It may sound creepy, but there are plenty of scenarios in which performing a background check can ensure the physical and financial safety of both you and your loved ones. You may want to check out a new babysitter or vet a potential business partner before inking an agreement. Or maybe you’re just making sure that super-hot dating prospect does not have a criminal record. You could also run a background check on a neighborhood to see if any sex offenders live nearby. On the flip side, performing a background check on yourself can provide insight into what someone can find out about you.
Background check services can greatly simplify the process of finding the information you’re looking for. The services gather data from public resources such as courthouses, county clerks' offices and social media sites. You could find the same information on your own, but it would be quite time-consuming, involving virtual travel to countless websites and possibly actual travel to distant courthouses. Instead of a pile of sticky notes with tidbits you gather over the phone from a county clerk in one state and a courthouse clerk in another, you can get a sleek and streamlined electronic report within minutes, while still in your pajamas, about anyone in your life you need to trust.
Top-notch background check companies provide the information you need quickly and make it easy for you to submit requests and access complete reports. Here are the some of the features you should look for:
Searches and Reports
An all-inclusive service for background checks should offer access to a wide range of information about each person you research, including criminal records, address history, aliases, social media activity, property ownership and more. The best background check services also offer a wide range of methods for obtaining the information, including reverse searches for addresses, emails and phone numbers. They should also offer court runners who can go to courthouses and government offices in person to obtain information as needed.
Only accurate results are acceptable when you’re considering whom to trust. We tested each service and compared our results with those found by business-improvement organizations and other customers.
Ease of Use
The service should have a user-friendly interface, making it easy to order and access reports. These reports should be customizable and previews should be free. This makes the process significantly simpler than doing the research yourself.
Help & Support
Customer support should offer a variety of contact methods, including telephone, live chat and email support. You should also expect helpful FAQs and help menus.
While the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits the use of these services for credit and pre-employment checks, tenant screening or similar uses, these services can still provide useful and potentially lifesaving information.