Background Checks – Online Criminal and Public Records Search

Background Checks
Learn how to run online background checks to find public records, criminal histories and more

How to Run Online Background Checks

Background checks, investigations and employment history checks are provided to companies and individuals. Background checks are conducted by law enforcement agencies, background screening companies and private investigators. Checks are done for a variety of reasons to support decisions about an individual.

For example, background investigation are run as part of a pre-employment screening to help a company evaluate an applicant’s history and work experience. This helps the employer make informed hiring decisions and reduce negligent hiring liability. A background check is also done when an individual is purchasing a gun. In this article, we’ll review a list of companies that provide background checks. In addition, we’ll cover the best background check service providers that you can run online with just a few clicks.

Types of Background Checks

Background checks and investigation reports come in a variety of different forms, such as:

  • Individual background check
  • Self background checks. Proactive job seekers can use the resources below to get a copy of their own reports. It is better to know what is in your own report. That way, you’ll be prepared for questions from potential employers.
  • Employment history verification for employees, contractors
  • Nanny background checks for nanny’s, caregivers, babysitters, etc.
  • Gun purchase background check
  • Date checkups (to learn more about the person you’re dating). This is another popular trend. Anyone can use an online background check service to do a reference check on a prospective mate. Truly, we can all make better dating decisions knowing our mate’s criminal, employment and financial history.

Business Background Checks

Business background checks allow you to learn about companies before doing work with them by performing a comprehensive search on the corporation. The process can be used to determine if they have filed for bankruptcy, who has liens against their assets, and if they are a legally operating company.checking into business licenses, OSHA violations, litigation, credit check, liens and judgments. In addition, business background checks will search SEC records (if a publicly traded company), Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce in the city, consumer complaints, products and services, reputation, legal status, industry, major competitor and finally a criminal check or the owners or officers of the company.

What is included in a typical report?

Most background checks involve some combination of the following:

  • Identity verification including name, social security number, marital status
  • Check former residences
  • Criminal history check including criminal record, arrest records and court records
  • Driving records – A driving history or DMV records check may be conducted to determine if the candidate is a responsible driver.
  • Verification of academic credentials, education history, degrees and diplomas, schools and universities
  • Verification of employment history, work experience, personal references and more.
  • Social media search
  • Death record retrieval such as death certificates and obituary search
  • Marriage and divorce verification or confirmation
  • Miscellaneous public record retrieval
  • Financial reports including credit history, liens and judgments. In cases where the person may deal with money or financial services, the company may pull a credit history report.
  • Professional license search
  • Real estate records, property ownership reports
  • Reverse lookups for phone numbers, addresses and emails

Other key data points confirm such things as membership in various organizations, political affiliations, ethnic profile and religion. However, these cannot be used in making a hiring decision.

In some cases, screening companies may go further than merely pulling reports. Additional steps may include a drug test and speaking with personal references. In cases where the person may be working with children, the company may conduct a sex offender registry search. Of course, if someone is applying for a position in the military, a military service history check will be made.

The next step is to analyze the information and extract the relevant information. Sometimes, there is so much information, you have to streamline it before sharing with the client.

How Much Do Background Checks Cost?

The cost of reports and verification services vary widely. In general, you will need to contact the provider directly to get pricing information. In most cases, pricing will be either a subscription model (with monthly or annual charges) or fixed pricing. Some companies offer a “pay per report” option as well. Be sure to understand the cost and fees involved before purchasing. If you are working with a private eye, get a quote up front for all fees. Several of the search options below offer packages starting as low as $10.

List of Online Background Check Services


Use the following background check services or public records search companies now. There are three sites that make ordering investigation Reports for Background Checks and Public Records an easy process: BeenVerified, Intelius and Spokeo. The information and data provided by these three services will satisfy the basic needs of most individuals.

BeenVerified Background Check

BeenVerified’s Background Check Report allows you to search billions of public records online in just a few seconds. Search for criminal records, arrest records, bankruptcies and more. In addition, you can find people using address, phone number and email lookups. BeenVerified offers an easy and affordable way to run a background check.

Intelius Background Check

The Intelius Background Check report can potentially provide a plethora of information about a person, including (when available) criminal records, marriage/divorce records, lawsuits, liens, bankruptcies, property records, addresses, phone numbers, relatives and neighbors, matching people search results, and more. Go to the Intelius search form.

An Intelius Criminal Records search will locate available criminal records (felonies, misdemeanors, DUIs, etc.) nationwide or in a specific state. A report may include (when available) offense type and date, court name, case number, outcome of the charges, and more. Search for Criminal Records now.

