How to Run a Background Check on Yourself

Woman running an online check on smartphone to show how to run a background check on yourself

Can you run a background check on yourself? The short answer is yes. In Canada, MyCRC has passed rigorous accreditation and is authorized to offer Canadian criminal record checks through police partners across the country. The best part? There’s no leaving the house or waiting in lines.

Magnifying glass representing information when you run a background check on yourself

What’s a Background Check

A background check is a process of verifying someone’s personal, professional, or criminal history, typically for employment, housing, or other screening purposes (e.g., applying for a licence, requesting a special security clearance, etc.). The goal of a background check, also called background screening, is to gather more information to assess the suitability, credibility, and potential risks associated with the person in a specific context.

Examples of Background Checks

Criminal Record Check: This is what people commonly think of when they think of a background check, and likely what brought you to this blog post! A criminal record check involves searching databases of law enforcement agencies to identify any criminal convictions, arrests, and/or pending charges. These searches can be conducted at the federal, provincial, and/or municipal level depending on the type of criminal record check. If you live in Canada, the blog post Criminal Record Check Canada FAQs provides more details.

Credit Check: A credit check generates a credit report. A credit report helps assess a person’s financial history, including credit scores, outstanding debts, and payment history. This is often used for financial, rental, and lending decisions, but can also be required for jobs at financial institutions depending on the role and the seniority level.

Employment Verification: Employers often verify your work history, including job titles, dates of employment, and sometimes qualitative performance evaluations. This helps confirm the accuracy of your application.

Driving Record Check: This checks a person’s driving history, including traffic violations, accidents, and the status of their driver’s licence. It is often conducted if you’re applying for a job that involves driving a company vehicle.

Social Media Screening: If it’s allowed where you live and there’s a job-related justification, some checks may include a review of your public social media profiles and online presence for up to seven years. Social media screening can be programmed to check for public statements, photos, and comments that fall into pre-determined risk categories such as bullying, violence, and hate speech.

The type of check and the depth of the check varies based on the purpose, industry, and legal regulations governing the checks, but in all cases you have rights under laws that protect your information and define how to dispute any inaccurate information. In Canada, employee background checks are covered by the Privacy Act and provincial privacy acts. In the US, the FCRA governs the use of background checks by employers, along with state laws.

Why Run a Background Check on Yourself

Employers and landlords run checks on prospective employees and tenants all the time – running checks is a common way to mitigate risks and reduce the chances of hiring or renting to people with a history of criminal activity, financial instability, and/or behaviour that could pose a risk to others. By skipping the screening process, they may even be held legally liable if they bring in individuals who pose a known risk to others. Here’s more on why background checks are essential. Financial institutions and government agencies also run checks – credit checks and security clearances are a form of background screening.

Don’t worry, while background screening is very common, it’s also subject to national and regional laws to protect your privacy and ensure that you’re being treated fairly. As we mentioned above, in Canada, employee background checks are covered by the Privacy Act and provincial privacy acts. In the US, the FCRA governs the use of background checks by employers, along with state laws.

Why should you run a background check on yourself?

If you’re considering applying for a new job or are open to new opportunities, running one on yourself first is a smart move. Why? If anything is inaccurate, you can dispute it. It may also be beneficial to understand what potential employers may see about you when they conduct a check – you can be better prepared to navigate the job search process and plan what you’ll say to explain anything on your record that’s accurate.

A service like MyCRC partners with Canadian police agencies to conduct name-based criminal record checks to search for the existence of criminal convictions for which a record suspension or pardon hasn’t been granted.

Female candidate interviewing for job who followed run a background check on yourself steps

What to Consider Before You Run a Background Check on Yourself

Here are five questions to consider to be prepared before you run a check, specifically a criminal record check, on yourself:

  1. What kind of check do I need? To determine which kind of check to run, think about what kind of information you want to or need to uncover. For information on your criminal background, you’ll need a criminal record check from an authorized background screening vendor or police agency. A credit report, available from a credit reporting bureau, will provide information on your credit history. In Canada, some volunteer positions require a vulnerable sector check which has to be obtained in-person through a local police service where you live.
  1. What documentation or identification do I need to provide? Look into the required identification or documentation you’ll need to provide when requesting background check information. Most agencies require your name, date of birth, and proof of identity. Depending on the type of check, your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Social Security Number (SSN) might be needed.
  1. How much will I have to pay? Determine whether there are any fees associated with obtaining your background check reports. Some reports may be free, while others may have associated costs. An example of a free background check is a credit report. In North America, you can get a free copy of your credit report through one of the main three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Background check fees vary by region.
  1. How long will it take to get your results? If you’re running a personal check for a freelance gig or other job, most employers don’t accept checks that are older than six months, and many require a check conducted closer to the time the position begins. Therefore, it’s important to get the timing right. If no criminal history is found, results can take three to five days or as little as 15 minutes with a 100% online background screening vendor.
  1. How can I dispute any inaccuracies or discrepancies? If you find inaccuracies or discrepancies in any of the reports, you have the right to dispute and correct the information. Follow the instructions provided by the agency or organization to address any issues.

