Critical Information a Background Check Can Reveal – By Tamara Shelley
What comes to mind when you think “background check”? Probably the usual, pre-employment, standard protocol boring information. Maybe it means you get a warm fuzzy about the person you’re dating, or who you plan on hiring to work in your home. Either way, I’m about to reveal why you should pay close attention to a background check.
I say often that, a clean background check only means the person hasn’t been caught yet. While not exactly fair to say about everyone, it is true some of the time. I am specifically talking about the criminal portion of a background check.
Fail to take even one of these steps and you open the door to losses and significant risk.
I want to begin by stating you should check with your state about the laws surrounding background checks and who is authorized to run them and for what purposes. In most states, a background check will give personal information that a client may not be allowed access to (such as social security numbers). There are also laws surrounding what you may and may not do with the information. You may even need the person’s consent to run one, such as for employment or renting a residence. Keeping those things in mind, lets get right to the criminal portion of the background check.
A good investigator will see much more in a background check than what the person was finally charged with. Hire a professional who verifies everything and you may get more bang for your buck. They can reveal things such as behavior and indicators that could suggest mental illness, stalking tendencies, sexual deviance and violent tendencies.
A criminal background check is just what it sounds like. It will reveal most arrests and convictions there may be on a subject’s history. What does the following list of criminal charges tell you?
John Doe has a criminal history showing the following
What do you see? Well, he probably isn’t the kind of guy you want your daughter dating. If this is what an investigator returns to you, you should have questions.
What makes something a felony vs. a misdemeanor? Intent? The use of a weapon? Have these charges been verified? What are the details surrounding each arrest and charge? Were there other charges initially that were later dropped?
Again, these things are not true about everyone who has a criminal history, but it is something to think about. I want you to think about these things because they could reveal very critical information that the charge itself may not.
For example, had these cases been looked into a bit further, they may have revealed that Mr. Doe was caught shoplifting women’s underwear. That would not show up on a background report. While stealing is not necessarily an indication of deviance, the fact that it was women’s underwear, certainly makes it unusual and worth having on your radar.
If the burglary charge was also a peeping tom incident and harassment claim in which he also broke a window to gain entry to the home, that might reveal stalking tendencies. It could have been a situation that had occurred frequently at that residence, but finally when he entered the home, was able to be apprehended. Its worth looking into further.
What about the suspended license charge? Why does a license get suspended in the first place? Maybe he can’t drive 55, or maybe he had a DUI and lost driving privileges. If that were the case, is there any more data available about what let up to the suspension of the license? Maybe there was also a car accident that preceded this suspension.
This may seem a little over the top to some of you reading this right now. But think about why you are doing a criminal background search to begin with. Is it to keep yourself, someone you love, or employees safe? If so, it is worth spending a few more bucks and having a good investigator really get the facts.
While criminal records are a matter of public record, don’t think a cheapie online search is going to do the job right. Criminal background checks are only a portion of a full background check. These can reveal tons of useful information for those who are willing to look beyond what is merely written on the page.
My suggestion is to hire a professional to do your background checks (criminal or other). Not only because they have the tools and experience to get this done quickly and efficiently, but they also have the licensing to obtain information the general public may not have access to. Don’t buy into those websites that promise to tell you everything there is to know about someone.
Think about it, does the background check you ordered tell the whole story?