Intelius People Search Report

An Instant People Search report searches through billions of records to find a current and unlisted number and address. Search by maiden name, SSN, or by phone number. Run a People Search Report.

The Intelius Reverse phone lookup search tool helps you verify a phone number and address. In most cases, it works with landline, unlisted and non-published numbers, and cell phone numbers. The Reverse Phone Lookup pulls information associated with a registered phone number to give you the data you are looking for. All you need to supply is the number.

Search now, and access a report that may include (if available): phone type and carrier, owner’s name, location, address history, age, relatives, and more. Satisfy your curiosity, and look up that mysterious number today. Run a Reverse Phone Lookup

Spokeo People Search

Spokeo is a people search service that organizes information about people into simple and comprehensive online profiles that are accessible to consumers, businesses, and non-profits. Spokeo is a new kind of search tool that aggregates information from a variety of different sources. It acts like a search engine to organize White Pages listings, Public Records and Social Network Information to help you safely find & learn about people. This is a new and interesting approach to background checks. Visit Spoke.com to start searching for people. Also, read our full review of Spokeo.

Police Reports

Read this helpful article that explains how to get a copy of a police report. Laws vary widely regarding the availability of police reports. The availability of a police report often depends on whether the case is open or closed. Learn how to get a copy of a police report.

Real Estate and Property Reports

Real Estate Reports are available that provide basic information on real estate properties including residential real estate, commercial real estate, institutional, community buildings, land and much more. You can Lookup Properties by Address on a site called PeopleFinders. PeopleFinders provides access to full details about almost any property nationwide. Learn about the home’s historical value, past owners and neighborhood information. Intelius provides a similar search.

Private investigators are often called upon to conduct research related to real estate including residential properties, small businesses, commercial real estate, community buildings and other structures. In many cases, Private investigators may be hired to find the information, such as part of a surveillance project, or they may need to gather the information for their own purposes. In such situations, private investigators rely on a variety of information sources such as:

  • Public records available at the county court house that will show property details, ownership information and other data
  • Public records searches available through the companies listed above (or others)
  • Then, enter the address and click on go. The report will give you access to the same premium property records data that appraisers and lending institutions rely on. Get ownership and deeds information, property details, maps plus list of all other properties owned by the same owner!
  • Additionally, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing can provide quick access to publicly available information, photos, videos and more.
  • Online real estate and property information tools such as Realtor.com, Trulia, or Zillow

List of Companies that do Background Checks

Many companies use database information providers, investigation software or other online services to conduct public record searches and information verification. Many background screening companies and even private investigators purchase access to the same online databases. This allows them to lookup records for clients and pull reports. Following is a list of companies that do background checks.




Accurint – Now owned by LexisNexis. Accurint is a locate-and-research tool available to government, law enforcement and commercial customers. Its proprietary data-linking technology returns search results in seconds to the user’s desktop. Accurint’s key features include:

  • People Search locates neighbors, associates and possible relatives
  • Phones Plus – track down phone numbers not typically available to increase your chances of finding your subject. Access over 50,000,000 non-directory assistance records, including cell phone numbers
  • People at Work – links more than 132 million individuals to businesses and includes information such as business addresses, phone numbers, and possible dates of employment
  • Link individuals with businesses, addresses, relatives and vehicles
  • Advanced Person Search helps find individuals when only old or fragmented data is available

Accurint is at http://www.accurint.com/.

Clear for Investigations – CLEAR is an investigative platform from Thomson Reuters designed for professionals who need information about individuals and companies. The CLEAR background check service provides fast access to a vast collection of public and proprietary records, CLEAR helps you find out about people and their connections. Clear for Investigations is online at http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/solutions/clear-investigation-software.

Data-Trac Online Investigative Network – Data-Trac allows users to conduct searches such as residence history, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) searches, Social security ,etc.) for licensed private investigators, corporate security departments, attorneys, & human resource departments.

EasyBackgrounds – Provides Criminal Check services, Employee Check services, emloyee work history review, and pre-employment screening services to help companies hire honest and qualified employees. EasyBackgrounds is at https://www.easybackgrounds.com/.

Employment History Verification – EmployeeScreen provides pre-employment screening services for employers. Visit EmployeeScreen at http://www.employeescreen.com/.

IntelliCorp – A nationwide provider of  employment screening products and services. Provides services such as SSN Verification, Criminal Records, Motor Vehicle Reports, Drug Testing. Intellicorp is at https://www.intellicorp.net/marketing/home.aspx.

