A background search or check is a review of an individuals’ (or organizations) criminal, financial, or commercial records. This can include your work history, references, credit reports, driving and criminal records, bankruptcy, medical records (with permission), education, property ownership, civil records, and sex offender information.
A background search if a full review of an individuals’ (or organizations) history, which can cover everything from criminal and financial records, through to employment and education history.
Typically, a background search will cover:
● Financial credit records
○ Reports on your credit accounts, mortgages, loan requests, repayment history, and debt collection. This will also include public record information on bankruptcies and civil lawsuits.
● Criminal records
○ Criminal charges from the last seven years in the reporting state, including dismissed cases. Arrests generally are not included, and neither are civil citations like speeding tickets, though your driving history can be searched with a motor vehicle records check.
● Employment history
○ Verifying your work history and information such as employment dates, job title, duties or responsibilities, and salary information.
How in depth a background search may go is dependent on what it is being used for. For example, a high stakes job may require more details on medical history, drug, or traffic offenses. Consent is required to check someone's personal records, and when employers use a third party agency to run background search, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restricts what they are allowed to check, and how they can use that information.
What is not included?
Some information cannot be disclosed due to laws and regulations, and would not be included in a background search. These laws vary state to state, but generally includes:
● bankruptcies after 10 years
● civil suits and civil judgments and records of arrest after 7 years
● paid tax liens after 7 years
● accounts placed for collection after 7 years
● expunged or sealed records.
Other records require the subjects permission, so information will only be uncovered if they give consent. This includes medical records, school records, and military service records.