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How Background Checks Help Prevent Fraud and Ensure Public Safety

Background checks are an indispensable tool in our society today, and their importance cannot be overstated. From finding employment, renting an apartment, volunteering, or even dating, background checks have become a common practice for various reasons. Not only do these checks help prevent fraud, but they also play a significant role in protecting public safety. In this article, we will delve into the importance of background checks and how they help prevent fraud and keep us safe.

Why are background checks important in today's society?

First, it's essential to understand what a background check is. It is a process of investigating a person's criminal history, financial history, and other relevant information before making a hiring, rental or contractual decision. Background checks are crucial in today's world because they provide a level of assurance that the person being hired or involved in a particular transaction has a positive background. They help to prevent employers, landlords, or individuals from unknowingly hiring or working with people with criminal records or a history of other undesirable behaviors.

Employment Background Checks

One of the most critical areas where background checks are performed is during the hiring process. It is standard practice for employers to screen potential employees before hiring them. There are several reasons for this, such as avoiding any liability for issues that arise from hiring unqualified people or people with a history of criminal activity. Another reason is to ensure that the person being hired can be trusted and is a good fit for the job.

For instance, a criminal background check can reveal details of an applicant's past criminal activities and any legal issues that they may have. Furthermore, employment background checks can also be performed to verify an applicant's educational qualifications, work experience, and references. In today's society, employers are especially cautious about hiring full-time employees given the litigious nature of American society today.

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Rental Property Background Checks

Another area where background checks are common is in the rental housing industry. Landlords utilize background checks in their rental decision-making to minimize the risk of rental delinquency or property damage. More importantly, the check can help ensure that the rental unit is not used for illegal purposes. This practice is particularly important since landlords need to have a certain degree of confidence that their tenants will pay rent in full and on time and respect the property. Identifying reliable renters is essential for the landlord’s business operations.

Additionally, tenant-screening agencies can help landlords determine the reliability of renters by providing credit reports, eviction history, and criminal background checks. These checks protect landlords from renting their property to people with criminal records or evictions, protecting their property as well as the safety of other tenants in the building. A thorough background check reduces the likelihood of property damage or loss and helps to ensure that the rental property has reliable tenants.

Volunteer Background Checks

Background checks are also essential in non-profit organizations and for volunteer positions. A background check on an applicant for a volunteer position ensures that the individual does not have a history of illegal activity, particularly crimes involving children. Background checks are crucial in deciding whether to allow someone to volunteer for non-profits or other organizations. Organizations that work with vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, or disabled individuals, must take extra precautions in protecting their clients. A background check can help assure clients of an organization's ability to provide a safe and reliable service.

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How do background checks help prevent fraud and protect public safety?

Background checks also prevent financial fraud and identity theft, two critical issues in today's society. Due to the ubiquity of electronic financial transactions, fraud and identity theft occur more frequently than ever before. Financial firms and other businesses must take extra precautions to protect their customers' information and combat financial malfeasance. Here are some examples:

Financial Background Checks

Financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, use background checks to protect their customers from fraud. Financial background checks can identify any previous credit fraud, bankruptcies, or financial misconduct by a potential employee. Since banks employ personnel with access to sensitive financial information, a background check for financial crimes is essential. Information obtained in a background check can help reduce fraud and ensure that the bank’s customer information remains secure.

Identity Verification Checks

Identity theft is also a significant concern and can be prevented with identity verification checks that confirm an individual's identity before granting access to certain information or services. Identity verification can provide an extra layer of protection for financial institutions and other businesses that deal with sensitive information. A comprehensive background check can reveal discrepancies between the identity put forward by an individual in contrast to the one reported in their records.

Public Safety Background Checks

Public safety background checks are carried out to keep our communities safe. Law enforcement agencies use background checks most commonly. This check helps ensure that law enforcement agencies and other public safety entities hire individuals of integrity. For instance, in the United States, background checks are implemented for all individuals who are applying for federal positions and positions with security clearances.

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Recently, background checks have played a significant role in curbing mass shootings. They are necessary to reduce the number of people who have access to firearms but also enhance public safety for other prevention programs such as criminal rehabilitation and social welfare.


Background checks are an essential safeguard in today's society. By providing comprehensive information about a person's history, they help prevent fraud, protect public safety, and reduce legal liability arising from unauthorized conducts. Background checks can be used in various areas from employment to rental housing and volunteering. The information obtained from a comprehensive background check can help prevent fraudulent activities, financial misconduct and can ensure that the public remains safe. Given the rising instances of financial fraud and identity theft, the importance of background checks continues to grow. As society evolves, we can only expect this practice to become even more prevalent.

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