What if I want to conduct a background check further back than seven years?

You can conduct a background check further back than seven years for items such as previous employment, personal references and in some states, criminal records. However, federal law forbids credit bureaus from reporting credit history older than seven years, with the exception of bankruptcy, which remains on a consumer credit file for 10 years.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a background check report, called a consumer report, cannot contain bankruptcies after 10 years, civil suits, civil judgments and records of arrest from date of entry after seven years, paid tax liens after seven years, accounts placed for collection after seven years, and any other negative information after seven years. In these cases, you would not be able to conduct a background check back further than seven years.

Naturally, an employer can conduct a previous employment background check beyond seven years, although most employers are concerned about relatively recent work performed. In any case, employers are required by federal law to obtain permission by any prospective employee before conducting a background check and must give them the opportunity to access the background report if an adverse hiring decision is made.

If you’re interested in conducting a background check for yourself or someone else, you can do so online. Conducting a background check online is quick and inexpensive and will get you the valuable background information you need.

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