What Background Checks Actually Say About You

What Background Checks Actually Say About You
(Photo : What Background Checks Actually Say About You)

Given how common background checks are, it is natural to be curious about what a background check on you would reveal. Whether you are on the dating scene, renting a new place to live, or considering changing jobs, it is a good idea to know what will show up on your background check before being blindsided by information. 

The best way to learn what a background check would say about you is to do a background check on yourself. Surprisingly, it doesn't cost as much as you might think. You can use a site like or any other reputable background check site to get a full picture of what anyone can find out about you with a few clicks on a computer. 

Most people think of background checks in terms of a criminal history check done by an employer. Today, with so much of our lives on the internet, background checks contain far more detailed information. So, what types of information can you find on a background check?

Criminal history 

What will show up on your criminal history will depend, in part, on the state where you live. Some states prohibit access to arrest records, though those may still come to light through other sources, such as news stories. What you can count on showing up is any misdemeanor and felony convictions, and the final disposition of a case. If you were incarcerated, that would show up on a criminal history check. 

  • Charges that were dismissed or you were found not guilty-unfortunately, these will usually show up on a background check though anyone using the background check should adhere to the "innocent until proven guilty" doctrine. 

  • Expunged or sealed records-Expunged records should not show up on a background check. If you petitioned the court and successfully had your records expunged or sealed, it should be as though they never existed. 

  • There is no limit on how far back criminal history checks can go, though the average is about seven years. 

Addresses, phone numbers, social media and email accounts

A background check will reveal exhaustive contact information about you. Anyone who wants to find your contact information can do so through a background check. They can also see what social media accounts you use. It is always a good idea to keep your social media accounts set to private to keep your potential employer from seeing everything you have posted on social media.

It is worth noting that setting your account to private only offers minimal protection. Anyone who is on your friend lists can be recruited to spy on your account or screenshot anything you post to show to an employer or anyone else. Always consider any potential audience when posting to social media. 

Education and employment history

It is common for a background check to show your educational background and an in-depth look at your employment history. If you would like to leave a couple of short-term employers off your resume, do a background check first. You need to be able to explain why you left and why you did not consider them relevant for your resume. 

Financial information

While a background check you do not agree to cannot include your credit history, those who do an online background check can still paint a pretty good picture of your financial standing. Background checks like that can consist of all civil court records, including:

  • Bankruptcies

  • Judgments

  • Liens

  • Evictions

  • Property tax information

  • Pending and resolved lawsuits

Marriage and divorce records

Marriage and divorce records become part of the public record and will appear on most background checks. If you have not been honest with a potential romantic interest in a previous or current marriage, they can find it easily if they decide to look. 

Doing a background check on yourself

Running a background check on yourself will help you prepare to answer any questions that might arise about your previous background. It is also a good idea to make sure the information on your report is accurate. Mistakes do happen, and if you find inaccurate information, you will have to attempt to have it removed through the agency responsible for the information. 

Doing a regular check on your background can also help you catch identity theft. Hopefully, before too much damage is done. If there are things on your background that do not belong to you, such as social media profiles in your name, or evictions, judgments, and liens that do not belong to you, consider the possibility that you have become a victim of identity theft. 

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