Office 417-268-9378 pi@jefftsimpson.com

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR

Background Checks

What is a Background Check?

background check is a process a person or company uses to verify that a person is who they claim to be, and provides an opportunity for someone to check a person’s criminal record, education, employment history, and other activities that happened in the past in order to confirm their validity.

Who Conducts Background Checks?

Background checks are commonly conducted by:

  • Employers. As a matter of safety, employers need to do background checks on all potential employees. In doing so, employers can verify that potential employees are citizens with work histories that attest to their abilities. Background checks by employers typically are focused on identifying an applicant’s criminal history, status of citizenship, character references, and results of a drug screening test.
  • Lenders. Before lenders offer loans to borrowers, they want to be sure that the borrowers have a strong financial history so that they can rely on them to make their monthly payments. Poor financial histories and low credit scores can affect interest rates, and even interfere with a borrower’s ability to take out a loan.
  • Renting/Leasing Agents. Prior to allowing an individual to rent or lease a car, apartment, or house, agents conduct background checks to examine an individual’s rental and credit histories. They then use this information to determine if that individual can be trusted to make monthly payments.
  • Attorneys. Background checks can provide valuable information for attorneys to use in court. Information obtained is often used to verify testimonies or refute them. It can also be used to determine a person’s credibility in court.
  • Government. Many government files consist of sensitive, classified information. Before a government employee can access those files, he or she must be granted security clearance. Gaining security clearance requires an extensive background check.

However, background checks are not limited to professionals. Anyone can perform a background check on someone else— whether that person is a significant other or someone offering their services, such as a babysitter or housekeeper. Below is a list of potential reasons that an average person may have for ordering a background check.

  • Relationships. Significant others are not always honest about their past. Individuals who want to be sure they can trust their romantic partners have the option of conducting background checks to make sure that their partners are who they say they are. This can prevent long-term heartache and complications.
  • Babysitting. Parents want to be sure that their children are in good hands when they are not around. By conducting a background check on potential babysitters and caretakers, parents can get the peace of mind they need to leave their children in someone else’s care.
  • Investing. Investment brokers are in charge of handling money and acting on behalf of the investor. This is a big responsibility, and many individuals are concerned about handing over their money to brokers without doing research into their backgrounds first. Doing a background check can help protect investors’ interests and alert them to any issues of which they should be aware.
  • Personal Curiosity. Do you know what is revealed from an examination on your background? Conducting a background check on yourself can show you the information that employer, lenders, and other professionals will see prior to deciding whether to grant you certain privileges. A look into your own history can prepare you for your future endeavors — whether those endeavors may be home buying, job searching, or renting — and help you to avoid later surprises.

What Does a Background Check Show for Employment?

An employment background check typically takes place when someone applies for a job, but can also happen at any time the employer deems necessary. A variety of methods are used to complete such a check, from comprehensive data base search to personal references.

What shows up on a background check depends on what which type of search you order, since there are several different sets of records and data to pull from. Generally speaking, a background check for employment may show identity verification, employment verification, credit history, driver’s history, criminal records, education confirmation, and more.

Employers gather a wealth of information in order to evaluate a candidate’s character and help protect against the wrong hire. Read on to learn the various types of background checks for employment, what they may show, and why they matter.

The most common pre-employment searches include:

1. Identity and Social Security Verification

 

By searching extensive databases such as the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records, a background check for employment can show whether or not a Social Security number is valid, who it belongs to, and if it’s been used in the past.

Identification verification may also be used to verify an address, which can be cross-referenced to the information provided by a job applicant to detect inaccuracies.

2. Credit Report

Credit reports are prepared by credit bureaus who collect information from a variety of sources. For example, credit card companies and financial institutions furnish data to credit bureaus, who in turn maintain records on consumers.

Although credit reporting agencies do not necessarily have identical information, the general categories of information that show on a background check include:

  • Identifying Information — Credit bureaus can provide identifying information such as name, date of birth, and address.
  • Credit Inquiries — Credit reports contain a list of past credit inquiries, identifying retailers, financial institutions, and other lenders have requested a consumer’s credit report.
  • Tradelines — Tradelines show accounts established with lenders. It could include of the date the account was opened, the type of account opened (mortgage, auto loan, credit card, etc.), the loan amount or credit limit, the account’s current balance, and the borrower’s payment history.
  • Public Records — Credit reports may show previous bankruptcies. Credit reports can reveal many potential warning signs in an applicant, especially if your new hire will regularly be handling money. High levels of debt or excessive spending on assets could indicate financial irresponsibility.

