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January 25, 2023

Background Checks and False Criminal Records: What You Need to Know

Background checks help employers learn more about potential employees. People also use background checks to verify someone's identity, so getting accurate results is important. Unfortunately, background checks may contain the wrong information or even a false criminal record.

The good news is that you don't have to panic if a background check comes with a criminal record. There are a few things you can do to have false records removed. Furthermore, we'll show you how to run a background check on yourself so you can be prepared.

What Is a Background Check?

Background checks are run by employers, government agencies, and even by individuals. A background check is a process of verifying someone's identity. Most background checks will verify someone's social security number, criminal record, and educational background. Some background checks may also look into your driving records or require statements from friends/family.

What Are the Most Common Background Check Errors?

Background check errors happen more than you think. Unfortunately, thousands of people every year are surprised by false information on their records. Knowing the most common background check errors will help you keep an eye on important information.

The most common background check errors include:

  • Incorrect criminal records or crime reports
  • Information that's outdated on a background check
  • Records that are supposed to be sealed but never got sealed
  • An identity error
  • Stolen identity

These are the most common issues that appear in background checks. Keep an eye on their parts of the process to prepare yourself if there's an issue.

What Are the Red Flags on a Background Check?

Several things will cause you to fail a background check. Some factors that cause failure may also depend on the industry you work in. For example, truck drivers or people applying for CDLs will fail a driving record check if they have a DUI or too many traffic violations.

The other red flags include the following:

  • Criminal records (felonies)
  • Jail time
  • Sex offender status
  • Credit history
  • Lying about identity
  • Falsifying education records

Depending on the company, other factors may also cause you to fail a background check.

How Often Are Background Checks Wrong?

Background checks are about 99.7% or 99.9% accurate. When you calculate the numbers based on the number of people who apply for work each year (according to 2021 statistics) up to 10,000 applicants are impacted annually.

That may seem like a small number when you compare that to millions of workers, but it can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, many people don't even know that they fail a background check when they don't get the job.

How to Handle False Records on a Background Check

Handling false records on a background check needs to be done with care and precision. You need to act fast and know what information is wrong before contacting your employer or the background check company. For this reason, we always recommend running a background check on yourself before disputing a background check.

Run a Background Check on Yourself

It's important to run a background check on yourself before you apply for a job. Additionally, if a job comes back and says that you have a criminal record, you'll want to see what they're talking about. For this reason, it's important to use a reliable background check tool like has a criminal records lookup that will help you verify your background. All you need is your name, address, phone number, and the city you live in. Then, search for yourself and open the full report.

When you open your full report with you'll find the following information:

  • Full name
  • Criminal records
  • Court records
  • Traffic records
  • Sex offender status
  • Email addresses
  • Addresses
  • Social Media profiles
  • Phone (News - Alert) numbers

Depending on your background you may find more or less information. Employers can also use to verify information if something from another background check company doesn't match.

Dispute the Background Check

Disputing the background check once you know what's incorrect is the best way to handle false records. When you dispute the background check, you let the employer know that you're serious about the opportunity and that information they have is wrong.

To dispute a background check you'll have to contact the organization that did the background check. Most companies will have a form on their website, but you might have to speak with someone via phone or email. To have false records removed you'll have to submit proof that they're wrong.

Before disputing a background check make sure you identify the issue. Check to see if it's a credit history error, criminal records error, or a different type of error. Knowing exactly where the issue is will help you dispute the background check. This is why we recommend running a backup check on yourself with

Contact Your Potential Employer

When your background check comes back with false information the first person you should call is the recruiting manager. Make sure you tell them that the background check is incorrect and that you don't have a criminal record.

Most employers will give you a chance to prove that the records are false. If you have proof that the records are false and you have the actual records, provide them to your potential employer.

Get the Answers You Need with

Background checks aren't always accurate and there may be some mistakes. Most mistakes are clerical errors, so they're not too difficult to dispute. Just make sure you speak with your employer and follow the instructions to dispute false records with the background check company.

The only time this process gets complicated is when it's a criminal record. In this case, you'll have to contact your local law enforcement agency for more clarification.

That said, we always recommend running a background check on yourself with to avoid these types of problems before you apply. will show you what appears on your background check, so you can fix it before it gets to your potential employer.

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