5 Steps to Launch a Background Check Now



You can never be too careful – especially when it comes to love and money. Background checks give you the information you need to make informed decisions about potential employees, tenants, roommates and even love interests, so you can make good decisions based on facts, rather than chance.

A background check can be run on virtually anyone, from your soon-to-be son-in-law to potential business partners, but if you plan to use the results of a background check to make a decision about employment or housing, there are specific state and federal laws you must follow to avoid potential lawsuits later on. Some information obtained in a background check can’t legally be used in the decision-making process, so always thoroughly research the laws in your state before running a background check for professional purposes.

Step 1: Paid vs Free Background Checks

If you’re planning to launch a background check, your first step will be deciding whether you want to pay for a background check service or want to find the information yourself for free (or nearly free). If you choose to pay for a background check, there are several websites that offer background check services, but not all are created equal. Before handing over any money, always check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the service you’re working with is legitimate and can be counted on to legally and ethically obtain the information you need. Free background checks, though time consuming, can be done if you prefer not to pay for a service.

Step 2: Search the Web

If you choose to do the background check yourself, use search engines to obtain background information on the individual, as search results are likely to provide you with a wealth of useful information quickly and effortlessly. Begin by typing the person’s name into Google with quotes around the name, for the most accurate results. You may also want to do preliminary searches on Facebook and other social media websites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. If the person’s Facebook profile is set to private, try searching for any public posts on Google by typing ‘site:Facebook.com’ followed by the persons name (in quotes) to quickly view all public activity. If you know the email address of the person you’re searching for, try using Pipl for a deeper web search that goes beyond the results you might get from Google alone.

Step 3: Public Records Search

General web searches may yield some results, but you’ll also want to do a more in-depth search for any public records that may be available online. A large number of public records are available online and can be searched easily from websites like SearchSystems.net. Please note that although most public recorded (such as births, deaths and marriages) are available for free, some public records may require payment in order to access them.

Step 4: Criminal Records Search

Criminal records can be accessed through local court record searches or by using an online service, such as CriminalSearches.com or the National Center for State Courts to perform a broader criminal records search. These searches may return results for anything from minor traffic infractions to misdemeanors and felonies, so further research will often be necessary, though you may need to pay a fee to view detailed information on any results you get.

Step 5: Credit Check

Credit checks are the fastest way to get a snapshot of how finances have been managed in the past, as well as how much debt the person currently carries. This can give you insight into how responsible someone is and whether or not they are currently in any sort of financial trouble. There are several sites designed to let you check your own credit report, but you’ll need to access a site that allows you to check someone else’s credit. Sites like Innovis will let you check other people’s credit for around $10 per report. Credit checks may be used to help you decide if an employee is trustworthy and responsible, if a potential tenant is likely to be on time with rent and even if a possible love interest should turn into a long-term relationship, based on the handling of finances.

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