Performing a Background Check
Background checks are becoming more common in our digitized economy. Everything from employment to housing applications can use this method to verify someone’s identity, employment history, criminal history, education, financial standing, and other relevant details.
And while these checks can ensure that you are dealing with the person an individual claims to be and they meet the basic criteria for your purposes, background screenings can become complex quickly. And with many relevant laws coming into play, it’s essential to understand some basics about background checks before moving forward with any activities.
Background Check Basics
A background check is a process by which a person or company uses the information provided to verify that this person is who they claim they are and meet the minimum requirements for what they are seeking. Commonly, background checks are used to secure housing or employment. Cursory checks may ease the employer or landlord’s worries that they are selecting someone compatible with their needs and requirements.
And while these are the most common purposes of a background screening, many others apply to different scenarios. Depending upon the type of background check, the company or individual may review a person’s criminal history, education and certification credentials, employment history, finances, and other past activities that may be relevant to the situation.
Types of Background Checks
Many different types of background checks can apply to different scenarios. Some of the most common background checks include:
Background Checks for Employment: Employers may hedge their liabilities by ensuring that their prospective candidates meet certain criteria. The vast majority of employers use some type of employment background screening. These checks often occur when a conditional offer has been made to a candidate and can include looking at their criminal record, education history, credit record, driving record, medical record, and drug screening.
Criminal History Checks: Criminal history checks are often required for decisions related to employment, the purchase of a firearm, military enlistment, and adoptions or foster parent applications. Some industries, such as healthcare and trucking, may have federal or state regulations prohibiting certain individuals with a history of convictions from being considered for a position.
E-Verify Checks: Employers use E-Verify to verify employment eligibility and the identity of job candidates. This type of background check compares information the job candidate submitted on the I-9 form with federal records to confirm the individual is eligible to work in the United States.
Fingerprint Background Checks: Fingerprint checks use the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, to get an accurate criminal history for an individual from authorized criminal justice agencies. This level of check is required in some industries, such as real estate, medical care, finance, and pharmacy.
Credit Check: A credit check takes a deep look at how well an individual has managed credit and payments in the past. Many landlords verify this information to assess whether or not a prospective tenant would pay their rent on time. Some industries, such as finance, require a credit check when the individual would handle money on a daily basis.
License Check: A license check is commonly required in some industries to ensure that the individual has the experience, knowledge, and credentials to perform the job adequately.
Personal/Social Media Online Presence Checks: In today’s world, many individuals anticipate a background screening prior to many activities, such as looking for a new apartment or seeking a new job. You can run a personal background check beforehand to verify that all of the information is accurate. This process also helps you to understand what information will be provided to someone requesting a check on you.
Mortgage Background Check: Your mortgage lender will likely want confirmation of your employment status and also look at your financial information. Mortgage companies will look at all sources of income. Your lender may or may not choose to conduct a criminal background check.
When engaging in a wide range of activities, it’s common to anticipate a background check may be involved in the process. However, there are many legal rules related to background checks that employers and others must follow when conducting these reviews. Federal, state, and local laws may apply. Additionally, there are certain industry-specific regulations that must be followed.
The bottom line is that while background checks can be incredibly useful for a variety of purposes, navigating the legal complexities of these checks can be complex. And one misstep can land an individual or their organization in hot water. A failure to comply can result in steep fines or penalties as well as legal damages awarded if an individual is not afforded their legal rights throughout the process.
USA Fact is a trusted expert in the world of background checks. With over forty years of experience, our staff can help you navigate these legal complexities to ensure you are using the most accurate and reliable information to legally make important decisions. To find out more about the benefits of background checks, Contact USA Fact today!