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What is a Background Check?

A background check is a comprehensive search of all information on file for a particular person. From financial records to criminal history, there is quite a bit of information to be found on each of us. While the uses of a background check may vary, the ultimate goal is to uncover basic information about an individual in order to make a decision.

Background Check Information

A background check could contain any of the following pieces of information:

  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Address history
  • Criminal record
  • Education background
  • Driving record

While extensive background checks could include this information and more, most people do not need to know about an individual's driving record or level of education. The type of background check that you choose, therefore, could include different pieces of information, depending on the purpose.

Using a Background Check

Why would an individual or business need to use a background check? The information received in a background check can be very useful when you need to find out more about a person you do not know very well. For example, if you want to know more information about someone who is applying to babysit your children, you will want to know if they have any criminal history.

Background Checks for Business Partners

Many people use background checks to determine whether they want to enter into a business relationship with someone. If their background check includes false information or a criminal history, then they might choose to do business with someone else. This can save you time because you will not have to call around to the different people and organizations to verify this information.

Background Checks for Volunteer Organizations

Other organizations use background checks before allowing individuals to take a role that puts them in the care of children, such as a teacher or coach. There are also many organizations that ask for volunteers such as schools, churches, youth organizations, and Boy/Girl Scouts. These are typically short term positions, but since they will have lots of access to children, most organizations will require a background check. This keeps everyone in involved safe and allows parents to be confident that their children are being well taken care of.

Background Checks for Personal Reasons

Thanks to easy online background checks, it is now feasible for an individual to perform a background check on someone as long as they have some key pieces of information. Some use background checks for personal reasons, such as if they suspect someone is hiding something from their past or if they just want to check out a nanny or housekeeper who will be in their home. They can also be used to check out a potential business partner that you may not know very well.


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