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What Is on My Background Check?

A prospective employer, private business or landlord may request your identifying information, including your Social Security number and driver's license, for the purpose of conducting a background check. Information obtained in this way may be used to help decisions relating to employment or eligibility to obtain property, including firearms. Remember, no one may conduct an investigation into your background without your written permission.

Criminal History

Any criminal history relating to misdemeanor and felony level convictions may be included in a background check depending on how wide a search is conducted. According to employment background check company A Matter of Fact, most criminal history checks involve a review of records stored in county court offices. An employer or prospective landlord may also request a review of state criminal records, federal records, international criminal databases and a national warrant check. The broad scope may be needed to ensure you don't have a criminal conviction in another state or another part of the world that would not otherwise show up on a local review of your criminal history.

Credit Information

Your credit report, credit score and information relating to your debts, such as a bankruptcy or repossession, may also be included in your background check. This information may be necessary to verify your eligibility to rent property, including an apartment, or to receive a loan to make a large purchase for a home or automobile. An employer may also use your credit score and information contained in your credit report to gauge your trustworthiness for jobs which are responsible for handling large sums of money, including bank teller and loan clerk positions.

Driving Records

Driving records, including any history of driving privilege suspensions, accidents and current point totals on your driver's license, may appear on your background check. Driving records are necessary for auto insurance companies when determining your insurance premiums and for businesses where you might be expected to drive a company vehicle. If your driving record shows multiple violations, you may not be eligible to work for a company that requires you to operate a motor vehicle as a primary duty of the position.

Employment and Income

Employment history and any income received from state-funded programs, including workers' compensation, may appear on your background check if it is requested. These records may be necessary to verify any gaps in your work history, which is required for some government positions where security clearance is necessary. Employment verification also is used by private companies who are simply looking to make certain you did not misrepresent yourself on your resume or job application. Lying about your work history on an application or resume is considered grounds for termination by most employers around the country.


Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.