Methods for Conducting a Background Search
You may be interested in conducting a background search on an individual for a variety of reasons - employment, business or personal - and perhaps need the information sooner rather than later. In addition to physically visiting the courthouse and searching through court and other records to learn about their past, you may choose to conduct a search online, instantly and even using free resources.
Free Background Search
A free background check is possible if you only need to access public records about someone. Visiting the local courthouse or state website will provide access to birth, death, marriage and divorce records. If you know he or she owns property or you know the address, you may also search property tax records for that person. Court records are often maintained by the court clerk's office, and the state police or Department of Corrections will maintain arrest, incarceration and warrant records. Though a free background search requires more footwork and effort, it is possible utilizing these public resources.
Online Background Checks
If you don't have the resources or ability to physically visit the local courts and law enforcement offices, an online background search is likely what you need. You may start with search engines or social networking sites, but will most likely end up with federal and state government websites. The FBI, PACER, Department of Justice or other federal resources may provide background information on an individual you're researching. If you know the state in which the person lives or has lived in the past, you may visit that state's website and request records from the court clerk's office. Another option is visiting the websites for all major state agencies to research a person by name. Some states offer the services of an online records archive through the Department of Health or Public Safety, too.
Instant Background Checks
Instant background checks are the least time-consuming type of search available. Usually performed by an outside agency or commercial entity, this type of search merely requires you to input an individual's name, address, phone number or any other personal information you may know about them. The more information you can provide, the more likely your results will be as accurate as possible. Otherwise, you may end up with records of someone with the same name but very different background.
Costs do vary for this type of check, depending upon the company you choose to use. Many employers use this type of check when making hiring decisions, and a reputable company may even provide the necessary release forms for doing so. However, if you know you will need to conduct many background checks or simply are short on time and speed is the most important thing to you currently, an instant background check is likely exactly what you need.
Regardless of the way you go about finding background information about someone, there is a method and service available for any type of need. Whether you are operating with limited funds, can't reach the appropriate agencies in person or need results immediately, you can meet each of these obstacles with one of the three major methods of conducting a background search.