All the information included in the background reports sold by these services is public information. You could, if you had the time and patience, find the information on your own. This is the value background check services provide – they do the legwork for you by using web-scraping software to mine public data or by purchasing information in bulk from companies, like Facebook and Twitter, who require users to agree to terms allowing the company to sell their information. Once the services have the public information, they collate it into a report for easy reading. 
With Sterling’s premier package – Complete Criminal Locator – we use a multi-step locator process to cast a wider net and identify the most likely places to search for criminal records for each candidate. The Complete Criminal Locator is made up of three powerful locator tools – Social Security Number Trace, Enhanced Nationwide, and Locator Select. Together, the locator tools uncover tens of thousands more criminal records than instant database searches alone.
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Sweden is one of the countries with the largest databases of criminal records, containing some of the oldest population statistics in the world. In the past, individuals were prohibited from retrieving information about themselves to prevent being forced by employers or landlords to hand over the information.[93] Yet there have been two notable changes in Swedish regulation of criminal records. In 1989, access was given to employers with the implementation of the 'subject access' paragraph in Swedish criminal records legislation. In 2001, it became mandatory for employers to check criminal records of teachers and childcare workers before they were hired, given the seriousness of sex offences against children.[93] Individuals' criminal history records are today more available to the public than ever before.

A County Criminal Background Check is a powerful tool for uncovering the latest criminal record data in a specified county. CriminalWatchDog.com® will dispatch a licensed investigator to handpick information from courthouse records in any United States county court. County-level searches go back seven years and include felony, misdemeanor and criminal traffic offenses.


In the 21st century, there has been controversy about for-profit data mining companies that harvest much of the electronic booking blotter records from various police authorities[104] nationwide and offer it free on the public Internet and for sale to employers. Though frequently effective at identifying applicants with criminal backgrounds, the mined data does not usually reflect subsequent results of any criminal prosecution, acquittal, or dismissal of charges,[105] and the highly prejudicial nature of such records can damage applicant chances for jobs and other benefits when such records are not in proper context of subsequent prosecutorial result for a hiring manager or recruiter to evaluate. In many cases, records are available for seven years[106] or more beyond acquittals or dismissal of charges. In addition, since arrest records can sometimes be mistakenly matched to individuals with the same or similar names, the prejudicial nature of the available records, particularly violent ones, can negatively affect applicants and candidates in a dramatic way when they otherwise have no actual criminal record.[107]
There is a difference between background checks and criminal history reports. Background checks can include every legal action by an individual, such as getting married or divorced and filing bankruptcy. If there has been an action involving a court, then there is an activity record on file. Criminal records are usually termed as a criminal history and will list any interaction with law officials from the very beginning of an investigation. Even a police report can list specific names. However, these records are not necessarily reported instances and will not show up on a criminal history report unless an arrest was processed. Arrest records are considered criminal reports and will be included in any criminal history unless the record has been sealed from public availability by a judge. 
The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy of that record by submitting a written request to the CJIS Division. The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of rolled-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the current processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to the FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided. See www.FBI.gov for current processing fees and further information, See also Identification Record Request and Guide for Obtaining Your FBI Identification Record; Submitting an Identification Record Request to the FBI.

When people hear “background check,” they usually think about the kind an employer or landlord runs before making a decision. The background check services we reviewed are different from those used to make rental, lending or hiring decisions. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, explained in further detail below, actually makes it illegal to use reports from the background check services we reviewed for any decisions related to potential employees, renters or borrowers. In fact, it would be illegal to use these background check reports to decide on which babysitter to hire.

Each criminal record certificate has two components: the first regarding the individuation of the person and the second consisting of the content of the person's prior criminal acts. Every certificate must contain: information concerning the person's identity including the paternal surname and if they are married, and the final judgement/s passed down by a court. Specifically, Article 574.2 CCrP states that certificates must record:


Since the onset of the financial crisis of 2007–2010, the level of fraud has almost doubled and some experts have predicted that it will escalate further.[9] Background-checking firm Powerchex has claimed the number of applicants lying on their applications has been increasing since the summer of 2007 when the financial crisis began.[10] In 2009, Powerchex claimed that nearly one in 5 applicants has a major lie or discrepancy on his or her application.[11]
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