3. Criminal Record

If an employer knows — or should have known — about an employee’s relevant criminal background, they may face negligent hiring claims if the employee is accused of further wrongdoing. What shows up on a background check for employment may help safeguard business owners by revealing histories of criminal convictions.

Criminal background checks for employment may show criminal offenses at the county, state, and federal level. Various offenses which may be reported include:

  • Current pending charges
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony convictions

Depending on the type of job employers are hiring for, they might require additional information from their candidates and ask for more information on their background check for employment. Further searches include options such as motor vehicle and driving records, employment history, education verification, reference checks, and drug screening.

What Else Can Be Found Through a Background Check

The different types of information that can be found through a background check, vary depending upon who is conducting the background check.

Most private investigators will find more information than a curious browser using Google.

Most background checks for jobs requiring a security clearance, such as the FBI, are quite comprehensive. The most commonly utilized of these high caliber background checks is the SF-86.

Various data aggregator sites advertise themselves as allowing you to “perform a background check on someone else” but this data is incomplete and often inaccurate.

The other factor that affects what can be found out in a background check, is the time and money that someone is willing to spend.

At Black Edge Consulting, for example, we conduct political opposition research, as an extension of our standard background checks.

With enough time and money, virtually anything can be uncovered.

The list below is a pretty comprehensive list of things that can be found by someone conducting a background check on you. Again, not all of these are included in every background check. In fact, many are a specialty service that is included for individuals or companies who need more data.

Social Media Accounts — According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees. Below is a list of some of the most commonly searched platforms:

It’s worth noting that many of the companies offering these services are in a legal gray area, with many of them claiming to be:

Legally Defensible and FCRA-Compliant

Addresses and Location History — Simply put, the address history is a timeline of all the locations someone has lived at in their recent history. This information is not only limited to the places where they have owned or rented. It will include any location they have received mail at such as their parents, college, and even a friend’s couch that they live on for a few months. As long as they received mail at the location there’s a good chance they’ll have a history at that address.

Assets and Liabilities — Lawyers, investors and government entities have the greatest capability in locating assets, especially in cases where an individual or corporation owes monies that are not being repaid. The most adept creditor is the Internal Revenue Service. Their auditors and field agents are experts in locating assets to satisfy levies, liens, tax fraud and evasion matters. Professional skip-tracers and any individual who takes the time to conduct the searches necessary to locate the assets of both persons and companies can employ many of the same methods that the government uses.

Businesses or Business Entities — This is where researchers or investigators take reasonable steps to determine if the business is in fact, an actual business, and whether they’ve consistently complied with business formation requirements. This can also include financial investigation to determine who the beneficial owner of an entity is and where the money entering and exiting the entity comes from.

Motor Vehicles — The Department of Motor Vehicles will provide information regarding ownership, normally charging a fee for this data. Vehicles are registered either under the individual’s name or, in some states, that of a company. Motor vehicle titles will also show if there is any lien holder on the vehicle. It is also fairly easy to perform a license plate search, or identify the vin number of a specific car.

Boats — In each state, the natural resources department will have information regarding boats or other water-operated vessels that are owned by individuals or companies. Boats or other water vessels can be attached by court order providing that proper ownership can be established. The title information regarding boats is public record just as is motor vehicle information.

Aircraft — The registration of aircraft is made through the Federal Aviation Administration. This information is similar in nature to that of motor vehicles. It is therefore important to check under the name of the individual or company to determine ownership.

Voter Registration, Political Affiliation, and Political Contributions— Whom Americans vote for is private. But other information in their state voter files is public information; depending on the state, it can include details like their name, address, phone number and party affiliation and when they voted. Additionally, there are several free tools available online, thanks to organizations that seek to help improve the transparency of political campaign financing. These allow you to look up specific individuals and find out whether they’ve donated to politicians — and, if so, how much money they gave to which politicians and when.

Bankruptcies, Liens, Judgements, Foreclosures, and Outstanding Debts —A standard Bankruptcy search returns:

  • Debtor name, address and AKAs
  • Filing data, type and status
  • Court and court locations
  • Liabilities
  • Assets
  • Exemptions
  • Record type and case number
  • Attorney
  • Trustee

The more detailed Bankruptcy, Liens and Judgments reports returns:

  • Debtor name, address and social security numbers
  • Attorney and Docket number and county
  • Filing state, type, and number
  • Any civil filings
  • Bankruptcy filings and type
  • Judgments
  • Dismissal date and release date
  • Tax lien type
  • Asset amounts

Depositions, Lawsuits, and Investigations — A deposition is an out-of-court statement given under oath by any person involved in the case. It is to be used at trial or in preparation for trial. It may be in the form of a written transcript, a videotape, or both. In most states, either of the parties may take the deposition of the other party, or of any other witness. Both sides have the right to be present during oral depositions. Although depositions are rarely made public, they can be acquired by high level investigators.

