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Why are background investigations performed and what information do they produce?

January 28th, 2017

I want to take some time today to give details on what can, can’t, and should be, included in a background investigation. 


I’ve mentioned this before on the “background investigations” page, but wanted to cover this information on the blog should any new readers be joining us. If the user wishes to find all of the important information that can be found on someone then they should never attempt to do so by paying a fee and submitting a name, birthdate, and so forth, on a website that provides customers with “automated” or “instant” checks. These background investigations should always be performed with the oversight of a human being. Why should they be done this way? It is because the information available online is so often watered down, not relevant, outdated, not available on the internet, or not found by the artificial intelligence that runs that particular search.

Why are background investigations performed?

The investigation can be performed on someone for any reason at all. The two most obvious and most common reasons are for employers who wish to learn all they can about someone before deciding whether or not to hire them and landlords looking for a person's credit information, criminal record, and eviction history to determine if that person will make a responsible tenant. A man that is in a relationship will have a background investigation performed to determine if his current partner is everything that they might pretend to be. A mother will want request one to know more about the neighbor across the street. 

What a background investigation might contain:

Civil records -  contain legal action taken against the person being screened, (negligence, insurance fraud, violation of contract, property damage, malpractice, and in such wise) and family matters such as: divorce or child custody cases

Credit history/score - governed by the fair credit reporting act (FCRA) must have a permissible purpose to run the check Information can be found here (See § 604).

Criminal arrest and convictions

Credential & Education verification

Driver's License Information/verification

Employment verification - I-9 & E-Verify

Interviews with associates - these are interviews and reports made for people who have been in close contact with the individual being screened such as: friends, teachers, family, security guards, police, and so forth

Military verification - includes a check to determine if the person in question was honorably discharged

Motor Vehicle Report

Medicare/Medicaid sanctions - these are made against doctors and they prohibit an individual from enjoying the benefits of the federally produced and funded heath care programs, Medicare & Medicaid. 

OFAC info - “office of foreign assets control” keeps records of countries, people, companies, groups, terrorists, and narcotics dealers who pose a threat to the United States and US citizens are usually blocked from dealing with them. It is called “specially designated nationals & blocked persons list” and full details can be found here 

Past evictions

Personal Reference interviews - these are calls made to the people on an applicant's reference list  

Previous addresses 

Previous employer(s) verification

Sex offender registry report

Social Security Number verification

Verification of Professional Licenses 

Worker’s compensation claim records

Thanks for reading. Please comment with any questions that you might have.


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