If you're unsure where to start or what service to use, try Intelius. It’s reasonably priced service that is easy to use and provides accurate results. Another solid option is Integra Sca, which includes federal and state criminal searches in the check.
What information is required to perform a background?
When performing a background check, the more information you have about a person, the more accurate the results. The minimum information typically required includes full name and current or former state of residence. Age is also helpful with connecting you to the correct person's information - however it isn't required by most services.
"It is important to remember that the results of the background check are only as good as the information provided," LaRowe said.
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Where does the information on a background check come from?
Personal information included in background checks comes from a variety of places. However, most of the information comes from public records including, but not limited to: court records, marketing databases, voter registration records, real estate transactions, and sex offender registries.
LaRowe said if a person has multiple names, each name must be checked to obtain the most accurate information. “When considering background, verifying employment, education and credentials and checking references is also important,” she said.
What information should you look out for?
There is no real standard on what people should watch out for in a background check. LaRowe recommends that parents should look for more than a clean slate when they perform a background check. “Since nannies are role models, most parents insist that the nanny be free from criminal past and have a good driving record,” she said.
There is always a chance that there could be a mistake on a background check, so you should think of a background check as fact-checking tool that gives you an insight into someone’s past instead of an assurance that the person you’ll be hiring or living with is a good person. “It’s important to remember that background checks aren’t a guarantee that a crime hasn’t been or won’t be committed,” she said. “They’re simply a search for records associated with an individual.”
Who is worth performing a background check on?
Any stranger who comes in direct contact with you, your family, or your home is worth running a background check on. This includes babysitters, nannies, caretakers for elderly parents, potential roommates, house cleaners and anyone else that might come in direct contact with you. “The better question is who is not worth doing a background check on,” LaRowe said.