Gig Economy Platforms: The Scary Truth About Background Checks

Background Screening | August 6, 2018
gig economy background check

Today, gig economy platforms have become the latest business boom in the US.  This umbrella term is used to describe technology companies that have built platforms, like rideshare apps, that deliver quick and seemingly safe services. But is there a gig economy background check?


Simply put, gig economy companies play matchmaker between individuals that wish to offer their service (a car ride, for example) and consumers in need of such service. 

However, there is one major concern about these services: 

Do gig economy independent contractors receive verified background checks

In this article, we will discuss:

Keep reading to find out how verified background checks will keep customers safe and reduce company liability.


Gig Economy Pros and Cons: Major Safety Concern

Gig economy platforms have transformed our society in tremendous ways. With the press of a button, we can have a car ride waiting at our door, food delivered in a dash, or access to hundreds of house sitters and handymen. 

How convenient!

gig economy background check

gig economy background check

While the popular rideshare companies are the most well-known gig economy platforms, the trend has also spread to dog walkers, house sitters, in-home healthcare, handymen, nannies, and just about any other area you can think of. 

However, there is one major concern that the gig economy must face:


Think about it. These service providers are given access to our most precious assets: our homes, families, pets, and even our lives.

Good news: most gig economy platforms do recognize this and advertise background checks as a part of their vetting process. However, are they conducting the best criminal background checks

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always a definitive yes.


Gig Economy Platforms: Need for Verified Background Checks



Companies often feel the pressure to:

That being said, many organizations take shortcuts with background checks. 

On one hand, this is due to the lack of education on the types of checks available. 

On the other hand, some gig economy platforms may make a very deliberate decision to run quick, inexpensive, and less than comprehensive checks – just to say a screening has been done.


Gig Economy Jobs: Types of Gig Economy Background Checks

gig economy background check

Typically, gig economy workers undergo a national criminal database check. They may also undergo a sex offender registry search and a driving record check, if applicable for the role. 

Sounds pretty thorough, right? 

Well, not always. These searches are mainly instant database checks. In other words, they are not comprehensive, detailed background checks that exude diligence. Instead, they are fast, cheap, and get the job done.

And what’s more?

With the volume of individuals in need of qualifying background checks on the rise, companies have sacrificed quality to keep costs down.


Problems with National Background Check

Unfortunately, since the United States does not offer a single national criminal history repository, the NATCRIM search will oftentimes miss large numbers of important records. 

Furthermore, many jurisdictions don’t actually report into databases. In fact, they may only report limited information on incarceration records.

Of the records that are returned, many have:

As you can see, this can lead to a series of unwanted problems!

So, what is the alternative solution?

Improve Customer Safety with Identity Searches

Companies that truly care about protecting their customers should set a higher standard for their background checks. Through the creation of more robust requirements, gig economy platforms should screen their independent contractors with:  

These searches tend to increase the depth and breadth of criminal background checks. For example, a county-level background check will screen where the individual has resided for a set number of years, most often seven.

In addition, identity and federal level searches may provide a list of other names identified, be they alias names, previous names or other developed names, with the potential employee or contractor. This vital information will improve the reliability of the background check.

But that’s not all!

By ensuring up-to-date and reliable details of each search intent, companies can also improve compliance with state and federal consumer reporting laws – an area not to be taken lightly.

These qualities are all very advantageous for both the company and the customers.

Advantages of Verified Background Checks

Here’s the bottom line: 

Quick, cheap database checks are NOT adequate enough to protect the consumer or relieve you of liability.

While thorough criminal background checks are more expensive, the results are reliable and can save a company’s reputation. Not to mention, protect its greatest asset – the customers!

This is why it’s so important to practice ethical screening practices. Companies can reduce the likelihood of incidents BEFORE they happen.

So what is the best background check solution for companies with a high volume of independent contractors?

PlusOne Solutions: Verified Background Check Solution

Founded in 2005, PlusOne Solutions is a Nationally Accredited Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) that seeks to help organizations with large networks of independent contractors. PlusOne Solutions mitigate risks through:

Through a reliable and verified background check plan, companies can reduce employee, contractor, and vendor risk.

Ready to Improve Customer Safety?

A simple contractor screening solution can improve the safety of the users of gig economy platforms. And the best part: screening will also reduce company liability.


Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel concerning their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.


About PlusOne Solutions

PlusOne Solutions has been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing in compliance programs that meet the complex challenges of geographically dispersed contractors, vendors, and employee networks. PlusOne Solutions protects companies from possible financial, legal, and reputational risks associated with contractor and vendor relationships while creating safer work environments.

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