Why Are Background Checks Important in Today’s Society?
In today’s world, people need to be more cautious than ever before to avoid different types of scams and frauds. Gone are the days when we could trust anyone blindly without verifying their background information. The growing reliance on technology has given rise to new avenues for criminal activity, from identity theft to cyberbullying, which can all have devastating consequences on people's lives.
To ensure personal safety, protect assets and confidential information, and maintain ethical practices in hiring and recruitment, background checks are becoming increasingly important in today’s society. In this article, we explore why background checks are essential and how they are shaping modern life.
What is a Background Check?
Simply put, a background check is a process where an individual's criminal, financial, and professional history are examined to determine their suitability for a particular position. The scope of background checks may vary, depending on the nature of your employment, occupation, or rental application. It can range from a simple database search to a comprehensive analysis of a person’s past behaviors, credibility, and reputation.
The Importance of Background Checks in Today’s Society
One of the most apparent reasons why background checks are becoming increasingly important today is to safeguard businesses, individuals, and organizations from criminal activities such as cybercrime, fraud, theft, and violence. In a 2019 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), it was discovered that 97 percent of companies had experienced theft, while 80 percent reported being victims of cyber fraud or data theft. With such high numbers, it’s not surprising that organizations are turning to background checks as a preventative measure.
Also, background checks are essential in ensuring that employees and tenants have the right skillset, education, and personality traits to do their job without posing risks to others. Employers require staff who can adhere to applicable laws and regulations, maintain safety protocols, and exhibit good behavior and character traits. Similarly, landlords need tenant background checks to reduce the risk of potential damage to property, late payments, or lease violations.
Moreover, a background check also helps to prevent potential negative media and backlash that may damage a brand or organization's reputation. In modern times, social media has made it easier than ever before to spread information quickly, which can result in reputational damage for the business. Thus, conducting background checks helps ensure that employees and business associates align with the background verification criteria.
Furthermore, background checks can prevent the hiring or renting of individuals who may pose a danger to others. For example, if you're running daycare services, conducting a thorough background check on every employee ensures the safety of the children.
Finally, technology exposes businesses and individuals to various types of cyber threats, making background checks an essential aspect of preventing identity theft, data theft, and other cybercrimes. Therefore, conducting background checks helps prevent the spread of viruses, malware, ransomware, and other similar cyber threats.
Real-life Examples of the Importance of Background Checks
There have been many instances in which a proper background check could have prevented negative consequences in various industries. A few eye-opening examples highlight the importance of background checks in today's society.
T.J. Maxx Credit Card Breach
In 2007, T.J. Maxx, a retail clothing store, experienced one of the worst data breaches in history. Hackers gained access to the credit card information of over 45 million customers, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars. The cause of the breach? The company had not conducted proper background checks and cybersecurity measures, leaving them vulnerable and easy targets for cybercriminals.
Unlawful Hiring Practices
In 2015, Walmart came under fire when it was revealed that they had been hiring undocumented immigrants with fake documents. The company was penalized with a $4.8 million fine for allowing contractors to hire illegal aliens for cleaning. This penalty could have been avoided if Walmart had conducted proper background checks and employment eligibility verification processes.
Domestic Violence Perpetrators
Numerous cases of domestic violence have been reported where the attacker had a previous history of abuse, which could have been revealed through a background check. The highest profile case of domestic violence took place in 2009 when Chris Brown assaulted Rhianna, with many people questioning why Brown was not subjected to a background check that would have revealed his previous violence towards women.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist
In 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston became notorious for one of the largest art heists in the world, with an estimated $500million worth of art stolen. The thieves stole works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas, and the case remains unsolved to this day. The museum lacked proper background checks, security measures, and employee training to prevent such a catastrophic event from occurring.
In today's society, background checks have become increasingly important to ensure the safety and protection of individuals and businesses. Their role in preventing fraud, employee dishonesty, theft, and other crimes cannot be overstated. Employers should take the necessary steps to conduct a thorough background check on employees, tenants, and contractors to ensure that they align with the organization's values and ethics.
At the same time, individuals can take the initiative of conducting background checks on potential businesses or employers to ensure that both sides are safeguarded. Overall, background checks allow for safer and more trustworthy business and social interactions, making them an essential tool for individuals and organizations alike.