DIY Background Checks

Published: 10th July 2005
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DIY Background Checks

By Andy

There's more than a few times in everyone's life when they need a background check done to confirm or rule out possible fears or complications. Most people will only need a private investigator like myself once or twice in their lifetime. The most common circumstances that lead people to want to conduct a background check are:-

1)Due Diligence Are you about to buy a business or commit a lot of money and time to some goal? You need to know all the angles before you start investing.

2)Cheating Partner In my career as an investigator the amount of times I've heard "I think they might be married" is quite substantial. It has become the case that most of the time I find that they are registered as living with someone with the same surname and the marriage certificate usually follows after that. That said, sometimes I have the pleasure of telling the worried party that as far as I can check they are single.

3)Pre-employment Every employer wants to know if the person they are hiring is trustworthy or not. These background checks usually involve talking to references checking debt (if the person is in debt they would be more likely to steal) and criminal records.

First off, there is a difference between my home country (the United Kingdom) and the USA. In the UK the government is very strict about releasing information to the public about other individuals and may only do so when they are convinced of a good reason (usually needing a lawyer to start this process for you). This is the case with criminal records. Unless you are an employer you won't be allowed access to criminal records and will not get a full disclosure unless the person you are hiring is working with children. When these records are requested you would get a copy, as would the person that they are relating to. So you'd have to have their permission.

However, in the United States the law is almost the exact opposite. Due to the freedom of information act criminal records are publicly available in most states (How it should be to avoid criminals taking you for a trip). The only problem with the system arises when the person you want to check criminal records on has committed no crimes in your state, lets say Washington, but has a Driving Under the Influence charge in New York state. Unless you search all the states criminal records you could miss that conviction. This can lead to a false sense of security. Online companies say that they search all states for you. Let me tell you that this isn't accurate all the time. I've worked with companies whose records stopped being updated 3 years ago! Criminal records have also been found by paying someone on the ground to physically search them that an online search hasn't turned up.

Apart from criminal records, which almost everyone wanting a background check wants to see, most investigators can also provide marriage/divorce/birth/death records and credit/financial information that isn't available to the general public or would cost you much more to get on your own. So you'd best leave things like that to the professionals.

So what can you do for a Do It Yourself Background check? Well, first off, if your friend gives you a business card then call the number on it and see what happens. Are you passed to a secretary or does it just ring out? Do they answer in a professional manner "This is company XYZ, how may I direct your call?" or in a "Yeah, who is it?" kind of tone that suggests that this is the person's home phone line.

If they tell you their name but you think they might be lying then talk to their friends and ask them. This will stop people in a club/bar giving you a false name so they can pick you up and then run away the next morning.

Make a point of visiting their home so you can verify that they live there. "How about I'll pick you up for a change? Seven thirty at your place? Sound good?" You're bound to find out if they live alone or with their parents. If they're married the surest sign is they will not want you to be within 100 miles of their home address!

Also a little trick from the pros, if you have an area you think they live in then drive through it two or three times a day for a week at differing times. You're bound to spot them, the percentages are on your side. That said, don't stalk them when you happen to see them.

The best thing you can do is talk to their friends, family and neighbours when you get the chance (i.e. you're being introduced to them by your lover). Remember talk - don't interrogate!

If you need hep in tracing someone or having a background check done in the UK or USA them visit my websites or . It should go without saying that I can't take responsibility for your actions when using the above information to conduct such a background check, I give them for theoretical purposes.

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