“Background check” is a term which can describe a variety of searches looking into the history of individuals, and in certain instance entities. The most common understanding of a background check is that it searches an individual's criminal past. However, it is also a vague description of a service which can do much more. Background checks can be performed from quick and instant look up online databases to hiring a private investigator in efforts to uncover as many bits of information about as possible. The type and size of companies conducting these searches can can vary greatly based on particular needs.
Some background check companies are far more extensive than others. In addition to criminal records, the background search of an individual can include their education, licensing, marriages, divorces, property or business ownership and much more. Background searches conducted by companies can specialize in screening tenants, prospective employees, nannies, contractors and any person for hire. Screenings for landlords would include a credit check and maybe a search of past lawsuits. An employer looking for a delivery person will need official state driving records, others may need to verify the education or past employment.
Background checks are generally compilations of numerous public records. Considering that so many records are public, a thorough search can uncover a wealth of information and return complete background searches. Some common myths about public records are that they are free, or that they are available online and agencies readily hand them over. Public records are not always free, they are to be available per statute, which is sometimes confused free. The agency or office which stores, maintains and provides public information incurs cost and therefore passes it to the individual requestors in the form of fees. Public records are not always freely available, there may be a process or qualifications the requestor must meet.