Can You Fail a Background Check?

Job application fraud costs US corporations up to $600 billion dollars per year. That’s a massive amount of money – and as a result, background checks that confirm any and all information presented are now standard. Unfortunately, it can be hard to know why you may fail a background check, or what you can do to improve the odds in your favor.

In this article, we’ll set the record straight. We’ll explain how you can fail a background check, what you can do to help yourself, and which services you can use to pre-screen yourself for a preview of what employers see when they look you up. We’ll start by covering key features any background checking service you use should have.

What makes a great background checking service?

There are lots of background checking sites out there, all claiming to the best. Sure, there are many great options, but there are many more which would be happy to collect your payment, personal data, and search data, only to give little in return. Top-notch services are without exception governed by the following criteria:

  • Research quality – hiring the wrong person can cost your business large sums of money. You need to be able to rely on the results of any background check service you use. To that end, the quality of the research they’re working with is of utmost importance.
  • Report appearance and quality – the report you get from your background check should be easy to read, comprehensive, and chockful of useful data. Steer clear of providers with wishy-washy reports that don’t look presentable.
  • Search speed – it’s important that you get your search results quickly and without any unnecessary effort. Response times can and do vary from service to service, but as a rule of thumb, the most advanced searches shouldn’t take more than a few days. Basic ones should take minutes.
  • Custom searches – being able to personalize your search to include the exact information you need is a common and useful feature. If a provider doesn’t offer it, consider going with someone else. The last thing you want is a report full of information you have no use for.
  • Website dashboard – a dashboard can make or break your user experience. Look for ones that are easy-to-use, well-designed, and optimized for you to find all the information you need quickly and easily.
  • Mobile apps – leading services have apps for iOS, Android, or both. In the absence of these, look for responsive websites that replicate the look and feel of an app without asking you to install anything.
  • Customer support availability – live customer support is the best possible option, since it gives you the chance to get answers to your questions immediately. In its absence, look for customer support available at regular working hours. Services without support are safe to ignore.

Top recommended background checking sites

With the above features in mind, let’s take a look at some specific providers you can (and should) use to run background checks.

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified is one of the oldest and most trusted names in the business. At the basic payment tier, you’ll get results from criminal records, financial records, public social media data, and other personal information from around the Internet. This is enough to let you know if you’re liable to fail a background check in all but the most advanced scenarios. One exception, however, is federal and military jobs. If you want to work for the government, for the military, or for any organization with tight controls – think research centers, laboratories, private clinics – you might want the advanced data sources too. With these, you may want the advanced features that look through gun records, professional licenses, and other more specific sources.

In terms of design, BeenVerified is strong on all fronts. The web dashboard is intuitive. Even people with low IT skills can quickly make any search they need, including a custom search. Once they do, the results are easy to skim and look through thanks to a handy, convenient web page design. The reports themselves are excellent at packing a lot of information into very little space. They are beautiful enough that you can print them out for office or home use and are one of BeenVerified’s selling points. The best part is that you can get these reports using iOS and Android mobile apps, both of which are native. Last but not least there’s outstanding customer support, available during off-hours, should you ever have any questions about the background checking service.

BEST IN CLASS: Worried about an upcoming background check? Get prepared with BeenVerified. Subscriptions available to our readers at discounted rates.

2. TruthFinder

TruthFinder is another two-tier background checking service. With a basic membership, you’ll be able to see someone’s criminal records, driving records, possible photos, and some social media activity. This is enough to get an accurate preview of what an individual or organization will see when checking your background. Unless you’re applying to work in medicine, manufacturing, the army, or a federal organization, this is more than enough to see if you’ll fail a check or not. If you do want to be more thorough, there’s a number of more advanced features, too. For example, TruthFinder’s advanced features can look through years of social media activity and deep-web information that’s usually invisible to Google and human users. These can help replicate more thorough checks performed by security-first organizations.

TruthFinder’s dashboard design is convenient and natural. We found that most users can enjoy the service without having to look at the instructions for it. Making custom searches that look at the specific information sources you want to prioritize is a breeze as well. Once you’re done choosing the filters you want to apply, start the search and get your reports in a matter of seconds (in most cases). The reports themselves are clearly presented and labeled, with a lot of information contained in a small number of pages every time. Customer support is 24/7, with operators who tend to be both knowledgeable and polite. Last but not least, there’s an Android app and an excellent responsive website for smartphone and tablet users.

3. Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate‘s basic subscription rate allows you to dig up criminal records, marriage and divorce records, relatives’ details, addresses, and more. This should be enough to help you predict whether you’ll fail a background check or not. If you do feel you need a little more diligence, however, you can pay extra to get information about financial history, driving licenses, and weapons licenses. There’s even a reverse phone lookup service that lets you get detailed information on someone based on their phone number. Between the basic and advanced options, figuring out whether you’ll fail a background check or not is straightforward. Whatever you choose, you can count on getting your results in an expedient fashion.

