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What Shows Up on a Background Check?

Nancy Patterson - October 3, 2019

What Shows Up on a Background Check?

Don’t be caught off guard! Whether you are applying for your dream job, or are an employer looking for the perfect candidate, you need to run a background check.

A background check involves looking into a person’s past to verify their identity or claims. Even the most basic background check, may reveal informative things about an individual’s criminal record, employment history, financial record, and more.

What Does a Background Check Show?

What shows up on a background check will depend on the type of background check run.

For instance, an employer running a background check would run one to verify an employee or job applicant’s work history and criminal record. On the other hand, a curious lover might run a background check to verify the truth about their partner’s financial status, marital status, or criminal past.

Most background checks are run to get a general overview of a person’s life. If running a general/basic background check, you can expect to find the following information:

Criminal Records

A general background check will reveal if a person has any history of arrests, felony convictions, or misdemeanors (for example, reckless driving or driving under the influence) on record.

Depending on the thoroughness of the background check, it may also reveal warrants, incarceration records, sex offenses, judgments, orders, or decrees issued against an individual.

Even a case that was dismissed in a person’s favor or ended in a not guilty verdict may show up in a background check.

How far a background check may reach back into a person’s criminal past differs from state to state. For instance, in California, most job employers can’t view convictions that are older than seven years.

Similarly, the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) prohibits criminal background checks from revealing arrest or civil suit records that are older than seven years.

However, each state determines if criminal convictions stay on a person’s record indefinitely or for a limited time only.

It’s also worth noting that expunged or sealed criminal records do not show up on background checks. A person with a sealed or expunged record can safely answer, “No,” if asked whether they have any criminal convictions.

Online Activity

Looking into a person’s online activity, especially their social media posts, reveals a lot about their character. To hide their true nature, many prefer to mask their online activity under aliases or by using multiple accounts.

Running a simple search with a traditional search engine will reveal a person’s social media accounts, and web pages where their names appear. Browsing these accounts and web pages can provide a general idea of a person’s online activity.

To search for more in-depth information, we recommend using CheckPeople.com’s deep web search. Using this search engine goes beneath the surface and reveals hidden social media accounts, images, videos, blogs, and deep web activity, uploaded by the name searched.

While respecting an individual’s right to privacy, this tool may reveal shady online activities or hidden criminal history, all with the click of a few buttons.

Personal Details

A background check report reveals details about an individual’s current and previous physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profiles, and more. It may also include details regarding an individual’s eligibility to work in the US.

While it is entirely reasonable for a person to change their address or phone number multiple times in the course of their life, others may do this to hide aspects of their past. For those who have something to hide, a background check will reveal if that individual has provided false personal information.

Running a search on CheckPeople.com may also reveal details about marriage records, divorce records, property records, and so on.

Employment History

A basic background check will reveal an individual’s work history. Information about a person’s work history is useful for verifying the information provided in an individual’s resume.

Aside from revealing where you’ve worked in the past, how long you worked there, and what positions you held, the background check can also show under what circumstances you left the job. It can also reveal job duties or responsibilities and salary information.

Educational Records

A basic background check will reveal where a person went to school and if, and when, they graduated. This information is useful for verifying the accuracy of that provided by a person regarding educational background, especially on a job application.

Financial Report

A basic background check can also provide a glimpse into a person’s financial status by revealing assets, such as properties and businesses. It can also include credit reports or bankruptcy status.

Employers can look into a job applicant’s credit report, but only if the applicant provides the prospective employer explicit permission to perform such a check. The check will not reveal your credit score, but it will disclose your loan information, accounts placed for collection, and bankruptcy information.

Keep in mind the FCRA provides that employers can’t see bankruptcy details that are older than ten years.

Driving Records

A basic background check does not generally reveal an individual’s driving records. But an employer who’s considering an applicant for a driving job needs to know about that person’s driving history.

Running a background check on a person’s driving history in some states reveals up to 10 years of records, while others only allow for three years. The background check reports details such as penalties issued and license classification.

Additional Records

Additionally, a basic background check can also reveal if a person were ever volunteered in a charitable organization or served in the military.

Information revealed by a background check ultimately depends on the type and scope of the search. The provisions of individual states may also be a consideration.

Types of Background Checks

If looking for specific information about a person’s life, a basic background check may overlook the aspects that you are most interested in knowing. As such, you need to know what sort of background check to perform or request to get the specific information you want.

Below are common types of specific background checks and what shows up in their reports.

