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The Importance of Background Checks: Safeguarding Society Against Fraud and Crime

In today's society, background checks have become an essential tool for both employers and individuals alike. They are necessary for protecting public safety and preventing fraud, as well as providing peace of mind for those who need to verify information about someone else. This article will explore why background checks are so important, how they help prevent fraud and protect the public, and provide some real-life examples of the consequences of not conducting proper background checks.

Why Are Background Checks Important?

Background checks are important because they provide an opportunity to verify someone's identity, employment history, criminal record, and education. This information is crucial for making informed decisions about potential employees, business partners, or even romantic partners. If someone has a criminal record or other red flags in their background, this information can help protect against potential risks.

Apart from individual safety concerns, background checks also provide essential information for different organizations and institutions. Employers may use background checks to find the best candidates for a job, while landlords may use them to screen potential tenants. Law enforcement agencies may conduct background checks to solve crimes or prevent them from happening. Additionally, banks and other financial institutions may also request background checks to determine creditworthiness and check for any past financial frauds.

How Do Background Checks Prevent Fraud?

One of the primary reasons background checks are essential is that they can help prevent fraud. By obtaining a person's employment and criminal histories, an employer can verify that the candidate is who they say they are and that they have not misrepresented themselves on their resume or in the interview. This can help prevent fraud, such as fake resumes, falsified education credentials, and identity theft.

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For example, in 2020, former Notre Dame assistant coach Aaron Lynch was sentenced to 36 months in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Lynch used numerous fake personas to obtain credit cards, online loans, and travel services by using other people's identities. This type of fraud could have been prevented if background checks had been conducted to verify the identities of the people Lynch was impersonating.

How Do Background Checks Protect Public Safety?

Background checks are also crucial for protecting public safety. This is particularly true for positions that require high levels of trust, such as teachers, healthcare professionals, and law enforcement agencies. Without proper background checks, individuals who pose a danger to society or are unfit for certain positions can slip through the cracks.

For example, in 2019, a Virginia police officer was arrested for child sex trafficking. These types of incidents can be prevented if proper background checks are conducted before hiring. Similarly, schools can face potential legal liabilities if they do not conduct proper background checks on educators, leading to incidents of abuse of children.

Real-Life Examples of Background Check Failures

The consequences of not conducting proper background checks can be severe, as demonstrated by the following cases:

Case 1: In 2019, a woman in Michigan was scammed out of $30,000 by a man posing as a contractor. The man used a fake identity and fake business credentials to convince the victim to pay him for work he had never done. A background check would have revealed that the man had no record of being a licensed contractor or a registered business owner, and this could have prevented the scam.

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Case 2: In 2018, the Washington Post reported that Uber and Lyft drivers had been accused of rape, assault, and murder over a four-year period. These incidents occurred because the ride-hailing companies did not conduct proper background checks on their drivers. As a result, many of the drivers who were accused of the crimes had records of violent and sexual offenses.

Case 3: In 2015, Dylann Roof killed nine people in a South Carolina church. It was later discovered that he had a previous arrest record and a history of making racist remarks online. Proper background checks could have prevented Roof from obtaining the gun used in the church shooting.


In conclusion, background checks are important for ensuring public safety, preventing fraud, and providing essential information for various organizations. Proper background checks can prevent dangerous people from entering positions of trust and can prevent fraudulent activity. Moreover, they serve as an effective tool to protect both individuals and organizations from potential risks. It is vital to conduct background checks regularly as half-hearted measures can lead to severe consequences. Overall, it is essential to conduct thorough background screening to ensure safety, compatibility, and trustworthiness in our community.

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