How Can I Protect Myself From A Background Check By Other People?
You may have cleared your job interview with flying colours, but that does not necessarily leads to a final employment letter. A background check is the inevitable road block that stands between you and your job. It is basically a screening of your personal info which includes your criminal history, credit history and past employment history, by potential employers, arms dealers and lenders among others, for verification and security clearance.
Traditional background checks which meant a physical visit to any government agency to procure a copy of a person’s records, have been largely wiped out by the advent of the internet, as over 90% of employers resort to online background check databases maintained by private companies. These sites offer comprehensive info which they claim to have procured from publically available sources.
However, for every progressive phenomenon there is a counter acting regressive phenomena, and the all-knowing internet too is not without its share of malpractices. Most of the background check sites make profit by selling personal info of people that they have acquired from unreliable sources like social media platforms, without the consent of the person to whom it belongs. Needless to say, these info are largely incorrect.
In such a scenario it is essential to protect yourself from these unreliable background checks, for which you can:
- Opt out of background check sites: most sites list incorrect info and do not provide an option for correcting them. The best thing to do is to remove yourself from these sites. However, many of the sites don’t give that option either, and even if they do, it is an endless procedure. Services like “DeleteMe” can save you from the hassle as it removes you from these sites on your behalf.
- Remove yourself from people search websites: the innumerable people search engines act as fodder for these background check websites and removing yourself from them can save you from the repercussions of a misguided background check.
- Rely on anonymity: it is not necessary to provide your authentic personal info every time you sign up for a new website. Reveal your personal info only when it is absolutely necessary and for untrusted websites use of morphed info and aliases will be the wise thing to do.
- Always be on the qui vive: vigilance is highly imperative, think before you leave your personal data somewhere. There is absolutely no need to leave your phone number or email id while filling a feedback form in a mall or a restaurant. As these numbers enter the marketing database and can be used by anyone.
- Use tools that block companies and people from following you online: some tools like “Do Not Track Plus” and IP proxy services like “Tor” help in maintaining anonymity.
- Know what privacy policies state before agreeing to them: we often skip reading the endless privacy policies. A simple ctrl+F search for “third parties” will highlight the companies with which your info will be shared.
- Resort to strict privacy settings on social platforms: use “only friends” settings and disable photo tag suggestions on Facebook to limit your online visibility.