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5 Things You Should See on a Criminal Background Check
May 1, 2017
Criminal background checks are a common part of modern life. Whether you're renting out an apartment, applying for a job, or hiring a nanny, background checks are almost always part of the equation - whether you're the subject or the requestor. If you're about to run a background check (or have a background check run on you), read on.
What shows up on a criminal background check depends on what the check is for, and what state it's being run in. For certain purposes such as employment, background checks are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (or FCRA), a law intended to protect the applicant from unfair discrimination and to provide transparency by making sure that the applicant gives permission before the background check is run , and that they get a copy of the background check if desired.

In addition to the FCRA, background checks are also subject to state law which can place restrictions on what can be reported. Background checks conducted by private investigators for other sorts of purposes (like an online date) are not subject to most of the FCRA's provisions.

What Shows up in a Criminal Background Check
Criminal record background checks report on two types of records: non-convictions and convictions. These record types represent different sorts of incidences with the legal system and the police, and as a result they are subject to different legal restrictions under the FCRA and state law.
a credit agency's best estimate of a person's creditworthiness - i.e. their ability to manage money and credit. A private investigator will be able to interpret this further, and look for evidence of large shifts in credit score, unusual credit checks on their record, and even past bankruptcy. This information is also subject to the FCRA for certain purposes like employment, and generally requires permission from the person being checked.

Businesses, property, and other assets: A private investigator will also be able to compile a list of assets owned by someone. This list can include past and presently owned properties, cars, business, corporations, and other assets they have an interest in. A good background check should also include details on these assets like estimated value, property tax assessments, registration information, photos, dates owned, and more. Quick note - while it is common for people to ask an investigator to find someone's bank statements, this generally cannot be obtained without a subpoena - although sometimes it's possible for an investigator to confirm that an account exists.
Hopefully this post has given you a good idea of what to expect if you're the subject of a criminal background check, or if you're thinking of running one on someone. of course, criminal records are a small part of a person's background - if you need to be sure you can trust someone, simply checking their criminal record won't tell you everything you need to know. Serious background checks should examine other parts of a person's character like the ones included in the second part of this article.

If you need to know more about someone, you should consider asking an investigator to examine someone's online identity, employment history, and more. Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories of faked educational and employment history, not to mention distasteful and even racist social media posts surfacing long after someone has been hired to a prominent or sensative position. To aviod this kind of risk (and embarrasment), you should ask an investigator to look into someone ahead of appointing them to any important position.

Elliot Rysenbry
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