Background checks are pretty common these days and are run for a variety of different reasons. Many people have been in a situation where they were required to have a background check done in order for the person or business they are dealing with to get a good idea of who they are and the history of their behavior.
While anyone these days can get online and search to find out personal information about someone via search engines and tell-tale social media pages, a real background check is so much more in-depth than that. Now-a-days, nearly every business, institution, and person you deal with on a financial or even personal level wants to know your history and what they can expect from you – and they find these answers by doing a background check.
From employers and property managers to insurance and loan companies…and even a new dating partner – it seems like everyone has a reason they want to do a background check and find out different information about you. Some are looking for financial information, others are looking to verify your education, while others want to know your driving history, or if you have been arrested. Background checks can show all of this personal information to just about anyone who searches, so you definitely want to ensure yours is completely accurate and up to date to make the best impression.
Is Your Personal Background Information Accurate?
While this background information on you is wanted to ensure you are creditworthy, an upstanding citizen, or simply to confirm that you did indeed graduate Magna Cum Laude as your resume indicates, it is important to know that background checks offer a detailed report that is very comprehensive. This means that the reports may also include personal items about yourself that you may not realize, including income, bank loans, criminal records, debts, as well as other private data.
Because of the sensitivity of this information, it is crucial that you are aware of exactly what people see when they run a background check on you. Savvy consumers want to know what details are being given out about them and what information businesses, financial institutions, and others can actually request, as there are some limitations that may apply.
Since these background checks can have a huge impact and effect on many areas of your personal and business life, it is recommended that you conduct a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) background check periodically to ensure the online records and details reflect a complete and accurate account of your history. Performing this research now and learning what others can see about you when they perform a background check, lets you prepare your online resume to pass a background test in the future.
Tips for Conducting a Free DIY Background Check on Yourself
There are some simple steps you can take to review the information that others will see when they run a personal background check on you. In addition, there are some websites that you can visit that let you find out what information is circulating on the internet about your background that may need to be hidden from the public, corrected to be accurate, or completely removed. You just may be surprised at what you might find out about yourself!
To save money, you may consider the DIY approach for your background check. With the high-tech world we live in today, there are a variety of ways to gather information online and see everything that others can view about your history and give insight to your background. When you begin your background research and check of yourself, be prepared to find errors, omissions, and outright lies which will need to be corrected. While it is not fun to find any negative information about yourself online, you can rest assured that it can fixed with the proper documentation and by contacting the agency or organization responsible for the post.
Here are some of the different types of personal background checks you can run on yourself as well as some helpful websites that provide background information. Most institutions that require a background inquiry are very thorough and are likely to look into more than just a criminal background check, so it is smart to be prepared for them to see information about you from a variety of sources, including these:
How to Run a Free Background Check on Yourself
- Search Engines – The quickest and most convenient way to begin a background search on yourself is to utilize internet search engines. They are free and easy to use and are a great way to get started just by entering your name. Also, be sure to do a search for any other aliases you may go by like a maiden name or previous married name. Make a note to yourself of which name variation has the information that needs to be corrected or deleted so you can resolve that issue once you have completed all of your research.
- Social Media – Social media is the next place you should look to see what personal data or information is being broadcast online about you. Too often, we do not set our privacy settings on our social media accounts as well as we should, and unintentionally expose private information that we shouldn’t. Make it a point to view all of your social media accounts as a viewer of the page and not the owner, to see what information is available for the public to see. Check out your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts and adjust privacy settings as needed.
- Public Records – When performing your own personal background check, do not overlook access to public records, which is very telling about a person. A simple online search can give access to a variety of personal records including marriage licenses, birth certificates, divorce decrees, trials and court appearances, death certificates, and more. While you will need to do a search for each individual record you wish to view information about, it is all there and available for free public viewing for anyone to see.
- Internet Domain Registration – If you own or manage a website of any kind, be sure to remember that anyone can do a search to find the IP address and data for those websites to see your association. This information can typically be easily found free in a “WHOIS” look-up via any domain registration company. In addition, companies like Domaintools will help determine all of the domains a someone might be associated with, giving an insight to their background, habits, hobbies, likes, and dislikes.
- Credit Reports – Businesses of all kinds check your credit reports to verify creditworthiness. Anyone from employers to auto insurance companies to banks and credit card companies are checking to see your score, so it is definitely a good idea to check yours often. In fact, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com today to get a copy of your credit report so that you can review it for accuracy. If there are any errors or omissions on the report, you will need to file a dispute to have the issues reviewed. They will determine the validity and make adjustments as needed. Be advised that this could take several months, so regularly monitoring of the report is crucial for good credit.
- Insurance Reports – The insurance industry has their own industry-specific insurance screening companies that they use to determine the approval of your coverage. It is your right to receive a copy of your free specialty insurance report each year when you have coverage such as auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or personal property insurance. Simply contact the insurance company to request a copy of your report to check for accuracy.
- Personal Medical Information – Viewing your medical specialty report is a good idea for those who intend to apply for or purchase any type of insurance policy including life insurance, health insurance, long-term care policies, or disability income insurance. Companies like MIB Group, the kind of reporting companies that the medical insurance industry and firms use to evaluate you, are also required to let you know what they are saying about you in their reports to these companies. Therefore, consumers are allowed to have one free report per year, which can be requested on their website here.
- Social Security Number – It is a good idea to review your Social Security account periodically. This can be done on the Social Security Administration website, where you can easily see and verify all of the names that have been associated with your Social Security number over the years. This may include name changes due to marriage, divorce, and other legal name changes
- National Sex Offender Registry –Visit the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website to check to see if your name is on the sex offender list if this is a concern to you in any way. The website allows anyone to search sex offender registries for all 50 states, The District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and Indian Country by entering a name.
