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Importance of Accurate Background Checks

  • June 25, 2018
  • by Stephanie Irvine
  • Articles

For many private investigators, background checks are a staple service offering. There are a variety of different types of background checks, but in each, a qualified private investigator is capable of retrieving and assessing the results. Accuracy is critical when it comes to background checks because the results, if inaccurate, can be devastating.

Background Check Basics

When someone requests a background check, they want to know more about a person than what meets the eye. Whether someone is considered for a position in which they interact with children or an individual has applied for a gun and a background check is required by law, private investigators have the resources and knowledge to supply the necessary report. Background Checks are typically comprised of the following types:

  • Pre-Employment Background Checks: Requested by an employer to ensure a candidate is suitable for a position; can include a criminal background check, social security number verification, education verification, driving record, character references, credit checks, and more.
  • Criminal Background Check: Conducted to see if an individual has a criminal history (at county and state levels) and can be done for a variety of reasons (pre-employment and personal are common).
  • Personal Background Check: Completed for personal reasons to provide a complete history of an individual's’ criminal background and can include other components depending on the requestor’s wishes.

Behind the Scenes of Background Checks

After a private investigator receives a job inquiry for a background check, there are a number of things that private investigators do to complete a background check. The first is compiling different data sets dependant upon what type of background check is requested.

Data for background checks can involve running a credit check to see if an individual has a positive credit rating and what, if any, instances were reported (unpaid bills, delinquencies, bankruptcy, etc.). This information can be obtained through the credit reporting agencies.

Additionally, background checks that include a criminal history will run records checks to see if an individual was convicted of a crime at the county, state, and even federal levels. These checks could reveal a range of infractions, from moving violations (such as speeding) to more serious crimes, especially at the federal level. For example, if a job candidate has a felony on their record but lies about it at the interview, a background check can turn up this information. 

Accuracy Matters

When a private investigator conducts a background check, it is essential that the results be accurate. Not only is the person paying for the background check expecting accurate results, but your private investigation business and license may end up on the line if you provide false information.

The effects of having inaccurate background check results could be devastating for the party whose information was checked and/or investigated. An inaccurate background check could cause an individual to not be considered for a job as many employers rely on that information to weed out candidates, particularly with positions that have a high volume of applicants. Additionally, some individuals could be denied a loan or have a housing application rejected. Faulty results may also spark a concern for identity theft, which could result in a timely investigation and resolution.

Considering the negative repercussions that exist simply from the results of an inaccurate background check, an individual who then investigates their case to see if they are a victim of identity theft will likely be very unhappy to discover where the problem originated. These are major issues that could significantly affect the life of the subject of the background check — as well as of the private investigator.

How Faulty Background Checks Affect PIs

Because a false or inaccurate background check can have devastating consequences on the subject, it is absolutely critical that a private investigator performs accurate background checks.

If an individual is the victim of an inaccurate background check, they are well within their right to seek legal action against the private investigator and/or company that performed the background check. In order for an employer to offer equal opportunities to job candidates, they must follow specific rules and restrictions. Not following those rules could result in problems for clients and problems for your investigative business, too. Class action lawsuits are happening as a result of improperly performed background checks. This could ultimately destroy a business, its reputation, and the victim’s life as well.

Protect Your Business

Before offering background check services to your clients, ensure that you are aware of all the regulations involved. Additionally, be sure to take the time to review the checks before passing them on to the client. This could provide you with the opportunity to catch a mistake before it becomes a problem for everyone. Be clear and specific in what services you provide, and when providing them, take care to ensure accuracy on each and every check. Your business depends on it.


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