Doing Your Own Background Checks

The amount of information you can find online for free about most anyone is staggering. If you are willing to pay, the amount of information you can find about almost anyone is downright scary. The more information you have about a person to start with, the easier your search will be. A person’s complete first and last name, are all you need for certain searches, but to be sure you are finding the right person an approximate age is usually required at minimum. A middle name, date of birth, social security number is required for most credit checks.

Services like Intellius offer all the phone and address listings for people with a particular first and last name combination. (That is if it is not too common a name or name combination). You can further buy an address history for a particular listing. However, the listings may not be entirely up to date depending upon the service. Despite this, it is still frighteningly easy to track down friends and neighbors. There are also reverse phone look-ups search engines that can find owners and addresses of land line telephones. Some of these reverse phone lookup searches are free, some are not; again the currency of the information is always a concern. You can also find the owner and most recently listed address of a person with a certain cell phone number. This is significantly more expensive, but certainly possible.

Finding criminal records on a person can be a little bit more complicated. Each state has its own laws about who can and cannot lookup criminal records. Certain states still have criminal records kept in individual counties where the crimes were committed. Again, if you are willing to pay, you can also get a criminal history of most anyone including in some cases a manual search of paper files in each county of certain states. While a number of services claim that they can get you criminal records, you should expect to have to pay more if yours is one of those states. Tennessee is one such state.

Most states place sex offences in a separate category all together. Many states offer access to sex offender registration databases which allow you to search for sex offenders in a particular area or by a certain name or alias. Texas is one such state.

Certain companies perform credit checks. A member of the general public cannot directly access credit information on a particular individual unless it is required for doing business or if a person is given permission by the individual. For this reason, most job applications include a form asking you to give permission to the employer to do a complete background check. An employer, a loan officer, a realtor selling a house, an hr person etc� can have access to this credit history information.

One new and inexpensive way that employers are now using to do part of a background investigation is to perform a Google search on the person’s name and to check sites such as Myspace.com. So be careful what you voluntarily put online. When you put something online you are choosing to allow the entire world to know about whatever information you are publishing. So recently when some guys placed a video showing them starting a fire on a very public web site, they were of course caught.
If you have the money you can also get information about a person’s property ownership, loans, liens, lawsuits, jobs, etcâÂ?¦ You can also find the owner of a vehicle with a particular license plate or partial license plate if you are willing to pay.

Health information access is the one area where only a court order can force disclosure.. That’s why the tabloids can only guess at people’s health, eating disorders, and drug addictions. Fortunately this is not likely to change anytime soon.

All of this information is great if you are trying to find someone, but not so great if you don’t want people to know about parts of your past or if you are hiding from someone. This available information makes it easier for identity thieves also, but that’s for a future article.

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