- Driving Record – Checking your driving record is a good idea, especially if you have a career that depends on your maintaining a certain type of license or status with your state. You can request a copy of your personal driving record through your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure its accuracy. This can be done either online or by visiting a local office near you. It is also smart to check your driving records in any other state you may have had a driver’s license from in the last 20 years to ensure accuracy in their records.
- Education – It is common practice for prospective employers to check your education by verifying your degree through your college or university’s records. Be prepared for this part of your background check by contacting the educational institution directly to verify that your record is accurate. In addition, you should request a copy of your transcript to keep on file for your personal records.
- Criminal Record – Check to see if your conviction or arrest records (if any) are accurate by requesting them from the court that issued them. It is very important to know that any criminal convictions, paroles, probation, or jail time you have incurred will be reflected in this criminal background report and can be seen by others. In addition, please note that if you have been arrested within the last seven years, this may still show up on your record or background check even though there was not a conviction.
- National Crime Information Center –The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), nicknamed the lifeline of law enforcement, assists law enforcement officers in performing their duties more safely. You can visit the National Crime Information Center website to see if your name is on the government fugitive database during your DIY background check.
Please be advised that the inclusion of your name in a negative way on any of these background reports or lists can have a major effect on your background check and can be a determining factor for several important decisions that banks, employers, landlords, and other institutions make concerning you. It is a smart decision to perform a DIY background check to avoid any issues in the future.
People Search Websites for Free Background Checks
Considering the vast amount of online resources available to investigate one’s background, it is obvious that the gathering of information can be very time-consuming. Fortunately, in addition to the websites, organizations, and resources listed above, there are several “people search” and other types of companies that specialize in background checks. These businesses were created especially to help you easily learn and identify what is in your records and online history.
If you do decide to use a background check service for your own personal background investigation, it is important to know which type of service you would like:
Types of Background Check Services:
- Full-Service Background Check – A full-service background check is when the company does all of the investigative work for you. The company searches their online databases and may also visit courthouses to check for criminal history. They are also able to verify your past employment, education, and any other requested details.
- DIY Background Check – A do-it-yourself background check can be done via websites that allow you to conduct online searches of your own and provide you with instant results. The online background check websites are typically inexpensive and very easy to use, offering instant results and plenty of background details.
Websites such as BeenVerified, TruthFinder, and Intelius are examples of companies that do the investigative work for you by gathering digital information quickly from public records that are readily available These free search options on the website will include background information on you such as:
- Cities and States Lived In
- Known Relatives
- Social network profiles
These background checking companies offer dynamic search engines that allow you to find the information you are looking for via a search by simply entering a name, address, or phone number, for instant results. No matter what type of information you wish to find out about yourself, the search engines quickly gather and organize the data from public records, police records, social media, civil judgments, and white pages into an easy-to-read format to give you the requested background information and history you require on yourself.
If you find that you need to expand the search for background information on yourself, details such as addresses and phone numbers can be found free of charge at websites such as Spokeo, US Search, and WhitePages which allows you to look up all the addresses that are associated with your name and/or Social Security number by performing a simple search.
In addition to the information available on these sites via a free search, each website also gives you the option to view a more complete background profile of yourself for a fee. If you find that there is a need for any type of additional verification of the information found while doing your self-background check, it may make sense to utilize one of the affordable paid service companies to investigate your background.
These companies offer an affordable alternative to tiresome research that not only saves you time, but offers a comprehensive background check that is reliable with access to credible, verifiable data for your search. Quickly and easily find information such as:
- Public Records
- Criminal Records
- Reverse Phone Lookup
- People Search
- Email Search
- Reverse Address Lookup
- Background Check
- Arrest Records
- Sex Offenses
- Details on Arrests and Plea Deals
- Civil Legal Judgments
- Marriage Records
- Social Security Number Verification
Benefits of Using a Background Check Company
While there are plenty of resources available online to perform a free background check on yourself, sometimes getting the help of experts in the field is the right solution. Here are some good reasons to use an established company for your own personal background check.
- Affordable – Background screening companies offer affordable services with access to several levels of information discovery.
- Safe – Access from reputable companies get you the needed information quickly, allowing you to promptly access what needs to be done to keep your personal information safe and sound.
- Private – All background checks and searches you perform are completely private with the utmost of confidentiality
- Access – Background searches provide access to over 20 billion public records and the best and most detailed information available online as well as from other resources including courthouse documents, former employers, and educational institutions.
How to Choose the Right Background Check Service for Your Personal Background Check
There are a variety of different background check services available today, so it may be difficult to decide which one is the best choice for you. Here are a few tips to consider when looking for the right background service company for your needs.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Background Check Service
- Does this service offer the ability to provide all of the information I need for my personal background check?
- Is the cost of the service affordable to me?
- Does the company offer an easy to use online portal that you can access to order searches and review the results?
- How quickly am I able to access the search results?
- How will I receive my search results? Are the reports clear, accurate, and complete?
Savvy Consumers Know What Is in Their Background Report
It is a good idea to do a periodic background check on yourself to see exactly what information others may have access to when conducting an investigation into your credit history, educational background, or criminal past. It is a great way to ensure that your reputation is protected, and you don’t lose any opportunities due to incorrect or outdated information that shows up in your background check.
Once you receive the results of your background check, be sure to examine the information thoroughly and promptly make request any necessary corrections if there are any issues with accuracy. Following these tips will help you run a successful, free online background check on yourself and know exactly where you stand.