Background Check Data

For anyone familiar with the websites that provide background check services, it is shocking to see the extent of data those websites hold on anyone. In today’s data-driven world, the voice of privacy advocates has grown louder rapidly. Simultaneously, the news of data breaches caused by various security vulnerabilities or negligence is breaking more frequently. There is seemingly a large market of the data so stolen. This post will explore how personal data on individuals fall into the hands of the background check websites.

Public Records

Many federal and state agencies release several data on public platforms that become accessible to anyone. Such data include legal materials like arrest records and court records. Additionally, if you own a house or land, the ownership information can get made public by the local government agency. In most states, excluding some like Delaware, if you own a business, then the business owner’s information is also made public. Such data released by the local, state, and federal government agencies become a part of the public records. The background check websites spend millions to compile those data and aggregate them centrally. While this is a challenging task, the money they make by selling these collected profiles makes it worthwhile; therefore, the public records remain the most significant data source for the background check websites.

Data Breaches

The data breaches affecting large organizations with millions of customers are becoming more frequent. The main reason behind such a breach is the value of the data that the breaches compromise. “Data is money” is a very commonly heard phrase, and it is quite right. The data collected through the breaching of systems get purchased at hefty prices. Such a reward encourages the breachers to scavenge, which results in more breaches. Because the background check websites make millions of dollars every year, it would not be surprising if they are involved in selling and purchasing such data. A recently released article listed the companies which are engaged in buying and selling of consumer data. There were quite a few background check companies listed there. The source of the data they purchase and sell is not clear.

Your Trusted Business

The businesses you deal with collect much data from you. They have your e-mail address, phone number, addresses, bank or credit card information, and other information that you have chosen to give them voluntarily. By law, each business must have a privacy policy explaining what data they collect and what they use it for; however, regulating their data practices is not feasible. Due to this, many companies opt to sell your data to third-party businesses for research or various reasons. In most cases, if you carefully read through the privacy policy, the reputed companies openly admit this practice. There have been initiatives to regulate how businesses handle data more strictly. The examples of this are GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California. Despite these regulations, it is not easy to know where those data are going to, and one destination could undoubtedly be the background check websites.

The discussed sources are the most common ways the background check websites get your data from. If there is any other data source that you would like to share, please comment on it.

By David Simpson

David is a contributor writer for Background Check Wiki who specializes in various background check services.

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