In today’s world, background checks are essential to ensure public safety and prevent fraudulent activities. A background check is essentially a process of evaluating a person's criminal, financial, and personal history to determine their suitability for employment, tenancy or partnership, or any other interaction requiring trust. In this article, we will discuss the importance of background checks and how they contribute to maintaining public safety and preventing fraud.
Why Are Background Checks Important?
Background checks are crucial for several reasons. In most situations, it is not easy to tell whether someone is trustworthy. For example, a job candidate may have a great resume and an impressive interview, but there is no way of telling if they have a criminal history or if they have falsified their credentials. Similarly, a rental applicant could be hiding a past eviction or financial troubles. Without a thorough background check, it is impossible to know if someone is telling the truth. It is also important to note that a single mistake in hiring a candidate or a tenant can have significant consequences, such as in the case of negligent hiring or tenant scams.
How Do Background Checks Help Prevent Fraud?
Background checks are an excellent tool to prevent fraud. By gathering information about an individual's criminal and financial history, it is easier to identify any fraudulent activity. For instance, if a company is looking to hire an accountant, it is essential that they know about the candidate’s financial history and criminal activities. Fraudulent activities, such as embezzlement, can be avoided by conducting thorough background checks. This is especially true for positions of trust, such as banking, financial advising, or legal offices.
Another way background checks can prevent fraud is by verifying personal information that can be used for identity theft. The information provided in a background check verifies the identity of the applicant, and the data can be cross-checked with other public records to ensure that the individual is not involved in any fraudulent activities.
How Do Background Checks Protect Public Safety?
Background checks are essential for protecting public safety. They can help identify individuals who may pose a risk to the community. For example, if a person has a history of violent crimes, it is best to avoid hiring them for a position that requires them to interact with customers or clients. In a similar vein, landlords can avoid renting their properties to individuals with a history of violent behavior or property damage.
Background checks can also protect children and vulnerable populations such as seniors, by ensuring that individuals who work with them have a clean record. Criminal history checks are often required for positions that involve working with children, such as teachers, coaches, and childcare workers. These checks are meant to verify that the individual doesn't have a criminal history involving child abuse or other severe offenses.
Real-Life Examples of Background Check Importance
The following examples illustrate the significance of background checks in recent times:
1. Uber Background Check Controversy
In 2018, a CNN investigation revealed that Uber had approved thousands of drivers who should have been disqualified based on their criminal histories. CNN discovered that Uber was not consistently carrying out background checks required by law but continued to let drivers book rides on the platform. Uber later improved its background screening process, including a recurring screening process for current drivers and app users.
2. Background Checks for Teachers
In 2016, a teacher in the US was found to have past convictions for sexual misconduct with a minor. Despite that, he had been cleared to teach in Illinois, where he continued to sexually abuse his students. This scandal brought to light the importance of thorough background checks for teachers, particularly relating to sexual offenses, and the need to update hiring policies to protect students from future predators.
3. Rental Scam
Suppose you're looking for a rental apartment, and you find an ideal unit in a desirable location at a very reasonable rate. You may think you've hit the jackpot by finding an excellent rental unit so quickly. However, the landlord asks you to wire a deposit to secure the apartment. Later on, you find out that the apartment is not his, and you've been scammed. Such rental scams can be avoided by conducting a thorough background check on the property owner or the real estate agency.
In the present times, background checks have become an integral part of the hiring and leasing process. They have become necessary to protect public safety, prevent fraud, and reduce potential harm. Employers, landlords, and anyone involved in hiring for various positions should ensure thorough background checks to make informed decisions. Background checks are crucial as they help to reveal information that would not have been known, and they can mitigate against future risks. In conclusion, background checks promote public safety by identifying issues such as criminal histories, fraud, or any other character traits that may pose a risk to the public.