How much personal information should your employer, friends and associates have access to in order for you to earn a living and participate in various activities? This question is being given serious thought today as the government continues to stress the importance of each individual doing their part to protect national security. Individuals who have worked for the government, financial and educational institutions are familiar with criminal background checks, but for most people, the idea of being the subject of a criminal background check is a completely new experience.

There are many factors influencing the change in attitude toward security and in turn, having information about the people and organizations we interact with. Illegal weapons, drug trafficking and money laundering, are just a few of the criminal activities that can committed not only individuals, but companies as well. With growing economic, social and political pressures mounting, people have begun to realize that in truth, appearances can be deceiving.

While most people certainly would not feel comfortable working along side a person with a criminal history that shows they could possibly cause them physical harm, if the person is completely unaware of this fact, they are placed at a disadvantage. However, knowing that a person has a criminal record is by no means justification for discrimination or harassment. If a criminal background check reveals that a person was convicted for a crime, but it was not a felony, then the employer must evaluate if the history has any relevance to the employment of that person and act accordingly to protect their interests.

In the years preceding the development of Internet technology, a person completing an application for employment may have had to disclose if they had ever been convicted of a felony. If their answer was affirmative, then the employer had the option to investigate further or to deny employment. Very frequently, the purpose of question was circumvented by the person concealing this information, placing the employer at a disadvantage, and unfortunately in the past, most employers, pressed for time in operating their business, did not have the means to verify the information.

The situation is very different today, with reports of identity theft, corporate crime and acts of terror increasing at an alarming rate, criminal background checks are becoming a routine part of our lives. Over the past few years, employers are becoming acutely aware of the risks involved for their company and employees, of employing an individual with a criminal history, due to the many incidents of irate employees turning violent and causing serious physical injury and property damage. In many of these cases, a criminal background check may have prevented the incident from taking place.

Situations such as these has led to rapid growth in the security industry, particularly in the area of electronic surveillance, information technology and their associated forensic science applications. in particular, the companies on the Internet that have created relationships with various federal, state governmental and law enforcement agencies has provided employers and individuals with access to personal information about an individual, including criminal records. If you were to use the traditional method of requesting a California criminal background check, the process could take days or weeks. The Internet has made it possible for individuals to obtain an instant California criminal background check whenever they require this information.

However, in the case of immigrants, the situation is much more complicated. Cooperation in obtaining a criminal record between domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies around the world is not as simple as one might expect. And employers take a serious risk when they employ an illegal alien or undocumented worker. While these individuals may work for a lower salary than an American citizen might accept, their employment also exposes the business to the possibility of criminal activity or serious legal problems if the person is arrested for being in the United States illegally.

While the general principle is that a person who has been convicted of a crime and served their sentence is entitled to resume their life to a certain extent, when this individual is seeking employment, their criminal record should be disclosed. However, this is not always the case, because of the stigma that is attached to a criminal conviction. This situation has led many employers to regularly perform criminal background checks on prospective employees. There have been many protests by organizations that work to protect the civil rights of individuals who claim that discrimination is at work in some cases, where the criminal conviction has been disclosed and the person has been refused employment, even when there is no threat to the company involved.

However, since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, employers and business owners who operate businesses where their products or services can be used in criminal acts have been compelled to perform criminal background checks to protect themselves from arrest as well as anyone who may be affected by the persons activities.

Requesting a criminal background check is a fairly easy process for employers, who have an inherent right to obtain information about a prospective employee. In addition, business owners who operate companies where security is an issue, for instance, vehicle rental, also have the right to this information. As the circumference of methodology in committing criminal acts widens, so does the need for more sophisticated means of security. However, an employer should disclose whether or not a criminal background check is required.

Beyond the scope of employment, criminal background checks are becoming required in many states for a variety of reasons, for instance, to obtain a drivers license or to purchase of a gun. On a personal level, due the increase of domestic violence, cyber stalking and fraud, many men and women are also requesting criminal background checks on their prospective mates. There have been many reported instances by people who made initial contact through the Internet discovering too late that they are dealing with a person who has a criminal history.

Performing an online criminal background check is probably the easiest route, the Internet companies that operate the databases in cooperation with federal and state authorities update them regularly. However, every state has the discretion as to how much information they disclose. This can range from simply verifying that an individual was convicted of a crime to the nature of the crime, when they were convicted, the term of their sentence and where they were imprisoned. For most purposes, verification of a conviction is sufficient. However, there are cases where addition information is required, for instance if there is suspicion of identity theft, a cross reference to the time and place where the person was imprisoned may prove helpful in resolving the issue.

