Have you ever wondered what information about you is out there that anyone can access? In an era when people are more conscious about privacy than ever before, this is growing concern. Some people may have very specific reasons for wanting to know. Perhaps they are applying for a new job and wondering what information their prospective employer might know about them. Or, maybe they want to know if that childhood misdemeanor is still on their file. Perhaps they use medical marijuana and want to know if people can find out about it.
In any case, governments hold a huge amount of data about their citizens, and transparency laws mandate that much of this is available for the general public to look at. But, how can you discover exactly what information is available about you? The simplest way to find out is to run a background check on yourself. For just a few dollars, you can carry out the same search as anyone else can and see the same information they will. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to run a background check on yourself as well as recommend the best online sites to do it.
What Is Background Checking?
A background check is a professional research service which digs into all the publicly available data sources and compiles the findings into a comprehensive report. Such services generally employ the latest online research technology to search through huge data sets quickly and efficiently. With even the smallest amount of information about a subject to go from, they can search huge quantities of data to find everything available.
Background checks are becoming increasingly popular and the technology, speed, and affordability of the service becomes better known. Many employers like to run a background check on job applicants, and it’s useful to ascertain whether anyone in your neighborhood has a criminal past or is a registered sex offender. Of course, many people are simply curious to see what information is on file about them, and may conduct such a search to get the final word on their worries.
What Sort of Information Can a Background Check Reveal?
Background checking sites have access to a huge amount of publicly available data. This data can be sourced from Federal and State records, as well as some private firms which are legally obliged to make certain data open to the public. But being publicly available doesn’t necessarily mean it is easy to get your hands on this data, however. You may have a right to view your information, but combing through the massive databases is often neither easy nor is it even free to do so. In fact, the process of searching these data sets can also be time-consuming and extremely laborious if undertaken manually.
This is why so many people turn to background checking sites to do the job for them. Their intelligent algorithms are able to search through huge quantities of data quickly and accurately. But what kind of information can are they likely to uncover? Different sites and searches will always turn up different results, but broadly speaking, most background checking sites are likely to reveal the following main types of information:
Based on even the smallest amount of information, most background checking sites can reveal a great deal of personal information. This could include things such as a subject’s maiden names, any legal name changes they might have made, marriage records, and details of close family members and friends and even close acquaintances. They can also usually find multiple contact details including telephone numbers and emails as well as current and former address records.
Most sites will be able to compile a pretty accurate employment history on most subjects. It is likely to include details such as current and former employer names, the dates their employment terms began and ended, and their job title. Some searches can also reveal things like salary details and any professional qualifications earned.
There are also a lot of details about a subject’s finances held in the public domain too. This will include social security numbers, credit rating scores, details of any shares they hold in companies, any property they own, and any other major assets held in their name. It should also reveal records of bankruptcy or any financial liens against their name.
Many background checks will also be able to find out information about a subject’s education history. This might be fairly vague, such as details of the college or high school they attended, what they majored in, and any professional qualifications earned. But sometimes it will also include full information about the qualifications and grades they achieved.
If a subject served in the US Armed Forces, there will be extensive public records about their period of service. This will include details which include the date and location of any active service they participated in, the dates they joined and left the armed forces, what ranks they held, what medals and commendations they earned, their home addresses during their period of service, and the records of education undertaken during this period.
If a subject has a criminal record of any kind, a background check should uncover full details about it. This will include any criminal convictions they have, either at Federal, State, or County level. It will also reveal whether a subject is registered on either Federal and State Sex Offender registers as well as any non-convictions on their record over the previous seven years such as arrests, warrants, or charges that were dismissed. The best sites will also be able to send a runner to local courts to access any non-digitized court records that may exist too.
Details of everyone’s driving history are made publicly available by the DMV. As a result, full details related to every driving license in the country can be discovered. This includes details of whether a person has any traffic tickets or driving offences on record, or if their license has been either suspended or revoked. Other driving-related information that can often be found includes details of any RTAs, drunk-driving arrests or charges, and even information on more minor traffic-related incidents.
There are many things in the USA which require people to hold a license such as flying a plane, possessing certain firearms, practicing medicine or law, and working as a Private Investigator. And details of all of these are open to the public. A professional search service can also find details of any additional certificates relating to a license and any complaints that have been filed against the license holder.
Social Media Data
Most people have at least one, if not several, social media accounts, and many of these make all of their content openly available to everyone. On such profiles, a background check is likely to find details about things like relationships, family, friends, employment, and even where a person lives. They can often also unearth up-to-date pictures of a subject as well.
Choosing the Best Background Checking Site
If you are interested to know how much of this information is available about you, the best way to find out is to run a background check on yourself. This is very easy to do; just head online and you will find no shortage of websites which offer a quick and professional background checking service that is easy to use. Then, follow the onscreen instructions to sign up, download their software, and start searching. The question is, which of these sites should you use?