Employment Background Checks

Not all employers run background checks on potential employees. Many employers will, however, to avoid hiring a wrong fit for the job or someone who may potentially pose a threat to the organization.

The background check in such a scenario is typically part of the recruitment process, and the candidate doesn’t get the job if the employer is dissatisfied with the revelations of the background check. The background check may include the candidate’s education, credit history, work history, criminal record, medical history, drug screening, and social media activity.

Other companies perform background checks as part of their employee review process. Other companies will perform checks once or twice a year for all current employees. Often these background checks mostly focus on criminal background checks to ensure the safety of other employees in the workplace.

Before an employer can perform a pre-employment background check, the consent of the candidate is required. The employer will also need the candidate’s Social Security number (SSN), full name, date of birth, and current or past address.

Note that it’s illegal to carry out an employment background check based on a candidate’s sex, race, religion, national origin, color, age, disability, or genetic information.

If an employee is terminated based on information found during a background check, the employer must send that person a copy of the report on which they based their decision.

Criminal Background Checks

A criminal background check reveals information about major and minor offenses in an individual’s past. It can disclose information regarding fraud, violent or sex crimes, and felony convictions.

This information can then be used to decide if a person is suitable for military enlistment, employment, firearm purchase, entering into a business partnership, or even marriage.

Organizations in specific industries, especially healthcare and law enforcement, are very strict about not hiring past convicts, especially if the conviction is related to the job.

A typical criminal background check involves searching the following records:

  • Federal and state criminal records
  • County criminal courts
  • Domestic and global terrorist watch lists
  • National criminal databases
  • Sex offender registries

Driving History Check

If you have a driver’s license, you will have a driving record. A driving background check is mostly relevant when looking to hire someone for a job that’s related to driving. As such, this check is performed mainly by employers in the logistics or transportation industry.

Details such as past DUIs, speeding tickets, accidents, a suspended license, and other penalties will show up in this background check.

Universal Background Checks

There are a variety of reasons to run a Universal Background Check, but the most common is verifying if a person is eligible to buy a firearm.

A person will be considered ineligible to purchase a firearm if the background check uncovers specific criminal convictions, misdemeanors, felony offenses, or a history of domestic violence. An individual will also be ineligible if the applicant is an unlawful alien, fugitive, or has a disqualifying mental health record or warrant for their arrest.

Credit Background Checks

A credit background check looks into an individual’s credit history, especially into if they’ve been repaying their debts on time. This type of background check is typically required when a person applies for a credit card, auto, home, or other loans.

Employers in the financial industry also perform credit background checks, especially if the potential employee will have frequent access to money or be managing money.

If a candidate’s credit background check reveals a history of poor credit, significant debt, tax liens, bankruptcy, or similar red flags, they may be deemed unacceptable for the job. This may be especially true if their position requires handling a company’s financial records.

Personal Background Checks

You can also run a personal background check to see what others will see when they run a basic background check on you. It’s a great way to rectify the aspects of your background report that don’t reflect well on you.

CheckPeople.com makes this easy with their Background Check Yourself service. The report will inform you if your name appears in any criminal records and other pertinent information.

How to Perform a Background Check

To perform a background check, you have one of two choices. You can either hire a private investigator or do it yourself.

Hire a Private Investigator

A private investigator has the experience and resources to provide you with all the details you need about a person’s background. At the end of their investigation, they will provide a detailed report containing all the information you requested.

But hiring a private investigator has the downside of being pricey. Also, it may take a very long time before you get a report.

Run an Online Background Check

With the help of search engines like Google, you can find relevant information about a person based on their online activity. But this can be tedious work sorting through relevant or irrelevant information the search results produce. A better alternative would be to use CheckPeople.com.

CheckPeople.com searches through all public records and provides with you a detailed report on the person you are researching. The process is fast, easy, and inexpensive. Within minutes, you can find all the information you want regarding:

  • Criminal and arrest records
  • Current and previous contact details
  • Nationwide court documents
  • Online activity
  • Property records
  • Personal information records, and more

All you need is a name and a location, press enter and let CheckPeople.com’s cutting edge algorithm do the rest.


A background check is a good way to determine the accuracy of information about people. Whether verifying information on a candidate’s resume or just wondering what a report on yourself will reveal to a potential employer, a background check can provide you assurance. Remember the type of background check you select is what determines what shows up in the report. For a fast, effective, and legal background check on yourself or a person of interest, check out CheckPeople.com today!

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