The Department of Justice Crime Information Bureau (CIB) is the agency in charge of background checks for the state. They allow the general public to access criminal records through their Online Record Check System (WORCS). Most requests are processed through a name search, but they also maintain fingerprint records. Each name search costs $7 per record. If the system cannot find a match, the user will receive a “No Record Found” message. Frequent users can set up an account so they can purchase multiple reports at once. On their website, they have a warning to employers on how to use background checks when hiring. They also include information to applicants on how to challenge a background report or anything contained in it that is incorrect.
A Wisconsin background check will be detailed with personal information like name, address, aliases, gender, race, height, weight, age, date of birth and other details. Then the report will include all arrests, charges, prosecutions, court findings, sentences, incarcerations, parole, probation and any details related to criminal convictions and holdings. These items are compiled from law enforcement agencies, the court system and the department of corrections.
The purposes for a background check in WI are for employment, tenant screening, licensing, certifications, insurance, credit, and financial interests and security clearances.
Also available to the general public are background reports that are compiled from many public and private sources to bring together a package of information that includes:
These types of reports are used for informal lookups such as checking on a neighbor or business partner, a new roommate or potential date. Individuals can also use them to find a long-lost friend, look up their own information or check the sex offender registry.
The Department of Justice maintains the state's criminal history database that contains all records compiled from the courts, law enforcement agencies throughout the state and the department of corrections for a complete view of someone’s entire criminal history. They provide the information of a Wisconsin criminal background check via name-search to the public. Due to strict discrimination laws, employers are urged to use fingerprint-based requests for a perfect match so they can be sure they are using the correct information when hiring.
Wisconsin is a partial point of contact for handgun sales, and therefore gun dealers must contact the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to perform a background check before selling to buyers. For the sale of the long guns, gun dealers must comply with federal laws and contact the FBI to use NICS to run a full WI background check before selling anyone a firearm. The state has completed 408,948 Wisconsin gun background checks so far this year for the sale of guns.
On average 452,520 gun checks annually are being conducted through NICS in California.
The state is pretty open with WI DOJ background checks to the public and allows them to be used for tenant screening, business transactions, credit or financing, and other personal purposes, but they are very strict in how employers can use them. They are widely used in the state, and for 2017, they processed more than 900,000 public accesses.
It is illegal in Wisconsin for employers to discriminate based on an applicant’s criminal history. Employers cannot ask about anyone’s arrests unless they are pending. Only if the arrest or conviction directly relates to the job they are being hired for can an employer choose to disregard the person due to the criminal information. Additionally, state's Department of Workforce Development issued a guide called Fair Hiring and Avoiding Discriminatory Interview Questions to help employers when using background checks in their hiring process. Employers are also subject to federal law and must comply with both The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when using background checks during the hiring process.
According to The Fair Credit Reporting Act, when using sites like InfoTracer to obtain a background check report, the information cannot legally be used to determine credit, employment, tenant screening or any other eligibility requirements for business or professional use.
In 2017, there have been 216 victims of online romance scams in Wisconsin, resulting in $1.9 million adjusted losses associated with these complaints.
|Age Group||Count||Amount Loss|
|20 - 29||482||522,406|
|30 - 39||480||1,152,665|
|40 - 49||487||1,767,060|
|50 - 59||2,108||2,749,776|