Intelius is a leader in providing public records, offers the most comprehensive reports available.  Offer your customers the same service used by Fortune 500 companies.  U.S. Search offers a range of research tools that include:  Bankruptcies, tax liens, small claims civil judgments, current address verification & address history, phone numbers, relatives, roommates & neighbors, home value & property ownership, nationwide criminal search, and media search. Run the Report.

IRBSearch – IRBsearch customers can search billions of records not always available in public databases. IRBsearch helps locate missing persons, verify identity, comply with legislation, prevent or detect fraud, determine institutional risk control, aid law enforcement, and contribute to security initiatives. In addition to exclusive data solutions, IRB provides investigators with an entire suite of products and services. IRBSearch is at http://www.irbsearch.com/.

KnowX – KnowX.com public record and background check portal retired on July 31, 2017. See below to learn about other solutions provided by LexisNexis Research Solutions.

LexisNexis Background Check – Lexis Nexis is a comprehensive background check company that provides solutions in two major categories. First, LexisNexis provides Legal and Professional Solutions for law firms, corporations, government agencies and academic institutions seeking legal solutions, news & business insights. Second, they provide Risk Solutions for companies and government agencies seeking data analytics supporting compliance, customer acquisition, fraud detection, health outcomes, identity solutions, investigation, receivables management, risk decisions and workflow optimization. Go to the LexisNexis site at https://www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/gateway.page.

NICS: The National Instant Criminal Background Check System – NICS is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase. In the last decade, the NCIS handled more than 100 million checks, leading to more than 700,000 denials. Learn more about the NICS at https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics.

Pipl – Pipl’s query-engine helps you find deep web pages that cannot be found on regular search engines. Unlike a typical search-engine, Pipl allows you to do a deep background check by retrieving information from the deep web. Pipl’s robots are set to interact with searchable databases and extract facts, contact details and other relevant information from personal profiles, member directories, scientific publications, court records and numerous other deep-web sources. Visit Pipl at https://pipl.com/.

TLOxp for Licensed Investigators – TLOxp was created by the inventor of AutoTrak and Accurint and is now owned by TransUnion. TLOxp is a completely new and unique investigative system for finding knowledge and insight.  It combines advanced search capabilities with massive and unique data repositories. Licensed investigators can use TLOxp for:

  • Skip Tracing
  • Investigating and analyzing asset ownership to identify scams, pattern of fraud, suspicious claims, hidden assets and to authenticate legitimate claims
  • Locate and analyze people, places, businesses and interrelationships over time
  • Research criminal histories and associations
  • Find witnesses, and gather information to support litigation

Visit TLOxp at https://www.tlo.com/investigators.

In addition, private detectives are often called upon to locate or identify sex offenders. For more information on public records resources visit our Sex Offender Search page.

Free Background Checks or Online Searches

Of course, while searching online for companies that provide public records, you will likely come across advertisements promoting the availability of free background checks or record searches.  Truly, some reports and data may be available for free in the form of public records. However, a true free background check is likely not available, or will likely be incomplete.




Some online detective software packages suggest that you can invest just a small amount. Then, you can use their software and then conduct unlimited searches for free. In reality, you do get unlimited access to their search tools. Unfortunately, that unlimited access usually provides you with little more than free telephone number and address searches. Our advice is to ignore the advertisements for free checks. If you truly need to learn about someone’s past, criminal history, driving record, or online activity, it is worthwhile to invest the money in obtaining a true dossier.

Background Screen Associations

National Association of Professional Background Screeners – A non-profit trade organization representing companies that offer employment and screening services. NAPBS exists to promote ethical business practices, compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and foster awareness of issues related to consumer protection and privacy rights within the background screening industry, while giving the industry the ability to effectively demonstrate its competence, reliability, and willingness to adopt standards. Visit them on the web at https://www.napbs.com/.

Presenting the Information and Data to Clients

After retrieving the raw data on the subject, you should take the time to analyze the information and summarize the key information in the form of an investigative report.  It is the private investigator’s job to cull through the data an determine the facts that are relevant to the investigation. Ultimately, once all of the relevant information and data is assembled, it should be presented in a format that is simple and easy to understand. Provide your own detailed descriptions for various data points to help your clients understand the information, what it is and why it is important.

Also, don’t simply email or mail the report to your client. Try to present the information in person. That way, you can review the information, have a conversation, answer any questions or concerns and agree what needs to happen next. Presenting what you found or uncovered in person is a professional touch that will go a long way toward earning your client’s trust and potentially, their future business.

Related Articles

If you have any questions about running background checks, or the list of companies that do background checks, please leave a comment below.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I need a detective to find the papers
    Of a devorce case in Torino court and and i need the full details of the case.

    Best Regards
    Rouzin

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