The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Trade Commission enforce laws that are in place to prevent employment discrimination. It is illegal to use the information found in a normal background check to make employment decisions (hiring, firing, promotions, etc.), screen tenants, or determine someone’s eligibility for credit or insurance. Consumer reporting agencies can be used for pre-employment screening and tenant screening. A company must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to qualify as a consumer reporting agency.
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How We Analyzed The Best Background Check, Providers
Reference check – Reference checks are commonly done by rental companies, or employers during the hiring process. Their main goal is to know more about a person’s character by contacting references such as family, friends, former teachers or coworkers.
Employment and education verification check – Employment and education verification checks are done to corroborate the accuracy of the employment and education information found on a person’s resume.
Criminal records check – Criminal records checks verify a person’s criminal history, and include things such as misdemeanor and felony convictions, warrants and past arrests.
Credit check – Credit checks investigate a person’s credit history and are particularly useful for rental companies, banks, and insurance providers.
Identity verification check – Identity verification checks are designed to verify that you really are who you say you are.
Civil judgments check – Civil judgments checks reveal any court judgments or liens that a person may have in their history, though these usually won’t turn up if they’re more than a decade old.
Driving records check – Finally, driving records checks to examine a person’s driving history, accidents, and license suspensions.
Background checks are not a “one-size-fits-all” type of product. So, when vetting the companies, we started by selecting the ones that offered at least three types of checks to ensure they catered to different needs.
A good background report must be comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date. In order to determine which companies offered reports that met these standards, our team of researchers took on the task of putting them to the test.
With the help of a volunteer who agreed to be our background check guinea pig, we signed up to the different companies’ most basic subscription. We then ran a “people search” with the name of our subject. Once the results were in, we compared reports to see which ones were the most complete and accurate. Based on this, we managed to narrow down our list even more.
Since “people search” companies are not credit reporting agencies, they don’t need to abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, nor do they need to be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners.
However, if you’re running a background check for hiring or tenancy purposes, you’ll want a company that’s both FCRA-compliant and accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, to protect yourself and others from liabilities. In our efforts to find the best companies for employment and business purposes, we chose companies that are accredited by this entity and comply with the FCRA.
Many background check companies offer “unlimited reports” when you sign up for a monthly subscription. While this may sound like a tempting offer, some people just want to purchase one report. Our top picks offer both affordable and flexible pricing models that accommodate every consumer and business need, including trials or demos, one-time reports, and monthly subscriptions or volume pricing.
After evaluating our volunteer’s background reports, we contacted the companies’ customer support staff to experience the cancelation process firsthand. Based on this, we chose the companies that were responsive and made the process easy.
Additionally, our team selected companies with a strong reputation as shown on consumer reviews across different outlets, such as the Better Business Bureau. We also took into consideration how many contact methods each company provided, favoring those that had multiple ways to get in touch.
BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR PERSONAL USE
Online Dating and Catfishing
According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds using dating apps in the United States nearly tripled from 2013 to 2015, and 29% of those surveyed reported knowing someone who had met a spouse or long-term partner via online dating.
Locate a long-lost relative, learn about your new neighbor, or check yourself out
Background checks have become increasingly popular, and online dating is just one of the many scenarios where they could be useful on a personal level. Since many reports include previous and current contact information like phone numbers, social media accounts, email, and residential addresses, people also use them as a way to track down old friends and family members. Still, others use them to find out more information about new acquaintances and neighbors and ensure they’re surrounded by people they can trust.
One way of obtaining background information for personal use is through an online people search service. Just like their name suggests, people searches are designed to find individuals by entering their first and last name, city, state, phone number, email, or any known physical addresses.
Most people search companies offer background checks as part of their services, creating reports that can include the searched person’s contact details, any known aliases, social media accounts, birth, death, marriage, divorce, driving, liens, bankruptcies, and property records. It can also show details about their assets, associates, any existing lawsuits, employment, and education history, along with criminal and arrest records.