Background Checks. Although the word may seem scary, this is not something to be feared. In fact, it’s a normal part of life, and at some point everybody will have a background check done on them. There are a multitude of reasons why a background check could be done reasons varying from a new job, before moving into a new apartment or condominium and more. And although you have no control what appears on the background check report (your history is your past, and there’s very little you can do to change the past), you do have the right to protect your privacy by knowing what is legal and what is not legal information on a background check report.
A background check usually contains a lot of different information. Most of the information is compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) but sometimes you may find information that seems either out of place or unnecessary. There are people that legally can have all the information, for example, any jobs involving the government, FBI or police. In those cases, the government is allowed to know all information because it is in regards to national safety. In all other cases where the government is not involved, access to that information is denied. An important step to ensuring your privacy is by asking what information is requested on the background check. If the employer or renter (or whomever) gives an unclear answer or disregards the question all together, have them write down exactly what information they are looking for. That way, if something on the background check shows up that was not originally communicated; you are able to take the appropriate steps to clear things up.
Every company has different policies on what information they need. The general standard check can include any or all of the following; felony and misdemeanor arrest and conviction charges, education and professional license verifications, employment checks, social security verifications, sexual offender checks, motor vehicle reports, federal criminal checks, reference checks, civil litigation, OIG database, federal bankruptcy and many others. There is also an industry standard to how long this information can be used for hire. The FCRA also states that a company can go back seven years for hire. Any older information is declared illegal and must be discarded.
If by some off chance you do end up finding information there are steps you can take. The best step is to have a conversation with the other party, and for the most part, any problem that you may have can be solved easily. Furthermore, if the problem still hasn’t been solved, try consulting a lawyer. If the information provided is old and past the seven year scope, there is legal action that can be taken.
When a company or person requires a background check it is important to know your rights regarding your privacy. If you suspect that there is illegal information on your background check report, there actions you can take so that you are protected.