There are a number of things that are included in a background investigation that go beyond what is looked at in a typical background check.
While a background check typically includes criminal background checks, driving records (if the job demands the skill), verification of past employment, verification of academic degree and a credit check, a background investigation gathers information from various disparate sources to create a more accurate, comprehensive and complete picture of a person’s past.
Each investigative firm will have its own set of information that is researched, but in the most comprehensive forms of a background investigation, the following information should be included in a background investigation:
1Personal Identifier Verification – Identifiers such as a date of birth and Social Security number are key to linking criminal records, bankruptcy records and other public records to the subject of the extensive background check.
2Address History Verification – Knowing where the individual has lived is critical to determining which courts are necessary to search in order to identify any historical civil and criminal history, and to find information from other public records sources.
3Professional History Verification – A timeline of any employment affiliations, board memberships and nonprofit affiliations can show a history of affiliations with organizations riddled with scandals.
4News Media Review – Most people are under the false impression that all news media publications are easily accessible on the Internet. Historical and international comprehensive news media can identify past issues that can’t be found on the Internet.
5Internet Searches – With the explosion of social media and the perceived “anonymity” of the Web, some people will put just about anything on the Internet.
6Corporate Affiliation – U.S.-based corporations where the individual is a corporate officer or registered agent can identify businesses or hidden affiliations.
7Criminal Record History (State and Federal) – Checking local and state criminal records is one of the most important facets of a background investigation. It’s essential to conduct research at local courthouses or at other official government repositories of information.
8Civil Litigation (State and Federal) – As with criminal record history, it’s essential to conduct research at local courthouses, official government repositories, or proprietary databases that cover the jurisdictions in which the individual has lived. Records of civil litigation can identify disputes with previous business partners, harassment allegations or a history of litigiousness.
9Bankruptcy Records – A history of bankruptcy or financial issues could reveal critical financial details.
10U.S. Tax Court Records – U.S. Tax Court records can reveal unpaid taxes or disputes over taxes, which can lead to further information on income or assets.
11UCC Filings – Has the person been a creditor or debtor in any UCC filings? Did he or she pledge any assets as part of financing?
12Assets – Information relating to real property, motor vehicles, watercraft and aircraft records may show a pattern of living beyond one’s means.
13Judgment Filings – A history of judgment filings may identify a history of financial issues and/or litigiousness.
14Lien Filings – Similar to judgment filings, historical state or federal tax liens may show a history of financial trouble.
15Department of Motor Vehicle Records – A driving record request can identify traffic violations and, in most states, driving under the influence records, which some states consider a criminal record.
16Professional Licensing Verification – Records with local, state or federal regulatory bodies may reveal regulatory actions against professional licensees, such as a certified public accountant, doctor, nurse, an attorney or even a private investigator.
17Professional Affiliations – In addition to having a professional license, professionals typically are affiliated with organizations that award certain credentials or designations, but you don’t know if they are really part of the organization unless you check.
18Financial Regulatory Searches – Especially for individuals who have previously served in the banking or financial industry, searches of records belonging to financial regulatory bodies may identify previous violations or regulatory matters.
19Government Compliance Lists – A review of government compliance lists can identify sanctions from regulatory bodies or politically exposed persons around the world.
20Campaign Contributions – Political contributions may identify strong political ties or connections with polarizing political groups.
This post is part of a series of posts titled Background Investigations 101 – What You Need To Know.