Q: My mother has been dating her boyfriend for three years. I just found out she pays for everything, and that worries me. How can I run a background check on him?
A: This scenario is all too common, and before anyone accuses me of taking sides, rest assured both men and women do their share of freeloading. Often it’s the result of insecurity, fear of rejection, or perhaps straight up emotional abuse. The last example is downright disgusting and happens all too often in relationships. Anyway, I’m not a relationship expert and can’t claim to know everything about the psychological states of the parties involved.
Conducting a background check on a boyfriend, girlfriend, or anyone for that matter can become complex pretty quickly depending on the route you want to take. There are many areas to search and the records you want to access will determine whether it’s best to pay or take the free route. In this case, I’m guessing that a search for bankruptcies, past marriages, etc is probably what the reader is after. However, criminal records are also available depending on the state you live in, and can include everything down to minor traffic infractions.
Some states, like Minnesota, have free public records databases where you can look up almost anything on anyone living in the state. This includes criminal, traffic and petty case records, along with civil, family & probate case records. You can also conduct a judgments search, and check the court calender by case number, attorney, judicial office, defendant, or even date range. In most cases you will need at a minimum a first and last name. This is so the records access isn’t a complete free-for-all. I’m currently looking into other states, but for now I would suggest you go to your state website (accronym of state).gov and search for “free public records,” “background check,” etc.
For bankruptcies and tax liens, which are definitely a good idea in this kind of situation, I would probably recommend an advanced background check by SSN from Intelius, USSearch, or FindOutTheTruth. These are generally available in all 50 states and one search should cover the whole country. However, if using this kind of search make sure you check as to when records collection started. This varies from state to state and some even stopped disseminating this information recently.
In all cases, be sure you double-check that you have the right person. It is easy to get wrong information, especially when searching common names, and you obviously don’t want to make false accusations. Should you choose USSearch, go to the directly page to get a 25% discount on all their services. By no means do you have to use USSearch, but the discount is available should you choose to do so.
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