An increasing number of employers, particularly in the U.S. and European countries, carry out background checks on prospective employees and job seekers. A background check involves looking up of past records including criminal records, commercial records and financial records, of the individual. These checks are used as a means of evaluating a job candidate’s qualifications, character, fitness, and to identify potential hiring risks for safety and security reasons. However, these checks may sometimes be used for illegal purposes, such as employment discrimination, identity theft, and violation of privacy.
Background checks are usually administered by government agencies and sometimes private companies. Many commercial sites also offer specific searches to employers for a fee. Services like these will actually perform the checks, supply the company with adverse action letters, and ensure compliance throughout the process.
Background checks are not necessarily a bad thing, and can even be beneficial in certain cases. For instance, background check on housekeepers is important to ensure that the person you are leaving your keys to can be trusted. A child care facility checking criminal histories before hiring a staff person is necessary. Similarly, driving records would be important to a school looking to hire a bus driver.
However, the records compiled on individuals often contain personal information that shouldn’t be anybody’s business, such as records of births and deaths, marriages and divorces, addresses, phone numbers, businesses owned and property ownership, voter registration etc. The disturbing fact is that many of these records are publicly available. And sometimes these records can go back by as many as twenty years offering anybody an astounding history of an individual’s personal life.
Taking advantage of these public records, a number of Web based companies have started purchasing U.S. public records data and selling it online. These third-parties make regular use of public records to compile profiles on millions of people, many of which are simple law-abiding citizens, and make these easily accessible to anyone at the click of a mouse.
However, you can take relief from the fact that most of these background check sites offer options for individuals to remove their records from the site’s database.
Recently, a Reddit user compiled a list of popular background check sites and provided links to instructions on removal procedures from these sites. I have taken the liberty to reproduce the list here.
First, search the site to make sure you’re listed. They usually have your legal name, aliases, age, current and previous addresses, and family members, but anyone can pay to see more. If you see yourself listed, follow the instructions given on their opt-out page the links for which are given below.
Intelius.com: Opt-out. Requires some form of ID such as a state issued ID like a drivers license. It is advised to black out your picture and drivers number, leaving your name, address and DOB visible.
MyLife.com: To request that a Member Profile or Public Profile be deleted, contact Customer Care at 1-888-704-1900 or contact them by email at [email protected]. Upon receipt of these requests, and confirmation that you are requesting that your own profile be removed, MyLife can take 10 business days to complete this removal. They may contact you to validate that you are the profile owner requesting the removal. (more info)
Zabasearch.com: Opt-out. Requires some form of ID such as a state issued ID like a drivers license.
BeenVerified.com: Email [email protected] with the following template:
Dear Been Verified Customer Support:
a. First name:
b. Last name:
c. Middle initial:
d. Aliases & AKA’s:
e. Current address:
Thank you for your assistance.
USSearch.com: Opt-Out. Requires some form of ID such as a state issued ID like a drivers license.
PeopleFinders.com: Opt-Out form that you have to mail in
PeopleLookup.com: Opt-Out removal instruction.
USA-People-Search.com: Opt-Out form that you have to mail in
Spoke.com: Opt-Out. Scroll down to ‘Access and Correction Section’ section
PublicRecordsNow.com: Opt-out. Scroll down to ‘How We Protect Your Personal Information’ section.
DOBSearch.com: Opt-out removal instruction.