Running a Background Check on Yourself
March 7, 2007 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Are there any legit online background check services?

A friend of mine is currently a teacher at a charter school. He would like to apply for a job at another charter school, but he is concerned about school #2 running a cheap online background check and negative results not only costing him the new job, but possibly getting back to school #1 (likely--lots of cross-pollination). He has an incident from 2002 that, though it resulted in no conviction (and he has documentation that no conviction or admission of guilt was rendered), could simply look bad (possession). It did cause some problems when he renewed his driver's license 3 years ago, but he hired a lawyer at that point who apparently straightened the matter out. But, since these schools aren't unionized, teachers don't have tenure, etc., he could potentially lose his job at school #1 for even the slightest suspicious incidents in his history.

So he is considering running a preemptive background check on himself to see what comes up. That way, he'll know what could come up and he can make an educated decision as to whether it's worth it to take the chance and apply to job #2. He is aware that online background checks are not terribly accurate, but he suspects that this is the method the schools would employ (for various reasons).

He is, however, wary of providing his name and SSN to a company that is, essentially, a data mining company. This wariness is the result of some articles he's read, his libertarian tendencies, and general common sense. Do any of you have any experience (good or bad) with companies such as Zabasearch, PeopleFinder, or Intelius? Or could you recommend another similar service? He's looking for a (relatively) cheap service that he won't regret doing business with. Many thanks in advance.
posted by jessicak to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have used Intelius (with the written consent of the prospective employees under consideration) to vet potential nursing assistants to care for my mother, and have been generally pleased with the quality of the results.

I ran my own background as a control and the information retrieved was accurate in all material respects (the dates I had lived at one address were slightly off.)
posted by enrevanche at 6:57 AM on March 7, 2007

IANAL, but, if he works in Massachusetts, it would be illegal for either school to seek his arrest record or to use it in job-related decision-making since he was not convicted.

Doesn't mean they won't, of course.
posted by backupjesus at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2007

We use ScreenNow with the people's permission, and it works well.

Yeah, they are really ChoicePoint who fell victim to a gigantic identify theft, but they seem to have really tightened up. They even had to send a person to our physical location to verify that we exist.
posted by 4ster at 1:34 PM on March 7, 2007

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