Conducting Your Own Background Checks

This may seem like a strange thing for a background check company to be writing about. A background check company that usually gets paid to conduct employment background checks, but we are confident in our expertise and believe that informing consumers of the resources available to them good business!

There are some basic pieces of information you need to know about you subject before you conduct your own checks. I will list these below as “must have” and “good to have”.

Must have:

  • Name (including middle initial)
  • Date of Birth
  • Area where the subject lives (precise address is the best)

Good to have:

  • Social security number
  • Previous addresses
  • Aliases including maiden name

Criminal Records

Starting with the subjects name and area where they live the first thing you can do is to conduct a criminal record search. You can go to the Public Records section on our website where we list County and City courts from across the country.  Scroll down to the state where the subject lives and look for the county or city where they reside or where you think a criminal record might exist. Most counties and cities will have a website where you can go and check to see if a person has a criminal record. Not all counties or cities in the United States are online so you may have to do a bit of searching to find the information you are looking for. Google is a great resource for finding this information. If you do not know the exact county where your subject lives then you can use a county locator. Remember while these are public records, if you are checking for employment purposes you must comply with the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

Motor Vehicle Records

Motor vehicle or driving records can be  complicated to get if you are ordering them on a third party. You can not get them without a signed release from the subject you are requesting the record on. For the most part these records cost money as well. It depends on which state you are requesting them from as to what hoops you need to jump through to obtain the records. Crimcheck.com has a list of department of motor vehicles on our website.

You will need to contact each state to determine what you have to do to in order to get the records.   You may want to take a look at the DPPA (the driver privacy protection act) before obtaining these records. As with any background check you conduct for the purposes of employment you must get a signed release that complies with The FCRA (The Fair Credit Reporting Act). If you are doing a check on yourself, some State Motor Vehicle Agency websites will allow you to get an unofficial driving transcript on yourself, on line and for free.

Credit Reports

This is an area that can get you into a whole heap of trouble if not conducted properly. You will want to get a copy of the FCRA and read it, and then read it again and again. The FCRA stands for Fair Credit Reporting Act. This federal legislation was put into place to protect consumers from unfair hiring and credit granting practices. whether or not your conducting a background check for employment purposes then DO NOT even consider running a credit report on someone without a signed release. If you are an employer you must go through a very thorough vetting process to ensure you are ordering reports legally.  If you are running the background check on yourself then you can contact one of the three major credit bureaus to obtain a free one! Below is the info to contact them.

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
1-800-685-1111

Experian
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
1 888 397 3742

Trans Union
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
1-800-888-4213


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