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Most background check services claim they are one of the best, whether they are centered on individual consumers or built for employment and tenant screening customers. The truth is – they can’t all be be the best.

Consumers:

Make sure you check exactly which records you’ll be receiving when selecting a background check product. It’s not always going to be obvious and will ensure your expectations are in line with what’s available.

Not all addresses and phone numbers are going to be accurate; that’s simply a given. This is due to a variety of reasons, such as the increased mobility of our citizens and the increase in personal privacy issues.

Civil Judgments, Evictions, Liens, State and Federal Tax Liens and Small Claims are generally available in all states and easily attainable.

Criminal records availability varies by state, and onsite county searches may be needed. Often these can be obtained online, but cost more.

Sex offender searches are available for all states at the FBI Sex Offender Registry. You don’t have to pay for a sex offender search at a records website.
Employers, landlords and other professionals:

Employers, landlords and others who have access to professional background check services should familiarize themselves with the service to ensure they are using it correctly and within FCRA guidelines.

Don’t go for the cheapest option, e.g. a nationwide search will not do an adequate job and is only a starting point. (e.g. onsite court records searches).

Always get permission and verify applicants with Social Security Numbers as you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a negligence lawsuit.

Be aware of the of the latest FCRA guidelines, especially concerning criminal background checks and their use in hiring, so as to limit your liability.

A good employment screening company will help you with hiring compliance so make sure you ask.

See our other pages for links to specific government resources. These are often free, direct from the state, and usually not advertised much online.

If you have a state resource that should be known about, please send it to us.