Outside of the basic features, Instant CheckMate is full of valuable extras. There’s an app for Android phones, available from that respective app store. If you use iOS devices or another mobile operating system, there’s a beautiful responsive mobile website that works well with any browser and operating system on the market. Reports are beautifully designed and instantly scannable no matter how much or how little information is in them. Customer support is available around the clock, and is helpful and quick to respond. There’s even a toll-free number for US residents so you never have to worry about making expensive calls to another state.

4. Intelius

Want to know if you or someone else will fail an upcoming background check? Then Intelius is one way to find out. It looks through someone’s background based on criminal records, sex offender lists, credit histories, property records, and more. Since these are the main data points used in scoring background checks, this will give you a solid idea of what third parties will see as well. In terms of other service fundamentals, you’ll be glad to know that the web dashboard is both intuitive and rich in features. You can customize your search, you can find the results you need easily, and looking at past searches only takes a couple of clicks.

Intelius will gather the most relevant data into a single comprehensive report, and make it read logically and clearly so you can interpret your results instantly. This is also true when you’re using the iOS and Android apps that the brand offers. No matter which version of the service you’re using, the reports you get are clear, concise, and pleasant to look at. Even if you do find that you need any extra help, customer support is always available (24/7) to help you make sense of any potential issues.

How does one fail a background check?

There are several common ways to fail a background check. The first and most obvious one is to have a crime that directly stops you from taking on the job you want. For example, sex offenders can’t work in any organization that deals with children. People with criminal backgrounds pointing to violent crimes or abuse won’t be allowed to work with anyone that’s considered vulnerable and may be relegated to jobs with minimal human contact. People who’ve committed crimes of any kind won’t be allowed to work high-security clearance jobs, especially in sectors adjacent to federal and military organizations. Depending on the severity and age of your crime, exceptions can happen – many states let people seal minor crimes that happened years ago – but that’s the rule of thumb.

Another major problem is falsifying experience and qualifications. As a rule, you won’t be penalized (or even notified) if employers discover you added a few percents to your salary or extended your actual tenure by a few months. But any flat-out lies, as well as falsehoods that call your ability to do a job into question, are likely to lead to a terminated job application. This also applies to job-related qualities. If you want to work a job in the security sector, or a private company with military connections, a dishonorary discharge will be a problem – especially if you try to conceal it. The same goes for a poor credit score and the financial sector. Honesty really is the best policy here.

Why run a self-check?

It can be difficult to mitigate the damage of a blemished permanent record. While there’s usually no way to hide or erase your history, coming prepared to explain certain parts of it can give you a leg up. Generally, you shouldn’t seek to place blame, and instead take responsibility for your part in the situation. Demonstrate how you’ve taken steps to correct or otherwise make amends for your mistake, and give evidence of how you’ve incorporated the lessons learned into living a better life.

This is not a guaranteed pass, but prospective employers, landlords, creditors, etc. are all people too, and generally take transparency as a positive personal point in considering your application and background test results. The key is, however, knowing ahead of time just what the talking points are likely to be. This is where running a background check on yourself is invaluable.

A final note of caution, if you have multiple blemishes on your record, don’t go out of your way to volunteer every negative point. Let your interviewer prompt you to explain the points they’re most concerned with. What you might consider a potential deal breaker might not matter as much to your interviewer. Of course, the opposite could also be true, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Conclusion

That’s it, you now have the tools you need to look into your public record. The information you find can help you to better prepare for interviews, loan applications, licenses, leases, and more. While it is always possible that past mistakes may cause you to fail the background check run by your interviewer, having time to prepare for their questions and concerns can make the difference between success and rejection.

Have you ever failed a background check? What advice can you share from that experience? Or, have you been able to successfully reframe your past mistakes so they weren’t dealbreakers? Let us know how in the comments below.

Read Can You Fail a Background Check? by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Here We Go Again: 127 Million Accounts Stolen From 8 More Websites

Keys in a lock
HAKINMHAN/Shutterstock.com

Several days ago, a hacker put 617 million accounts from 16 different websites for sale on the dark web. Now, the same hacker is offering 127 million more records from another eight websites.

As TechCrunch reports, the eight new websites are:

Houzz (57 million), YouNow (40 million), Ixigo (18 million), Stronghold Kingdoms (5 million), Roll20 (4 million), Ge.tt (1.8 million), PetFlow (1 million), Coinmama (450,000)

The hacker is selling all the data together for about $14,500 worth of Bitcoin. Anyone who has that much cash can buy it.

If you have an account on any of these websites—or any of the other websites that have been compromised—you’ll want to change your password right now. The same is true if you used a password on one of these websites and reused it elsewhere. That’s why you shouldn’t reuse passwords across multiple websites. We recommend using a password manager to remember all those strong, unique passwords for you.

RELATED: Change Your Passwords: 617 Million Accounts Were Stolen Across 16 Different Sites

Windows 10 Will Finally Offer Easy Access to Linux Files

Ubuntu and openSUSE shortcuts in Windows 10's Start menu

Windows 10’s April 2019 Update brings a long-awaited feature: Support for easily accessing, viewing, and even modifying Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) files from File Explorer or via the command line.

Previously, it was possible to find your Linux files in your AppData folder, but Microsoft warns against that. Modifying files here would break things. Now, there’s an easier, official way to access these files with Windows tools—without the risk of breaking anything!

