Types of Background Checks

Just about everyone has had some form of background check at some point. There are many different types of background checks. Each has its own purpose and some even have their own specific field. Employers can use employment and criminal background checks to ensure that their employees are trustworthy and haven’t committed any serious crimes. Organizations that have volunteers (particularly those who work with vulnerable populations), can use them for a similar purpose. Law enforcement, TSA, and other security agencies use fingerprint background checks to register people into their databases for potential future use. Before renting or buying a property or car, a credit background check is often done to give proof that the borrower is good at making reliable payments. Lastly, there are industry-specific background checks for everything from firearm purchase to federally-funded healthcare employees.

Background checks can be used for many different purposes and in most industries. Let’s break each of these down into more detail so we can take a look at their benefits and applications. 

Employment Checks

Before hiring a new employee, an employer often performs a series of name-based background checks to be sure that the potential new hire is telling the truth about their abilities, reliability, experience, and other aspects of their personal history. The employer can perform this name-based background check using the candidate’s full name, address, and social security number and the check can return information on many different aspects of the candidate’s history like work history, education, drug screening, criminal record, and use of social media. This gives the employer reassurance that they are making a good investment in choosing this particular candidate and is an important step in the hiring process.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are another name-based background check often used by employers along with employment checks to make sure that potential new hires are trustworthy and don’t have criminal records, but criminal background checks don’t only have to be used by businesses trying to find paid employees. They can also be an important tool for those looking for volunteers to work as a part of their organization. This is especially useful for those whose organizations work with children, the elderly, the homeless, or animals. Similarly, most employers use criminal background checks to also make sure that the candidate won’t pose a threat to customers or fellow employees. 

IDScan.net has great third-party options for many different kinds of security validation checks including criminal background checks, sex offender checks, and watch list checks. Many of the available name-based background checks have been seamlessly integrated into our existing identity verification technology so that the checks can be done simply by scanning the person’s ID. Reach out to our team for more information on identity verification technology.

Fingerprint Background Checks

Anyone who is ever arrested has copies of their fingerprints taken for future reference, but this is not the only place that fingerprint background checks are used. The pre-employment process in many industries requires fingerprint background checks including public education, healthcare, law enforcement, and fire fighting. It may also be required to obtain certain licenses such as real estate, finance, and casinos.

IDScan.net sells one of the lightest and smallest fingerprint scanners on the market today, so if your business has a need for fingerprint background checks, check out the Kojak FBI-certified fingerprint scanner from Integrated Biometrics.

Credit Checks

As mentioned above, credit background checks are a common part of the process of applying for any kind of loan, but they can also be used to assess the likelihood that someone in a financial field could be tempted by bribery or embezzlement. Many employers consider someone with previous bankruptcies, a high debt ratio, or problems making payments on time as a higher risk when looking for a candidate who will be around or handling money on a regular basis. 

When applying for a loan to buy a house or car, the bank takes a look at the applicant’s financial history to check for things like high debt-to-income ratios, timeliness of payments, bankruptcies, and any history of unpaid bills. The bank wants to be sure that if they lend someone money they will be paid back and in a timely manner. A candidate with bad marks in their financial history is not automatically exempt from all loans, but the security that the bank will require as insurance will most likely be more. For example, when buying a house, a lower credit score can require the applicant to put down a larger down payment so that the bank already has a significant amount of the loan paid when the loan is signed. However, some kinds of loans are so strict that previous financial irresponsibility can preclude an applicant from certain kinds of loans altogether.

Industry-Specific Background Checks

Lastly, we come to industry-specific, name-based background checks. I’ll cover just a few examples here, but there are others that have been developed to meet the specific needs of particular industries. 

The universal background check via National Instant Background Check System (NICS) is used by gun sellers to determine that someone is eligible to purchase a firearm. There are quite a few restrictions (depending on the state) on who can legally purchase a firearm. Anyone in the country illegally, anyone with convictions of domestic violence, those with other certain misdemeanor or felony charges, and anyone with open arrest warrants are among those who are not eligible to purchase a firearm. A gun seller who sells to a restricted buyer could find themselves in serious legal trouble, so the NICS name-based background check is essential to this industry. 

The Office of the Inspector General (along with a few other organizations), has developed a healthcare industry-specific, name-based background check to mitigate the risks of employees stealing medications, abusing patients, and committing Medi-cade or Medi-care fraud, just to name a few crimes. Anyone who commits a crime like those previously listed is placed in the OIG database with a description of their crime for future reference.