In this so-called “Information Age,” your record, history, and personal information are just a few clicks away. Anytime you’ve applied for a job or fill out a rental or insurance application, someone has more than likely run a background check on you. That’s why it’s a good idea to run a personal background check on yourself.
A background check would reveal if there is an error on your record, or if you’ve been incorrectly charged with something. You could also find out if you are a victim of identity theft. It’s important to make sure there are no surprises when it comes to your own personal information.
3 Ways to Run a Background Check on Yourself
1. Background Check Service
An online background check service like Checkthem.com is the quickest and easiest way to run a background check on yourself. These services take the name you enter into a search bar and search public record databases from all over the country. These services usually charge a fee.
A background check service will show much of your personal history, like addresses where you’ve lived, phone numbers, and names of family members. It will also reveal marriage and divorce records, driving records, and sometimes your online accounts and social media information. Someone’s property ownership and business records will show up on a background check.
Your online background check will find information from state, federal and county databases, so anything filed with the courts will turn up. This will include any police arrests, criminal violations, or sex offender reports. Lawsuits and other court-related civil information, like bankruptcies and liens, will also turn up.
Misdemeanors on your record might show up on a background check. That depends on how deep the search is. A criminal charge will stay on a person’s criminal record if charges are dismissed, or if you ended up with a verdict of not-guilty.
Employers will look for certain things on a background check that you can also find yourself. They will look for identity verification, proof of previous employment, credit history, proof of education certification, and criminal records. Proof of identity, credit report, and criminal record are the big three. They can’t see your actual credit score.
If you decide to use a background check service, make sure the service is reputable. For example, some so called “background check” websites have very limited information. That’s why we recommend using a service like CheckThem, which searches public and private databases that most companies cannot access.
2. Check Court Records
If you’ve ever been charged with a crime, misdemeanor, or traffic offense, there will be a record of it with the court or agency it was filed with. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to check the record and see if it’s correct. Most court information is a public record; it’s your right to view it.
There are a number of ways to go about this. The easiest way is to go to the website of the court where you are looking for a record. Most superior courts, appeals courts, and some local courts have a case lookup system on their websites.
Most of the online case services allow you to search by name if you don’t know the case number. If you are having issues finding a case online, you always have the option to go the courthouse and ask to see the record, though you might have to pay a charge for copies or have an employee help you find the record.
Tip: You can find your driving record on the Department of Motor Vehicles website of the state you live in or the state in which your driver’s license is issued. This is mandatory if you’re applying for a position where driving is required. Some employers will look at your driving record whether or not the job is driving-related.
3. Check Your Credit Report (for Free)
It’s very important to know what’s on your credit report. Your credit report will show any information about your personal income, payments on loans, debts, and other information. Some employers may even look at credit reports when screening job applicants. They see it as a way to find out if the person is fiscally responsible and have their finances in order.
Banks, landlords, rental companies, and insurance companies almost always look at your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to get a copy of your credit report from one of the many consumer reporting agencies. The big three are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
To get your free credit report, the only website recommended by the Federal Trade Commission is annualcreditreport.com
What if Your Background Check is Wrong?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires records of civil suits or arrests to drop from a person’s criminal record after seven years. Criminal convictions can stay on a person’s record indefinitely. California bars employers from seeing convictions more than seven years old on a person’s record, for most jobs. Some states have laws that prohibit employers from asking about arrest records.
Let’s face it, identity theft is rampant. In some cases, you could be the victim of someone who has been arrested and falsely uses your name. There are cases of error in data reporting. Be sure to take immediate action if there is a criminal error on your record.
If your background check is wrong, you should contact the Bureau of Identification and file a challenge to the criminal record. This can take weeks to fix, so if you are applying for a job or anything else, you should let the person or agency handling your application know up front.