Thinking of taking on a nanny for your toddler or hiring a personal assistant? A background check would be a wise precautionary measure before you entrust your life or your little one to a total stranger.
Just as we caution children not to talk to strangers, we definitely need to take any stranger’s word with some skepticism. So before we rashly open our home’s door to a stranger on the basis of a winning personality and some references, we should run a thorough background check to cover our bases and avoid painful regret.
That said, thank the universe for the invention of the internet and its search engines. Today’s background search capabilities is a far cry from that of two decades ago. You don’t need to drive out to several government agencies to verify the existence of your potential hire’s or romantic fling’s criminal records, traffic violations, professional licenses, misdemeanors, and so on. The net has taken that expense and time away and served up cost-effective and speedy ways to get the data you need.
The great thing is that you can do background searches without having to fork out some dough. What you need though is lots of time, patience to sift through a lot of information, and the diligence to draw your own conclusions from a ton of facts.
Options abound for looking up people for free.
Social Media Sites
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a few examples of social networks that offer a wealth of personal information. Since account holders voluntarily post things about themselves, you can gain some insight into their characters and personalities. If their accounts are private and seemingly unsearchable in Facebook, for instance, you can still do a Google search by typing in this example: site:Facebook.com “Oliver Smith”. Google may return Facebook posts tagged with Oliver Smith, his profile picture, and even his posted comments.
Sites That Return Phone Numbers and Addresses
You can look up your target’s phone number and address on sites such as ZabaSearch and WhitePages.com. At sites like these, you may also do a reverse search in case you do not know the person’s name. A phone number could lead you to the person’s full name, address, and other information.
Public Records Databases
People’s records of their marriages, divorces, death, birth, crimes, and misdemeanors are publicly available online. Virtual Gumshoe and SearchSystems are one of the many background search crawlers that look through public databases for information ranging from professional licenses to eviction records.
Criminal Records Databases
If your new neighbor gives you the creeps, you may want to know whether he or she may be a sex offender. Simply enter a zip code into the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website. The site will map out the location of offenders. Clicking on the location will bring up pictures, addresses, and even corresponding risk levels. This website was named in honor of 22-year-old Dru Katrina Sjodin, who was kidnapped from a mall, raped, beaten, and murdered in 2003.
You can also trace a person’s criminal history and the type of offenses committed using the website, CriminalSearches. The site may charge, however, for divulging details, even if the offense is as minor as a traffic violation.
Is Doing a Background Check on People for Free Efficient and Accurate?
Going solo on comprehensive data mining can take considerable time because of various reasons such as data errors, a ton of duplicate names to cross-check and verify, and the need to run the searches on multiple database providers to ensure accuracy and certainty of the data and target person in question. One thing is clear, though. What you would want to seriously avoid is to link erroneous data to a person because you could get into trouble or make a decision you may later regret.
If a person’s background information is crucial for your peace of mind, doing a background check on people for free should only be used to give you a bird’s eye view of their past. It would immensely benefit you to avail of paid background search services such as KidGuard People Search and Investigative Professionals. These sites are more than competent in exercising due care in mining personal information.
KidGuard People Search, for instance, combs through federal, state, and country data sources to root out all sorts of records and profiles, already cross-referenced and checked across various databases to make sure the data matches the person in question. It also snoops on multitudinal social media networks to give you a more in-depth report. In other words, it does all the research work in significantly much less time than it would take if you opt to hunt and collate a mound of various information on your own. One caveat: not all paid background search services deliver; still, there are a few gems out there that actually shine at data mining and reporting. They may be worth the time you can save.