Do I have to give consent for a background check on me?

The internet has created a wave of information that allows for individuals to search for almost anything, including your background. With so much information being readily available many people want to know, “Do I have to give consent for a background check to be ran on me?”.


Whether or not you give consent for someone to run your background will depend on who is running it.

For landlords and employers, the answer is YES. The consent form is the most important part of their process. By having you sign a consent form, they are able to use the information reported to them in their hiring or leasing decision. There are many laws and guidelines regarding background checks and depending on which state, or even city you are applying may have an effect on what the employer or landlord may be able to use in their hiring decision.

The other side of the spectrum that must be considered are individuals that have access to the internet. With access to the internet there are 100’s of websites that will allow anyone to search for another persons background. These websites are not reliable and will often report outdated or wrong information. These mostly consist of national databases,  social media, and other places where your personal information may be stored. The one thing that an individual will not be able to access is your credit report. Unfortunately when people search your public background (criminal history, social media) there is no record of that search, therefore you will never know they were searching your background. For example, when someone searches your credit profile, that person or organization is listed at the bottom of your credit report so you will know everyone that has searched for it. This type of confirmation does not exist when searching for criminal history or other personal information. That is why employers and landlords who will be making a decision based on your background, must have in writing that you consent to a background search before they can legally use that information.


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