Online background checks are one of the most convenient ways to dig into someone’s history and character. They use public reports and information as their source.
Usually, data repositories maintained by state or local governments and private firms automatically generate background checks.
Typically, you’ll get someone’s age, date of birth, aliases, names, and other information about their relatives.
In addition, you might find traffic tickets, civil judgments and records, information about arrests or convictions, marriage or divorce records, and information about their digital footprint, including social media.
Almost all data is public
Practically all this data is public by law, and you can find it if you’re willing to take the time. In some counties, people are allowed to search the official web portal.
In others, you have to search on-site at the county courthouse or hire someone to do it. Vital records, divorce records, bankruptcies, traffic violations, lawsuits, and civil issues, in general, are always a matter of public record.
A background check typically involves criminal records, warrants, arrest records, and other crime-related information.
What will I find?
Employment is the most common reason background checks happen. Employers or recruiters usually do them when someone applies for a job, but candidates may be subject to screening after they’re approved.
You can use several different methods to carry out screening, from a complete database search to personal references. The method determines what you will find because datasets and records differ.
Employment checks: the details
An employment background screening will typically include ID verification, employment verification, and criminal history. For example, if your job involves driving, it will consist of driving history and financial history for a career in finance.
HR departments gather a lot of information to judge a candidate’s character and, more importantly, to avoid hiring the wrong person.
Credit reports can be part of the screening process, and the bureaus issue them based on information from credit card firms, banks, and other sources.
Credit reports usually contain previous inquiries that show retailers, lenders, or other financial institutions have requested the person’s credit report.
The credit bureau will provide the subject’s name, birthdate, and other identifying information.
ID and address confirmation
Pre-employment background checks can reveal whether a Social Security number is valid, to whom it belongs, and if it is in use.
Additionally, the employer can find this information in the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases. Further, you can confirm an address utilizing ID verification.
Employers crosscheck the details a job applicant provides to identify inaccuracies.
Financial records are a crucial source of details about the financial history and personal finance management. For example, screening can reveal liens, bankruptcies, credit history, payment history, and outstanding debt.
It can show how likely someone is to be trusted with money. Furthermore, a landlord can look at credit records to see if a prospective tenant will be able to pay rent.
A bankruptcy screening will make a slew of information available, including the debtor’s address and SSN, the county, the trial attorney, the docket number, the type of bankruptcy filed, and the state where it was filed.
It might also show judgments, civil filings, tax lien type, the assets amount, and the release and dismissal dates.
Pre-employment screening can protect a company when it reveals job-related convictions.
Suppose an employee commits a crime on or related to their job, and a court finds their employer could have found out about their relevant history of wrongdoing.
In that case, the employer will face negligent hiring charges. In addition, criminal background checks can provide information about offenses and violations on all levels of government: county, state, and federal.
Current pending charges, acquittals or dismissals, felony convictions, and misdemeanor convictions are all subject to reporting.
Depending on the job, an employer can ask candidates for additional information, such as reference checks or drug screening.
Certificates and licenses
A potential employer or client can check if you hold the certificate or license you claim to have.
This screening confirms the license status or certificate, when it was issued, the expiration date, and whether the license is suspended.
Vessel and aircraft ownership
Online background checks allow you to learn if someone owns a boat, jet ski, or aircraft.
If you can establish ownership, the court will provide information about water vessels because this data is public record, just like motor vehicle information. The Federal Aviation Administration registers the aircraft.
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