Volunter Verification

So I signed up as CSA again this year and ran into the new volunteer background verification system.

Does it bother anyone else that it seems FIRST is asking for your credit report?
Perhaps I misunderstand this part but this seems the intent.

From the consent form:
"Description of Your Rights under the New Jersey Fair Credit Reporting Act

The New Jersey Fair Credit Reporting Act is modeled after the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and provides you with many of the same rights. You have received A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. "

What does it matter that my credit score is higher than average to FIRST?
I pump usually $10k or more a year through things related to FIRST (I have already exceed that amount for 2016).
FIRST and things related to FIRST rarely provide me any tax write-off.
The largest tax write off I ever got was $700 and that is tiny compared to me giving and my taxes in my bracket.

I am employed and operator of several business - again of what relevance is that to FIRST unless one of those business are doing business with FIRST? In the past this would have been relevant when I helped present a different control system for FIRST. I think my one company name, which I own, appeared on one robot in just one year. The only other relevant business names appear on the donor page for FRC11 (and none of those I own).

This seems unnecessary information in relation to a charity to which I have been a participant on and off for more than 20 years.

Keep in mind - I am frequently background checked under far more stringent circumstances because of the importance of my work to financial services and important infrastructure. I just wonder why FIRST wants this financial information. I have no criminal record, collections matters or other negative issues that exist or are relevant. All my business ventures are known to and have been fully vetted by financial and government entities. I have nothing to hide, but I am not sure I am comfortable with this exploration into my personal finances. I don’t see KYC/AML (Know Your Client/Anti-Money Laundering) applies here. Is FIRST willing to show me all their books (because that’s just about how I perceive this)?

Would it matter if, like so many Americans, I had collections matters from medical services or worse a bankruptcy?
What if I had a low credit score from predatory lending practices?
What about lots of student loans?

As a member of professional financial markets I know your credit report and score can misrepresent you so why is FIRST involving it? (Yes I am posting this here but I will also be asking questions directly with FIRST about it.)

I’m kind of confused, are you complaining about FIRST learning all of this personal financial information about you that you just freely volunteered? Are you complaining about being judged on it?

I don’t think FIRST’s intent is to prohibit people with terrible credit from volunteering, but credit reports can contain background information that may expose certain liabilities. It’s not that out of the ordinary for employers, etc to look at credit checks.

Wow, what a problem to have.

For them to check your credit they would have to have your SSN and there is no reason or requirement to give your SSN. You just have to check the “no SSN” box on the application at least that was how it was the last time I did it.

Both, why are they asking it at all? I previously volunteered that personal information. Asking everyone for it puts PII (personally identifiable information) about all of the submitted finances in FIRST records. Where is FIRST disclosing what they do to protect that information?

I don’t think FIRST’s intent is to prohibit people with terrible credit from volunteering, but credit reports can contain background information that may expose certain liabilities. It’s not that out of the ordinary for employers, etc to look at credit checks.

FIRST would be the worst employer I ever had in that example. I have to pay them for the privledge. I rarely get the process employers are responsible for closed. I get frequently zero warning about rapid changes impacting my delivery. I do not know what they do with my data. Oh, and I get to sign away basic liability.

What a deal!:eek:

Lucky for FIRST I do not view them as an employer but a charitable group to which I conduct contributions. Otherwise FIRST would be fired as my employer quite a while ago (I have fired employers for less).

My issue is ‘least privledge’. I do computer security at a professional level: you should not have anything you do not need.

Cute and what happens if you lie about not having an SSN as an American citizen?

Where I come from you do that on a background check - you fail it.

Being I can walk right past these checks. All the better for me to raise this issue. I have nothing to hide and the credentials to more than make the point. I could easily see other people getting the: “what are you hiding?!” stunt in reply.

It would seem FIRST is using a new vendor to provide the criminal background checks for volunteers this year. I suspect that the info requested is because that’s what’s being used by the company doing the checks.

Does it seem like a lot? Not so much for a 50 state criminal background check. It seems minor compared to the FBI interviewing your 3rd grade teacher when you get clearances at certain levels. But it is certainly a lot more than was asked last year.

We aren’t privy to the reasoning behind FIRST going a step or two further this year with the YPP background check but I assume FIRST has a reason they’re willing to spend $8 per volunteer, so I’m cleared.

Unfortunately that is worded poorly on the application, it does not mean that you do not have a SSN, it means that you are not willing to give your SSN.

We were told when the background checks for main and alternate contacts first started happening to let everyone know that they did not have to give their SSN, and that it would not change whether they passed the background check or not.

So I would say that they reason you got that notification was that you gave your SSN and by law in your state they have to give you that notice because you provided your SSN to them.

