Have you ever looked into what would show up if a potential landlord or employer ever decided to run a background check on you? You may think your background is squeaky clean, or you may know that there are potential problems, but you never know for sure until you actually see what shows up on a background check. Free background checks are available, and you should take advantage of this from time to time, just to make sure that the information contained in the background check is not only accurate, but that it reflects a positive image of you. Believe it or not, there can be errors, particularly if you have a common name. Mistakes can be made, but they can also be corrected. Finding out if there is a problem before someone else does may protect your chances of landing your dream job or getting that great apartment.
What Information Will I Find on a Background Check?
Running free background check on yourself will give you a lot of helpful information. One of the most important things to check is whether or not any criminal history shows up on your background check. You may be surprised to find that even a simple speeding ticket would show up. While this will probably not rule you out as a potential tenant for an apartment when a landlord conducts a background check, if you are applying for a job that has driving requirements, it could be a problem. If you know that you do have a criminal charge on your background, making sure it is at least accurate—and not the wrong charge or something worse than it actually was—is important. Although a criminal offense from twenty years ago may not be relevant if you’ve managed to keep your nose clean after many years, it will probably still show up on your background check and you may want to be prepared to explain yourself and hope for understanding on the part of a potential landlord or employer.
Your credit score and credit history will also be revealed when you run a free background check on yourself. It is important that you know your credit score and that you verify everything listed on your credit history. This is where mistakes are very common, but when you discover them, they are not terribly difficult to change if you have proof of the inaccuracy. You can contact the credit bureaus, provide the correct information, and the credit bureaus are required to investigate. They are legally required to remove negative items from your credit history if they cannot be verified. Also on your credit report may be items from a spouse or former spouse, or anyone that you may have had joint credit or cosigned credit with. Again, make sure everything is accurate, because you certainly don’t want negative items that someone else should be responsible for on your credit report. Taking care of these problems as soon as they are discovered can help prevent problems and hassles later. This is a very good reason to occasionally run a free background check on yourself.
Another important category that can come up when you run a free background check on yourself is your history with social media. Most people fail to realize, despite the many common warnings about the internet, that things posted on social media tend to never go away. But you can minimize the impact if you take certain steps. Perhaps your college friends tagged you in too many partying pictures. Make sure to untag yourself from these, as they can reflect very negatively on your personal image if a landlord or employer runs a background check at some point and discovers your young and wild days. Also, if there are any other unsavory pieces of information revealed, such as highly-charged political or racial postings, try to remove these from your profile. While there are no guarantees that you can forever extinguish their presence, making the effort is well worth it when it comes to protecting your personal image.
How Do I Run a Free Background Check on Myself?
There are many online services that offer free background checks. Most of them will require that you sign up for a free account, enter your personal information, and agree to the background check using an electronic signature of some sort. The results are nearly instant in most cases, and you will have the report in front of you within minutes.
Carefully review the information and check to see that everything on there is actually yours. If you share a name with other people, even if you are a “junior,” you may find that some information is on your background report in error. Fixing credit issues is not terribly difficult, but if there are actual problems with a criminal history, then you may need to seek legal help to clear your name. Although this can cost money and be time consuming, it is well worth the investment to make sure that your name is clear if it should be.