Are you aware of what information is available on the Internet about you?
We live in an era where data about you is constantly being collected and being made publicly available from multiple online databases. You may think that you can just make your social network account private, untag yourself from photos or delete that regrettable tweet, however once it’s publicly available, you can bet that it’s been collected and stored.
Background checks can pull up damaging information, causing you to miss out on a great job opportunity. Worst of all, some information might not even be correct. Take my friend as an example. A background search of his name makes it seem as if he’s is a criminal. That’s right, my friend’s name is exactly the same as a criminal from California making it seem, in some cases, as if they were the same person, at least from a searcher’s perspective!
Why You Should Consider Doing a Background Check on Yourself
Ignoring what might pop up on a criminal or credit background check is a mistake that could prevent you from landing your dream job, renting an apartment or getting approved for a loan.
Here are just a few reasons why you should run a background check on yourself:
- It’s possible that there is erroneous information about you floating around the Internet.
- There might be a mistake in your credit report, particularly if your identity was stolen. With identity theft continuing to be the number one consumer complaint, it’s important to make sure that you haven’t become a victim.
- Perhaps there’s a photo of yourself or a comment you made years ago on social media that’s a little embarrassing.
- In case you were ever convicted of a crime, you may want to know what information actually shows up prior to applying to a job. If you’ve had a criminal records expunged, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t show up. Even if you haven’t been convicted, you will want to make sure that your identity hasn’t been stolen and use for nefarious activities. There are plenty of stories of talented job candidates losing out on a job because a background search pulled up someone else’s criminal record.
These things will pop up and hurt your chances the next time you apply for a loan or a job. Fortunately, you can take steps to correct or remove this damaging information.
How to Run a Background Check on Yourself
Because checking people’s background is such a pressing need, there are dozens of ways to go about this. Fortunately, several ways won’t cost you a thing.
- The simplest way to do a background check is to use a professional service. While it will cost you some money, it’ll save you a lot of time and all the data will be conveniently located in one report. You can use our background search which will comb through billions of public records and dozens of databases instantly. You just fill out the information, press a button and then we’ll take care of the rest.
- If you are looking to do a search yourself and have some time, there are several things that you can do which will allow you to see what information is out there about you.
- A search via Google or another search engine may turn up things about yourself that are either false or other information that you would rather not have public. However, you may have to comb through multiple pages, depending on the popularity of your name. Additionally, you won’t see any important details such as a credit or criminal report, so you won’t know if your identity has been stolen.
- To find out if your identity has been stolen and used in criminal activities, you can try to pull up court records as the majority of these records are public. The problem is that because the court records are, at best, at state level, you’ll need to search every state to make sure your identity hasn’t been used maliciously.
- All consumers have the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Doing a check with these agencies on yourself can help you determine whether someone has been using your identity to piggyback off your credit.
With identity theft rising, it’s possible that your record may have incorrect information on it or that you’ll find criminals using your identity for their own benefit. It’s also possible that the information available is accurate, but that you don’t want it to be public. In either case, ignoring what’s information is available to employers and landlords as well as ignoring possibility that your identity is being used by criminals can translate to potentially losing out on a great job opportunity, apartment, or home.