Subhan Tariq, Esq
Everything You Need to Know About Background Checks Online
What is a background check?
A background check is a way of investigating someone’s character, background and past, using public data sources and reports. Most background checks are generated automatically from data repositories maintained by private companies and state and federal governments.
What’s included in a background check?
Typically, the information included on a background check will include the person’s: Age, Aliases, Date of Birth, Relatives, crimes committed, arrests, marriage and divorce records (depending on the state), bankruptcies, civil records and judgments, traffic tickets, social media information, and online presence.
What’s the difference between public records and a background check?
When people say public records, they are usually referring to civil issues such as lawsuits, traffic tickets, vital records (such as marriage, divorce, birth and death), bankruptcies and the like. When people say background check, they usually have in mind criminal records, warrant searches, arrest records and other criminal information.
Where does all of the information found on a background report come from?
Believe it or not, almost all of this information is public record by law, and is available to anyone who is willing to make the effort to search for it. Some jurisdictions make it incredibly simple, and have dedicated web portals that allow you to search. Others are stuck in the paper age, and often require an on site search in the county courthouse. This can be done by using a “court runner”, as well.
Should I search myself or use an online background check provider?
Online background check services really shine in two ways. They spend a fortune sucking up all the data available, something that might take you years or you might not even be able to accomplish with a limited budget at all. They’re also really good at collecting all the specific information and creating a really detailed report. Generally speaking we’ve found the relatively low cost to be worth the information provided and the sheer time and effort saved on our part.
What’s the best background check service?
We try to be unbiased about these things. Every provider has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on how they collect their data and what kind of algorithms they use. If you click on Public Records above in the navigation, we’ve done extensive reviews on all of the big background check providers and you can then decide which one you want to try.
What kind of free background check info is out there if I want to search by myself?
As mentioned above, start with our state by state guides. Bankruptcy records can also be searched online by opening an account on Pacer.gov.
Note that Pacer.gov charges 10 cents per each page returned. Yes, we know it’s the 21st century. Your federal government at its finest.
Should I run a self background check?
Definitely - it’s always good to know what others might see if they ran a search for you. At best, there's nothing you need to worry about. At the worst, there's information that's either wrong or outdated, and you'll need to work to make sure it gets permanently fixed.
What if I want to run an employment background check?
Using a background check to hire someone is a whole different can of worms , and requires strict compliance with federal and state laws, the most important being the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Most online background check providers don’t provide the level of data you need for this. We can’t say this enough: DO NOT USE YOUR RUN OF THE MILL ONLINE BACKGROUND CHECK PROVIDER FOR EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES. Instead, you need to use what’s called an FCRA compliant background check provider.
For more information on background check, call 718-674-1245 or message here.