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Background Checks and Public Safety: Why They Go Hand in Hand in Today's World.


Background checks have become increasingly common in today's society. They are performed not only for employment purposes but also for housing, volunteering, and even dating. The reason for this is obvious: background checks help prevent fraud and protect public safety. But how do they achieve this? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the growing importance of background checks in today's society and examine the ways in which they help prevent fraud and protect public safety.

Telling a Story

Let's start with a story that illustrates the importance of background checks. In 2017, a woman named Jennifer Wilcox was sentenced to six years in prison for defrauding a non-profit organization out of $6 million. With no prior criminal record, how was she able to pull off this elaborate scheme? The answer lies in the fact that she was not subjected to a thorough background check before being hired. As a result, she was able to falsify her resume, providing fake references and credentials, and was hired for a high-level position.

This story illustrates the importance of background checks, especially in critical positions that involve handling finances or making decisions that can have serious consequences. A background check can reveal any discrepancies in a candidate's resume or uncover any criminal history that may pose a risk to the organization or the public.

Preventing Fraud

Fraud is a serious issue that affects businesses, individuals, and the government. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, fraud costs organizations around the world an estimated 5% of their annual revenue. This can be a significant loss for businesses, especially small ones that may not have the financial resources to recover from fraud.

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Background checks can prevent fraud by verifying a candidate's identity, education, work history, and any criminal records. By screening candidates thoroughly, organizations can reduce the risk of hiring someone who may be predisposed to fraudulent behavior. Background checks can also help identify any red flags, such as discrepancies in a candidate's application or unexplained gaps in employment, that may indicate fraudulent activity.

Protecting Public Safety

Background checks can also help protect public safety by preventing individuals with a history of violent or criminal behavior from accessing sensitive information or holding positions of authority. This is particularly important for positions that involve working with vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.

For example, in 2018, the FBI reported a 70% increase in background checks for gun purchases following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. This surge in background checks highlights the importance of ensuring that individuals who have a history of violent or criminal behavior do not have access to firearms.

Background checks can also help prevent sexual abuse by identifying any past incidents of sexual misconduct or abuse. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many organizations have started implementing more rigorous background check policies to prevent sexual predators from accessing positions of power.


In conclusion, background checks are essential in today's society for preventing fraud and protecting public safety. The growing prevalence of background checks across a variety of industries and situations underscores the critical role they play in ensuring that individuals who pose a risk to others are not granted access to sensitive information or positions of authority. Organizations that implement thorough background check policies can reduce the risk of fraud and abuse, safeguarding both their own interests and those of the public.

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