Have you ever wondered what’s on your record? With so much misinformation becoming a by-product of the information age, it’s probably a good time to find out. For job seekers, most companies now routinely run background checks on applicants. Also, Identity theft is a growing problem and you want to be sure someone hasn’t been on a crime spree using your identity.
What’s in a Background Check
Background checks are usually run by an employer to screen job candidates, especially for positions that require a relatively high degree of security or trust, such as in a school, hospital, courthouse, financial services, or with law enforcement. It can range from looking at a person’s criminal history and credit history to driving records and verifying past employment. Employers often use them to judge a candidate’s character, fit for the position, and to identify security and safety risks. Did you know that background checks are also available to the public too? You can ahold of your background report to verify what’s in your history. It can be scary to see things come up from your distant past, but it’s better to know before it’s too late.
What Employers Look For
Most people don’t even think about running a background check when on a job hunt, which is a big mistake. When job seekers set out to formulate a strategy to land that long sought-after position, wondering what could be on their personal record is usually the furthest thing from their mind. First and foremost, the number one concern is usually how up-to-date and polished your resume would look to a recruiter or HR person. Then it’s preparing for an interview, picking out an outfit, and making sure you get a good night’s sleep. But wondering if there is something that might show up on your criminal background check? Never! Well, now it’s time to change that frame of mind because times have changed. Massive waves of data washing through thousands of public records offices and criminals finding new and innovative ways to pilfer and exploit your personal information is a call to arms for you to run a personal background check. Something on your record that you are not aware of could very easily cost you a job opportunity.
Where Personal Records Are Kept
All court and arrest records are publicly available within the bounds of federal and state laws. They are managed by the county where the person is a resident, so finding information on a person who has lived in many places can be time-consuming. Most companies pay for services that pool databases from all over the country to conduct a thorough background check. Anyone can pay for such a service, which is usually a monthly fee ranging from $20 to $295 a month. Employers are most often concerned if a person has a felony on their record, particularly if its violent in nature. However, it’s not uncommon for an employer to pass over a candidate even if a non-violent felony shows up. A person’s driving record is also important if driving is part of the job. That information is available through a state’s department of transportation. Credit reports and education transcripts are also fair game. One thing that is important to note is employers are required to notify you if they decide not to hire you because of something on your background check. Do they always? Who knows. But you do have the right to dispute anything they find on your record that is inaccurate. The problem is, if something on your record is the reason why you got passed over for a job, by the time you contact the employer to tell them they have inaccurate information, the job will already be filled. That is why you need to run a background check on yourself and clear up your record now.
Background Check Services
There are a number of ways to run a personal background check on yourself. As stated above, the most convenient option is to pay for a service to do it for you. However, there is a vast variety of services, and their reliability and authenticity vary just as much. Many of them are less than accurate and, in some cases, appear to be a scam. Here at checkthem.com, we ensure that our service is timely and fully accurate according to information currently to date at any public records office.
1. Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft is probably the single biggest risk to consumers in the internet age. Most people these days have experienced at least one case of identity fraud, such as a fraudulent charge on a credit card, or they know someone who has. An Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that a record $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million American consumers in 2016. That’s up from 15.3 million the year before and 13.1 million in 2014. The 2016 figures put an estimate of about 1 out of every 16 U.S. adults were victims of identity theft during that year. And that’s after traditional brick-and-mortar retailers were required to install more secure EMV chip card machines. However, Visa last year did report credit card fraud at EMV-enabled stores was down 52 percent. By viewing your background report, you may be able to determine if your identity has been stolen.
2. Find Mistakes on Record
Don’t freak out if there is an error on your public record because you are not alone. Mistakes show up on records more often than most people would probably think. There is a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it’s a result of misspellings. The government office may have a wrong address or phone number for you, or incorrect criminal, civil, driving, or court records for someone else. A shared first or last name, combined with the same birthday, could result in a records office mixing you up with someone charged with sexual assault, for instance, in San Bernadino, California.
3. Fix Incorrect Information
To change this, you need to visit the public records clerk in the city or town where the error is recorded and bring multiple forms of identification. A correction can take up to weeks or months. If you find a criminal offense on your record you know was committed by someone else, contact law enforcement immediately.
4. Get a Record Expunged
Court records are not like credit histories, which drop off about every seven years or so. Without a person taking any action, an arrest stays on a person’s record forever. However, if you have had an arrest without a conviction longer than seven years ago, potential employers should not be able to see it, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Rules pertaining to getting a conviction or misdemeanor offense off your record varies in many ways by state. While some states remove all records of an expunged crime from public inspection, you can’t fully remove one in California. North Carolina only allows one expungement per lifetime. Indiana’s Second Chance law allows you to expunge any misdemeanor or non-violent felony. In Utah, any crimes other than first degree or forcible crimes can be expunged. For you to expunge something off your record, you have to find out what your eligible for under your state’s statute and file a petition for expungement. You will have to pay a fee and, in some cases, meet with a judge. In any case, it’s a good idea to run another background check on yourself after you have filed to have a record expunged or sealed. There’s always a possibility that the record somehow still is showing up on a background check. When filing, ask the office that has your records how long it typically takes for the process to complete.
5. Gain Employer Insight
Running a background check on yourself and knowing what’s on your record also helps you perceive how a prospective employer would perceive you. You probably have an explanation for something that might appear unfavorable, and knowing what’s on your record is an opportunity to bring it up in an interview. This helps you nip the issue in the bud and gives you some kind of control over your own narrative in the hiring process. Looking at your record objectively also could possibly help you realize there are some types of jobs you probably shouldn’t be going after. For instance, if you’ve ever been arrested for fraud, or subject to a serious theft charge, you might want to reconsider pursuing a job in finance.
6. Gain Public Insight
You can gain insight into how anyone else may perceive you. Remember, these records are public, which means that anyone who knows your full name can find your background report. People are using these background check tools before they interact with new people, allow their children to sleepover at another parent’s house, or even just snoop around. Find out what they can see about you.
7. Peace of Mind
It’s always better to know than to wonder. You can be sure that your identity is in safe holding, especially after the Equifax hack. You can apply for that new job with confidence. You can rest assured that your public profile is safe. You can make sure that any inconsistencies are taken care of. Peace of mind puts our minds to rest.
How to Run a Personal Background Check on Yourself
A reliable online criminal background check should show you if there is anything in your records. If you think you have anything as far as a criminal conviction or an arrest on your record, you need to ask for a report from the court where those charges were filed. If it’s in the county, check with the county records office. The same goes for the city, state, or federal court offices. If you need files from a county court, you might need to actually make a visit to the county courthouse. Many county courts require someone to obtain records in person. Some police stations provide you the option for you to get a copy of your criminal background check. You might be able to download the form from the police website or get it in person from the police department. The department would require you to fill out a criminal background check form. You can also use public data websites to run a background check, including our website.