You’ve probably heard the terms “background check” and “background investigation” used interchangeably. In fact, while the concept is generally the same between the two, the actual process and ultimate outcome are actually quite different. Let’s take a closer look at each of these activities, what’s involved and how they differ.
These are most often conducted for employment purposes. An employer may do a check to find out more about a job candidate. The problem with background checks is that there’s little to no regulation surrounding them. There are literally dozens of different databases containing various degrees of information, from previous employment history to educational background to basic criminal data. These databases pull from public records and the results they return may or may not be complete or accurate. I.e the information obtained in a background check is not personally verified. As a client, you can take the report as is and verify it yourself, or have Peak Investigations do the verification for you.
Unlike background checks, background investigations delve much deeper into a person’s past. While this type of research also begins with public records, it also involves accessing records that aren’t necessarily readily available to the general public. This includes court records, criminal repositories, regulatory filings, property records, corporate documents, UCC filings and more. A detailed background investigation may also involve interviews of various sources, such as former employers or neighbors.
Furthermore, once all the necessary information has been gathered, the investigator will then scour the records to identify any inconsistencies, omissions, false statements, fraud or any other red flags that may require additional digging. Through all of this, a clearer more accurate picture of a person’s history will come into view.
In other words, background investigations are much more in-depth and comprehensive than background checks, which typically only scratch the surface when it comes to fact-finding.
Which One is Right?
Figuring out which type of assessment you need will depend on what the purpose of the assessment is. If you’re looking for basic info and are on a tight budget, a simple background check might be sufficient. For other situations, such as vetting candidates for employment or even verifying applicants for rental properties, a more exhaustive search might be wiser. That way you can avoid doing business with someone who may not have your best interest in mind.
Are you in need of information about a certain person – perhaps an applicant for that executive position in your corporation? Don’t take chances. Give us a call at 602-341-3703 and let us help you make the most informed decision.
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