Whether you’ve applied for a new job or you want to move into a new rental at the end of the year, chances are, you’ve probably had a background check done. Understanding the information disclosed on these reports is essential for a multitude of reasons. They give employers and renters a detailed list of your personal history.
The information disclosed on a background screening can be used to highlight both eligibility and disqualification, depending on what is discovered. To assess any red flags on your report, it’s always a good idea to run a background check on yourself. You’ll be able to confirm the information is correct, accurately reported, and isn’t showing obsolete information or attached to the wrong name.
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One comprehensive area that is shown on a background screening is any criminal history attached to your name. Failing to conduct accurate criminal checks can leave employers in hot water, especially if the hiring causes bodily harm or financial loss. These checks will include any pending charges, felony convictions, dismissed charges, misdemeanors, or acquittals. While all criminal history can be cause for terminating an application, some charges are considered more harshly than others. It’s always a wise idea to be forthcoming with criminal charges during the application or interview process.
Social Media Accounts
Background checks will offer a comprehensive list of all social media accounts tied to your email, address, or phone number. Likewise, these accounts are cross-referenced with your name. Employers will use these details to determine eligibility for positions, mainly if you’ve posted illicit or demeaning posts. It’s always a wise idea to close out any dormant or unused accounts online.
Most employers and landlords want to see an employment history that shows stability. Your background check will show the previous jobs you’ve held over the years, including the start and end dates, position, and company name. The background check will not include your salary with the job, as this information is protected.
Three credit bureaus prepare your credit report within the United States (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion). Your information is built from a variety of sources, with all details stemming from financial accounts. This may include any credit inquiries you’ve had in the last two years, public records (like bankruptcies), and any tradelines you currently hold. Tradelines include any loans, mortgages, credit cards, or cell phone bills. It may also include any utility accounts you have.
The credit report will also highlight any collection activity made on the account, any defaulted accounts, or any insolvencies on file. Landlords and employers will use this information to determine financial responsibility and warning signs of dangerous debtors.
General Identity Verification
This verification includes your formal name, addresses listed on file, current phone numbers, and social security verification. Potential employers or landlords use this information to detect any inaccuracies found.
Things to Watch for With Your Background Check
When you’re looking over the report, pay attention to each area independently. Review the personal information to ensure that the name, address, and phone number are correct. Look for any addresses that don’t match your history. If you notice any inconsistencies, contact the reporting agency to have them removed. Criminal charges will often be attached to similar names, so look for any criminal history that doesn’t match.
Comb through the credit report carefully. You’ll want to assess each financial account for the open date, current balance, and any payment history on the file. Identify any files that you don’t remember making, especially if they’re delinquent accounts. Contact any credit bureaus to dispute the transactions and also follow up with the lender on file.