background checkWith today’s internet being so incredibly powerful, there is almost nothing you can’t find when you look hard enough. A growing use of the internet is the use of free background checks that are available for anyone to use. These services that provide free background checks can reveal an unbelievable amount of information about a person, and are often able to be performed without a person’s knowledge or permission. This can be quite problematic, as many of these sites use algorithms that will often include information that is not directly related to the person being checked, though the person getting that information may not realize it and ultimately make judgments or decisions about a person based on inaccuracies.

What are Some Problems with Free Background Checks?

Dangers of Free Background Checks

To use many of the free background checks that are online, often all the information that is needed is a person’s name and city they live in. The free background check services generally only require that the user create a free account using an email address and password. By only getting a background check based on another person’s name and city they reside in, there can be tremendous room for error when it comes to getting the results. The person ordering the free background check will get a wealth of information, and then they are the one to determine how to interpret the information or decide if it is trustworthy. More often than not, there is plenty of false information included.

First, it should be understood by anyone using a free credit check that there may be dozens of people across the country that share a name. This is especially problematic for people with very common names. The results will return with the “best” and “most likely” matches, but, again these can be very untrue.

Second, there will probably be a list of the most likely addresses or other names used by the person. A person who has married may have multiple names that appear on their background. Imagine a person with a common name who marries another person with a common name. The potential for incorrect information appearing on a free background check is extremely likely at this point, and the odds continue to increase if that person has lived in multiple cities or changed their name a few times.

Third, although most of the sites that offer free background checks will have a clearly stated disclaimer that the information included in the background check is not intended to be used to make decisions about employment, tenancy, or other important choices, human nature generally goes against this, and the person who ordered that free background check is probably going to use the information however they want. This can result in making decisions that are illegal, and not based on a full, complete, and accurate background check about the person being investigated. This can be dangerous for people seeking jobs or apartments, and they may never know why they were turned down. Perhaps someone sharing their name in another city committed a crime, or has a terrible credit history. A decision based on these factors is a very bad outcome for both parties.

When using free background checks, it is important to remember that you may not have the person’s permission to view all of their personal information. A responsible and honest person would be certain to use free background check services that require more personal data (including birth date, social security number, address, and, most importantly, a signature indicating that the person involved in the background check is giving their information willingly and understands that it is for the purpose of a background check.

Free background checks can be very useful and help landlords and potential employers save money if they use reputable services that offer legal background checks that can be expected to be far more accurate than a database search of millions of pieces of data that may somehow coincide with a person’s name and city of residence. Any background check should be used with caution, and if there is questionable information that turns up on the background check, perhaps an open conversation is the best way to proceed, to ensure accuracy and truth, and build trust in any relationship.

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