Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
When you’re searching for a new place to live or have a job interview, you probably expect that the landlord or employer is going to run a formal background check on you through an authorized Consumer Reporting Agency authorized to run such searches in approved contexts. However, before you grant them permission to do that, it might be a good idea to run an informal public records search on yourself.
A thorough search through a site like BeenVerified can reveal a surprising amount of information about you. It’s often helpful to know what someone might discover during a background check in case they ask you about it. More importantly, a periodic self-background check could reveal indicators of identity theft, and with so many recent data breaches, it’s best to catch cases of fraud as early as possible.
Here are a few good reasons to make it a regular habit to run a background check on yourself.
Criminal And Court Incidents
Employers often want to know about a candidate’s criminal history, if there is one, for the protection of their business. As more people choose to research potential romantic partners, someone you’ve started dating might also be looking for this information.
Even if you’ve never been arrested, information about court cases or lawsuits you’ve been involved in will show up here – and if any of those cases involved you suing employers or landlords, it could raise red flags.
If you have a known criminal record, you might be able to look into getting records expunged, so they won’t show up in a background report. If, however, someone has committed a crime using your identity, you’ll need to contact the authorities to have it corrected. Either way, it’s better know what records are connected to your name.
Another important section of a comprehensive people search is financial history. Before committing to someone in a serious relationship, it could help to know whether they’ve filed for bankruptcy or a foreclosure. Past financial mistakes may not be make-or-break information, but it can help remind you of what you’ve dealt with, so you can be upfront about it with your new partner.
Social Media Savvy
Chances are likely that you’ve already checked the necessary boxes to make your social media profiles as private as possible, but if you haven’t, you might want to look into changing your privacy settings on all your profiles. When someone searches your public records, they might find old (and embarrassing) social media accounts, which could cost you a date or even a job, in the worst-case scenario. Knowledge is power, so make sure you know what’s lingering out there that you thought you left back in 2004.
Marriage And Divorce Records
While this might not be such a big deal to employers or landlords, being able to see your marital history could present a problem if you haven’t been honest with a romantic partner. If your divorce records are public, a new love interest could find out exactly why your marriage fell apart, and it may not reflect well on you.
Cleaning Up Your Report
Knowing what is in your background check is a good way for you to start the process of filing disputes for any inaccurate information. Even if you find that everything in your report is correct, you’ll at least know what potential employers, property managers, and dates will see. You might even be able to start scrubbing your background report clean by getting records expunged or sealed, or going through and deleting those old social media profiles.