These days you can never be too careful. If safety is your concern (whether for yourself or a loved one), you may be tempted to run a background check. With the Internet, it is now easier than ever to run a quick background check on just about anyone. Just follow these steps and you will have the information at your fingertips in no time.
Computer with Internet connection
Some details about the person you are looking for
- Obtain the basic identifying details about the person. Basic details include full name including the proper spelling, age or date of birth (if possible) and state where they live. If you have more information such as an address, phone number or social security number, your background check will be even easier.
- Start with a basic search. Google and Yahoo are the easiest places to begin your search. Start by entering the person’s full name (such as “Michael Thomas”). You should include the full name in quotes so that you only receive information for someone with both names instead of all the Michaels and all the Thomas’.
- Narrow your search with a census search. When the name you are searching for is too generic or if you don’t find results, head to the US Census for some more information at www.census-online.us. This site allows you to search for the name and then provides a listing of the number of matches found throughout the US. For example, a search for Michael Thomas yields 24,792 persons in the US with that name.
- Use an inexpensive paid people search site. If the general search did not yield enough information or if you are looking for property ownership or criminal records, you will need a more thorough search. My recommendation is Instant Background Report for quick results. You could also try Intelius.com, peoplelookup.com or even reunion.com to locate the person you are searching for. These sites often require payment but can provide very detailed background information including the present address, previous addresses, criminal record, property ownership, date of birth, known relatives, employer and average income. Some paid sites even offer a reverse email search, which allows you to enter the person’s email address and then search for their name and other personal information.
Running a background check can be quick and easy, especially if you don’t mind spending a few bucks. Still most people are uncomfortable if they find out you ran a search on them. Use these checks carefully so you don’t violate someone’s privacy without a good reason.