There are a lot of reasons that someone might do a background check on another person or look them up online. There are formal reasons for doing a background check, and there are informal background checks.
The thought of going through a background check can create anxiety for a lot of people. Background checks can potentially reveal sensitive information.
Every particular type of background check can uncover a certain element of information, and if an employer is conducting a check, anything they uncover is subject to privacy protection regulations.
In employment situations, using background checks for hiring decisions is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is a federal law, and also requirements set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. State and local guidelines may apply too.
The following are ten of the most common types of background checks and some details outlining what each is used for.
An employment background check is what a business will use if you’ve applied for a job to work for them. It may come in the form of an online check, but it may also be carried out by a professional private investigator hired by the company. Your background is checked to make sure that the employer can maintain a safe workplace for their other employees and their customers.
An employment screening will usually include verification of your Social Security number. These screenings might include a search for criminal records, address history, civil records, resume verification, and drug and alcohol screenings. For reference, here is an example of what Montana background checks include.
An employer wants to verify as much as they can about your history to make the best possible hiring decisions.
A landlord will usually do a background check on a potential tenant. They want to protect against liabilities, and they want to verify as much as they can that the tenant will be able to pay the rent.
Tenant background checks can include criminal records, rental history, employment verification, and credit reports.
A criminal background check is often used in other, more general checks. For example, it’s used in both employment and tenant checks. More than 96% of businesses report the use of background checks when they’re hiring as a way to vet applicants for jobs.
If someone has been convicted of a crime, it will very likely show up on their criminal background check. Particular things that can show up include incarceration records, court orders and judgments, arrests, and sex offenses. A criminal background check will typically include both misdemeanor and felony convictions.
If there are any pending cases that a person is facing, those may show up.
Arrests can be a gray area on a criminal background check. Arrests can show up on some criminal background checks, but if it didn’t lead to a conviction, they don’t always. Some employers will intentionally exclude arrests not leading to a conviction to make sure they’re meeting Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines.
There’s a misconception that criminal convictions older than seven years won’t appear. In most states, they can show up. Some states do restrict the release of records that are more than seven or ten years old, but others don’t. Streamline your criminal background checks with Fast Check, ensuring a quick and efficient process; click here for more information on how to enhance your screening procedures.
A credit check can be considered a type of background check. A lender, bank, or service provider of some type might do a credit check to look at a person’s financial history.
A credit check shows information about your current and past credit, the types of loans you have, and your payment history. Credit checks are most often run by lenders to assess how risky you might be as a borrower. Landlords also run them, as do some employers.
There are three major credit bureaus that receive regular updates on account status from companies that have loaned money to a person already. The updates are usually monthly. Then, the reports are used by FICO and VantageScore to calculate the three-digit credit score.
A universal background check is a term we often hear in the media. Generally, firearms dealers who are federally licensed are required to run background checks before selling a firearm.
That may involve the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which handles background checks for a total of 29 states. Other states have their own background check system, or maybe a combination. They might use the FBI system for shotguns and rifles, and handgun purchases might be run through the state system.
A dealer who’s not federally licensed can sell a gun without a background check. A universal background check would require most private purchases to go through the same process licensed dealers have to follow.
A personal background check is one that provides public record information. For example, there might be information about employment, education, and criminal records that show up. A personal background check could include bankruptcy information and driving record details.
7. Motor Vehicle
Motor vehicle record checks can confirm whether or not a person has a valid license. These checks can also find driving violations, and they may be used to look at your driving history if you’re applying for a job that would require you to be behind the wheel.
8. Professional License And Education
Often part of pre-employment background screenings, if you’re hiring someone with a professional license or they have a particular education, you can verify these.
A lot of occupations, including professors, teachers, and senior professionals, need to go through a license and education check before they’re hired.
The FBI gathers fingerprint data through a sophisticated system for identification. If an employer has people who are dealing with sensitive information or security clearances, then it’s important to do fingerprint screenings for new hires. That can give detailed information about employment history, criminal charges, the outcomes of cases, and insurance information.
Finally, e-verify is an electronic system that’s used to determine someone’s eligibility for employment. An employer uses e-verify to make sure someone applying to work for them is authorized to work in the U.S.
The e-verify system is online-based, and it compares the information that an employee puts on Form I-9 to the records available from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.