The Complete Guide To Free Background Check

SearchThere are several reasons you might want to run a background check on somebody. Perhaps you would like to check they are legitimate and have a good reputation before doing business with them.

Alternatively, perhaps you are an employer wanting to check the background of prospective employees before offering them a job.

Whatever your reasons, if you have tried searching for them you may have discovered that a range of websites claim to offer free background checks.

You may also have discovered that these are almost always not really free. However, this doesn’t mean it is impossible to run an online background check on somebody. It just means you have to follow a few more steps and do it yourself.

How Will Google Help Me With This?

As with most types of online query, your first stop should be Google.com. Do a simple search for the person’s name, a company name, or any other information you have on them. If searching for their personal name, it is likely other people will have the same name.

If this makes it hard to find any results that refer to them specifically, try combining it with anything else you know such as a business name or the place they live. Email addresses and phone numbers are also worth Googling if you know them. Often, it is surprising how carelessly these get left lying around on public web pages.

Do You Really Know Your Rights?

Using Social Media Sites To Uncover Those Secrets

Your next step should be to repeat step one, but on social media sites rather than a search engine. Facebook is your biggest source of useful info, but Twitter and Google+ are also worth checking. Personal and company names are the most useful things to search, as these will take you to their profiles.

[Also Check Out: 6 Most Popular Reverse Phone Lookup Sites]

However, whether you can see any useful information or even find a profile in search results depends on their privacy settings. If you can’t find them, return to Google and type in “Site:Facebook.com” followed by their name, and it will bring up any group or profile walls they have posted on.

Helpful Sites:

Phone numbers won’t be linked to a person’s profile if you search on Facebook, but it is still worth trying. If they have left their number in a public comment on somebody’s wall or in a “New Number” group, it will turn up.

Phone Numbers, Addresses and Domain Names

If you have a phone number or address and want to find out who it belongs to, try a phone directory. There are countless directories for different locations, but you should easily find the correct one through a search engine. Traditionally, you look up somebody’s name to get their address and phone number.

However, many online directories allow you to do it the other way around, and find somebody’s name.

Helpful Sites:

If, meanwhile, you want to find out who owns a domain name, or whether somebody really owns a website they claim to run, this is much simpler. Whois.com offers a simple online search, giving you the name, address, and some contact details of any website’s owner.

Public and Criminal Records

This can be one of the most useful sources of information, especially if you are able to check for criminal records. However, like phone directories there are countless different websites depending on location, so you will have to resort to search engines to find the appropriate destination. Records for some jurisdictions also may not be searchable online.

Further Tips

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Josh Trenser

Josh Trenser is a complete Tech Geek, likes to watch movies and writes a lot about online and offline security measures. Make sure to leave comments below. Here is his official Google + page.

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  • Phil

    Thanks for this article. I’ve needed to do background checks before, and Google has always worked out for me, but I just wanted to be able to check criminal records to make sure that I wasn’t hiring a felon. I really didn’t want to have to dig into my employees personal lives through facebook and stuff (I really don’t care about all their food pictures, thanks.) but I didn’t know any other way to go after the info that I wanted!

  • Lynn Ross

    The video on employment background checks was very interesting. I didn’t realize there could be misreported offenses that can appear in this case. At least there’s a way to have them cleared!

  • Kita

    It’s always a good idea to do a thorough background check before hiring, no matter how sincere and trustworthy the candidate seems. It can save you a lot of trouble in the end.

  • Matt

    Google is a great way to begin a background check, I agree. Social networking platforms are also very helpful for getting an overall impression of a person.

  • Jessica K. Parker

    This is a very good article. There’s no reason to pay to conduct a background search when there are plenty of reliable free resources out there that can give you the same information.

  • Andrew Wilson

    I had to perform a background check recently and Google proved to be an invaluable resource for me. I also checked the potential employee’s social networking profiles so that I could identify any red flags.

  • Joseph

    Thanks for posting such a good article. I never know how to do a background check. I will try with your methods.

  • http://draumstafur.deviantart.com/ nodeer

    I think these methods are especially useful for employers – before you hire someone, it’s always good to do a background check.

    I’m young, so I’ve had no need for background checks, but sometimes curiosity gets the best of you – and you look up your professors, or your part-time employers haha. Their whole internet trail humanizes them more, because you get to see what else is there behind their profession.

  • Davey

    I am new to the internet but was told that you could do background checks on the internet and found this site. Thank you for the great information on this.

  • Romin Alavi

    You are right about almost every site out there claiming to be free is actually just trying to sell background checks or even credit monitoring junk. But When I use the ones you have listed, they really do seem to be free. I’m not so sure about zabasearch as I have some hesitation about letting a site like that have access to my facebook page. Also, it seems that it is trying to sell premium services as well? It is an absolutely great article you wrote, but I am either missing something or most of the sites you reference are also selling background checks. Perhaps you can offer some feedback as to whether I am doing something wrong, or if that is really the case, since you seem to have a solid foundation in this stuff! I will definitely bookmark this article for finding old college buddies.

  • Michael Sankey

    Josh,

    I agree your article is informative to those people who are interested in finding free info. But the reality is you are touting what is essentially a “supplemental search.”

    For example, regarding the procedure of doing a criminal record search – only 75% of criminal records are online. And approx 1/2 of those online records do not have enough identifiers to determine if a record does in fact belong to the subject of the search. Another reality check is less than 1/2 of the online sites are equivalent to a same search of the actual records at the courthouse. The online sites that are equivalent generally charge a fee.

    Also there are states that have restrictive laws placed on employers – laws more restrictive than even the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Plus consider the state laws placed on employers when using social network sites, or when using an online search of a sexual offender site, or use of the state court system site for a background check (see RI disclaimer).

    One must evaluate the worthiness of a free site and analyze to the degree of necessary due diligence.

    Caution is in order here if this “free stuff’ is used for making a hiring or business partnership decision. A free online “background check” is actually not worth much more than the price of admission.

  • Emmy Valenstein

    There is a difference between public records background checks and FCRA compliant background checks like the CORI check. If you are simply trying to get the ownership history of a cell phone number then a site like mobilenumberinfo.com would be acceptable. If you’re doing a tenant screen or employee verification that are more comprehensive options that are FCRA compliant.