Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Biometrics

pp 49-55

Background Checks

  • Peter T. HigginsAffiliated withCenter for Biometrics and Security Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesHiggins, Hermansen, Banikas, LLC


Vetting; Credit check; Personal information search; Preemployment screening; Disclosure check; Criminal record search; Criminal history check


There are multiple types of Background checks that all involve reviewing past, recorded behavior:

  1. 1.

    Job Applicants: When people apply for a position of trust (e.g., a school teacher, a lawyer, or bank teller) a background check is part of the way of determining if the applicant is suitable – a positive result. These are known as Applicant or Civil Background Checks. In the US:

    1. (a)

      If there is a state or federal law requiring a national check then applicant fingerprints (with minimal supporting biographic information) can be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a search.

    2. (b)

      If the applicants are seeking federal employment then their biographic data and fingerprints can be submitted to the FBI for a search.

    3. (c)

      If the applicants are applying for a job not covered by a state or federal law they ar ...



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