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How To Perform A Background Check

Maybe you’re an employer or landlord who needs a background check of a potential employee or tenant. Or it could be you’re about to take on a new roommate or heading out on a blind date. There are lots of good reasons you might decide a background check is in order. The Internet Age has made it easier than ever to check up on almost anyone’s past, and many of the resources to do this are free. No need to hire a snooping private eye any more. But how does one go about conducting an effective online background check? It’s not that hard. Here are some rock solid tips to help you complete your mission.

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FCRA Compliance

Here’s the first thing you should know. If you are an employer or landlord using a third party (like those that produce consumer credit reports – Equifax, etc.) to screen potential employees, you MUST comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and be able to document that you have done so. For the rest of us simply wanting to ascertain that the cute gal we’re going to meet for coffee after work isn’t a shoe bomber, the requirements are less stringent. Okay, non-existent. This article deals primarily with background checks for personal reasons, not employment. If you are performing a background check for employment, tenancy, or any other reason that requires FCRA compliance, then there are plenty of FCRA compliant background check services.

Background Check Legal Problems

Perhaps the best way to start an online background check on someone is to visit the National Center for State Courts. This incredible resource will direct you to the official government websites for each state that allows you to research whether or not the person you’re interested in has had legal issues: felonies, misdemeanors, bankruptcies, judgments against them. Since these are state level archives, you’ll need to repeat the search on any state your target has lived in. The best part? It costs nothing.

Google and More
Perhaps even before you sift the court records, you might want to Google the person’s name and see what comes up. Same with popular social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever flavor of the moment platform is enjoying its 15 minutes in the glorious sunshine of public popularity. While you’re not going to find any official records via this method, you could stand to learn an awful lot. Maybe enough to send you scurrying to clean up your own tracks.

Credit Scores
As we’ve already mentioned, you need to make extra sure you’re complying with the FCRA if you are an employer or landlord. But there’s no law that says you can’t ask a new roommate to volunteer a credit report for your perusal. Otherwise you need an official business purpose and signed permission, neither of which that cute girl at the coffee shop is liable to provide. You might even get a slap in the face for asking.

Take a Peek
Before embarking on your own finger-numbing excursion across the Internet, consider visiting the website The concept is interesting. It’s been described as Google for people. PeekYou is a person based search engine that combs 60 different social media and news sites in search of the name you give it. There’s no cost for many of the services but you may encounter a fee if you want to dig deep.

Beware the False Positive
If you’re relying on free websites to conduct your search, take heed. Believe it or not, sometimes information found online is not true. If you find adverse information, it’s only fair to ask the person about it before casting them aside like so much garbage. So, if you use the search engines and other free tools for your background checks, be aware that you need to take necessary steps to verify that the information which you have found is true. For example, if you find some evidence of someone having a criminal record on Google, you should then inquire about that specific charge with the county in which the crime occurred.

Non-FCRA Background Checks
If your background check is not for employment or tenancy then it probably does not fall under the requirements of the FCRA. If you are not sure if your background check falls under the FCRA, then please review the FCRA requirements. SearchMachine is a background check service that does not fall under FCRA compliance. If you want to see a background check on a neighbor, an acquaintance, someone at your kid’s school, a business partner, or anything else that does not fall under the FCRA, then we will provide you with an easy and inexpensive way to conduct your background check.

The Professional Option
So far, we’ve discussed free or low-cost ways to get find background information on someone. You could also choose to go the professional route. There are full-service employment screening companies out there who will do a deep background check for $50-100 per report.

Though set up primarily to work with businesses engaged in hiring, there’s no law that says you can’t hire such a company to uncover exactly what the cute girl in the coffee shop has been doing with her life: marital status, employment, education, military and motor vehicle records, social security number verification. The catch is that there won’t be anything sneaky about this. The company will solicit your target’s permission and will abide by the letter of the FCRA. Not a great choice if you’re trying to be subtle.

The bottom line is that there has never been a better time in history for poking and prodding into someone’s background. From personal interests to legal convictions, the Internet is the best tool ever to uncover the dirty (or clean) details about a person before becoming personally or professionally entangled with them.

Background Check
Background Check

9 responses to “Free Background Check Online

  1. Hello SearchQuarry Visitors!

    Do you have any questions about our background checks? Any questions about background checks in general? We’d be happy to try and answer your questions.

    Best Regards,

    The SearchQuarry Team

    1. Hello Armando,

      We would be happy to assist you with an online background check however your inquiry is something beyond our abilities. Perhaps you can call the state college and verify the check. Our background resources are designed to lookup public background records by name. We do not offer any financial services. I have included some useful links below.

      Best Regards,

      The Search Quarry Team

    1. Hello Juanita, I do see a misdemeanor on the background check report in the state of Georgia, but there are a few people with your name in the United States so that misdemeanor may not be yours.

      Best Regards,

      Search Quarry Team

    1. Hello Maria,

      That is definitely your right to believe what you want but the fact of the matter is criminal records are public, via the FOIA. It creates transparency in our government with the public records they collect. You might consider writing your senator if you’re passionate about this. We have no control over the decisions the U.S. government makes, we merely provide a portal for people to access public records. I have included a link to the Freedom of Information Act so you can read more about why many Government records are available to the general public.

      Please reach out if you have any additional questions or concerns.

      Best Regards,

      The Search Quarry Team

  2. It amazes me that there are so many different ways to find information on and about people without even knowing them. For an employer, this service would be very helpful and useful to do a free background check. I think that the national government background check would be the only think that you would need to do for your employees to make sure that they don’t have any big problems.

    1. Hello Dave,

      You are correct that background check information is very helpful for a multitude of reasons. Our background check resources are for online reference only and not eligible to use for employment, screening, housing, credit or security clearances. If you’re interested in a background check resource for employment then you should use an FCRA certified service ( ie. Good Hire ). Please reach out if there are any specific background check questions we can assist you with.

      Best Regards,

      The Search Quarry Team

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Please be aware that the information obtained using SearchMachine searches may not always be accurate and up to date as we do not create, verify, or guarantee the accuracy or the amount of information provided through our service. Data availability is largely dependent on various public sources from which the information is aggregated. SearchMachine is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by Fair Credit Reporting Act and should not be used to determine an individual’s eligibility for personal credit or employment, or to assess risk associated with any business transactions such as tenant screening. By using the services offered through this website you agree to comply with all of the conditions set forth in our terms and privacy disclosure. The information obtained from our searches is not to be used for any unlawful purposes such as stalking or harassing others, or investigating public officials or celebrities. Violators may be subject to civil and criminal litigation and penalties. All searches are subject to our terms and applicable laws. SafeCart is the retailer of products on this site.