Ever thought of doing a background check on yourself? I have, and it’s very revealing. I found a six year old video that a business acquaintance recorded with his cell phone while we were sitting in a restaurant. It wasn’t bad, just a recording of me doing a 30 second sales pitch, but I never expected it to be made public. He uploaded it to his YouTube account and forgot to mark it as private. Consequently, anyone doing a Google search on my name would have run across it on the first page. Not the end of the world, but it might have influenced how a future employer might have viewed me. I was a bit concerned, especially since I was applying for a new position at a local crane company. It was an easy fix. I phoned my old friend and had him mark it as private.
But what else is out there? For example a couple of years ago I obtained information that influenced my business plans. I discontinued a relationship after I discovered a fellow I was considering joining forces with in a business venture had been a convicted sex offender. Court records are public and show up near the top of all search engine queries.
Google and Facebook searches are good, but there are other ways to check up on a prospective employee, business associate, roommate or even someone who’s offered to pick you up in a limousine and whisk you off to a romantic dinner.
Try DirtSearch.org. All it takes is the person’s full name and state of residence. DirtSearch will present you with a batch of thumbnail photos which will help you ID the person you’re doing the search for. And to get even more ‘dirt’ click on DeepSearch.
Deep Search will provide you with an estimation of the number of folks in the country that have that same name and display a list of court and arrest records. With Deep Search you will see an estimation of how many people there are in the country with that same name and present you with a list of court records, arrest records, sex offender lists, and so on. DeepSearch.org will not give complete, accredited background checks, so keep that in mind.
Remember, that one of the most important reasons to do a background check on yourself is to verify that all of your credit information is complete and accurate. Use one of the free credit reporting services to verify your info is current and accurate. Remember that once identity thieves have your credit card info and begin using it, it can really damage your credit history and is a bugger to get cleaned up. Search out professional to help you clear up any issues. It’s nearly impossible to obtain satisfaction that erroneous information is being dealt with properly without the assistance of an expert.
If you are performing a background check as an employer or landlord, these free services are good for a cursory look-see, but shouldn’t be used for checking out someone’s credit, medical or insurance background information. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you must use a Consumer Reporting Agency or CRA. This type of firm maintains data protection standards and provides dispute resolution.
If a potential tenant or employee is rejected based on a background check by a company that’s not CRA, you could end up in trouble. Either way, it’s still a good idea to run a background check before conducting business with people to get an idea of the kind of person you are dealing with so can you avoid potential problems in the future.