Do background checks belong in the personals/singles world? Hold-outs from years ago will counsel that no, they aren’t necessary, as everybody dated without background checks before, and they were just fine. But actually, they weren’t all fine.
Some of those encounters ended in disaster, for the exact reasons that people would want a background check. The Information Age has made one more option indispensable for a new generation. Modern daters, when polled, are starting to reason that if a background check is free or inexpensive, convenient, and takes next to no time, why shouldn’t we use it?
Other casual everyday transactions can call for background checks too. It’s a handy way to check up on potential roommates, tenants, travel partners, or random people you meet off Craigslist or Tinder for whatever reasons. Couples find themselves turning to background checks to vet babysitters or preschool staff.
Others might want a report card on casual labor contractors or potential business partners. “Security and peace of mind” is the most significant benefit of a background check. While the system isn’t infallible and passing a background check is no guarantee of a beneficial experience, it’s still a step towards screening out obvious red flags and avoiding situations you’d later regret.
Limits To Background Checks As A Private Citizen
Banks, government agents, businesses, and landlords all get special privileges when performing background checks. As a private individual looking up another private individual for personal reasons, you will typically have to agree that you aren’t using the data for employment, insurance, tenant screening, or consumer credit. That being said, using an online background check service is entirely legal.
In fact, all it’s accessing is public records collated from hundreds, even thousands of sources. This may include offender registries, white pages listings, courthouse records, federal criminal databases, property records, motor vehicle departments, social media accounts, ancestry websites, mugshot databases, or news archives. This information is all publicly available for free or low cost, but a one-stop service saves a lot of time. Some of it is even guaranteed through the federal government’s Freedom of Information Act.
What Background Checks Find
At the most basic level, a background check can uncover:
- Employment and education history
- Criminal records
- Financial standing
- Social media profiles
- Offender registries
- Watchlist registries
- Driving records
- Personal details
As a rule, there are some things that even a professional background check does not reveal for reasons of civil liberties and assurance of privacy. These include:
- Juvenile records – These are sealed as an automatic policy
- Medical history – To prevent discrimination against the disabled
- Minor criminal offenses – Civil citations, non-violent misdemeanors, and infractions aren’t tracked
Besides, as a private individual who is not working in a professional capacity, you’re limited to the same information that would be publicly available. Things like your subject’s entire mailing address history or mother’s maiden name aren’t ever going to be available to you unless the subject posted about it online themselves. Even professional agents are limited by the level of background checks they can conduct.
The Social Media Effect
In addition to background check services, almost any web user understands the power of social media in the modern background investigation. The influence of social media is that people get complacent over time, sharing details of their lives openly that they’d never think to divulge twenty years ago.
Professionally, almost all social media evidence is off-limits to prevent discrimination. But for personal background checks, social media can uncover a surprising amount of detail. There’s no reason not to scan social media channels for personal purposes. There’s no need to feel guilty because the individual put that information out there voluntarily.
It is quite easy to be completely anonymous online and cover every track, so if an individual is open enough to not engage in deception, that should tell you that at least they feel they have nothing to hide, even if they don’t come off as a perfect citizen.
The fact remains that our society does unsavory harbor types. We read about shocking crimes and bizarre people every day in the news. For people who might have a vulnerability to being victimized in various ways, running personal background checks before a personal meeting just makes sense from a safety perspective.
If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.