If you do a search on Google for “free background check,” you will come up with hundreds of sites offering or showing you how to conduct a background check on a person of interest. Most of these sites make promises of locating criminal records, court records while checking available public records online. However, most of these sites do not provide results for free. As a private investigator, I sometimes use a free background check to start my investigation. It’s only for reference to see how much information they can find and how much of it is free.
Let’s Get Started with Background Checks
Spokeo and InstantCheckmate allow anyone to conduct a “free” background check on any subject of their choice in a matter of minutes. You will need the person of interest’s first and last name plus city and state of residence for the site to locate the person.
Spokeo and the hundreds of other online people search website are a blessing for those looking for an easy and fast way to conduct a background check. Most of these sites offer a free search without requiring you to register with them to get preliminary results. However, you need to register and pay to get the full report.
For those using popular dating apps such as OkCupid or POF, you should be critical regarding the search results from the free background check services. Using these online people search and background check services can be a bad idea. If you have to get results within an hour and can’t wait for verified results, then these online people searches are better than nothing.
Be aware that a simple free search on the Internet may give you false information. Meeting an unknown person from an online dating site can be a life or death situation. In such a case, you will want to use a professional background check service to be sure you are safe. There can be a big difference between a machine conducting your search and a human doing it. Unlike online free searches, a human Live PI identifies and verifies each background check report.
Reasons Why You Should Use a Professional Background Check Service Instead of an Online Free Background Check Service
1. No Guarantee of Accuracy
If accuracy is not a major issue in your search, then a free online background check may work for you. Unfortunately, the focus may be off, such as the name matching the city or the state. You cannot be sure whether the information provided is true. If, however, you are about to meet someone in person and need a verified background check, I recommend you go to a website like ours where a human conducts the search. This is a professional service for you at a very competitive price. You get more bang for the buck than with the popular online people search and background check websites.
2. Search Engine Automated Searches (No Human Involved)
As you probably know the free online background checks are completely automated. The online people search and background check automated websites use algorithms to search through a number of different public databases. Then, in no time at all, spit out a result for you (they may or may not find results). So, you get what you get in a matter of minutes, but you never know how reliable the information is.
3. Data Source Limitations
A free online background check service scrapes the internet free public data records. Then it resells this data to individuals like you. These searches often use WhitePages as the main source of data collection. This digital data is likely old data and leads to misinformation in the results. A free background check online is a good place to start any investigation.
As a professional investigator, I often start out a search using Spokeo. I do this to determine how easy or difficult it will be to locate the subject. This tells me how deep I need to dig to find the correct information. It also tells me to which proprietary database I will then turn first. After that, I use my restricted database accesses for a professional background check to locate the most current information on the subject. I use a rating system on all professional background check reports indicating how easy or difficult it was to find the subject’s information.
4. No Verification
Most people who conduct their online people and background searches have no clue how and from where the information that they receive comes. As I previously mentioned, these results are digitally compiled and there is no human checking them, let alone an expert private investigator.
When an investigator conducts a search, he is comparing and using professional restricted databases. He uses his expertise as a licensed private investigator and can identify and verify the information obtained. You may ask how the investigator verifies that the information, such as a phone number, is correct. Well, let’s leave that a trade secret. The private investigator has ways of discreetly ensuring he has the correct information.
PeopleSearchLive offers accurate background check and people search services without a subscription. You have access to a licensed private investigator. They will conduct the search and verify that the results are valid and accurate. The services are less costly than if you contacted a local private investigation agency.
5. No Accountability
So, you decided to run a reverse cell phone search in order to retrieve information about the owner of the cell phone number you got from the person you met on an online dating site. You type in the number on the free reverse cell phone number lookup you found online. Oddly, the results you get back are for a person who lives in a different state. Or, you get many results or no results at all.
Next, you decide to try to run a free background check on the name the suitor gave you. You wish to confirm they are who they say they are and you again get ambiguous results. This is the time when you must reach out to the professionals. Only a licensed PI can ensure the accountability of a search. No such accountability exists with these free online people search and free online background check companies. From them, you receive whatever their search engine manages to find in public records.
6. No Certainty of Expertise
Most people don’t realize that producing an accurate background check requires certain knowledge. It also calls for cognitive capabilities, which machines do not possess. In addition, it requires access to publicly unavailable data sources and expertise to retrieve hard to find information. Those who are usually up to no good, will mask their true identity and hide undesirable information from their backgrounds. A human is needed to investigate and carry out vetting while maintaining legal compliance.
Online background check websites do not verify their so-called free online background check or online people search services. That is why consumers need to start understanding that the best way to get accurate and verified results for your online people search and background check needs is to contact a professional and have them conduct your search for you. Only a human Licensed Private Investigator can get accurate results and verify that the results are correct.
7. No Guarantee of Legal Compliance
Many employers or landlords have learned the legal minefields of not conducting a proper background check. If done incorrectly, it can lead to a costly lawsuit. As a private investigator, I see and deal with clients who have learned the hard way the importance of doing a proper background check that falls under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, better known as the FCRA guidelines. If you’re an employer, you must abide by the relevant legislation regarding conducting a background check on applicants.
Those employers who choose to conduct a free background check in-house will not be FCRA compliant. As mentioned at the beginning, there are websites that advertise free searches. These popular sites allow anyone to conduct a background check on anyone. All you need to do is to enter their details, e.g. name, age, phone number, location, etc. This can be kind of amazing to the untrained eye. If it were that easy to get an accurate background check in the real world, we’d all be in big trouble.
This is why the government had to intercede and establish a law like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It mandates that you must get written authorization from an individual to conduct a background check that involves a consumer report. So, what this means is that if you conduct a background check on these free websites or without the individual’s consent, and use the results for employment, tenant screening or any other consumer credit purpose, you can easily be sued.
The free background check websites usually list their FCRA non-compliance, but it is in the fine print. When you are dealing with a professional investigator, the investigator will inform you of the legalities when conducting a professional background check.
The Bottom Line on Background Checks
The bottom line is that you can conduct a free background check on a person you met online just to see what comes up. If their information is easy to find, chances are the person is not hiding their information in public databases. However, if there is little or no information coming up in the free background check or you suspect its accuracy, contact professionals who know what they’re doing. Have a real-life private investigator conduct an accurate background check and verify the results.
As mentioned, the prices for the services are very competitive compared to the so-called free background check services. They often charge for extras, as well. Eventually, you’ll end up paying more than what is fair for public information that is free in the first place. Not to mention that for the most part, the data is not up-to-date. They say you get what you pay for, but often times with the so-called free searches you don’t. Instead, you can choose personal service and a licensed investigator’s expertise. Letting someone who knows where to find accurate information conduct your verified background check is worth it.
If you’re looking for a reliable background check service your best bet is to stay clear from the free background check websites. We are a new type of service powered by a licensed private investigative agency and now conduct professional background checks in as little as 2 hours. You will receive background check reports that are usable and legally compliant. Armed with accurate information, you will have a better understanding to make critical decisions.
Those of you who still feel the need to use free background check services as your only source of making critical decisions, your Live PI has warned you. Online daters also need to understand how proper people search and background check services can help prevent the loss of their finances and even the possibility of losing one’s life. The dangers of online dating stress the importance of getting a proper background check.