The reality is that – while some measure of free information is likely available for many people – a thorough background check will typically require a small fee (around $10). Still, if you’re determined to get out what you can for free, here are three free background check resources you can try.
1. Social Media
Social media profiles from sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more are great, free resources that even private investigators rely on for up-to-the-minute information and background check vetting. If you’re trying to locate someone or get a general sense of what they’re up to, it’s often just a simple matter of setting up a free account for yourself if you don’t already have one and searching a name.
Unfortunately, while many people do have social media accounts, there are many people who don’t. Plus, for those that do, the type of information they post may or may not tell you what you need to know – and may, in fact, be completely misleading as people can curate their accounts give a completely false impression of their background and day-to-day lives. In addition, people are increasingly securing their social media accounts to make them more private, which means you won’t have access unless they let you.
2. Business Networking Sites
Similar to social media, but with a more professional bent, sites like LinkedIn feature millions of profiles that include work history and current employment information that may provide you with some free interesting tidbits as part of background check research.
As these sites are often used to help with generating sales and employment opportunities, the information provided can generally be considered more reliable than what you’d find on a comparatively casual social media site.
The drawbacks of these sites are that there are far fewer profiles than you would find on Facebook alone. Further, the type of information available is virtually all work/education related, which – while background related – does not approach the level of information available from a comprehensive background check. You will also need to create your own profile to access this information in a process far more invasive than with regular social media sites.
Perhaps most disturbingly is that – unlike premium background checks (which are completely anonymous) and social media (where you can “lurk” without being identified) – once you have your account set up and click on a profile, the person whose profile you examine will be notified. Sure, you can create an account with fake information, but one wrong move and your anonymity is gone.
3. Google & Bing
You’re probably thinking this is pretty obvious and you’re right – search engines were probably the first thing you tried. Google and Bing are, of course, an amazing resource for all kinds of information and if you start your free background checks with either of them, you’ll likely uncover some useful information.
The problem is that a lot of information that is considered “public records” are not actually searchable records that Google and Bing can compile. Most public records are actually offline and/or only available for a fee paid directly to the relevant county/state government office. That’s part of what makes a $10 background check a relative bargain – a copy of one public record can easily cost $10 (not to mention the time spent driving to a courthouse/county office).
You never want to spend money when you don’t have to, but just the time and frustration you’ll spend trying to comb whatever incomplete information is available to put together free background checks easily justifies the cost of an instant, comprehensive background check. With just a name and last known city (or even just the state), you can get a complete background check, including criminal records, current address/phone number, marriage/divorce records and much more. There are even unlimited background check options that will allow you to research as many people as you wish for the one fee.
And – before you pay a cent – you can get free, instant preview information to confirm that you’ve found the right person and ensure that the background check site has the information you need. The information is out there and it starts with just a couple of clicks – try a free preview search below!