We live in an era where technology has made our lives easier and more informed. With a few clicks on our smartphones, we can access virtually any information we need, including background checks on individuals. With the rise of online dating, online shopping, and remote work, it's become more critical than ever to carry out background checks to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Background checks are essential because they help prevent fraud and protect public safety in various ways. In this article, we discuss why background checks are important in today's society and how they help prevent fraud and protect public safety.
What are background checks?
Background checks refer to the process of obtaining information about a person's background, including their criminal records, employment history, credit reports, education qualifications, and any other relevant information. Background checks are typically carried out by employers, landlords, and other agencies to verify information provided to them by job candidates, tenants, and others.
Why are background checks important?
1. Protecting public safety
One of the most critical reasons why background checks are essential is that they help keep the public safe. For example, employers usually carry out background checks to ensure that potential employees have no criminal records or are not a threat to themselves or others. Additionally, schools conduct background checks on school employees and volunteers to provide safe learning environments for their students.
2. Preventing fraud and financial crimes
Background checks are crucial in preventing fraud and financial crimes. For example, a background check can reveal a potential employee's financial history, including past bankruptcies, credit scores, and outstanding debts, which can help prevent fraudulent activity in the workplace. Additionally, background checks can help prevent identity theft, which is a common type of fraud.
3. Compliance with legal requirements
Many industries, such as healthcare, finance, and education, are regulated, and employers are required to conduct background checks to comply with the law. For example, healthcare organizations are required to conduct background checks on their employees and volunteers as part of their licensing and accreditation requirements. Similarly, financial institutions must conduct background checks on employees to comply with money laundering regulations and prevent fraud.
4. Ensuring the integrity of the hiring process
Background checks are an essential part of the hiring process as they ensure the integrity of the process. A background check can provide confirmation of a candidate's resume, including verifying their credentials and education. Therefore, employers can be confident that they are hiring employees who are qualified and truthful in their application process.
Real-life examples of how background checks help prevent fraud and protect public safety
1. The Uber Case
In 2014, an Uber driver with an extensive criminal record was charged with raping a passenger. Following the incident, Uber came under scrutiny for not carrying out adequate background checks on its drivers. As a result, Uber was forced to introduce more rigid background checks, including fingerprinting and annual criminal background checks, to improve its passenger safety.
2. The Pizzagate Case
In 2016, a man walked into a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., and fired a gun, claiming the restaurant was involved in a child-trafficking operation. The incident turned out to be a hoax, fueled by false reports on social media. The man had been influenced by conspiracy theories posted online. This case highlights the importance of carrying out background checks on sources of information, including social media influencers, to prevent fraudulent activity and public safety.
3. The Elizabeth Holmes Case
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Theranos, was charged with fraud in 2018. The charges related to claims that the company had developed technology that could diagnose diseases with just a few drops of blood, which turned out to be false. The case highlighted the importance of background checks on company executives and the need to verify business claims to prevent fraudulent activity.
Background checks are critical in today's society as they help prevent fraud and protect public safety. They provide an opportunity to verify claims made by job candidates, tenants, and businesses, ensuring that the public is not exposed to potential risks. Through real-life examples, we learned that background checks are crucial in improving public safety and preventing fraudulent activity. Consequently, employers, landlords, and companies must conduct rigorous background checks and remain vigilant about monitoring potential risks. Ultimately, background checks are an essential tool in ensuring that we live in a safe and fraud-free environment.