How do I get a copy of my background check?

The best way to find out what information might show up in your background check is to get your own background check done on yourself.

There are 2 ways to do this:

OPTION 1: Pay a reputable background check company to run a report on you.

There are MANY private background check companies out there—you can search online for “background checks” or check your local Yellow Pages under “Investigators.” Beware, however, some background check companies are scams. Look up or call a few different companies to see what they offer and how much they charge. Avoid companies that seem to charge much more or much less than others.

OPTION 2: Request a background check report.

Under federal and state law, you are entitled to get a FREE copy of your background check once every 12 months from any background check company.[2983] To get a copy of your background check for free, you must confirm in writing that 1 of the following is true:

    You are unemployed and intend to look for work within the next 60 days;
    You receive public benefits (government assistance such as CalFresh or General Assistance); OR
    You believe there may be errors in your report because you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft.[2984]

Send a letter to whichever background check company you choose stating that you fall into one of the above categories (and list which category), and that you would like to request your free background check.

Legitimate agencies should not hesitate when you ask for your free report and should offer to run it right away.


REMEMBER, your background check is different from your credit report, but you are entitled to both for free once every 12 months.

  1. 2983

    Fair Credit Reporting Act § 612 (a)(1)(A), 15 U.S.C. § 1681; Cal. Civ. Code § 1786.26(c); see also Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1786.10, 1786.11 & 1786.22.

  2. 2984

    Fair Credit Reporting Act § 611, 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(1)(A).