If I told you I would give you an background check report for FREE, and all you have to do is give me an IDENTITY of another person (name, date of birth, optional Social Security number, and current address), would you be a tiny bit suspicious? Ask yourself why would someone do anything for free without an ulterior motive.
If you have tried it before you would know FREE isn’t FREE anyway. The instant service provides some bones of information to tempt you, but when you click to see more you have an option to pay. Before you ignore the PLOY and pay anyway Read This:
Isn’t all the data about everyone already on the internet? If so, all I have to do is click a magic button and give you the report about the person you are curious about? Not SO FAST. With 100% confidence let me tell you no such Magic Button exists.
Name based research results are just that, name based. Many people share the same name, same date of birth. All the data is actually stored in a decentralized system of county courts, district courts, federal courts, city or municipal records, police agencies, school records, employment payroll records, IRS records, sheriff’s offices, State agencies, Census records, your miscellaneous file in your back closet. Starting to get the picture?
The value of the data as a good resource has a lot to do with what Key you can use to match a name to an actual individual. Without a reliable KEY, the data is useless and likely inaccurate for the person you are trying to “background check”. One key would be fingerprints and another is defendant pictures. The internet is not providing fingerprints at all and pictures are not easily available or attached to the text of the cases available. If pictures are provided, no one at the instant or free background company is physically matching it to who you are background checking.
What is the definition of a background check? Grabbing available internet data on a person is not even close to an investigation into someone’s true background. I’ve noticed the definition of “background check” is now getting defined online by the instant services calling themselves background check companies. In reality these companies providing instant or quick turnaround solutions are only research compilers; They are performing a discovery and collection front-end step and are not performing any real investigation needed to determine if the data is matched to the target of your curiosity.
We performed a background check on a person with a pretty unique name and public records available in NJ showed several cases popping up for him under an alias name (same last name and different first name, same date of birth, same address.) To determine if the record was matched to our client’s candidate, we had to perform an investigation. If we relied on the records popping up we would have incorrectly reported cases on the wrong person. It took a DL copy of the candidate, a mugshot of the record(s) and an employer looking closer at the person showing up to know if the criminal case was the identity thief or the identity theft victim.
The second part of the title “…in Exchange For Someone’s Identity” is the scarier part. You are actually providing a real, known identity to these companies and they return bogus information. This is not a fair exchange at all even if it is Free.
Two issues you should consider:
1)Are they licensed or regulated in any way to hold the identity information you are providing?
2) If they are not complying with the FCRA and are not providing information based on an investigation, is the report accurate by matching the data to the object of your inquiry.
Investigation Licensing requires owners and staff pass an FBI fingerprint check. People in private security cannot be criminals for obvious reasons. Licensing keeps investigation companies under regulations and audit like a drug free workplace. If the company you are providing these identities to are people with criminal pasts or drug users, they may be using the identities for their own motives.
The companies with disclaimers saying they are not FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) compliant are really telling you the reports they provide are not reliable to be used to determine employment or financial eligibility. So why are they good for other more obscure reasons like checking out the neighbor? Because checking out your neighbor is not protected by the FCRA. The report is just as inaccurate but the neighbor is not protected by the FCRA.
If you have used a Free Background check service, we would love to hear your comments on your experience and your thoughts given the information we’ve provided in this blog post.