How to Run a Background Check on Yourself

You can run a background check on yourself and get a copy of your criminal record through a police agency or in as little as 15 minutes using a service like MyCRC. Here are the steps to run a criminal record check on yourself:

In-Person Background Screening

If you live in Canada, you can obtain a criminal record check through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) network database via your local police service. This database has access to criminal records in all provinces and territories. Obtaining an RCMP database record often involves a fee. Here’s more information from the RCMP if you decide to request your check at an in-person location.

Online Background Screening

It’s easy to get your Canadian criminal record results. Here’s all you need to do via MyCRC:

  1. Enter Your Personal Information: Consent to the check, take a photo of your ID and selfie, and confirm the information is correct.
  1. Run Your Check: MyCRC is authorized to connect to Canada’s federal RCMP database to search for criminal records.
  1. Get your Results in Minutes: The official results of your check will be emailed to you in as little as 15 minutes.

FAQs About Running a Background Check on Yourself

  1. How does the costs and process for running a background check on oneself through MyCRC compare to obtaining similar checks through traditional in-person methods, such as via local police services in Canada?
  1. Are there any limitations or differences in the information provided by a background check conducted through MyCRC compared to checks obtained directly from police agencies, particularly regarding the depth of criminal record information or the inclusion of other background details?
  1. Beyond criminal record checks, what other types of background checks can individuals conduct on themselves through services like MyCRC, and how might these additional checks provide valuable insights for personal and professional purposes beyond employment or housing?

Comparing MyCRC to Background Checks from Local Police Stations

The costs and process for running a background check on oneself through MyCRC compared to traditional in-person methods varies in terms of convenience and efficiency. MyCRC offers the advantage of conducting checks entirely online, eliminating the need to visit a local police station in person. Additionally, MyCRC typically provides faster results, often within minutes, whereas obtaining a check through local police services may involve longer processing times. However, there may be differences in fees associated with each option, with MyCRC possibly charging a convenience fee for online processing, while in-person checks through police services may have standard application fees. It’s essential for individuals to weigh the trade-offs between convenience, speed, and cost when choosing between these options.

In Vancouver, it costs $82.00 to obtain a background check from the Vancouver Police Department. In Calgary, the Calgary Police Service charges $71.25 at the time this blog post was published. In Quebec City, La Sûreté du Québec charges $78.00. MyCRC charges $64.99, so in these three Canadian cities, the online option is more convenient and more affordable.

Is the Information Provided by MyCRC Legit?

MyCRC uses the same federal RCMP database to search for criminal records. Direct checks from police agencies may only offer more detailed insights for vulnerable sector checks, which aren’t conducted by MyCRC (or any other online background screening provider).

What Other Types of Background Checks can Individuals Conduct on Themselves?

Beyond criminal record checks, individuals can conduct various other types of background checks on themselves through services like MyCRC. These additional checks may include credit checks, employment verification, driving record checks, and social media screenings, among others. Each type of check provides unique insights into different aspects of an individual’s personal and professional background, which can be valuable for personal awareness and career planning. For example, a credit check can help individuals understand their financial history and identify any potential issues that may affect their creditworthiness, while employment verification can confirm the accuracy of their work history and qualifications.

Online Background Check

As we covered, employers use checks, especially criminal record checks, as part of their hiring process to make informed decisions about candidates and landlords use them to assess the suitability of potential tenants. 

If you’re applying for a new job or open to new opportunities, it might help to run a background check on yourself to understand what others may see about you when they conduct their own screening. Deciding to run a background check on yourself can also be a proactive way to verify the accuracy of your personal and professional information and address any discrepancies or inaccuracies before they affect your employment or housing opportunities.

MyCRC is a division of Certn, a global background screening company that’s trusted by 20,000 teams including some of the world’s biggest brands. Certn runs over two million checks a year. With MyCRC, you can run a background check on yourself right away and we’ll send you your official results in as little as 15 minutes. Get started today!