That is where we can help. We have carried out extensive testing of all the leading background checking sites in an effort to determine which offer the best and most comprehensive service. We have also factored a lot of user feedback into our results. In choosing our recommendations, we have applied a number of core criteria which feedback suggests are the main things people are looking for from a background checking site. These criteria are:
- Comprehensive research – Most users want a site which will access the broadest possible range of data to provide the most detailed information possible. If you are running a check on yourself, you certainly want to be sure the site you use is accessing as many available information sources as possible.
- Accurate and comprehensible reports – The final report lays out all the information that has been found, but some are much easier to read and understand than others. The best sites all offer clear and detailed final reports.
- Fast results – If you are worried about what information is out there about you, you will be looking for fast results. However, response times can vary between sites. But the best sites should be delivering basic results in a few minutes and a more detailed report in just a few days.
- Usable dashboard – The online dashboard is how you will manage your searches, but the design and usability of these can also vary a lot. But the very best sites offer a dashboard which is intuitive to use and pleasing on the eye.
- Mobile apps – Most of us like to access services on mobile devices these days which is why all the best sites will offer dedicated mobile apps for all major platforms.
- Reliable customer support – Customer support is vital if you encounter any problems with your background check or have questions about the results. The best sites offer a customer support service which can be accessed in multiple ways and which has long opening hours.
Please note: No service on the market can guarantee a 100% success rate in their searches, but feedback suggests they get pretty close to this. We therefor have no hesitation in recommending each of the following services as a good tool to find out exactly what information is available on yourself:
BeenVerified offers a superb all-round service, searching through huge quantities of data to provide results that are about as comprehensive as it gets. Their service is delivered in a two-tiered structure. At the basic level, BeenVerified will look into criminal records financial records, property reports, social media profiles, and personal information such as addresses histories. At the premium level, they will scour an even wider range of data sources. You can even get them to send runners to search through court records!
BeenVerified’s offers an excellent final report at both tiers, with plenty of detail included but in an accessible way that almost everyone can understand. Their online dashboard is also easy to navigate and well-designed too. They have dedicated apps for both iOS and Android devices and these are particularly popular with users. The BeenVerified customer support service is another terrific feature of theirs. It is open for long hours, seven days a week and can be accessed via either email or phone. If you want to run a background check on yourself and be confident that the results are accurate and comprehensive, then BeenVerified is definitely the site to choose.
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Instant CheckMate is another background checking site which offers a comprehensive and dependable research service. As with other top-notch services on the market, they also price their service using a two-tiered structure. At the basic level, this will search through data including criminal records, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history, and any public social media profiles. At their premium level, you can also expect to learn about financial history, driving licenses, and more.
The final reports offered by CheckMate are neat and easy to follow regardless of which tier you choose. Their online dashboard is also really well-designed and very simple use. They do only have an Android app available right now, which some users have been critical of. For now, iOS users have to make do with the online dashboard, but this seems to work well on a mobile device too. The CheckMate customer support service is excellent though and is available around the clock.
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Truthfinder‘s service is about as comprehensive as you will find anywhere, claiming to search through millions of different data sets when carrying out their checks. At a basic level, their research will look at criminal and court records, driving records, personal information, and information about known relatives. For a premium, they will also search things like education history, voter registration records, weapons and other licenses held. Truthfinder also offers a unique deep web research service which can access more online sources than any of their competitors.
In our testing, their results were certainly detailed, and no-one unearthed more information. Their findings are presented in a final report which is neatly designed but not always the simplest to read. Their online dashboard was also very well designed and easy to use. Like CheckMate, they also only have an Android app at the moment, which is a pity. But they are another site which offers 24/7 customer support and, even better, it is available on a toll-free number too.
EXCLUSIVE: If you want to give Truthfinder a try, why not take advantage of our special discounted rates.
Last but certainly not least is Intelius, a provider which scours vast troves of different data sources in its pledge to uncover myriad details about people. You can expect to find full contact details, address history, criminal records, sex offender register details, financial history, property records, educational history, and much more.
Intelius offers a sleek dashboard which prioritizes ease of use. Final reports from this company are comprehensive, although the amount of detail may actually be overwhelming for some users. There are dedicated apps for both Android and iOS devices, which user feedback suggests have been extremely well received. Their customer support service is good (though not exceptional) and includes an online troubleshooter, which we quite liked. Intelius claims to have run more than 50 million background checks since the site launched, which is a testament to the level of satisfaction experienced by their customers.
If you want to know what information is available about you, the quickest, simplest, and most affordable way to find out is to run an online background check. These professional online research sites can unearth a whole host of information about you. Since they all prioritize ease of use, the only difficulty tends to be choosing which site to use! We have simplified that search for you, by identifying four sites around which offer both a comprehensive and high-quality all-round service.
Have you ever used a background checking site? Did you try running a background check on yourself? What information did it unearth about you? Was there anything there that surprised you? Perhaps they uncovered details that you didn’t even know yourself! We always welcome the experiences and comments of all our readers, so why not share them with us using the comment box below.
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