Five Reasons You Should Check Your Own Background
Approximately 70% of employers are ordering background checks on new hires. In addition, background checks are routinely ordered on volunteers to almost any type of organization. “No problem”, you say? If you have nothing to hide, go ahead and check it, Right? Maybe
The National Consumer Law Center says thousands of people are being taken by surprise and losing out on opportunities because faulty background information is being used to make decisions. Over one half of the courts in the US put criminal records on their websites. That means they are likely to show up in the most unsophisticated attempts to search one’s background, including a simple Google search. Errors can then get spread all over the Internet.
Five of the most common reasons for incorrect background check results
- Identity theft is growing-According to the US Department of Justice; over 8.5 million people were victims of identity theft in 2010. Stolen identities are used most commonly used to commit crimes. Those who steal identities are often arrested and continue the charade with the authorities. Guess whose record the crime goes on – the stolen one.
- Charges that were dismissed – A record of dismissed charges should not appear on a legitimate background check of criminal records. However, since different authorities use different procedures to remove the records, many slip through and show up, again and again.
- Common or similar names – Many people have similar or exactly the same names as others. If a company pulls someone else’s record by mistake, no telling what will be reported.
- Misclassification of minor offenses as major crimes – The difference between misdemeanors and felonies is sometimes very small, especially in traffic and drug possession charges.
- Records that were supposed to be sealed aren’t always– The process to seal criminal records varies in different jurisdictions. Once a record is sealed, the instance is as if it never existed. However, if the process to seal a record was faulty or incomplete, it can show up on a background search.
Do you know what is on your background records? You can find out by running a background check on yourself. First of all it is a good idea to know what a background check by another will disclose, but it will also provide you with information to get the records corrected. If you find your records are in error, contact the source of the error, including Federal, State and Local judicial authorities and request the records be corrected. Also, if an employer or another notifies you that a background check will be performed on you, request that you receive a copy of the report-it is your legal right.