Personal Connections, Friends, and Coworkers — A comprehensive background check will reveal personal connection, including friends and coworkers. With the advent of social media this information is easily accessible.

Dating & Relationships — Similarly, comprehensive background checks can include dating history and other relationships.

Education — Verifying education history is an important step in vetting applicants, especially because education history from an applicant can often be inaccurate or incomplete. Background checks can confirm an applicant’s credentials by verifying that a degree, certificate or diploma was received.

Internet History or Activity —

Contact Information —A background check could include someone’s address, home phone number, cell phone number, office phone number, office address, email addresses, just to name a few.

Marriage & Divorce Records — You can find out someone’s marital status when conducting a background check since a marriage license must be obtained in order to get married. Likewise, a divorce might be revealed since that action would have been granted by a judge, and that type of information is considered public record.

Professional Licenses — Background checks can verify processional licenses disclosed by an individual. By contacting the issuing agency, licensing board or institution, it is possible to confirm the license type, status, certificate or designation number, date of issuance/expiration, and any disciplinary actions.

Physical Evidence — Dumpster Diving, Refuse/Trash Removal, Trash Run, or my favorite which is Refuse Archeology are all terms that equate to the clandestine removal of curbside. Sifting through trash is a low-tech method for obtaining intelligence; nonetheless, it is highly effective. Businesses run by private investigators specializing in dumpster diving have emerged as a result of the need for discreet and undetected retrieval of documents and other forms of evidence for civil and criminal proceedings.

Surveillance — Surveillance is the close observation of a person, place, or object. It is the practice of watching a subject in order to document the interactions or whereabouts of the subject. Electronic Surveillance is the type of documentation private investigators most often use. It involves utilizing devices like television, wiretapping, and radios to document activity. It also includes monitoring an individual’s use of their phones, email, and social media.

Background Checks
Background Checks
Background Checks
Background Checks

What is a Background Check?

background check is a process a person or company uses to verify that a person is who they claim to be, and provides an opportunity for someone to check a person’s criminal record, education, employment history, and other activities that happened in the past in order to confirm their validity.

Who Conducts Background Checks?

Background checks are commonly conducted by:

  • Employers. As a matter of safety, employers need to do background checks on all potential employees. In doing so, employers can verify that potential employees are citizens with work histories that attest to their abilities. Background checks by employers typically are focused on identifying an applicant’s criminal history, status of citizenship, character references, and results of a drug screening test.
  • Lenders. Before lenders offer loans to borrowers, they want to be sure that the borrowers have a strong financial history so that they can rely on them to make their monthly payments. Poor financial histories and low credit scores can affect interest rates, and even interfere with a borrower’s ability to take out a loan.
  • Renting/Leasing Agents. Prior to allowing an individual to rent or lease a car, apartment, or house, agents conduct background checks to examine an individual’s rental and credit histories. They then use this information to determine if that individual can be trusted to make monthly payments.
  • Attorneys. Background checks can provide valuable information for attorneys to use in court. Information obtained is often used to verify testimonies or refute them. It can also be used to determine a person’s credibility in court.
  • Government. Many government files consist of sensitive, classified information. Before a government employee can access those files, he or she must be granted security clearance. Gaining security clearance requires an extensive background check.

However, background checks are not limited to professionals. Anyone can perform a background check on someone else— whether that person is a significant other or someone offering their services, such as a babysitter or housekeeper. Below is a list of potential reasons that an average person may have for ordering a background check.

  • Relationships. Significant others are not always honest about their past. Individuals who want to be sure they can trust their romantic partners have the option of conducting background checks to make sure that their partners are who they say they are. This can prevent long-term heartache and complications.
  • Babysitting. Parents want to be sure that their children are in good hands when they are not around. By conducting a background check on potential babysitters and caretakers, parents can get the peace of mind they need to leave their children in someone else’s care.
  • Investing. Investment brokers are in charge of handling money and acting on behalf of the investor. This is a big responsibility, and many individuals are concerned about handing over their money to brokers without doing research into their backgrounds first. Doing a background check can help protect investors’ interests and alert them to any issues of which they should be aware.
  • Personal Curiosity. Do you know what is revealed from an examination on your background? Conducting a background check on yourself can show you the information that employer, lenders, and other professionals will see prior to deciding whether to grant you certain privileges. A look into your own history can prepare you for your future endeavors — whether those endeavors may be home buying, job searching, or renting — and help you to avoid later surprises.