The fact that anyone can request an instant criminal background check on anyone now is definitely a sign of the times we live in, where security has become a crucial issue for everyone. A criminal background check starts with the name and Social Security number of the individual. In the United States, every person is required to have a Social Security number in order to obtain employment. This number becomes the common denominator in record keeping for private organizations and governmental agencies. Many people are unaware of the system that is used in the issuance of Social Security numbers, if and when this person uses a fraudulent number when they complete an application for any of these organizations, when the number is cross referenced to any information database, the fraud will be discovered.

Using the internet to perform an online criminal background check is still in the developmental stage. A uniform code for the way each state organizes this type of information has not been established at this point, although there are organizations pressing for legislature to this effect. Currently there are several states that have chosen not to make this information available on the Internet.

For instance, if you want to perform an Iowa criminal background check, you may find that this state requires these types of requests to be made in writing. This may be because they do not have the resources necessary to make this information available online. However, if you were requesting a Florida criminal background check, you might have to contact the local authorities in that state for the appropriate forms to obtain this information. Even when this is the case, you may find that the information about the process of conducting a criminal background check that is available through the online services enlightening.

In addition, proof of your identity and reason for the inquiry may be requested. Some of other information that you may be asked to supply about the individual to perform a criminal background check are:

. date and place of birth
. previous and current addresses
. other names the person may have used
. last place of employment
. date of marriage/divorce
. name of spouse
. military service
. driver license number
. name of mother/father
. name of college attended

The fees for obtaining an instant criminal background check online will vary according to which service you choose. The depth of information that you will have access to will also depend on the operations and affiliations that each of these services have in place. Employers in large corporations may use several of these services and cross reference the information when they need to conduct criminal background checks on individuals from several different states. It is not uncommon for an employers to request a Florida criminal background check because this is the state where the business is located and a California criminal background check because this is the state from where the applicant relocated and an Iowa criminal background check because this is the state where the person was born and raised.

The security of ourselves and our property is a right that most of us take for granted – until either one of these are threatened. Then most of us are completely caught off-guard, as to what legal recourse we have in this type of situation. In this age of technology, having the appropriate information about your identity is vital in order to safeguard your affairs. If you live in an environment where there is a high incidence of criminal activity, this includes identification and security methods for your property as well.

Many of us are concerned about the companies we work for, the people we associate with and how both of these factors impact our status. It may sound strange that most people fail to realize that this is true about themselves as well. And the first person most people should investigate is themselves-to know what information is accessible to people and if it is accurate or not.

The information contained in a criminal background check is not the only report that is important to review in terms of protecting your identity and privacy. Credit reporting agencies have put their databases online where you can view your current credit report. Checking for inaccuracies in this report is important for many cases, identity theft begins by someone obtaining enough personal information about you to acquire a credit card in your name. Credit card debt is not a matter to be taken lightly, disputing the charge can only be done if you know about it and it is best to do this as soon as you discover the fraudulent charge.

With more of our sensitive information stored electronically, you should be aware by now that there are some criminals who have become extremely adept in the computer skills need for hacking into these databases. Recently there have been several news stories reporting how a major credit reporting agency and a banking institution both reported that their databases had been compromised. This underscores the importance of keeping hard copies of your important documents, with the originals in a safe place outside of your home or office, if possible. Create a record of all of your financial transactions and cross reference them with your credit card statements regularly to check for irregularities.

It is worth noting that even if everything is in order on your credit report as far as financial charges, you should pay attention to the section that lists credit inquiries. Make sure that you gave your authorization to all the parties listed, if not, report the party to the credit reporting agency as well as the regulatory agencies for privacy protection.

If you have never been convicted of a crime, then why would you perform a criminal background check on yourself? To verify what information would be given to anyone who requested this information. Keep in mind that there are offenses that can escalate to criminal status if they are not rectified. Further, there have been cases where a conviction was overturned, but this information was not added to the file and the individual suffered as a result. In the criminal justice systems there are many conditions that affect how information about a person is recorded. Records can be sealed, expunged after a certain time or corrected to reflect these conditions. Having a clear picture of your information is the first step in making the necessary adjustments in your situation.

When you have a name that is popular like Jane Smith or John Brown, keep in mind that there may be many individuals with this name living in the United States or even in your state. If you should happen to find indications that could cause you to be identified as another person, contact the agency where the information is on file and supply the documentation to have the information corrected.

The process of conducting a thorough criminal background check can take some time, however this is a worthwhile investment, whether your goal is simply to know what personal information about your life is accessible, to determine whether or not a person is suitable to be employed at your company or whether or not a person is who they present themselves to be. Whether we are pleased or not about this situation, the fact still remains that in todays society, you may be the subject of a criminal background check. When you take a proactive approach to the reality that others have access to your personal information, by embracing the process as a means to protect your person and property you will be able to manage your affairs with a certain amount of confidence in relation to your work, family and social life.