packages for the company's different hiring positions. 

In a heavily regulated and litigated industry, companies need to investigate "how" providers perform their services. On paper, many background screen providers look the same.  This isn't the case.

You should expect and deserve a partner that continually invests in its processes. Among others things, the background screening provider on your list should have the following credentials. 

PBSA Accreditation

Only 6% of the background screening companies in the United States have earned PBSA Accreditation.

Professional background screeners are regulated by both the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and are subject to state law. Screeners must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as well as state privacy and consumer protection laws. The FCRA requires professional background screeners and employers to provide consumers the highest level of protection.

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) offers an accreditation program for Consumer Reporting Agencies located in the United States. The program is governed by a strict and thorough set of specified requirements and measurements. It is the seal of approval for professional background screening providers.

Consumer Reporting Agencies have made a commitment to uphold and deliver the highest level of industry standards for the following critical areas:

  1. Information Security
  2. Legal and Compliance
  3. Client Education
  4. Researcher and Data Standards
  5. Verification Services Standards
  6. Business Practices

To become accredited firms must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the accreditation standard. Compliance is demonstrated through rigorous desk and on-site audits, all of which are completed by an independent third-party auditor. Firms are required to re-certify in order to remain accredited.

SOC 2 Certification

Information security is a concern for all organizations, including those that outsource their background screening program. Rightfully so, since mishandled data—especially by application and network security providers—can leave enterprises vulnerable to attacks, such as data theft, extortion and malware installation.

SOC 2 is an auditing procedure that ensures your background screening provider securely manages your data to protect the interests of your organization and the privacy of its clients. For security-conscious businesses, SOC 2 compliance is a minimal requirement when considering a provider.

There are two reports associated with SOC 2 compliance.

  • Type I report describes a vendor's systems and whether their design is suitable to meet relevant trust principles.
  • Type II report details the operational effectiveness of these systems.  These reports are issued by outside auditors.

EU Privacy Shield Certification

The EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks were designed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the European Commission and Swiss Administration, respectively, to provide companies with a mechanism to comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce.

The Privacy Shield Program, which is administered by the International Trade Administration (ITA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce, enables U.S.-based organizations to join one or both of the Privacy Shield Frameworks in order to benefit from the adequacy determinations. While joining the Privacy Shield is voluntary, once an eligible organization makes the public commitment to comply with the Framework’s requirements, the commitment will become enforceable under U.S. law. 

Individual FCRA Certification

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the legislation which governs the fairness, accuracy, and privacy of consumer information.  When conducting a background check on an employee, you are responsible for keeping their private information secure.

The FCRA Certification earned by background screening professionals demonstrates their and their company's commitment to compliance within the industry.


Compliance is the cornerstone of how Orange Tree conducts business.

We have been PBSA Accredited since 2011, are SOC 2 Type II Certified, and adhere to the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework.  All of our customer-facing employees are PBSA FCRA-Certified.

Schedule a call with us so we can design a compliant background screening program for you.

Topics: Background Screening, Compliance

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