There are a lot of reasons why you might need to run a background check on yourself, but knowing where to start and how to get all the information you need can be tricky.
Why Should I do a Background Check on Myself?
Background checks have become practically routine for employers and landlords. And you may think you would know if there was anything in your background that could be a problem, but the truth is you can never be sure. It is actually quite common for background checks to return inaccurate information.
A report could confuse an arrest for a conviction, mess up your fingerprints, or even confuse your name with someone else’s. By doing a background check on yourself, you know what’s on your report and can change inaccurate information before it ruins your chance to get a better job or rent an apartment.
How to do a Background Check on yourself
Get your information together: To run your background check, you need some info at hand. You first want to collect all the addresses where you’ve ever lived and all names that you’ve ever gone by. You will also need your social security number, driver’s license information, and other valid ID information.
Don’t do it yourself: You can attempt to run a background check by yourself, but this is really not the best way to get the information you need. For one thing, it can be extremely frustrating as you run up against walled sites you must pay individually in order to get access to the information you need.
For another, it’s too easy to get confusing information when you are relying on search engines to get your results. Even you may not be able to tell if a returned result is talking about you or someone with else with the same name.
Understand what you’re looking for: With just your social security number and some basic information, a background search company can find out all of the following information:
- Jobs and job titles
- School transcripts
- Criminal history
- Driving history
- Credit history and the state of your finances
- Previous salaries and employment dates
- Some types of civil court proceedings
- Professional certifications and licenses
- Previous addresses
- Social media history and background
- Marriage and divorce records
- Military service records
- Sex offender registry records
Again, you can hunt for all this information on your own, but you’re likely to miss something that a professional background check will flag up to a potential employer or landlord.
Choose someone to do your check: The fastest and most efficient way to run your background check is to use a professional background check company. That way you can be sure the information you’re seeing is what a potential employer will see.
You can even get a free background check which will search all public records and let you get an accurate picture of your online, public presence. This is the information employers will be looking at.
What to Do When Something is Wrong
If you’ve done a background check and found inaccurate information, you need to correct this as soon as possible. If you see incorrect information about criminal charges, check with the federal, state, or local authorities where the charge comes from and get them to give a local background history that clears you.
If you find incorrect civil court information, contact the local courthouse where the case was held. They can either clear up incorrect information or issue a statement saying you have no civil judgments with them.
To clear your credit history, contact the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and any financial institution that’s involved. It is their responsibility under the law to correct erroneous information.