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The Guide to Finding Free Public Records Online, Including Background Checks, Criminal Records, Court Records, Arrest Records and More!
Welcome to BackgroundChecks.org. We are the Internet's premier resource and database for everything related to Public Records, both online and off. Everyday, our Researchers add new resources to help you find the information you're looking for.
Our goal is simple - to help you find all of the public records information you need.
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Running Background Checks Online - Everything You Need to Know Before Getting Started:
What is a background check?
Broadly speaking, a background check is a way of investigating someone’s character, background and past, using public data sources and reports. Most background checks are generated automatically from data repositories maintained by private companies and state and federal governments.
What’s included in a background check?
Typically, the information included on a background check will include the person’s:
Age, Aliases, Date of Birth, Relatives, crimes committed, arrests, marriage and divorce records (depending on the state), bankruptcies, civil records and judgments, traffic tickets, social media information, and online presence.
What’s the difference between public records and a background check?
When people say public records, they are usually referring to civil issues such as lawsuits, traffic tickets, vital records (such as marriage, divorce, birth and death), bankruptcies and the like. When people say background check, they usually have in mind criminal records, warrant searches, arrest records and other criminal information.
Where does all of the information found on a background report come from?
Believe it or not, almost all of this information is public record by law, and is available to anyone who is willing to make the effort to search for it. Some jurisdictions make it incredibly simple, and have dedicated web portals that allow you to search. Others are stuck in the paper age, and often require an on site search in the county courthouse. This can be done by using a “court runner”, as well.
Should I search myself or use an online background check provider?
We’re big fans of free - so if you’re looking for one or two pieces of information, it might be worth your time to see what’s available first online or in your local courthouse. Online background check services really shine in two ways. They spend a fortune sucking up all the data available, something that might take you years or you might not even be able to accomplish with a limited budget at all. They’re also really good at collecting all the specific information and creating a really detailed report. Generally speaking we’ve found the relatively low cost to be worth the information provided and the sheer time and effort saved on our part.
What’s the best background check service?
We try to be unbiased about these things. Every provider has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on how they collect their data and what kind of algorithms they use. If you click on Public Records above in the navigation, we’ve done extensive reviews on all of the big background check providers and you can then decide which one you want to try.
Free background check - does such a thing really exist?
We get this question a lot, and it’s a bit of a complicated answer. There are definitely many sources of free online background information, especially on the state level. See our state by state guides above for specifics. There are even a few federal sources that are free to search, too. The problem starts with knowing where to search and who to search on. Maybe that guy you’re dating had an alias in another state - how would you know? Or perhaps he committed a crime on the other side of the country. Would you know to search in a different state if they hadn’t told you they lived there?
That’s why we’re big fans of the online background checks, especially ones with free trials. They’ve done the dirty work of searching for this information, and turn up a lot of things you might miss if you looked yourself.
What kind of free background check info is out there if I want to search by myself?
As mentioned above, start with our state by state guides. Bankruptcy records can also be searched online by opening an account on Pacer.gov. Note that Pacer.gov charges 10 cents per each page returned. Yes, we know it’s the 21st century. Your federal government at its finest.
Should I run a self background check?
Definitely - it’s always good to know what others might see if they ran a search for you. At best, there's nothing you need to worry about. At the worst, there's information that's either wrong or outdated, and you'll need to work to make sure it gets permanently fixed.
What if I want to run an employment background check?
Using a background check to hire someone is a whole different can of worms , and requires strict compliance with federal and state laws, the most important being the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Most online background check providers don’t provide the level of data you need for this. We can’t say this enough: DO NOT USE YOUR RUN OF THE MILL ONLINE BACKGROUND CHECK PROVIDER FOR EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES.
Instead, you need to use what’s called an FCRA compliant background check provider. We’ve heard good things about GoodHire and Checkr - both are well funded and profitable companies in Silicon Valley that are making background checks for employment simple and inexpensive.
Wow - is there a way to delete my background check information?
Not really. You can opt out from different companies, but the information often tends to resurface. We’re working on an online tool that will constantly monitor for your information and allow you to keep your info secure all the time.