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Background Check 101: Everything You Need To Know

Background check Michael Rosman

  1. What Is A Background Check? A background check is when someone looks up and gathers...

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1. What Is A Background Check?

A background check is when someone looks up and gathers information about another person, with or without their knowledge or permission. This information is usually compiled through an online service, a public directory, or by an agency.


2. What Types of Information Do Background Checks Include?

Much information can be discovered by performing a background check. Depending on where and how you run the check, the information gathered may vary.

Research into a person’s background may include the following information:

  • Phone Number
  • Social Media Profiles
  • Work and Educational History
  • Past and Current Addresses
  • Financial and Criminal History
  • Properties Owned
  • Siblings and Family Members
  • Age
  • And More!


3. What Are The Different Types Of Background Checks?

There are many different types of background checks to choose from. Below, we’ve listed the ones most commonly performed checks.

  • Criminal Background Check

When running a Criminal Background Check, criminal databases, state and federal criminal records, sex offender registries, and criminal court records are searched. This type of background check is often done to vet potential employees or tenants.

  • Employment Background Check

Before a company hires someone, they typically run an Employment Background Check. This is done to make sure the candidate’s credentials are correct and that they don’t use drugs or have a criminal past. The company must have the candidate’s full name, current address, Social Security number, and their permission in order to run a check on them. For employers such as the State, or Local or National government, an extensive federal employment background check will likely be performed. Such checks are more in-depth and may include the applicant’s credit and family history, places where they have lived, religion, organizations they have or have held membership, bank accounts, etc. and can ‘go back’ for a longer period of time in a person’s personal history.  

  • Universal Background Check

When someone is looking to purchase a firearm from a dealer or manufacturer, a Universal Background Check must be performed. The sellers are required to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to research the potential buyer. A person will not pass if they have a criminal past, are an illegal alien, or have certain mental illnesses.

  • Fingerprint Background Check

A Fingerprint Background Check is often performed in conjunction with an employment or criminal background search. Certain jobs require this, such as those for airports, law enforcement, schools, and so on.

  • Credit Background Check

This check is often referred to as a Credit Report. Landlords often run them on potential tenants to make sure they can afford to pay their rent on schedule. This report details a person’s bill payment and credit history.

  • Personal Background Check  

This background check type is pretty self-explanatory. There are times when you should conduct a search on yourself to see what information about you is available to prospective employers. Your work, financial, and criminal history is just some of the data that could be collected. Before you apply for a job in certain sectors, such as the Federal Government, it is recommended that you run a personal background check to literally see what turns up.

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4. Why Do People Run Background Checks?

There are many motives as to why someone would run a background search on another. Here are the most typical reasons why:

  • An employer vetting potential employees.
  • A parent checking out a babysitter’s or tutor’s credentials.
  • Wanting to see what shows up on your own background search.
  • Making sure your potential tenants are likely to pay their rent.
  • Ensuring that someone qualifies to purchase a firearm.


5. How Long Does it Take For a Background Check to Be Processed?

Well, the amount of time it takes to get a background search depends on a number of factors such as:

  • The age of the person being searched.
  • The method used to run the background check.
  • The type of background check(s) being run.
  • The amount of information being searched for.

In general, a background search turnaround should take about 2-3 days for results to be posted. Federal Background Checks, however, usually take about a month. Remember, if you’re looking to obtain information fast, online services can provide you with the needed information within minutes!


6. How Far Back Does A Background Check Go?

The number of years in an individual’s personal history covered by a review of their background will vary by the source. Frankly, the only limit to how far back a check can go is the databases that are being accessed for the information. For example, generally Employment Background Checks usually cover the person’s previous 7 years, but can be extended to 10 years depending on the State or the requirements of the position applied for.  


7. Where Can I Run A Background Check?

If you’re looking to run a background check yourself, the easiest and most convenient way is through an online service and public directory database like Kiwi Searches. You just enter the name of the person into a search bar, and the service does the work for you. Plus, these sites are inexpensive, with the first search typically costing less than a dollar!

This was our Background Check 101 guide! Hopefully, you found it useful and informative in learning more about running a search on someone.

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Michael Rosman

I have been a spy and monitoring technology expert for over 10 years. I want to help consumers not only learn about this technology, but know how to protect themselves from it.