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Background Checks: A Case of Mistaken Identity

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Congratulations! You’ve just had a great interview with a great company for a role that you’ve been dreaming about for years. The only thing left to do is to submit to a background check to make sure that your record is clean and clear. You’re not worried about this step in the pre-employment process though because you’ve never been in trouble with the law, always pay your bills on time, and were an excellent employee at your previous job.

The phone call comes. You didn’t get the job.

When you inquire about what you could have done better, the company informs you that you didn’t pass the background check. You tell them it can’t be right, that there must be a mistake, but it’s too late. The damage is already done.

It’s a case of mistaken identity, and it’s more common than you think. So: what can you do to make sure that this never happens to you?

Why Do Employers Require a Background Check?

You might be wondering why a company would require a background check in the first place. It’s a good question, as most companies in most industries conduct things like, reference checks instead.

Overall, companies that require employees to work with sensitive, confidential information, or children, generally require an extra layer of security screening when it comes to hiring. The industries that generally require a background check include:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Financial  
  • Government
  • Computer & IT

Daycare providers for example, typically work with young children between the ages of 18 months to 5 years. Could you imagine what would happen if these types of employees could skip out on a background check? This is why prospective daycare providers must prove that they don’t have a history of child abuse, neglect or any number of other criminal charges before any daycare will hire them. In addition, once hired, employees must continue to provide background checks every year or so.

What’s the Problem?

While most background checks go off without a hitch, there are some cases where the results don’t actually apply to the individual. The information belongs to someone else with the same name, or similar address . . . and the list goes on.

Any incorrect red flags raised against an individual can really harm their chances of gaining employment. It also prevents companies from hiring the right individual for the role.

The problem starts with whomever the company or individual has hired to conduct the background check. If that person or agency doesn’t know what they’re doing, or is simply scamming people into giving them cash, chances are the results will be disappointing at best.

This is why it is so important as an individual, or as a company, to hire a private investigator, private investigator firm, or private investigation agency. And, not only is it important to hire a professional, it’s important to hire the right professional.

What Can Private Investigators Do?

A good private investigator or private investigation company can provide you, and/or companies, with the correct background check results. You don’t need to worry that the job won’t get done correctly—the first time.

There are two different types of situations where you might find yourself in the need of private investigation background check services when it comes to employment. These include, corporate background checks or personal background checks.

Corporate Background Check

If you are a hiring manager at a company that requires background checks as part of the pre-employment process, it is important to also hire the right private investigator, private investigator firm, or corporate private investigator.

As you can see, you’ve got quite a few options, so choosing the right one for your company is critical. Like anything else, you get what you pay for, so doing your research and interviewing potential candidates or firms is all part of finding the right private investigator to conduct your background checks.

It might be more beneficial to your company to hire a private investigator or private investigation firm for all of the background checks that you require. This way, you can build a relationship that can then extend into other private investigation service areas in case you should need them in the future.

Personal Background Check

If you need to hire a private investigator to provide you with a background check (or any personal investigation services for that matter) for a potential employer, the same, if not similar rules apply. In many cases, volunteering at an educational center, or for government run programs will also require a background check. In these cases, the company will require you to provide one on your own.

What to Look for in a Private Investigator

Whether you are looking for a pre-employment or personal background check, contacting someone who owns a private investigator business, or a private investigation agency for more information will help you to find out whether or not they know their stuff. Asking questions will also help with your search. Some examples of good questions include:

  • How many years have you been working as a private investigator?
  • What are your areas of expertise?
  • Can you provide references?
  • Do you have contract and agreement forms?
  • How much will the background check cost?
  • Where is your office located?

Another way to find out if the private investigator or firm is a good pick is to check out their ratings online. The Smith Investigation Agency, for example, won the Consumer’s Choice Award in 2017 for the best private investigation firm in the GTA (Toronto). You can also check out our reviews, directly on our website, Google or Facebook.

One Final Tip . . .

The one major tip that we can give you is to make sure that whomever you hire (be it a private investigation agency or individual) is or has access to licensed private investigators. Without that license, you are working with an individual or company that isn’t legally allowed to operate! They might offer you a better deal, or try and tell you that they’ve been working in the field long enough not to need one. Either way: if a private investigator doesn’t have a license, don’t work with them.

Mistaken Identity: What Can You Do?

The good news is if you receive a background check that is incorrect in any way, you have the right to file a dispute. You must file a dispute with the private investigation firm or individual that conducted the check.

You must also find out where the error came from. Did the courts issue the wrong name? Or did the credit card company flag the wrong person? Contacting the right source is the only way to truly correct the error.

Want to know more about background checks or your consumer rights? Contact us today at: (647) 479-8474 or

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