The Importance of Background Checks in Today's Society
In today's society, background checks have become an essential tool for ensuring public safety and preventing fraud. From screening job applicants to checking the criminal history of potential volunteers, these checks have become a routine part of our daily lives.
But why are background checks so important? And how do they actually help prevent fraud and protect public safety? In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and provide real-life examples of how background checks have made a difference in people’s lives.
Protecting the Public
One of the primary reasons why background checks are so important is that they help protect the public. By screening individuals who are applying for certain positions or access to particular facilities, background checks can identify potential issues that may threaten public safety.
For example, consider the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University who was convicted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse. It was later revealed that Sandusky had been investigated and found to be a risk to children years before he was arrested. If a background check had been conducted at the time he was hired, Sandusky’s past would have been flagged, and he may never have been given access to Penn State’s athletic facilities.
This is just one example of how background checks can help prevent dangerous individuals from entering positions of power or access to vulnerable individuals. By identifying red flags early on, employers and other organizations can better protect their clients, customers, and the public at large.
Background checks are also an important way to prevent fraud. By verifying individuals' identities and employment histories, organizations can ensure that they are working with trustworthy individuals.
For example, when a new employee is hired, the employer will typically conduct a background check to verify their employment history, education, and criminal background. This helps ensure that the individual is who they say they are and that they are qualified for the position they are applying for.
Similarly, when an individual applies for a loan or credit, a background check will usually be conducted to verify their identity and credit history. This helps protect lenders from fraud and ensures that only those who are truly eligible for credit are granted it.
Background checks can also be used to prevent financial fraud, such as identity theft or embezzlement. By screening applicants for certain positions or verifying the identity of individuals who are applying for loans or credit, organizations can ensure that they are not being taken advantage of by those who would seek to defraud them.
To help illustrate the importance of background checks in today’s society, let’s take a look at a few real-life examples.
- In 2015, a man named Dylann Roof entered a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed nine people. It was later revealed that Roof had a criminal record and had been arrested for drug possession prior to the shooting. If a background check had been conducted prior to Roof being able to purchase a firearm, his past would have been flagged, and the tragedy may have been avoided.
- In 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that the city of Inglewood, California had hired a police chief who had been previously fired from multiple law enforcement jobs and was accused of sexual assault. An investigation later revealed that the city had not conducted a thorough background check prior to hiring the chief, and that his past was not fully vetted. This is an example of how a lack of thorough background checks can lead to dangerous individuals being given access to positions of power.
- In 2019, the New York Times reported that a man named Wu Xiaohui had been sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud. Xiaohui was the former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, one of China’s largest insurers, and had been accused of embezzlement. The case highlighted the importance of background checks in preventing financial fraud, particularly in cases where high-level executives are involved.
As we’ve seen, background checks play an important role in society today. By protecting the public and preventing fraud, they help ensure that we can trust the individuals who are in positions of power and responsibility.
While background checks are not foolproof and can only provide so much information, they are a vital tool for any organization or individual seeking to ensure they are working with trustworthy people. So the next time you’re asked to undergo a background check, remember that it’s all part of the effort to keep our communities safe and secure.