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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Having consumer protection safeguards in place to ward off unauthorized users and unwanted intrusions is crucial for background screening firms accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). These policies and procedures protect the information of individuals during background checks and guard against data breaches and identity theft. This blog is the first in a six part series about the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP).

‘Consumer Protection’ is the first of six sections of the BSAAP created for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – the technical term for background screening companies – along with ‘Legal Compliance,’ ‘Client Education,’ ‘Researcher and Data Product Standards,’ ‘Verification Service Standards,’ and ‘General Business Practices.’ The BSAAP contains 58 clauses that CRAs must follow to be NAPBS Accredited. The ‘Consumer Protection’ section contains the 13 clauses below:

  • 1.1 Information Security Policy – CRA shall have a Written Information Security Policy. CRA shall designate one or more individuals within the organization who are responsible for implementing, managing and enforcing the information security policy.
  • 1.2 Data Security – CRA shall have procedures in place to protect consumer information under the control of the CRA from internal and external unauthorized access. These procedures shall include specifications for the securing of information in both hard copy and electronic form, including information stored on portable and/or removable electronic devices.
  • 1.3 Intrusion and Data Security – CRA shall have procedures in place to reasonably detect, investigate and respond to an information system intrusion, including consumer notification where warranted.
  • 1.4 Stored Data Security – CRA shall have procedures in place to reasonably ensure backup data is stored in an encrypted or otherwise protected manner.
  • 1.5 Password Protocol – CRA shall require strong password protocol pursuant to current security best practices.
  • 1.6 Electronic Access Control – CRA shall have procedures in place to control access to all electronic information systems and electronic media that contain consumer information. CRA shall have procedures in place to administer access rights. Users shall only be given the access necessary to perform their required functions. Access rights shall be updated based on personnel or system changes.
  • 1.7 Physical Security – CRA shall have procedures in place to control physical access to all areas of CRA facilities that contain consumer information.
  • 1.8 Consumer Information Privacy Policy – CRA shall have a Consumer Information Privacy Policy detailing the purpose of the collection of consumer information, the intended use, and how the information will be shared, stored and destroyed. The CRA shall post this policy on its Web site, if it has one, and will make said policy available to clients and/or consumers upon request in at least one other format.
  • 1.9 Unauthorized Browsing – CRA shall have a policy that prohibits workers from searching files and databases unless they have a bona fide business necessity.
  • 1.10 Record Destruction – When records are to be destroyed or disposed of, CRA shall follow FTC regulations and take measures to ensure that all such records and data are destroyed and unrecoverable.
  • 1.11 Consumer Disputes – CRA shall have procedures in place for handling and documenting a consumer dispute that comply with the federal FCRA.
  • 1.12 Sensitive Data Masking – CRA shall have a procedure to suppress or truncate Social Security numbers and other sensitive data elements as required by law.
  • 1.13 Database Criminal Records – When reporting potentially adverse criminal record information derived from a non-government owned or non-government sponsored/supported database pursuant to the federal FCRA, the CRA shall either: A) verify the information directly with the venue that maintains the official record for that jurisdiction prior to reporting the adverse information to the client; or B) send notice to the consumer at the time information is reported.

Governed by specified requirements and measurements, the BSAAP is becoming a widely recognized seal of achievement that brings national recognition to background screening organizations.  This recognition will stand as the industry “seal,” representing a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. To learn more about the BSAPP, visit

Founded as a not-for-profit trade association in 2003, the NAPBS represents the interests of more than 880 member companies around the world that offer employment and tenant background screening. NAPBS member companies are defined as “consumer reporting agencies” pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and are regulated by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). To learn more about the NAPBS, visit

To read other blogs about the NAPBS, visit

ESR Is Accredited by the NAPBS

Founded in the San Francisco, California-area in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a global background check firm that is accredited by the NAPBS®. ESR also undergoes annual SOC 2® audits to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of consumer information. ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” (3rd Edition published in January 2017). To learn more about ESR, visit

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2017 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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