The act of reviewing both confidential and public information to investigate a person or entity’s history. Background checks are commonly performed by employers to:

  • make sure an employee is who he or she says they are.
  • determine whether an individual has a criminal history that may reflect poorly on the company.
  • confirm information that an applicant included in his or her application for employment.

Extensive background checks can be quite expensive, mainly because of the time and effort required to explore each item in a person or entity’s history. The federal government commonly uses background checks to provide security clearances that some federal positions require.