When applying for a job, looking for a place to rent or even seeking approval on a loan, a question you might not think to ask yourself is “what are the different ways I can check my criminal record?”
This question is important. If you have experienced some run-ins with the law or if you think your record is sparkly clean, you need to see what your record says about you. This way you can check its accuracy and fix incorrect items appearing on your reports, or take action to address these items when applying for a loan, rental unit or job.
So how do you check your criminal record? There are a couple steps you can take. One is to purchase a copy of your rental history report. This report gives you a thorough background check, listing any records shown under your name and Social Security number. This report also provides you with your credit report, giving you all the information future landlords would see when you apply for an apartment.
Or you can undergo a background check of yourself. There are professional services that handle these kinds of checks, but be wary of anything that might be a scam company. Even a reputable background check company may not be able to provide you with the full reporting information that hiring companies or landlords would want to see. In addition, if you find an error being reported on your background check, the company might not be able to fix the error.
A third option is to just do an Internet search of yourself. Most – but not all – court information is public, and many districts have this information posted online. If you’ve lived in more than one state, you will have to search the records in each state. An online search probably won’t report any arrests or evictions you may have had (unless published in a newspaper for some reason), so this type of search isn’t as complete as a full background check.
It’s a very good idea to check what a loan officer, a landlord or even a hiring manager will see when they do a criminal record check on you. You may think your record is spotless, and be in for a painful surprise if you discover offenses of someone else with the same name appearing on your record.