Five Reasons Criminal Background Checks Are Useless
Have you ever wondered why some websites provide free background checks but there are still people who prefer to pay to have access to them? Why are there still private investigation firms who provide this service for a fee? Because free criminal background checks are actually not as helpful as you would think. They might even be considered useless, especially if you need a complete report about someone’s past, like criminal records, civil records, employment history, references, etc. And yes, a background check is not the same with a criminal history check. It provides more information with higher accuracy. Here are five reasons criminal background checks are useless:
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1. Free for a reason
And usually, it’s not the reason that you might think. Most websites that promise free background checks are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re not providing free background checks because they actually want to help people. You should always ask yourself why a website is offering access to free background checks. It’s possible they want to collect personal information or even trying to boost their traffic with this “made-up” service that won’t lead anywhere. Or maybe they will just send you a link straight to a virus.
2. Limited information
The websites that actually provide free background checks usually don’t have access to many sources of information. They rely on several public records that can be accessed digitally and with just a few clicks. Obviously, this doesn’t provide the accurate and complete reports you need for a background check to be helpful. For that, they need to invest time and effort to search the non-digital records, like criminal records, civil court files, credit reports, and even driving histories and university documents. And no website that provides free background checks is going to do that. You will get access to basic information that will not be enough to help you make an informed decision about someone.
3. Automated checks
Most of the time, free background checks are automated, just the work of an algorithm searching through databases and putting together a report. There’s no human there to oversee and vet the process. Vetting implies effort, time, and money. Basically, it implies the work of a private investigator specialized in background checks. You can have a free background check report ready in just a few seconds. That’s not really a trustworthy source, isn’t it? Free background checks are so unreliable that the algorithm might create the wrong report if two persons in the database have a similar name.
4. Not personalized
For a background check to be useful, it needs to be tailored to the person and job. For example, if someone is trying to get a desk job, they probably don’t need a driving history check, do they? Each type of job should have a specific background check. If you’re going to hire a private investigator, they will make sure to also check the address history of the person you’re trying to hire. This way they can find if they have a criminal history in a state other than where they have their current address. That’s definitely something that a free background check won’t be able to provide.
5. Not exactly legal
The websites that conduct free background checks are not exactly compliant with the relevant legislation. Any person can conduct a background check on another person without having to prove they are authorized to do this. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) forbids conducting a background check on a person without having written authorization from them. So, if you’re using a website that provides free background checks, you expose yourself to the risk of getting sued. Also, companies who conduct free background checks will never be held accountable for the reports they deliver. If someone disputes the report, the client has to deal with it on their own.
In other words, free background checks are not only useless but also risky. The only advantage they have on paid background checks are that they’re free, but if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Private investigator firms provide paid background checks that are accurate, exhaustive, legal, and backed by solid evidence.