background check: What It Is and How to Do It Effectively
A background check is a process of validating or evaluating a person's history, records, or reputation using various sources, such as criminal records, education records, employment history, credit reports, and more. The purpose of a background check can be for employment screening, tenant screening, business partnerships, or personal reasons. Whatever the reason, it is crucial to conduct a background check properly to avoid legal liabilities, safety risks, or financial loss.
In this post, we will discuss the methods of conducting a background check effectively and the benefits of doing so.
Method 1: Online background check
One of the most convenient and cost-effective methods of conducting a background check is by using online services, such as TruthFinder, BeenVerified, or Intelius. These companies offer a robust database of public records, including criminal records, court records, driving records, social media profiles, and more. All you need to do is to provide the person's full name, age, and last known location, and the service will compile a detailed report within a few minutes.
However, online background checks have their limitations, as they rely on public records that might be incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate. Some states also restrict the access to certain records, such as sealed criminal records or juvenile records. Moreover, online background checks cannot provide you with a personal interview or character references, which can be critical in certain situations.
Method 2: Hire a Professional Investigator
If you need a more comprehensive or customized background check, you can hire a licensed private investigator or professional background screening company. They have access to a wider range of sources, such as confidential databases, surveillance, interviews, and more. They can also tailor the research to your specific needs and legal requirements, such as complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) or the state-level laws.
However, hiring a professional investigator can be more expensive and time-consuming than an online background check. You also need to ensure that the investigator is licensed, insured, and trustworthy, as they have access to sensitive information and can be liable for any negligence or violation of privacy laws.
Method 3: DIY background check
If you have the time, resources, and expertise, you can conduct a background check yourself by using multiple sources, such as online databases, public records, court records, personal references, social media, and more. This method requires you to have basic research and analytical skills, as well as the ability to verify and interpret the information accurately.
However, DIY background checks can be risky and unreliable if you lack the necessary knowledge or access to certain records. You can also expose yourself to legal liabilities, such as defamation or invasion of privacy, if you use or disclose the information improperly or without consent. Moreover, DIY background checks can consume a lot of your time, especially if you need to check multiple people or sources.
In conclusion, conducting a background check can provide you with valuable insights into a person's history, reputation, and suitability for a particular purpose. It can also help you avoid potential risks or damages, such as hiring a fraudster, renting to a criminal, or partnering with an unreliable business. However, to do a background check effectively, you need to choose the right method that suits your needs, budget, and legal requirements. You should also use multiple sources to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information and seek professional advice if you have any doubts or questions. Lastly, you should always respect the privacy and rights of the people you investigate and use the information ethically and responsibly.