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I wonder how background checks work. I've had an offer from an english company (the job being in France) I was willing to accept. They made an offer valid only with a background checked ok. I signed an electronical consent to a third party (no signature). I do realize they are asking private data, i would not have given a french employer. I have besides another offer from a french company. How do I do to renege and have the background chek cancelled? I don't want them to keep any of my data. Please help.

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    Background checks are required for the majority of jobs, and this is often non-negotiable. Why would you want to refuse a background check and lose the job? If it's just about privacy, know that companies must obey many privacy laws to ensure that your information is kept secure. – David K Dec 14 '15 at 14:14
  • Also, if you're worried about them finding something from your past, see this question. – David K Dec 14 '15 at 14:17
  • @DavidK Please note that Europe is not the US. For example, checking criminal records is only allowed in very rare cases in France. Italy again does not allow credit checks, but does allow criminal records check. If an employer asks for stuff he is not allowed to, he can be sued for compensation, if you don't get the job. – John Hammond Dec 14 '15 at 14:20
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    @DavidK Already your premise "Background checks are required for the majority of jobs" is wrong for Europe. – John Hammond Dec 14 '15 at 14:31
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    @starb Why wouldn't you ask what kind of check was being done, what type of information they request/research/store and what exactly your agreement to a check implies, prior to approving the background check? It seems odd to do a complete 180 after the fact. While right to privacy certainly is under threat these days, I'd say your Facebook or LinkedIn account is easily a hundred times more dangerous and more easily exploited than a simple background check done by a presumably reputable company. – Lilienthal Dec 14 '15 at 16:02
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How do I do to renege and have the background chek cancelled? I don't want them to keep any of my data. Please help.

You immediately phone the English company that made the offer. You tell them that you don't want the job, and that you are officially withdrawing your consent to a background check. Then, you follow it up with an email, and request a confirming reply.

Don't wait. Once it is started, you may not be able to stop the process.

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    Thanks a bunch. Although I don't have anything to hide, I found background screening too intruse, But most of all, I kept wondering if I won't be data stolen on the internet (that kept me awake at night). it's the first time for me. Had no idea what it was! – starb Dec 14 '15 at 15:26
  • @JoeStrazzere The OPM hack leaked data collected for background checks. – CodesInChaos Dec 17 '15 at 10:25
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Joe Strazzere gave you the practical answer. I'm adding another, which I think is important enough not to be a comment.

A company based in the UK must abide by the Data Protection Act. This means that they must 1) tell you why they require any personal information from you (a background check is a valid reason) 2) destroy it when those actions are complete (i.e. when the check is done or cancelled) 3) not use it for any other purposes 4) keep it secure while they have it.

If you have any reason to think that isn't happening you can talk to the appropriate authorities.

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    +1 This is what I was trying to say in the comments. The OP has asked how to cancel a background check, but hasn't given a good reason why they need to cancel it. – David K Dec 14 '15 at 17:11

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