Background checks are routinely conducted by employment agencies, banks, estate agencies, insurance companies, adoption agencies, suppliers and countless other businesses and organizations. The decisions they make will be influenced not only by what your background check reveals, but by how you react and respond to questions or concerns about your past.
Why should I care?
Let’s answer that question with another one: if you were going for a job interview, would you rather:
Have no idea what the interviewer knows, and hope that you’ll keep your composure if asked to explain past mistakes or concerns?
|— OR —|
Know exactly what the interviewer could know, and be able to provide thoughtful answers to questions about your past or present situation?
When should you investigate yourself?
- Job hunting
- Being headhunted
- Looking for investors
- Contemplating a merger
- Applying for membership
- Selling a business
- Planning a joint venture
- Expecting a promotion
- Applying for credit
- Adopting a child
- Running for public office
- Being featured in the press
- Renting a property
- Financing a vehicle
- Getting married
- Involved in litigation
Will the real slim shady please stand up
Whether you like it or not, you’re in competition with others who share your name. What they say, do (or don’t do) can impact you if there isn’t a clear distinction between you and them. A name check identifies all genuine people within your name space, and maps out who is who. It gives you an overview of how your identity relates to, intersects with, and stacks up against people with the same name, shared particulars, or similar characteristics such as age group, profession and location.
- How unique is your name?
- What distinguishes you from the others?
- What other characteristics do you share?
- How geographically dispersed are you?
- What are the demographics of “you”?
- How do you rank in search engine results?
- Are others taking your credit?
- Are you being tarnished by others?
Why should you care?
If you were the only John Smith on Earth then you wouldn’t need to care, but chances are that there’s more John Smith’s around than you think – and they’re often closer to home than you’d like. Articles, comments, posts and other content mentioning people rarely include more than the person’s name, and perhaps their general geographic location, the company that they work for and their job title. You’re John Smith, 32 years old, an engineer at Baker Hughes, and Townville’s most eligible batchelor. You’d surely want to know if another John Smith, also a Baker Hughes employee, is facing multiple charges of sexual harassment, or if a 30-something conman going by the name of John Smith is being sought in connection with a string of frauds in the greater Townsville area. Just to illustrate the point, we ran the names of 20 members of staff (chosen at random) through the police’s “most wanted” database and 12 of them share their names with wanted criminals who grew up in the same area as them. 1 shares a name with a once “wanted”, now convicted, child pornographer.
Identity theft, identity squatting, identity extortion, identity fraud and identity assassination are more common than you might think, and they’re not the only threats to your good name, reputation and standing.
Your identity could be compromised by a single act of carelessness, incompetence, human-error, system failure or mistaken identity. And statistically you’re not likely to detect any issue before the damage is done. That is, unless you take proactive steps to safeguard your most personal possession – your identity.
An identity check will establish the integrity of your identity. It will reveal past and present abuses of your personal data, and will enable you to identify potential threats and to take the appropriate corrective or preventative action. An identity check will search for information related to the following:
- Criminal convictions
- Creditor Enquiries
- Retail Accounts
- Bank Accounts
- Social Media Profiles
Why should you care?
Identity theft alone affects approximately 1 in 10 people online. Chances are that if you haven’t already fallen prey to some form of identity theft then someone close to you has. The most common uses of stolen identities are charted below.
- Benefits Fraud 49.2
- Credit Card Fraud 15.8
- Utilities Fraud 9.9
- Bank Fraud 5.9
- Other Crimes 19.2
It isn’t only your identity that is at risk. Its your reputation, credit rating, health and sometimes your marriage, relationships, friendships, career and even your freedom that could be at stake. Recovering from an identity-related crime can be both costly and exhausting. Dealing with government departments, banks, creditors, attorneys, debt collectors and others who are often unsympathetic, can be frustrating and demoralizing. The good news is that identity crimes can be combated with vigilance and discipline when it comes to your personal information. A great start is to take stock of what information is out there for identity thieves and other criminals to find and exploit.
What are your future in-laws or prospective employer going to find if they scratch around online? What skeletons would they unearth if they dig deeper than a Google search on your name?
We conduct searches that are far more comprehensive than anything anyone else is likely to do. We’ll use meta search engines and crawlers to scour the clear/surface web and social networks, and will dive into the dark/deep web to gather data about you from pages that are not discoverable using regular search engines. The scope of an online presence check covers:
- Social networks
- Bulletin Boards
- Public Records
Our report will include “verified data”, “probable match data” and “possible match data” so that you’ve got the most complete picture of what is out there – even data that doesn’t relate to you but that could be mistaken for relating to you.
Why should you care?
It is widely reported that at least 80 percent of employers will dig deeper than a simple web search on your name, with at least one in four employers engaging specialist researchers to learn even more about prospective employees. According to a recent study (Nov 2016) employers ranked the following activities as most likely to affect their hiring decision:
“Inappropriate posts, comments and responses”
“Criticism of jobs, colleagues or customers”
“Unsuitable photos, videos or status updates”
“Inappropriate posts by friends and relatives”
This is pretty much the entry level background check that a company would conduct as part of their pre-employment screening process. It covers the essentials, like your criminal and civil court record, how you handle your finances, your driving record, and others areas of interest to an employer, lender or investor. What it doesn’t do is dig any deeper than your current situation. This type of check is essentially a snapshot of your current state of affairs.
The focus is generally on the following aspects of your current background:
- Identity Verification
- Citizenship/Immigration Status
- Criminal Convictions
- Driver’s License
- Judgements & Orders
- Sequestrations & Liquidations
- Qualification Verification
- Address History
- Employment History
A comprehensive check is probably overkill for most situations. Companies will generally settle for the cheapest background check that answers the most important questions, for example, are you who you claim to be, is your resume accurate, can you be trusted…? These questions can usually be answered with a screening check and an interview. It isn’t often necessary to delve into other aspects of your personal life – especially when it comes to pre-employment screening (unless you’re being vetted for a top secret security clearance). The more comprehensive checks are more commonly requested by future in-laws, prospective business partners and investors, who want to know more about you – particularly the things you’d rather keep secret.
How deep can a background check go?
A background check goes beyond merely determining whether you have a clear criminal and civil court history, a spotless driving record, and that you haven’t exaggerated or fabricated your qualifications or experience. A background check can look into:
- Spouses / Partners
- Domestic Situation
- Standard of Living
- Family Connections
- Political Affiliations
- Social Memberships
- Professional Memberships
- Financial Position
- Transaction History
- Asset Ownership
- Offshore holdings
- Business Ownership
- Compliance & Enforcements
- Pending Legal Action
- Active Investigations
- Arrests & Warrants
- Health & Fitness
- Hobbies & Pasttimes
- Travel History
- Military Service
- Online Activity
- Labour Court History
- CCMA History
- Maintenance Court
The only limiting factors are cost and completion timeframe.