Today, privacy seems to be at a premium. Our connection to internet networks and satellites ensure our location is almost always possible to find. Everything we do online can be used against us. And most of the time we’re giving away our information for free on social media.
So, when you hear of online background checks, your instinct may be one of aversion. Why would you pry into someone’s information like that?
But there are reasons to do a background check, and you can even try a free background check if you’re not willing to pay. Think carefully before running a check, and see if the following apply to you.
You are meeting a stranger
“Stranger danger” may be a kid’s refrain, but it unfortunately applies no matter what age you are. The difference is that, when you’re an adult, you can judge whether trusting a stranger is a risk worth taking. Often the answer is easy. We’ll get into an Uber without much concern or rent an Airbnb from someone we might never meet.
But in other cases, you are incredibly vulnerable. For example, if you are trying to date someone you met online or on an app, you want to make sure they are not going to pose a danger to you. You don’t get to look at reviews, after all. Doing a background check in this case is responsible, even if it is intrusive.
Another case is when you are buying something online from a stranger you found on Craigslist or another such site. You may have to meet them at their home or somewhere out of the way in order to collect your purchase. Do a background check first, to ensure they are who they say they are.
You may be a victim of identity theft
Identity theft is incredibly common these days. Because we live so much of our lives online, all of your personal information is up for grabs if a hacker targets you. One of the worst things about identity theft is it can take a while before you realize it has happened. You may suspect it to be the case, but the last thing you want to do is wait for confirmation.
A background check can uncover all your own information, and can help you determine if someone else has been posing as you. If you find records of certain activities that you had no knowledge of, you will know someone has stolen your identity.
You’re worried about your kids
One of the popular reasons people use background checks is that they’re worried about their children. Their child may have started dating someone who they don’t quite trust or maybe getting involved in some dodgy sounding investment. Doing a background check on those involved can let you know if there is something to be worried about. If you find a criminal record, and especially if you find them in the sex offenders registry, you’ll know to warn your child before they commit to anything.
Background checks are intrusive, and you certainly shouldn’t be doing them on people you have no reason to distrust. However, there are very legitimate reasons to do what you need to in order to find out more.