With millions of Americans hiding a criminal history and many more presenting fake information, the importance of a background check is undeniable. Performing a background check goes beyond checking for a criminal past. As an entity, you have the personal or fiduciary responsibility to investigate and know publicly available information on people with whom you engage. It is negligence on your part if you do not perform a background check.
However, note that federal laws prevent public and private entities from performing illegal discrimination based on the results of a background check. With the integration of state and federal databases, you can now see instant results when you do a background check.
Some of the Information Available Includes:
- Criminal traffic violation
- Sex offender records/status
- Educational history
- Employment history
- Court records
- Criminal records
- Arrest records
- Credit records
- Property ownership
- Civil filings including worker compensation claims
- Bankruptcy filings
- Juvenile records (varies)
- Social media activity
All of the following records and information will turn up on your instant background check unless they have been sealed by court order or statute. A general rule of thumb is to perform background checks on multiple databases. No single database has a monopoly on publicly available information, so you can use other databases to complement the information you find on government databases.
You use the resources or databases on the websites of government agencies to perform a background check. Some of these include the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Registry, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). You may also consult state and local databases to perform a background check on an individual.