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Protecting Public Safety: How Background Checks Can Prevent Fraud

In today's society, background checks have become increasingly important, as they can help prevent fraud and protect public safety. Whether it's conducting a background check on a potential employee, a babysitter or a housekeeper, the information gathered can help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about who they allow into their homes and workplaces. In this article, we will explore the importance of background checks in today's society, how they prevent fraud, and protect public safety.

What Are Background Checks?

A background check is the process of investigating a person's history to determine if he or she has any criminal records, financial problems, or other issues that may make them unsuitable for a particular job or opportunity. Background checks can be conducted by various entities, including employers, landlords, schools, and insurance companies. The type of background check conducted will depend on the purpose of the inquiry.

Why Are Background Checks Important?

The importance of background checks cannot be overstated. For employers, conducting background checks can help them avoid hiring individuals who have a history of drug use, theft, or violence. By conducting a thorough background check, an employer can identify an applicant's criminal record, employment history and other relevant information that can help them make an informed decision about whether to hire them.

Background checks can also help protect public safety. In today's society, there are many people with criminal records who have access to vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly. Employers who conduct background checks on their employees can help ensure that these groups are not put at risk.

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Background Checks and Fraud Prevention

Fraud is a significant issue in today's society. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing over $1.9 billion to fraud in 2019. Background checks can help prevent fraud by screening potential employees, contractors, and volunteers for any criminal or financial fraudulent activities.

For example, a nonprofit organization that relies on volunteers may conduct background checks to ensure that they don't have any history of stealing or embezzling funds. Similarly, a financial institution may conduct background checks on prospective employees to ensure that they have a clean financial record.

Background Checks and Public Safety

Background checks can help protect public safety in many ways. For example, schools may conduct background checks on all employees, including teachers and non-teaching staff, to ensure that they don't have a history of violent behavior or child abuse. Similarly, a nursing home may conduct background checks on all employees to ensure that they aren't known for neglect or abuse of seniors.

In addition, background checks can help prevent impaired driving. For example, a company that hires drivers may require all employees to pass a drug test and conduct a background check to ensure that they don't have a history of drunk driving or drug-related offenses.

Real-Life Examples

While the importance of background checks is clear, real-life examples can help illustrate this further. Let's consider three different scenarios where background checks could have made a significant difference.

Scenario 1: A retail company hires a new employee, who then steals cash from the register. The employee has a history of theft, which would have been uncovered during a background check.

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Scenario 2: A school district hires a new teacher, who later is charged with sexual abuse of a minor. The district could have discovered that the teacher had a history of similar behavior through a background check.

Scenario 3: A rideshare company hires a new driver who has been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. The driver later gets involved in an accident while under the influence, and passengers are injured or killed.

In each of these scenarios, conducting a thorough background check could have prevented harm, both to individuals and organizations.


In conclusion, background checks are essential in today's society, as they help prevent fraud and protect public safety. By conducting a thorough background check, employers can avoid hiring individuals with a history of drug use, theft, or violence. Similarly, organizations that work with vulnerable individuals, such as children or seniors, can use background checks to ensure that their employees don't have a history of abuse or neglect.

Background checks aren't foolproof, of course. There are still ways that someone with a criminal history can slip through the cracks. However, by continuing to use them, we can minimize risk and make informed decisions about who we allow into our homes, workplaces, and communities.

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