People from all walks of life conduct background searches in an effort to make informed decisions in regards to protecting themselves, employees and family members, property and investments. Searches have personal uses. You can locate a long lost friend or family member and conduct credit or asset checks and business history searches.
In an attempt to make knowledgeable choices, many request background checks on the following:
- Those that have access to children, including nannies, daycare providers, tutors, teachers, church leaders and direct care providers – Comprehensive background checks that include criminal and sexual offense history can help you make wise decisions about who cares for your children. Keep in mind that you may have to conduct a national search and not just a local search.
- Employment Applicants – A good service can help you verify past employment information, contact previous employers and check professional licenses and degrees. Keep in mind that many states have hiring practice laws that should be addressed before disqualifying an applicant.
- Real Estate – Before investing money, get information on a property, such as lot size, square footage, year built, and details on previous sales transactions, including price, buyer, and date. You can also find comparable prices for that area, demographic data and loan information.
- Auto History – Prior to purchasing a used car, check the history including accident, ownership and lien information. You can also investigate damage history including fire, water, hail or salvage auction information.
- Potential Dates – If you meet someone online or just someone new, check into their marriage/divorce history as well as criminal/sexual offense record to verify that they are telling you the whole truth. It may be better to invest a little time in the beginning to prevent a big heartbreak later.
- Corporate Histories – Investigate before you invest. Explore the corporate history and financial status by looking for bankruptcies, tax liens and judgments as well corporate address, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), UCC filing, debtor and collateral.
- Renters or Leasers – Conduct credit checks on rental/lease applicants, you can also check current employment and address history through most services.
- Credit/ Loan Applicants – Verify application information and income as well as check credit history before extending a line of credit.
- Debtors – If someone owes you money and you do not know their current location, run a people finder check as well as an asset check to assist in collecting a debt. Many services also look for possible aliases and associations as well.
- People Searches – You can find old friends, family members or others through a people search.
- Contractors – Before spending money and allowing a stranger into your home, conduct a contractor screening that can verify professional licenses, check for bankruptcies and liens as well as a criminal/sexual offense history.
Some background check services and private investigators use questionable methods to obtain information, it is up to you to find out if and how a certain piece of data can/cannot be used. Look into local and national freedom of information laws before getting yourself in trouble by releasing information. Most service sites will tell you that they do not want you to use information for malicious and defaming purposes.
Keep in mind that even if a background check is performed, there may be things a search does not discover, and ultimately you have to make the final decision. Background checks are just one tool in the investigation process. Make sure to ask a lot of your own questions, or if things come back on a report that are in the gray area ask the applicant or business about the information to see if they can clarify the situation.