Background Check Online
Helpful Sites for Conducting Your Own Online Background Check
Whether hiring an employee or assessing a potential date, sometimes you want some additional information about a person to make sure they’re who they appear to be. Although numerous background check companies exist to provide this information, sometimes it makes more sense to do some sleuthing on your own first. The internet has made it easier than ever to get information about people. Even simply typing a person’s name in Google can help reveal lots of information, and specialized sites exist to provide a more thorough background check.
Here are a few things you should look into, and places to find them:
- Criminal records. You can search by state or county to find criminal records and sex offender information under a certain name. Because this information is state-specific, you will need to go to the website for that state’s Department of Justice, such as the Texas Criminal History Search. You can also search for “public case records” to review court cases. For example, Minnesota’s criminal records are available here.
- All public records. If you’re looking for something broader than just criminal records, a handy site for finding public records of all kinds in various states is OnlineSearches.com. In addition to crime records, this site offers free public records for professional licenses, deeds, permits, bar associations and more. You can search by zip code, record type, city and state or just the state.
- DMV reports. Some states offer free driving history reports, while others charge for the service, so you’ll want to check with the local DMV. The details of the process may change from one state to the next, but the general basics are explained on the Pennsylvania DMV website here. You can order the report through the DMV directly or a third-party broker.
When running criminal checks, bear in mind that you can only search on a statewide or countywide basis. This is why obtaining a history of changing addresses for the individual is important. If they have lived in other areas in the past, you may need to run several searches in order to obtain accurate information.
You can also request that the potential employee obtain a comprehensive background check through the FBI. These checks, called Identification Records, can only be requested by the person they are about. They are extremely thorough, however, and most employees should be willing to submit for one if requested. You can get more details about them here
Beyond searching public records, it may also be a good idea to find a person’s social networking profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or others. This can quickly give you an idea of how a person acts from day to day, how they feel about previous employers and if they may be misrepresenting themselves to you. More and more employers are using Facebook as a way to see what employees are like and whether they’ll be a good fit for a company.
Bear in mind that not all background check websites are wholly accurate and up-to-date. Government sites are usually more accurate than private websites, but you will need to search more government sites to get all of the records that you need.
It’s a good idea to review the sites and even run a search on yourself to get an idea of how accurate the information is. Running a background check on yourself semi-regularly is a good idea anyway, as it will enable you to see if there is anything on the web that may be incorrect or damaging to your reputation.
In the Information Age, it’s harder to keep secrets and remain anonymous. By conducting your own online background check, you can be relatively comfortable in knowing that the people you deal with are truly who they say they are.