Microsoft’s Craig Loewen explains how it works: Rather than accessing these files directly, Windows runs a Plan 9 server as part of the WSL software in the background. Windows 10 has “a Windows service and driver that acts as the client and talks to the Plan9 server.” That server translates your file operations and handles Linux metadata such as file permissions, ensuring everything works properly even when you access a file with a Windows tool. But that’s just the complicated stuff that happens in the background, and you don’t have to think about it.

You can open a File Explorer window directly in the current directory from within a Linux shell environment. Just type the following command into the Bash shell:

explorer.exe .

You can work with files normally from here. Use drag and drop, copy and paste them, or even open them directly in Windows applications to modify them.

A Linux home directory in File Explorer
Microsoft

Microsoft may change how this works in the future. But, for now, you can also type following path into an Explorer window to access a Linux distribution’s files:

\\wsl$\<running_distro_name>\

In other words, if you’re running Ubuntu’s Bash shell, you’d type:

\\wsl$\Ubuntu\

This also works from the command line, of course. In PowerShell or the Command Prompt, the command cd \\wsl$\Debian\ changes to the root directory of your installed Debian system.

Linux files displayed in PowerShell
Microsoft

Read the remaining 4 paragraphs

How to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 10

Internet Explorer is still around but no one cares. Not even Microsoft. It has another browser that it pushes on to Windows 10 users i.e., Edge and that browser is already being revamped. It’s highly unlikely that you use it but it may still be on your system. It’s not doing anything. Unlike Edge, there are no Windows 10 features that rely on it which is why you may want to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 10.

Remove Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer can be removed from the Control Panel. Open the Control Panel and click on Programs. On the Programs screen, click Turn Windows features on or off.

This will open a list of the Windows Features installed on your system. Go through it, and you will find Internet Explorer 11. By default, it’s going to be checked which indicates that it’s installed. Uncheck it, and click OK.

You will get an on-screen alert telling you that removing Internet Explorer 11 might break some and ask you to confirm that you want to remove it. Click Yes and it will be uninstalled. It will take a while to uninstall and once it does, you will need to restart your system. Once your system restarts, Internet Explorer will be gone.

If you ever need to get it back, for whatever reason, you can. The process is simple; open Control Panel and go to Programs. Click the same ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ option, and from the list of options, check the box next to Internet Explorer and click OK. Windows 10 will install the browser and again, you will need to restart your system for the change to be applied.

Internet Explorer 11 isn’t even the default browser on Windows 10 when you install it. It’s there because it’s always been there. It’s a part of Windows and even though Windows 10 has more users than Windows 7 now, that wasn’t always the case. A lot of websites still only work properly in this browser which is why it’s still there. No feature that Microsoft adds to Windows 10 relies on Internet Explorer to work. It either uses Cortana, or it uses Edge.

Microsoft may eventually deprecate the browser however, that may not happen soon. Deprecating a browser, particularly one that has been the stock browser on a major operating system for over fifteen years isn’t the same as deprecating the Paint app. Many users still rely on this browser. It may not be the safe or sensible thing to do but people still use it.

Read How to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enter BIOS Restore mode on PC

When you buy a new laptop or a desktop system, it comes with the BIOS pre-configured. You may or may not have an operating system installed but the BIOS is definitely configured before hand. For the most part, you won’t ever need to change the BIOS. You might change the settings a bit or you might perform a BIOS reset and return it to its factory settings. There are exceptions to this though. Your BIOS can be corrupted and you may need to restore it. There are two ways to restore  theBIOS but both require that you enter the BIOS restore mode. Here’s how.

BIOS Restore mode

As mentioned, there are two methods for restoring the BIOS. You can restore it from the recovery partition on your system if it supports it, or you can create a restore disk and restore from it. In either case, booting to your BIOS will not do the trick. You will have to enter BIOS restore mode.

Before you enter BIOS restore mode, make sure that you system is connected to a reliable power source. If you’re entering BIOS restore mode on a laptop, remove the battery and connect the power charger.

Next, you need to turn your system on but before that, you need to tap and hold the keys that tell your system to enter BIOS restore mode. These keys differ based on your system’s manufacturer. The list below should help.

HP: Win + B

Dell: Ctrl + Esc

Acer: FN + Esc

Lenovo: Fn + R

Hold down these keys, and tap and hold the power button for 5 – 10 seconds.  Release the power key when your system turns on and soon you should see the restore screen which will look nothing like the normal BIOS screen that you get. Release the other keys you’re holding down and follow the on-screen instructions or interact with the options it presents to you to restore BIOS.

You can also restore BIOS from your desktop if you’re able to boot to it. Normally, the need to restore BIOS arises when a system won’t boot properly, or at all. If you are able to get to a desktop, or you’re able to run a live OS from a disk, you can use it to restore BIOS. It’s easier that way however, the method will differ based on your system. Some PC manufacturers provide an app that can be burned or copied to a USB disk and used to restore BIOS. You an also find third-party utilities that take the hassle out of the process but you will still need to know how to enter BOS restore mode if you go with a disk.

Read How to enter BIOS Restore mode on PC by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter