How and why you should run a background check on yourself

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How and why you should run a background check on yourself


Find out the different ways of conducting a background check and the best sites that give you accurate and easy-to-read results.

By Editorial Team | 7th August 2018
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These days it is very common for employers and landlords to run background checks on their potential employees or tenants. A background check is exactly what it sounds like, it provides basic information about a person and it is used as a tool when making decisions about hiring people, renting property, and so on.

According to a survey from 2017, 96% of US employers run background checks on potential employees, so if you are applying for jobs or looking for a new home then it is highly likely that a background check on you will take place.

There are various types of background check and in this article, you will find the information you need to understand them as well as information on how to run one on yourself so that you can avoid any future surprises.

Why You Should Run a Self-Background Check

When employers run a background check, they are looking to avoid hiring someone that may cause damage to their company, whether through theft, fraud, disrepute, or anything else. Similarly, a landlord will want to avoid a tenant that has a suspect credit history or certain criminal convictions.

By running a self-background check, you will know exactly what data about you is available and that way you can anticipate any questions that may come up in an interview. More importantly, you can also check for any errors that may be in your financial and legal records, and if necessary take steps to correct them. It will also provide you with a comprehensive report about yourself that could be useful in a number of other situations.

A background check is essentially a compilation of different personal public records, and the vast majority of these records will belong to you. That means that you have the right to see them and to have any inaccuracies corrected. Many of these records can be obtained individually with very little work, for instance:

  • You can create a free account at the Social Security Administration website to check the information related to your SSN number.
  • You are eligible for one free credit report from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion every year. A credit report contains information about your debt, payment history, outstanding and previous loans, credit cards, bankruptcies and so on.
  • You can check your address history using a number of online directories.
  • You can obtain your driving record either online or through your state department of motor vehicles.
  • If you have ever been arrested, even if the charges were dropped or you were found not guilty, employees may have access to this information depending on the specific state laws. Be sure to look into this if it is of concern. You can request your records from the courts and if necessary request any corrections.

The disadvantage of doing this is that you will likely end up paying significant amounts in administrative fees, and it may take you some time to track down all of your records individually. Because of this, using a commercial service to run a self-background check will often be cheaper and faster.

Commercial Background Checks and How to Use Them

There are numerous commercial background checking services, each of which offers something a bit different. There are major companies such as TruthFinder, BeenVerified, and Instant Checkmate, all of which offer slightly different services.

Whichever service you choose to use, the good news is that running a self-background check is incredibly easy. All it requires is basic information about yourself (as you can see in the screenshot above). Just fill in the form and you are good to go.

You will often be able to run a very basic check free of charge but will need to pay for reports that are more detailed. Services will often offer a range of different reports, but overall it is not very expensive so it may well be worth your while paying for the most detailed possible. That way you can be sure that you have covered all the bases.

It takes hardly any time for a report to be generated, usually just a matter of minutes, and you can then start to review the information it found.

Correcting Mistakes Before It Is Too Late

If you have run a self-background check and are happy with the results then that is fantastic. However, if there are any mistakes it is of the utmost importance that you deal with them. Failing to do so could see you miss out on your dream job or home.

There are a number of possible reasons for mistakes in your background check. For instance, you may have a very common name and records can become mixed up. If you do find mistakes, then the service you use will probably have information about how to report an inaccuracy. The reports should also contain their data sources, and you may be able to approach them directly.

How To Use Your Background Check

After you have dealt with any mistakes in the report, there is still more that you can do with your background check. Put yourself in the position of a potential employer or landlord; imagine what information would interest you, what questions it may lead to and then plan how to answer them.

For instance, if you have had a significant period of unemployment this could be of interest to a landlord concerned about receiving rent on time. Similarly, a minor criminal record could be of interest to both landlords and employers.

If you know that these questions are likely to come up then you can plan how best to deal with them. Landlords and employers are just as human as the next person, and if you come well prepared, they are sure to appreciate it and this will significantly raise your chances of being offered the job or property.

To Summarize

There are numerous benefits to running a self-background check. It will give you access to all the information potential employers or landlords will have about you, it gives you the chance to correct any inaccuracies, and it gives you a chance to prepare for questions that they may have for you. All of which can go a long way to helping you secure a job, be accepted as a tenant, and in general prepare for the future.

Written by
Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team is constantly watching for new and exciting services to report on. They aim to bring balanced, honest reviews to the site to give you the best comparisons and ensure you have the knowledge to choose the product right for you. Read more.
3 thoughts on “How and why you should run a background check on yourself

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  1. I am about to go house hunting so maybe it’s time to run a background check. Good knowledge to have. Cheers!

  2. Everyone has my name so when I run a background check on myself it always gets it wrong. Any idea how I can fix this?

  3. I am definitely gonna get on this when I’m home from work. I had no idea you could run your own background checks. Amazeballs.