Doing a background check is quite common especially for companies that are looking at hiring several candidates for a job position. Doing one however should not be limited to employment as whether you are hiring someone, having your property rented out or even having someone take care of your kids, doing one can save you many headaches in the future.

Is A Background Check Legal?

The law states that it is legal to do so however, information obtained may be limited and can be illegal in some areas or country. Before doing a check on a person, it is important that you, as an employer or a lessor (in the event that you are renting out your property) should inform the person that you intend to do a check on the person. This is especially important if you want that person to handle sensitive or confidential information about the company or to take care of young kids. A written permission can serve as a proof should there be a problem later on.

Do note that not all information is available. Some states would only allow retrieval of information for several specific number of years. Arrest records that do not constitute to conviction may also not be included. In certain states such as in Massachusetts, it is illegal to request for criminal records in the first job interview.

Checking a Person’s Background

Aside from the local police department, employers can also check with an accredited Consumer Reporting Agency to check on the person’s credit history. Access to a person’s credit report is restricted and can only be requested if the requesting party needs the information as part of the job or in deciding for lease purposes and can be crucial especially if the person has applied for bankruptcies in the past. A consumer report can be provided. That said some cases might not be included as mentioned above.

If you are interested in performing a background check yourself or someone else, there are several ways to do it as well. Thanks to the internet, one can visit a third-party provider online and do a free background check, do note that one can only search basic information and some of the information provided may need to be verified. Public records are free, however, if you need a more detailed information or suspect that the information that you received is false, you can also visit the local county or country websites that would have the information that you require. Some counties might need a small fee for you to receive a copy. Some however do not maintain an online database and only hard copies are available.