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The Power of Background Checks: How They Prevent Fraud and Keep Us Safe

Background checks have become a crucial part of everyday life in modern society. They have become synonymous with employment processes, renting properties, and even for volunteering for certain positions. A background check usually involves looking into the past and searching for any criminal records, work history, educational history, credit history, and more. This information can aid in the determination of whether someone is trustworthy or not in a particular position. With the rise of technological advancements, old crimes can be easily hidden and people with questionable backgrounds can slip under the radar. Therefore, it's vital for organizations to conduct proper background checks to help prevent fraud and protect public safety.

Aside from employers conducting background checks, landlords and property managers also conduct them when screening renters. This process enables landlords to assess an applicant's creditworthiness, past rental history, and criminal background, among others. By carrying out a thorough background check, landlords can protect their property and ensure that they have trustworthy, responsible tenants.

Additionally, background checks play a crucial role in public safety, especially in sensitive jobs that require contact with the public. For instance, police officers, teachers, healthcare workers, and other public employees are held to a high standard of behavior and ethics. These people are often in positions of power, and their conduct can significantly impact the people they interact with. Therefore, it's imperative to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that these individuals have no history of violence, fraud, or other criminal activities that could put public safety at risk.

Criminals with a history of violence or sexual misconduct make up a significant portion of the population that should be excluded from certain positions. Suppose an organization or employer grants such a person access to the public or vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. In that case, the consequences could be disastrous. For example, in 2019, a nurse in Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested after an elderly patient allegedly gave birth, revealing the nurse had been sexually abusing her. This incident could have been avoided if proper background checks had been conducted before the nurse was hired.

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In addition to facing legal consequences, companies that hire people with questionable backgrounds risk damaging their reputation and losing customers' trust. In 2019, a popular ride-hailing company, Uber, was fined $148 million by U.S. state attorney generals after it was discovered that the company failed to report a data breach that exposed the data of more than 57 million customers and drivers. The company's conflict with regulators and the subsequent fine could have been avoided if proper background checks had been conducted on employees who handled user data.

A background check is not just beneficial for protecting landlords, employers, and the public from fraud but also to safeguard an individual's identity. Cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and identity theft are rampant, and having your identity stolen can lead to financial ruin and damage your credit score. A background check lets you know who you're dealing with and can help you protect yourself from becoming a victim of a scam, or worse.

In conclusion, background checks are increasingly vital in today's society. They offer organizations and individuals an opportunity to identify whether an individual is suitable for certain positions or activities. It also enables them to protect themselves, their customers, and the public from fraud. Recent incidents in the news have shown how costly the consequences of not carrying out proper checks can be in terms of legal fees, fines, damaged reputation, and financial loss. Everyone must take responsibility when it comes to conducting proper background checks and should take this obligation seriously. By doing so, we can all help to protect ourselves, our communities, and our future from fraud and danger.

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