If you decide to run a background check on yourself, how do you decide which site to use? If your potential landlord or employer is using a service like https://unmask.com/, for example, you’ll want to use a comparable one. Of course, it’s not possible to know exactly what they’re using, but it is possible to narrow the options down.
How Common are Background Checks?
A 2019 survey by HR.com shows that ninety-six percent (96%) of U.S. employers perform background checks on job seekers. If you want to run a check on yourself, look for a provider that also offers this screening service to landlords and employers. Background check providers that only serve consumers don’t always have access to the specialized databases and proprietary resources many employers need and won’t be able to provide that level of detail.
If the service does not explicitly state compliance with the FCRA, eliminate it. Housing and pre-employment screenings have to comply with this act in the U.S. It specifies the type of data that background checks can include and defines your rights with respect to its use.
The FCRA requires the subject of the check’s written consent to it. All reports must include a summary of your rights. Pre-employment checks should exclude certain information, such as civil judgments, bankruptcies, and arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction. This last piece of information should be eliminated from your history in seven years. The elimination term for the others is seven to 10 years.
Running a Self-Check is Easier than you Think
The complexity of running a self-check has been likened to that of buying a movie or book online. All you need is a valid email, your Social Security number, and a payment card. Different check levels cover different services. For example, starter checks will search a national sex offender list, national traffic violations databases, and national criminal databases. A slightly higher-level check will search domestic terrorist watchlists and do a Social Security number trace.
Most employers perform what is known as a “standard” search, which includes a county criminal court lookup in addition to all of the above. With this, people physically pull records in any places you have lived in.
After choosing a check type, your check provider will ask you for some personal information, such as your current address, full name, and Social Security number. The FCRA requires a review of some disclosure information. After that, you create an account and wait for the check to be completed.
You will only need to wait a few minutes to receive all of the information from the above databases with the exception of the county criminal court check, which might take several days.
Usually, background checks unearth nothing concerning. There can be some confusion if your name is very common, like Joe Jones. People with highly common names tend to have small issues involving mistaken identity. Those with relatively uncommon names are not immune to such mix-ups, however, and issues aren’t minor when they involve someone’s financial or legal affairs.
All background checks should be FCRA-compliant. They include guidelines to be followed if you want to file a dispute over-reporting mistakes. The data sources are noted within the reports. If you discover inaccurate information about yourself, contact the providers to correct it.
Identity theft is becoming an increasingly common fact of life. Forged signatures and fraudulent use of one’s social security number or name generate undeserved flecks during a screening. Self-background checks can yield fake unpaid credit cards and loans, suspended licenses fraudulently issued in your name, and warrants issued over bad checks you never wrote.
Buy reports about yourself if you suspect you’ve become the victim of identity theft. If you do this, you can check the accuracy of the information about you and hire a service to destroy false information.
You have the right to view the vast majority of your personal records as well as to correct or dispute any inaccuracies they contain. This is the most important reason to run a background check on yourself. It’s the best way to keep a clean record.