Exactly What Are Background Searches?


Background searches are becoming increasingly popular because of the ready availability of public information online. People are searching the backgrounds of:

  • Job Candidates
  • Potential Business Partners
  • Potential Tenants
  • Present or Potential “Significant Others” (dates, fiancés, spouses)
  • Boyfriends and Girlfriends
  • Credit and Insurance Applicants
  • Neighbors
  • Roommates
  • Friends
  • Enemies

    What kind of information is available on line?

    Through background searches online, you can find a person’s age, address, marital status, occupation, aliases, current and past employment, educational level, driving record, litigation record (including a possible divorce or divorces), criminal record (if there is one), bankruptcies (if there are any), military record, and financial worth. Really – just about anything having to do with their background.

    Public records can not tell you everything about everybody. But by searching backgrounds you can get a fairly accurate (not perfect) snapshot of the subject you are investigating. You may be able to deduce personality traits, consumer preferences, romantic preferences, employment and financial stability.

    What are the limitations of the information online?

    You will not get access to your subject’s medical records without that person’s authorization. Marriage and divorce records are restricted in many states and many counties. Driving records are sometimes restricted as well. Typically you will not be able to discover if the person is a drug user, unless there has been a previous arrest. If it is your goal to find out this information, then you may want to hire a private investigator to do your bank ground search, because they will be able to conduct surveillance and interviews with acquaintances, neighbors, and former employers.

    Which Background Check company should you use?

    Obviously that depends on your needs. There are online resources that will give you some information for as little as $9.95. Others charge $19.95. Still others are much more. What most people don’t realize, however, is that almost all the companies doing cheap background searches are using the exact same information drawn from the databases. They just set up their Website so that it looks a little different from others. But they are all asking the same information from you. That’s the clue that they are using the same background search databases. So, if you want a cheap search, then do it as cheaply as possible.

    However, if you want a more reliable and comprehensive search of someone’s background, then you may want to pay the extra money for a better search. If the information is important, the results are also important, and you want the most complete information check you can get.

    You can usually tell which companies are the best by how personal their services are. A company that simply asks you to put in the name and address of a person whose background you are searching will simply run the basic computerized searches and produce a lot of addresses and phone numbers of people with the same name that you requested information about. Then you have to write to or call these places yourself. In some instances that information may be useful to you, or it may be quite a bother to continue the searching on your own.

    A more personal background search service will handle your case individually. For example, in some instances they may do much more than merely search court records online. If the instance warrants it, they may actually go to the court house to continue research by hand. That’s quite a service.

    In other instances a background search company may hire be able a private investigator to gather additional information. Of course this will only happen after discussions with you about previous results they have obtained, so that you can decide how far you want to investigate.

    Background searches are readily available, generally inexpensive, and often with a quick turnaround time. Your choices are how extensive you want the background search to be. And you can determine that by deciding how important it is for you to have the information. If you are hiring someone, or marrying someone, and you have doubts, then it may well be worth the extra cost to find the most comprehensive searches available.

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