In today’s society, rampant cases of identity theft, fraud, and violence underscore the need for caution when dealing with strangers. It is easy to adopt an "it can't happen to me" mentality, but that does not change the fact that criminals are looking for easy targets to take advantage of. Background checks have become increasingly important as they can protect individuals, businesses, and the community from harm.
Why Are Background Checks Important?
A background check is the process of researching a person's history to determine if they have a criminal record, are financially responsible, or have a history of violence. The goal of background checks is to screen out individuals who may pose a threat to the safety and well-being of others. While some may argue that background checks infringe on individual rights to privacy, they are essential in keeping individuals and the community safe.
The most common reason for conducting a background check is to find out whether the individual has a criminal history. A criminal record can reveal a lot of information about an individual's past, including any violent offenses, drug-related offenses, fraud, and theft. Knowing this information can help an employer make informed decisions about hiring an individual, and it can also help individuals avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Another important aspect of a background check is an individual's financial history. Financial instability can be a warning sign of future instability, irresponsibility, and even criminal behavior. Credit checks provide information such as bankruptcy and foreclosure history, outstanding debts, and late payments. Financial experts suggest that an individual's credit report can reveal essential information about their character, including whether they are honest, reliable, and responsible.
In today's society, there is a growing concern for safety in the workplace, at schools, and in public spaces. Background checks are becoming increasingly necessary to ensure that individuals with violent or dangerous tendencies are not placed in positions of authority or have the potential to harm others.
Background checks serve an essential role in safeguarding businesses from potential fraudulent activities from employees. According to a 2018 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the median loss caused by employee fraud was $130,000. With a background check, businesses can learn of an individual's past fraudulent activities to avoid loss and spare the company's reputation.
Examples of Background Checks in Real Life
There are numerous examples of background checks in everyday life. Some examples include:
Pre-employment background checks are becoming standard practice in most industries. An individual's work history, educational background, and criminal record are checked to ensure that they meet the requirements for the job. For instance, a school district would likely conduct a criminal background check on a candidate before hiring them.
Colleges and universities perform background checks on its students, especially those who will be living in on-campus housing. These checks are done to ensure students are not a danger to themselves or fellow students.
Landlords and Rental Companies
Individuals looking to rent a house or apartment undergo background checks. The checks assess whether the individual is a potential risk to the other tenants or the property.
Background checks are also required for volunteers in schools, churches, and other nonprofit organizations. A background check ensures that volunteers will not be a danger to children and vulnerable populations.
How to Conduct a Background Check
Before conducting a background check, ensure it complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines. You will need written permission from the individual to conduct a background check. If an unsatisfactory record shows up, follow the FCRA's correct legal procedure before rejecting any application or taking any adverse action. Many online services can conduct background checks for a fee, or you can hire a professional agency specializing in such services.
Background checks have become essential in today's society to protect individuals, businesses, and the community from potential harm. While the right to privacy is a fundamental right, it is essential to weigh individual privacy rights against an organization or community's safety. The consequences of ignoring the necessity of background checks can be dire. It is crucial to be aware of potential threats and take action to safeguard against them. A background check may be the most effective first line of defense.