Conducting Effective Background Checks (Online Self-Study)

CPE Credit: 5 
Course Level: Basic
Prerequisite: None


A frequent misconception about background checks is that there exists a massive, centralized data repository that stores every piece of information the government has ever collected on every person. In truth, information is often incomplete and fragmented between different agencies and non-governmental organizations. Sometimes the data available is simply unreliable. 


Furthermore, there is not a universal way to perform a background check, given that the level of depth and scope will vary based on the purpose of the search. The background check for a construction worker will not be the same as that for a high-level manager, and a check on an individual will differ greatly from one performed on an organization.  


This course will help you make sense of these issues by reviewing the fundamentals of performing background checks, exploring the various types of background checks and the purposes of each, and addressing the legal considerations to take into account when performing a background check. 


Key Takeaways:  

  • Fundamentals of performing background checks 
  • Legal considerations of performing a background check 
  • How to develop an effective background check policy  
  • Which records are available when conducting a background check 


Preview Course

ACFE Ordering and Return Policy

CPE Information:

You Will Learn How To: 

  • Decide when to conduct a background check 
  • Discern the types of records available when executing background checks 
  • Develop a background check policy that will improve the quality of your organization’s employees and other business relationships 
  • Assess the major laws that govern background checks, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act; various anti-discrimination laws; financial and health privacy laws; considerations for state-specific laws; and anti-corruption statutes 
  • Identify research strategies and resources for effective background checks 





Table of Contents:

  • 1: Introduction 
  • 2: When to Perform a Background Check
  • 3: Developing a Background Check Policy
  • 4: Public Records and Data Vendors
  • 5: Court and Law Enforcement Records
  • 6: Other Government Records
  • 7: Credit Reports
  • 8: Other Financial Records
  • 9: Additional Online Resources
  • 10: Reference Checking
  • 11: International Background Checks
  • 12: The Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • 13: Anti-Discrimination Rules
  • 14: Financial and Health Privacy Laws
  • 15: State-Specific Laws
  • 16: Bribery and Anti-Corruption Laws

ACFE Online Self-Study Courses Feature:

24/7 access to courses through your Internet browser

Save time and quickly earn CPE credits with instant access, grading and printable certificate

The flexibility to start or stop a course and pick-up right where you left off

No additional shipping fees

Learn more about accessing your online self-study course.

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System Requirements:

Internet access: High-speed connection recommended

Free Adobe Flash Player

Speakers required for video sound

Online Self-Study Troubleshooting Guide:

Problem: When I attempt to access my courses from “My Online Learning,” the course never launches, or I receive an error message saying my pop-up blocker needs to be turned off.

Solution: Your web browser must be configured to allow pop-ups in order to access ACFE Self-Study courses. Your browser may prompt you to allow pop-ups, or you may have to allow them manually. You may either allow them for all sites, or allow them just for the current site.

For information on how to manage your pop-up blocker settings in a specific browser, click the link below that corresponds to the browser you are using:

Internet Explorer
Google Chrome

Also note that many toolbars, such as the Google Toolbar and Yahoo! include pop-up blockers as well. If you have one or more toolbars installed on your browser with built-in pop-up blockers, you must configure them to allow pop-ups.

Problem: When I click on a course from “My Online Learning,” I am presented with a login page, but my username and password won't allow me to log in.

Solution: You do not have to log in a second time to access your online self-study. You most likely reached the login page because you clicked the link labeled “Click Here” as shown below:

Online SS Image Absorb Error

Do not click that link; instead, allow your browser to automatically open the eLearning window on its own, which should happen after a few seconds. This will log you in automatically so that you can access your online courses.

Problem: I receive the following error when I try to load a different lesson with a course:

SS Online API Error

Solution: This occurs in Internet Explorer when trying to load a different lesson without closing the current lesson. This error can be avoided two different ways:

Always close the current lesson before going to another one. Always click the Close Window button (usually the red “X” in the upper right corner) of the current lesson before clicking on another lesson.

Use a different browser. This error seems to only occur in Internet Explorer, so using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome should resolve the issue (see below for links to download either of these browsers).

Other Troubleshooting Tips: If you encounter other errors, such as courses freezing or crashing, we recommend taking the following action:

Try a different browser. ACFE online self-study courses are designed to run on all modern web browsers, but if you encounter a problem that is not solved using one of the suggestions above, you can try using a different web browser to see if it eliminates the problem. We have most frequently seen where using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome has resolved an issue that was seen in Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded here
Google Chrome can be downloaded here

Make sure you are running the latest version of Flash. Go to to see what version of Flash you are running, and then compare that to the table on that page to see what the latest version is for your operating system/browser combination. If you are not running the newest version, you should upgrade and see if that resolves the problem.