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What is a background check?

To put it simply, background checks provide you with data to help you reduce your risks and make better quality decisions.


This information becomes a consumer or investigative consumer report under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it is:

  • about an individual, and
  • could potentially have a negative impact on that person, and
  • is gathered for you by a third party.


Background checks for employment, volunteer and tenant screening purposes are all examples of consumer reports. These reports can contain a single type of information (i.e. a credit report) or they can include information from many sources (e.g. criminal records, employment verification, rental history, education verification, driving records, etc).


The most effective background checks consider the types of risks you face and the decisions you are making and provide you with data targeted to help you make informed risk management decisions.