What Does a Background Check Show for Employment?

An employment background check typically takes place when someone applies for a job, but can also happen at any time the employer deems necessary. A variety of methods are used to complete such a check, from comprehensive data base search to personal references.

What shows up on a background check depends on what which type of search you order, since there are several different sets of records and data to pull from. Generally speaking, a background check for employment may show identity verification, employment verification, credit history, driver’s history, criminal records, education confirmation, and more.

Employers gather a wealth of information in order to evaluate a candidate’s character and help protect against the wrong hire. Read on to learn the various types of background checks for employment, what they may show, and why they matter.

The most common pre-employment searches include:

1. Identity and Social Security Verification

 

By searching extensive databases such as the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records, a background check for employment can show whether or not a Social Security number is valid, who it belongs to, and if it’s been used in the past.

Identification verification may also be used to verify an address, which can be cross-referenced to the information provided by a job applicant to detect inaccuracies.

2. Credit Report

Credit reports are prepared by credit bureaus who collect information from a variety of sources. For example, credit card companies and financial institutions furnish data to credit bureaus, who in turn maintain records on consumers.

Although credit reporting agencies do not necessarily have identical information, the general categories of information that show on a background check include:

  • Identifying Information — Credit bureaus can provide identifying information such as name, date of birth, and address.
  • Credit Inquiries — Credit reports contain a list of past credit inquiries, identifying retailers, financial institutions, and other lenders have requested a consumer’s credit report.
  • Tradelines — Tradelines show accounts established with lenders. It could include of the date the account was opened, the type of account opened (mortgage, auto loan, credit card, etc.), the loan amount or credit limit, the account’s current balance, and the borrower’s payment history.
  • Public Records — Credit reports may show previous bankruptcies. Credit reports can reveal many potential warning signs in an applicant, especially if your new hire will regularly be handling money. High levels of debt or excessive spending on assets could indicate financial irresponsibility.

3. Criminal Record

If an employer knows — or should have known — about an employee’s relevant criminal background, they may face negligent hiring claims if the employee is accused of further wrongdoing. What shows up on a background check for employment may help safeguard business owners by revealing histories of criminal convictions.

Criminal background checks for employment may show criminal offenses at the county, state, and federal level. Various offenses which may be reported include:

  • Current pending charges
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony convictions

Depending on the type of job employers are hiring for, they might require additional information from their candidates and ask for more information on their background check for employment. Further searches include options such as motor vehicle and driving records, employment history, education verification, reference checks, and drug screening.

What Else Can Be Found Through a Background Check

The different types of information that can be found through a background check, vary depending upon who is conducting the background check.

Most private investigators will find more information than a curious browser using Google.

Most background checks for jobs requiring a security clearance, such as the FBI, are quite comprehensive. The most commonly utilized of these high caliber background checks is the SF-86.

Various data aggregator sites advertise themselves as allowing you to “perform a background check on someone else” but this data is incomplete and often inaccurate.

The other factor that affects what can be found out in a background check, is the time and money that someone is willing to spend.

At Black Edge Consulting, for example, we conduct political opposition research, as an extension of our standard background checks.

With enough time and money, virtually anything can be uncovered.

The list below is a pretty comprehensive list of things that can be found by someone conducting a background check on you. Again, not all of these are included in every background check. In fact, many are a specialty service that is included for individuals or companies who need more data.

Social Media Accounts — According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees. Below is a list of some of the most commonly searched platforms:

It’s worth noting that many of the companies offering these services are in a legal gray area, with many of them claiming to be:

Legally Defensible and FCRA-Compliant

Addresses and Location History — Simply put, the address history is a timeline of all the locations someone has lived at in their recent history. This information is not only limited to the places where they have owned or rented. It will include any location they have received mail at such as their parents, college, and even a friend’s couch that they live on for a few months. As long as they received mail at the location there’s a good chance they’ll have a history at that address.

