Top FAQs on Background Checks

It is now quite common for people to complete an online background check. Some of these checks are free, whereas others have paid for facilities. Either way, however, you may have some questions that you want answering first. Hopefully, this FAQ will assist you in that.

Q1. Why Perform a Background Check?

There are lots of different reasons for this, but it is basically about verifying available information. This can be important for new employees, tenants, debtors, dates, friends, or anyone else. Essentially, these checks allow you to make sure someone is who they claim to be.

Q2. What Types of Checks Exist?

There are a lot of different checks available. Some offer multiple pieces of information, others just a few. Details that you may be able to find include:

  • Social Security Number traces.
  • Address history.
  • Federal, statewide, county, and instant criminal histories.
  • Sexual offenders' registers.
  • County and federal vicil history.
  • DMV history.
  • Certificate, license, education, and prior employment confirmations.
  • Reference checks.
  • Drug tests.
  • Workers' compensation records.

Q3. How Much Does it Cost?

The cost associated with performing a background check varies depending on what you want to check and who you want to check it through. Although many advertise their services as free, you can expect to pay around $20 for a high quality, accurate check.

Q4. How Long Does the Check Take?

Again, this depends on the check you want to perform. Some are instant, others can take up to 72 hours.

Q5. How Will I Receive the Information?

Usually, you can choose how to receive the information you want. That said, email is the most common option.

Q6. What if I Spot Mistakes?

Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, any mistakes can be investigated if a proper inquiry is made.

Q7. Do I Need a National Criminal Background Check?

It is possible to complete a national check, but this is likely to be very costly as well. This is because a lot of courts do not yet participate in national sharing initiatives. Hence, while some sites advertise as performing a national check, very few will actually do so.

Q8. Is it Possible to Perform a Background Check on Minors?

Records on minors are not available, unless they were tried as adults. This is a national agreement that is also enforced in most other countries across the world.

Q9. Does the Subject Have to Provide a Release Form?

If you want to perform a full background check, you should obtain a release form. That said, there are certain elements of background checks that you can perform without a release as well.

Q10. When Should I Check Someone's Driver's History?

If you have an employee who drives as a representative of your company, be that as part of their day job or even just once, you should check their driver's history. In fact, you should do this quite regularly, as people also drive vehicles for their personal use, which means that you, as an employer, wouldn’t know of any misconduct unless they tell you themselves.