What Information Can Be Found on a Background Check?

by Diane Stevens; Updated September 26, 2017

From criminal records to financial histories and more, background checks provide a lot of information. Potential employers may require background checks for job applicants. For some positions, such as working with the disabled, the elderly or children, federal or state laws often require background checks. But such investigations cannot be run without your permission.

Criminal Record

Criminal records -- local, county, state and federal -- are among the items researched for a background check. With most court records becoming computerized, finding information on criminal records is becoming easier. If you have had any type of offense, from a traffic ticket to a felony, the investigator will likely learn about it. Depending on the type of offense, such as a traffic violation, results of a drug tests will also be made available.

Financial History

Your credit history includes information on bankruptcy and debts, which will be part of a background check. Background checks turn up judgments against you and liens on your property; they also show whether or not the judgment or lien has been satisfied. Property records reveal if a particular property is owned jointly or individually. Information on loans, including the amount due, and mortgages will also be made known.

Address History

As part of a background check, a search for an address history is often done to learn where the subject of the check has lived the longest. This provides information on what region or state might have the most records on the subject. It could also include interviews with current and former neighbors, landlords and other character references.

Marriage and Divorce History

A search of the subject's marriage and divorce history turns up maiden names, other married names and, perhaps, aliases. Court divorce records, including custody and child support agreements are another component of a background check. Marriage records are used to find names of former spouses who may be sources of additional information.

Other History

A background check will confirm that you previously worked where you say you did. It will also confirm professional licenses that you claim to have and that you graduated from the schools you say you did on job applications. It turns up military records, vehicle registrations and driving history. Each item often leads to additional sources of information, such as a vehicle registration showing joint ownership with a friend or relative.

About the Author

Diane Stevens' professional experience started in 1970 with a computer programming position. Beginning in 1985, running her own business gave her extensive experience in personal and business finance. Her writing appears on Orbitz's Travel Blog and other websites. Stevens holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from the State University of New York at Albany.