How to do a Free Online Background Check

Background checks are often used to screen an individual to ensure they won’t present a threat to a particular environment, such as a workplace or college campus. For example, A background check could reveal that the person you’re interviewing to watch your kids has a lengthy history of child abuse. Of course, you would pass on hiring that person and move on to someone else.

Background checks can also be used to check out a new roommate, a romantic interest, or someone you’re interested in working with. You never know what may be lurking in someone’s past, and background checks provide an extra layer of security to ensure you and your family remain safe.

Background checks are also used to verify someone’s identity as well as their qualifications. For example, a background check would reveal if a person really does have five years of teaching experience as they have claimed on their job application.

You can (and should) perform a background check on yourself as well. You never know what type of information may be floating around about you. You may even find a social media comment you made years ago that could prove damaging if an employer were to come across it while you’re still being considered for a potential job position.

Online Background checks

When it comes to doing a background check online, there are plenty of options to choose from. Sites such as allows you to search public records to provide a wealth of valuable information for any background query you may have. With background checks being as valuable as they are in our society there are many ways to go about pulling up this information both paid and free.

Before we proceed, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind. If you’re running a background check for insurance or medical reasons or if you’re an employer or a landlord you have to be careful with the service you decide to use.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates that you have to use a Consumer Reporting Agency. The reason you have to use a CRA is that such agencies have to maintain specific standards when it comes to data protection. They must also offer dispute resolution.

Let’s say for example that you reject the application of an employee based on a background check from a company that is not a CRA. If you’re found out you could run the risk of landing yourself in hot water. Therefore, pay close attention when you’re searching through the various background services on the internet.

If you’re just checking on a new roommate or for any other personal use, you should be able to use most background check agencies online, such as

Performing a background check for free

It isn’t terribly surprising nowadays that people put up their entire life for display on the internet for the world to see. While putting your daily business and accomplishments online might garner the attention you’re searching for from family and friends you’re also putting out information that could be used in a background check at a later time.

You can use Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and many more social sites to search for information that an individual has willingly put up on the internet. Keep in mind that while you’ll be able to form a general idea of who this person is regarding their personality and online activities you likely won’t find crucial information such as a criminal record.

Thankfully, the information you’re searching for is likely open to the public. One way you can access this information is by visiting your state’s official government website. As you’re conducting your search, make sure you check every state that person has lived in (if you happen to know that information).

At this point, you should be on the lookout for anything alarming such as a felony or misdemeanor. Criminal records are always cause for alarm. Don’t just look for criminal convictions. Also look for civil judgments, such as bankruptcies or lawsuits.

Purpose and scope

Keep this well in mind — sometimes the information contained within a background check can be off limits to the general public. If this happens, you can only gain access depending on the purpose of your inquiry. For example, you will likely have to have a legitimate business purpose as well as written permission from the person you’re performing the check on to gain access to restricted files.

Therefore, the best case scenario is to ask the person in question if you can perform a voluntary background check on them. If they refuse, that could be an indication they have something hide. However, it’s just as likely that they just want to maintain their privacy. Some people are just private and would prefer to keep their past a secret.

Final tips

The more you know about someone, the more information you’ll likely be able to pull up during your search. Examples include knowing someone’s middle name, date of birth, birth city, etc. Knowing this information will allow you to eliminate those who have similar names.

If you believe the information you have can possibly be the wrong person, don’t make any decisions until you’ve verified the information is correct. If you act on a whim (let’s say you found someone with a lengthy criminal history), you could possibly be penalizing the wrong person for something they never did.


Digging through public records as well as perusing someone’s social media can provide a wealth of information and often serves well as a background check. With that being said, you can make your life much easier by signing up with a service like You can pull up all the information you need in seconds and save yourself a lot of time and effort. Still, it’s good to know there are free background check options for you to turn to.