While much of these processes are straightforward and legal, there are means of abusing this ability. Some people search background history for their own personal reasons, and this can often be a breach of privacy. You should be well aware of your rights when it comes to background checks, so you do not get taken advantage of or misuse this process yourself.
While background checks are commonplace with potential new employers and in other situations, they simply cannot be done without your consent. This is usually an entire document in place with other application paperwork that you can read and then sign to consent to have the background check run.
Every time that you sign your name to give consent for such information to be obtained, you should have a list of what it is that they are looking for specifically. For example, sometimes employers or landlords are just checking your credit for verification credit history, which means that they aren't to look at your criminal record. Everything in particular that they search through should be labeled clearly in your consent form.
You can be turned down because of information obtained within your credit report. However, you cannot be turned down without them telling you specifically why you were, provided that this was information obtained in your background check that impacted their decision. In this process, they are required by law to provide you the means to see the report they read so that you can verify the information for yourself.
There are specific things that companies performing background checks are not allowed to access or utilize in making a decision. This includes but is not limited to: civil suits and records of arrests after seven years, bankruptcies after ten years, accounts in collection after seven years, a host of other negative information apart from criminal convictions after seven years. However, anything that is considered public domain, such as anything in the media about you or criminal convictions are admissible.
There are cases of false information on credit reports and background checks. These items can keep you from a new place, a new job or a number of other things. You can prepare yourself by performing the same background checks on yourself before you set into your big job hunt. This will provide you with the information they are going to get, and allow you an opportunity to clear up any misinformation on these reports before you lose out on a great place or job because of errors.
All in all, this is becoming a very common thing. You need to prepare yourself for the inevitability of getting a background check done. You should do your best to provide the best report by clearing up what you can and taking care of specific blemishes when possible.