Assets and Liabilities — Lawyers, investors and government entities have the greatest capability in locating assets, especially in cases where an individual or corporation owes monies that are not being repaid. The most adept creditor is the Internal Revenue Service. Their auditors and field agents are experts in locating assets to satisfy levies, liens, tax fraud and evasion matters. Professional skip-tracers and any individual who takes the time to conduct the searches necessary to locate the assets of both persons and companies can employ many of the same methods that the government uses.

Businesses or Business Entities — This is where researchers or investigators take reasonable steps to determine if the business is in fact, an actual business, and whether they’ve consistently complied with business formation requirements. This can also include financial investigation to determine who the beneficial owner of an entity is and where the money entering and exiting the entity comes from.

Motor Vehicles — The Department of Motor Vehicles will provide information regarding ownership, normally charging a fee for this data. Vehicles are registered either under the individual’s name or, in some states, that of a company. Motor vehicle titles will also show if there is any lien holder on the vehicle. It is also fairly easy to perform a license plate search, or identify the vin number of a specific car.

Boats — In each state, the natural resources department will have information regarding boats or other water-operated vessels that are owned by individuals or companies. Boats or other water vessels can be attached by court order providing that proper ownership can be established. The title information regarding boats is public record just as is motor vehicle information.

Aircraft — The registration of aircraft is made through the Federal Aviation Administration. This information is similar in nature to that of motor vehicles. It is therefore important to check under the name of the individual or company to determine ownership.

Voter Registration, Political Affiliation, and Political Contributions— Whom Americans vote for is private. But other information in their state voter files is public information; depending on the state, it can include details like their name, address, phone number and party affiliation and when they voted. Additionally, there are several free tools available online, thanks to organizations that seek to help improve the transparency of political campaign financing. These allow you to look up specific individuals and find out whether they’ve donated to politicians — and, if so, how much money they gave to which politicians and when.

Bankruptcies, Liens, Judgements, Foreclosures, and Outstanding Debts —A standard Bankruptcy search returns:

  • Debtor name, address and AKAs
  • Filing data, type and status
  • Court and court locations
  • Liabilities
  • Assets
  • Exemptions
  • Record type and case number
  • Attorney
  • Trustee

The more detailed Bankruptcy, Liens and Judgments reports returns:

  • Debtor name, address and social security numbers
  • Attorney and Docket number and county
  • Filing state, type, and number
  • Any civil filings
  • Bankruptcy filings and type
  • Judgments
  • Dismissal date and release date
  • Tax lien type
  • Asset amounts

Depositions, Lawsuits, and Investigations — A deposition is an out-of-court statement given under oath by any person involved in the case. It is to be used at trial or in preparation for trial. It may be in the form of a written transcript, a videotape, or both. In most states, either of the parties may take the deposition of the other party, or of any other witness. Both sides have the right to be present during oral depositions. Although depositions are rarely made public, they can be acquired by high level investigators.

Personal Connections, Friends, and Coworkers — A comprehensive background check will reveal personal connection, including friends and coworkers. With the advent of social media this information is easily accessible.

Dating & Relationships — Similarly, comprehensive background checks can include dating history and other relationships.

Education — Verifying education history is an important step in vetting applicants, especially because education history from an applicant can often be inaccurate or incomplete. Background checks can confirm an applicant’s credentials by verifying that a degree, certificate or diploma was received.

Internet History or Activity —

Contact Information —A background check could include someone’s address, home phone number, cell phone number, office phone number, office address, email addresses, just to name a few.

Marriage & Divorce Records — You can find out someone’s marital status when conducting a background check since a marriage license must be obtained in order to get married. Likewise, a divorce might be revealed since that action would have been granted by a judge, and that type of information is considered public record.

Professional Licenses — Background checks can verify processional licenses disclosed by an individual. By contacting the issuing agency, licensing board or institution, it is possible to confirm the license type, status, certificate or designation number, date of issuance/expiration, and any disciplinary actions.

Physical Evidence — Dumpster Diving, Refuse/Trash Removal, Trash Run, or my favorite which is Refuse Archeology are all terms that equate to the clandestine removal of curbside. Sifting through trash is a low-tech method for obtaining intelligence; nonetheless, it is highly effective. Businesses run by private investigators specializing in dumpster diving have emerged as a result of the need for discreet and undetected retrieval of documents and other forms of evidence for civil and criminal proceedings.

Surveillance — Surveillance is the close observation of a person, place, or object. It is the practice of watching a subject in order to document the interactions or whereabouts of the subject. Electronic Surveillance is the type of documentation private investigators most often use. It involves utilizing devices like television, wiretapping, and radios to document activity. It also includes monitoring an individual’s use of their phones, email, and social media.