I’m pretty certain that information stays with Verified Volunteers and is not passed on to FIRST.

So to any other volunteers DO NOT give your SSN to VV, check the box “no SSN”!

The cost is a non-issue for me. It is FIRST’s failure to explain how they use it or apparently relate important details to volunteers. In fact I accepted the whole cost for the check and fast pass because it was that unimportant to me. That cost may be a factor for someone, but not me. So a valid but somewhat not relevant to the OP point.

For obvious reasons I need to highlight this.

I let FIRST pay because I figure if I’m going to do at least 3 regionals and 2 championship events they can cover the $8 to find out that my criminal record is spotless.

Sure, it concerns me that FIRST feels they need to do this, but they do, so I can go with it. I don’t need the details of how there was a level 38 child sex offender (or whatever) working some event.

There are serial killers that could walk right through this control. There are also people found innocent of crimes that might fail this because of the credit report criminal background part which can be wrong.

It is hardly a situation that insures beyond all doubt the safety of anyone.

I don’t like this either.

However, my love for FIRST trumps my misgivings.


Go figure.

Wow you really can’t fault FIRST for being unable to detect serial killers… Some are totally normal, some are publicly crazy, some have delusions of grandeur, etc…

In my experience with the companies that I have hired to do background and credit checks they will only report criminal convictions. So you are correct it will not catch the serial killer or sex offender that has not been convicted of the crime, they will also not show pending or dismissed cases. VV may go further and find those pending cases but that may not be allowed by law since in the US you are considered innocent until proven guilty. So it should in theory not cause a problem for a person wrongly accused of a crime and not convicted.

So yes it does not in any way insure safety beyond all doubt, but I feel it is much better than doing nothing which is what FIRST did for many years.

I hate to be cynical about it, but background checks do more to protect the host organization than the participants.

Background checks only filters those that already been caught. But. It would stupid to have volunteers on the various offender registries because you didn’t bother to look. :smiley:

Another thing the credit report aspect will pull: past addresses reported to credit bureaus. Going deep in every jurisdiction is less practical (for now), but it only makes sense to go deep on known past addresses.

I understand your concern but I passed my verification and didn’t get a credit report hit so they didn’t check that (unless they have a way to do it without a credit protection company detecting it.)

I spent 20 years off and on for FIRST.
One does not donate over $100k to directly or indirectly to something like this if they do not care.

However if FIRST has my finance data the controls around it are required and those include reasonable disclosure.

This issue is not the background check, that is at best a red herring (oh the safety…yeah sure), the issue is I see no evidence…at all…FIRST is set up to collect or store a credit report that may include account numbers, my SSN and sufficient information to commit identity theft even if the ID protection is through a credit rating company like Equifax.

In fact it can be done. Two of my previous companies were able to hit my credit report without either ID protection service noticing. I know because I audited both systems.

Even a straight block of credit report requests is not exactly what you would think for Equifax or Experian.

In the end, my concern is not that FIRST has my data…it is that FIRST tells us how they use it and provides security and disclosure as is standard practice. If FIRST were a financial institution this would already have been immediately required.

I can fault anyone if they use the ‘past a background check’ as a cover for not being otherwise vigilant. Now being vigilant is not perfect either, but it is better then hoping those people you pay with disclaimers all over the place get it right. Cause actual teachers have managed to get all the way through the teacher hiring process repleat with checks and still do things they should not.

Given the length of my involvement in FIRST I can see how volunteers keep coming back. So I also see no disclosure of how they escalate if whoever gets this information has questions. For example, you are a 3 year mentor and FIRST pulled 2 clean reports then pulls that next one and sees a concern for over a year ago. Now what? You already had a volunteer and who knows what went on.

Until last week, my credit report indicated I had an apartment in the Woolworth Building in NYC. The cost of such an apartment would be really huge. Yes I worked at one point in the Woolworth building but I never, ever, used it as a living address. Someone got cute and decided I lived there.

I have lived in the same home for 35 years. They have 2 different addresses and never listen that it is the exact same single family home. The number changed because it was impossible to find the house by the original number, for that matter any house on the road had the same issue. All fun till you need an ambulance and they can not find you.

So no, that feature is pretty useless for this as well.

So I just went into my VV account and looked at my status. They have a link on how to read your report on the My Profile Tab.

In the middle of the page they show

Level 2: Advanced Criminal History Record Locator Search
Status Icon Government Watch List Search (OFAC)
Status Icon 50 State DOJ Registered Sex Offender Search
Status Icon WA-Washington Judicial Information System State Criminal Search
Includes the following locator products/search tools: - Nationwide Search

I see no indication that they do a credit report, though admittedly I did not provide my SSN. They do show that they used my first, middle and last name as well as my DOB and address in those searches.