The internet has made it incredibly easy for us to have access to almost any type of information. However, this privilege did not come at a cheap price. On the contrary, we paid for it with our privacy. As such, it should come as no surprise, that most of us have an online history that contains important details of our past. 

Obviously enough, the average individual is no hacker or detective, and while they can stock a person’s social media account, you can’t really find private information about their careers or their criminal records, can you? Well, if you do a little research online, you will discover that there are companies that specialize in professional background checks and they can reveal a lot about a person’s past. You can use these services for social reasons such as getting back in touch with lost friends or for learning more about a love interest. 

The best background check service available online can tell you a lot about anyone close to you. You can even check yourself to see what public information is available about you. Here’s what you must know about these services:

Can anyone perform a background check?

There is no restriction on the people that can ask for a background check, but there are restrictions for the reasons for which one is doing such an investigation. Usually, you are not allowed to do these investigations as an employer. So, whether you are a company, or an individual hiring a babysitter or a worker, you can’t do this type of background checks. 

As a landlord, you can’t screen potential tenants. However, as an individual, you can screen a roommate or a new neighbor. You also can’t use these services to check someone’s educational qualification, to asses the risks or credits or insurance, or to review a customer before a business transaction. You can, however, run background checks to find lost friends or love interests, to scope out online dates, to find someone’s address, to verify online buyers and sellers or to retrieve public court records. 

Start with free checks

Before you ask for a paid background check, you should know that a lot of valuable information can show up without having to spend any money. As we already mentioned, we all have a bit of our life stored online. Google and Social media platforms will tell you a lot about the private life of a person that interests you. Most people consider that private life should have no impact on their professional life, so few bothers to hide unethical behavior.  As far as criminal behavior goes, you should start with the National Sex Offender Public Website. The National Record for State Courts can also reveal a person’s criminal past. 

Advantages of paid searches

If your personal online detective work didn’t reveal any red flags, but you still have doubts about a person, now would be time to consider a paid search. These checks will reveal public record information that goes beyond social media posts. A public record records all the information that you willingly revealed about yourself. It can be gathered from free credit card applications, magazine subscriptions, speeding tickets, mortgage deeds and much more. Background check companies access numerous types of public records and compile that information into a single report. This type of information can help you stay away from dangerous people, whether we are talking about friends, acquaintances or love interests. 

How to find the best background check services

  1. Online reviews

Online reviews are a great way to see how professional a company is and how accurate their data is.  Negative reviews will be most common as many people only write reviews when they are not satisfied with a service. However, if a company has several bad reviews, you should count that as a red flag and look for different services. 

  1. Pricing

A background check shouldn’t cost a fortune, but you’re probably asking yourself what counts as affordable pricing. Well, the price should be small enough, that you shouldn’t even have to ask yourself if it is worth running such an investigation. 

  1. Information sources

Look for companies that tell you where their information comes from. Otherwise, a report compiled of random data will leave you even more confused than before you run the background check.

Possible drawbacks of background checks

When it comes to the people close to you, it makes sense to want to know everything about them and to look for the most trustworthy person ever. However, keep in mind that we all have a history, and this doesn’t always make us bad people. Many of us may have gone in a fight at one point in our lives, but this doesn’t make us criminals. Many of us may have struggled financially at some point, but this doesn’t make us untrustworthy. As such, after you do a background check on someone, try to maintain an objective point of view, and don’t turn away good people based on mistakes that they made a long time ago. 

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