Is it Legal to do a background check on someone?

find locationIn the internet age, it has become very easy to run a background check on someone. In the past, a complete background report would have required multiple trips to county courthouses and hundreds of dollars in fees for manual searches and copies of records. Now, a comprehensive nationwide background report can be done with the click of a button for less than $10.

But – as easy as it is to check on someone’s background with their SSN, phone number or even last known location, is it always legal to do so?

Online background checks use public records information compiled from state and county records as well as other publicly available information such as from web searches and social media.  Public records information is, by definition, publicly available but that does not necessarily mean that it is free or simple to acquire.

Background check companies go a step further by gathering all that available information to match up every tidbit related to that person across county and state lines so you’ll have a complete public records profile of criminal records, address and phone number information, and much more.

And, because the information is all a matter of public record, you can check for just about anyone for many perfectly valid reasons (though there are some restrictions – see below). Unless you are interested in a background check for very specific, official purposes, you don’t need the permission of the person you are searching and they’ll never know you ran a background check on them.

Fair Credit Reporting Act Restrictions

The exceptions are if you’re checking someone’s background for an official, legal purpose – such as job hiring or housing.  In those cases, you DO need official permission to run a background check AND there are only select companies you can use that will provide you with the correct, legally valid background checks.  See the Fair Credit Reporting Act for more information.

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Why an Online Background Check?

The background checks you receive from a specialized public records company are much more in depth than anything you could find on your own scouring the web because – though most public records can be accessed by anyone – they are rarely on the web for free (and, more often, you need to appear in a courthouse in person to get them). In addition, you have to know exactly where to look – and not all courthouses of them may be within easy driving distance.

If the person you’re searching for is from outside your state or has a history you don’t know about, you likely wouldn’t even know where to start or what to ask for.

The only information you need to start your background check search is a name and current or past address.  With most services, you’ll get preview results with some additional basic information – such as an age range – so you can be sure you’re getting the correct information. Pay for the report and – in just seconds – you’ll have a complete, comprehensive background check.  Online background checks are perfect for online dating, finding lost friends/relatives or looking into the background of your neighbors.

There’s no reason to be in the dark and no reason to delay – start your search and get the information you need right away.






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