Here’s The Truth About Those “Free Background Checks”
June 21, 2017
Obviously, “free” is the best price for anything. Name it: free samples at the supermarket, free seat upgrades at the airport, and free beer at holiday Christmas parties are some of the best things in life.
But if you ever see a “free” background check, close your browser and never return to the site. These sites claim that they don’t want your money. But they’re often being tricky or offering you way more hassle than you’re willing to tolerate.
In fact, all background check services that claim that they are “Free” can be placed in one of three different categories. All of them are bad.
1) Websites With Weak Data
On some background check sites, the “free” data you see is worth every penny you spend.
Maybe there will be some social media profiles or even a birth date. But you won’t gain access to any information that isn’t available faster with a quick Google search. Data from these sites never comes from actual public records. So they won’t help you if you want to find something significant, such a phone number or criminal records.
2) Sites That Have A “Freemium” Business Model
Some background check services will tease you with “free” data just to get you to sign for an account. But once you see the “free” data in the reports, you’ll quickly realize that it’s all basically worthless. On every report, you’ll be encouraged to either sign up for their monthly subscription fee, or pay for more data on each report. It’s better to choose background check services that are upfront about their pricing.
3) Plain Old Snake Oil Salesmen
The third type of background check service that claims to be “free” is the worst. They, well, simply lie about how free their background checks are, but try to . These are less common nowadays, since sites like Google and Facebook crack down on deceptive advertising. We don’t review or promote background check services that do this, but you’ll still see these scummy sites around sometimes.
Beware The Free Lunch
The bottom line is that getting quality data for public records requires lots of resources. It takes good data vendors, smart developers to compile the data into reports, and terabytes of server space. That’s why all legitimate background check services charge money — and are honest about that fact. Any site that claims to offer “free” background checks shouldn’t be trusted.
What To Look For In A Background Check Site
June 21, 2017
There are literally dozens of online background check sites crowding the internet. But anyone who has perused them knows that most of them aren’t worth much. Most are fly by night operations that count on people to not know the difference between a background check site that actually deliver the goods and one that only pretends.
Fortunately, there are a few key clues you can look for when scoping out background check sites. Look for these key signs of a quality background check site.
If the data isn't accurate, nothing else matters. Some lower quality websites will scrape data from low quality sources and then dump them into online reports haphazardly. The result is a Frankenstein monster of a report that stitches together data from bad sources. Basic info, such as your birthdate, addresses, or even criminal records can be wrong.
A good clue is the ages listed in the reports. If someone’s age is obviously wrong, then there is probably some data contamination. Stay far, far away.
Membership Plan With Unlimited Searches
Some background checks sites try to nickel and dime you. They charge you for every single report — or even worse every single part of a report.
Honest background check websites make it simple. They charge a monthly fee for unlimited search, and maybe also charge for upgrades like a premium reports. That gives you wide access to a ton of data at an affordable rate, but also gives you the option of digging deeper when you want to.
It’s simply more convenient to know that you can uncover someone's past addresses and criminal history at a moments notice, without worrying about having to pay for a new report.
Some more advanced background check sites have started to offer this feature, and it’s incredibly useful. If you want to be notified whenever new information is added to a report, you can switch on data monitoring. You’ll receive an email for each new update. It’s a powerful way to guarantee you have the latest info about somebody.
Easy To Browse Reports
Of course, you also want to be able to use the site. That sounds obvious, but some older sites look like haven’t been updated since Yahoo was the king of search engines.
For example, some sites spread all their data across several databases. There might be one for background checks, one for arrests, one for court records, and so on. This creates more frustration than necessary, because it forces you to perform multiple searches to get the data you want. Good background check sites make things easy for you by presenting all the data on each report on a single page.
Why You Should Run A Background Check On Yourself
June 21, 2017
Background checks are are useful for scoping out other people. You can see if your neighbors have any interesting criminal records you should know about, discover if your dates have tax liens against them, or just look up an old friend. However, you should also running a background check on yourself.
Here are a few reasons why self background checks can improve your relationships and protect your reputation.
Discover What Other People See On Your Background Report
People you’ve met may have already run a background check on you. With the rise in popularity of background check, pulling someone’s report has become as common a searching their name in Google. Do you know what they see when they look at your criminal records? If there’s something embarrassing that you know friends or date might look up, you can know ahead of time by checking on yourself. That gives you chance to create a good explanation if anyone asks about it.
Check For Identity Theft
Checking your own background can be the first step towards monitoring the security of your identity.
If someone assumed your name, it might show up in addresses you don’t recognize in your report. People might even fraudulently assume your identity in less nefarious ways, such as creating social media accounts in your name. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to create Twitter accounts under another person’s name. Since many of the best background check services reveal social media accounts, the fraudulent accounts might show up in a report.
If you see something shady on your background check report, you can investigate further. Acting fast on ID theft is the surest way to protect your identity and your reputation.
Uncover Inaccurate Information
Of course bad data isn’t always caused by identity theft. Occasionally, an inaccurate item appears on a background check due to other reasons, which as programming errors.
Fortunately, most background check services allow you to report these issues. If you see something on your background report that you know should be there, you can notify the background check service in order to request to have it removed. That way, you ensure people have an clear and accurate picture of you when they look you up.
It only takes a few minutes to search for your own name and pull your online background report. But it can save you money, headaches, and even awkward and unexpected conversations down the line.