It happens more often than you may know. It happens while you are at work, at home, and even while you are sleeping. You may think you have a clean credit record, a smudge-free background, and no criminal record. Yet you may be one of the many thousands who could benefit from a background check.
An acquaintance, Derick, once applied for a loan, only to find out that he had been blacklisted some years prior. Back in 2012 Eliza Marthinus Lotz laid a claim against the minister of police for R4m after discovering he had a criminal record without ever having been charged or convicted. There’s much to be said about clerical errors.
The presence of a bad credit record or even an ‘accidental’ criminal record, or any other type of clerical inaccuracy in national or international systems can affect future prospects. For the past 20 years Lotz struggled to find work. It was only more recently, through a personnel agency, that he discovered the presence of a criminal record, which he names as the reason for his inability to gain employment over a period of two decades.
Stories of individuals who’ve cleared their debts only to discover that they still had bad credit records a year or even five years down the line are common too. Yet evidence of clerical negligence is often only picked up at important moments in life, like when emigration is on the cards, or when deciding to invest in a family home.
So what can you do?
Background checks aren’t limited to personnel and law enforcement agencies, or employers alone. Individuals may request background information at any time, too, which will enable them to take timely action should lurking clerical inaccuracies be discovered. Some background checks you can do yourself include:
- Criminal record check (South Africa & international)
- Credit checks
- Driver’s licence and PDP verification
- Identity verification
- Death certificate verification
- Fraud listing verification
- Financial services screening
- Character reference verification
- CV verification
- Employment reference verification
- Residency verification
The majority of these checks are inexpensive, and have an average turnaround time of 48 hours.
The convenience of self-checking has only in recent years become mainstream. Had it been available 20 years back, things might have been different for some.
“Due to someone else’s negligence, I now have a backlog in life. The knowledge that I had ‘a criminal record’ broke down my self-esteem. It also caused me not to want to go for interviews, as I knew I would not get the job.” Lotz told Pretoria News.