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Background Checks: A Necessary Safeguard Against Criminal Activity

Why are background checks important in today's society?

We live in a society where there are people with diverse backgrounds. Some might have a criminal past, while others could be habitual drug abusers. Future employers, landlords, and even the general public can benefit from conducting background checks. The background checks help prevent fraud and protect public safety. In this article, we will explore why background checks are essential and how they help keep our society safe.

What are Background Checks?

Background checks are procedures that involve investigating a person's history. A background check can reveal information about a person's employment history, education, criminal records, credit history, and driving records. The information obtained can help an employer or a landlord determine if an individual is trustworthy, and if they qualify for a particular job position or property.

Why are Background Checks Important?

Background checks are essential in today's society for several reasons. Firstly, they help prevent fraud. For instance, an employer can verify an applicant's job history to ensure that the person has the required skills for the job. If a candidate lies or exaggerates their skills or past experience on their resume or job application, background checks can help detect the truth.

Secondly, background checks protect public safety by ensuring that people who have a history of criminal activities or drug abuse do not get hired or get access to rental properties. In most cases, people with a criminal history are likely to commit crimes in the future, which can put other people's lives at risk. Therefore, background checks help prevent such instances and ensure public safety.

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Furthermore, background checks help reduce legal liabilities for employers and landlords. For instance, if an employer or a landlord hires or rents property to an individual with a history of violent or criminal activities, and that person commits a crime, the employer or landlord can be held liable. Conducting a background check can prevent such situations from happening and reduce the chances of liability.

Types of Background Checks

There are various types of background checks. They include:

1. Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are among the most common types of background checks. They involve investigating an individual's criminal history. The check will reveal if the person has ever been convicted or charged with criminal offenses. Such information can help employers and landlords make informed decisions on whether to hire or rent to an individual.

2. Employment Verification

Employment verification is a background check that involves verifying an individual's work history. The check will reveal the companies the person has worked for, their job titles, and the duration of each job. Employment verification can help an employer confirm if an applicant's history matches the information provided on their resume or job application.

3. Education Verification

Education verification involves verifying an individual's educational background. It confirms the schools attended and the qualifications obtained. This check is especially essential when hiring for a job that requires specific educational qualifications.

4. Credit History

A credit history check helps employers and landlords determine if an individual is a financial risk. The check reveals the person's credit score, credit history, and any outstanding debts. Such information can help landlords decide whether to rent to an individual or employers to hire someone in a financial-related position.

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Real-Life Stories

Background checks help prevent fraud and protect public safety. Here are some real-life stories that show how background checks have been essential in our society:

1. Uber Shooter

In 2016, an Uber driver named Jason Dalton shot up six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The shooter had a history of mental illness and had been accused of domestic violence, but none of this information was known by Uber. The company later came under fire for not conducting background checks on drivers, and it led to a policy change. Today all Uber drivers are required to undergo a screening process to ensure their criminal and driving records are clean.

2. The Serial Bank Robber

In 2002, a serial bank robber named Les Rogge was sentenced to life in prison. Rogge's crimes had gone unnoticed for years until forensic testing identified his DNA at several of the banks he had robbed. If background checks had been conducted earlier, his crimes could have been prevented.

3. The Phony Doctor

In 2005, a woman named Shelley Smith from Virginia was arrested for posing as a doctor. Smith had forged documents claiming she had a Ph.D. and an MD degree, and she had performed medical procedures on some patients. A background check would have easily exposed her false identity.


Background checks are essential in today's society. They help prevent fraud and protect public safety by ensuring that people with a history of criminal activities or drug abuse do not get hired or get access to rental properties. Conducting a background check is a small price to pay compared to the risks involved. Employers and landlords should make background checks a standard before making any hire or rental decision. As demonstrated by the real-life examples above, background checks play a significant role in keeping our society safe.

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