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Why Someone Would Run a Background Check on You

Why Someone Would Run a Background Check on You

Background checks are a critical component of housing and employment screenings, but that is not the only use for them. A potential business associate might want to see if you are a reliable prospect, or potential partner you meet online might do at least a Google search on you. There are many reasons someone would use a site like Check People to run a background check on you.

We realize that’s not consoling, and it is understandable that people would want to know if someone were “verifying” them. Here are the most common reasons why someone would check you and what you can do about it.

Background Checks for Housing and Employment

Background checks are often used when hiring employees. Pre-employment screenings provide much-needed peace of mind and, after all, every recruiter wants to know who they are hiring. Companies protect themselves, other employees, and their customers by using a background check to review the information on your resume. They also protect the public from the risk of oversight.

Employers can’t run background checks without taking some concrete measures for disclosure and consent. They are obligated to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which has a number of relevant guidelines. The process begins with notifying the person that a background check will be conducted on them. To this end, a disclosure form must be provided, which is separate from all other materials and application forms with the exception of the consent form.

As an employment candidate, you need to sign this consent form, confirming you have received the disclosure and authorize the background check procedure. Without following this protocol, no employer may run a background check on you, at least not legally.

Other Background Checks

Housing, jobs, and credit card and loan applications understandably require official background checks, but there are other circumstances in which someone might run an informal one on you. A neighbor might do so to see what kind of person you are as some people are paranoid about drug dealers or prostitutes moving in next door to them. Someone you meet through an online dating app might check you to see if you’re a sex offender or have another type of criminal history, especially if they are female because it’s important to feel safe. A potential business partner or client might also “screen” you to see if you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy or been involved in serious litigation.

Informal Checks

Usually, these background checks are quite informal and may involve a simple Google search of your name or other personal information available. You can’t expect a consent request or disclosure for such checks.

Your Background Data is NOT Secure!

Contrary to popular belief, background data is neither secured nor hidden in a private hub. Practically any group or person can access background information because most of it is public record. Credit records, civil court records, and criminal records are all examples of public record information. Neighbors, potential business partners, or someone with a romantic interest in you can find information about you without your consent or even your knowledge for that matter.

Loan and Credit Card Applications

Unlike the above situations, you need to give consent for background checks when you apply for a credit card or loan. The credit card company or loan officer must disclose their intentions at a certain point in time.

Credit Checks are in a League of Their Own

You can use credit monitoring to check if a business, agency, or individual is reviewing your credit. This is a very useful service because it can give you updates about when someone has decided to run a background check on you. It also protects against identity theft. Fraud or identity theft is very likely when someone is looking at your credit report without telling you about it.


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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.