Back Checks with Potential Employers

I recently went on a great interview with a company I would LOVE to work for.  The interview was awesome and on the way home I was called and told they were interested in me.  They needed me to fill out a questionnare and send identification so they could run a back check on me.  Does anyone out there know why companies are doing this?  I googled this extensively but still don't quite understand. 

 

I have been out of the "job search" world for some time.  Is this something new?  I feel stressed out. help.

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