What are Background Checks – Everything You Need to Know

There are many reasons someone might do a background check on you. The most common reason is for employment purposes. Employers want to know if you have a criminal record or any history of bad behavior that might make you a liability to the company.

However, many states don’t allow employers to run a full background check without your permission, so they’ll usually only do a limited check that includes a search of criminal records.

Background checks can also be used for personal reasons, such as when you’re considering renting an apartment or entering into a business partnership. In these cases, the person running the background check is usually looking for any red flags that might indicate you’re not a good candidate for the situation.

How Do People Run Background Checks

There are a few different ways to run a background check, but the most common is to use a service that specializes in this type of research. These services usually have access to databases that contain public records, which they can search using your name and other identifying information.

The type of information that’s available through a background check varies depending on the service you use and the type of check you order. For example, some services might only provide basic information about your criminal history, while others will give you a more comprehensive report that includes things like your credit history and employment history.

It’s also an option to run a background check on yourself. That will usually show what information is out there about you. This can be a good way to find out if there’s anything in your past that could come back to haunt you later on.

What Do Background Checks Include?

The type of information included in a background check depends on the service you use and the type of check you order. However, most background checks will include some combination of the following:

Criminal History

This is the most common type of information included in a background check. Services that provide criminal history reports will usually give you a list of any convictions or arrests on your record. It will also usually include information on any charges that were dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict.

Employment History

Many background check services will also provide information on your employment history. This can include things like your current and past employers, your job title, and your salary history. Check your local state’s laws regarding employment background checks to see what information an employer is allowed to access.

Credit History

Some background check services will also provide information on your credit history. This can include things like your credit score, your payment history, and any bankruptcies or foreclosures on your record.

Most large purchases on credit usually require a background check, so it’s important to know what information is being reported about you. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months, so use that opportunity to check for errors and make sure everything is accurate.

Personal Information

Background check services will also usually provide some personal information about you, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, and home address. This information is typically used to verify your identity and make sure that the person being checked is who they say they are.

What If There’s Something In My Background Check I Don’t Like?

If you find something in your background check that you don’t like, there are a few things you can do.

First, you can try to get the records expunged. This means that they’ll be removed from your criminal history and will no longer show up on background checks. Expungement is a legal process, so you’ll need to hire an attorney to help you with it.

You can also try to dispute the accuracy of the information in your background check. If you think there’s something wrong, you can contact the service that provided the report and ask them to correct it.

Finally, you can try to explain the situation to the person who is considering you for a job, apartment, or other opportunities. If they understand what happened and why it’s not indicative of your character, they may still be willing to give you a chance.


Background checks are a common part of some hiring processes, but they can also be used for other purposes, like renting an apartment or getting a loan.

Most background checks will include information on your criminal history, employment history, and credit history. You can also run a background check on yourself to see what information is out there about you.

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