How to Do a Background Check on Anyone Online   

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Can you really say that you know someone? Like really know someone? Well, thanks to the advent of the internet or digital age, now you can at least say you know something about someone. Conducting background checks online have become more simpler and the average Joe is now able to get your education history, professional achievements, social history and so much more. There is a myriad of platforms available on the internet for conducting background checks and today I will give you a tested guideline on how to perform these checks.  


Caution must be taken however as background checks done for employment purposes or property leases can only be limited to specific background service – the Consumer Reporting Agency. So before undertaking a background check of any kind, you need to familiarize yourself with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Here you will get a clear guideline of how to go about your check and what services to use along with other regulations. Being ignorant of the law is no excuse for breaking it!     


The federal government has developed a website that provides you with a list of government and non-government agencies that will provide the service should you wish to know their criminal history; this site also provides you with a source of services that you can use to run your check. It is important to note however, that there are illegal methods of conducting background checks; therefore you need to arm yourself with the right information from credible sources such as the police or government departments.  


No need to snoop


Get as much information about the object of your check as possible and the best source is from the person themselves. Information you will need are their given name and surname (middle name will also be of great help), their phone number and possibly their home or work address. This will give you a good starting point as searches online will provide you with a good number of hit that you can narrow your search from. 


Online persona


You can use the Subject’s online handle or username if you come short of their personal information. Some websites perform thorough online searches, even unearthing information that one would not have easily found when conducting a regular search. Pipl and Zabasearch are examples of search site, with the first giving you access to an international database.  


Picture search


So say the information needed above simply does not correlate with the picture you have of your Subject, no problem. With Google Search, all you will need to do is upload the image from your files and click on the search button. TV programs such as Catfish on MTV have popularized this method of conducting background checks as online dating has given rise to dishonest people misrepresenting themselves on social sites. 


It’s all technical


If you happen to have your Subject’s IP address, GeoIP is your best bet as all you need is a valid IP address and it will give you access to international information. The site shows you the origin of information sent from that particular IP address, therefore giving you a geographic location. You may still need to conduct a more in depth check on that person but narrowing down their location is a good enough place to start. 


Below is a step by step guideline that you need to follow in order to successfully run a background check on say your room mate, next door neighbor or potential boyfriend: 


Step  1:  Select your desired database portal or website depending on the type of search that you are conducting. The points listed above will give you an indication of what source to use    for your search. 


Step  2:  Enter the information that you will use to conduct the search in the allocated section, be it their personal details, user handles, picture of IP address. Then click search on the screen or press enter on your keyboard. 


Step 3: The website will call up a list of search results from information gathered on the internet and the number of hits will depend on how popular the information you have used is. You will then need to filter the information according to what is more relevant to your Subject i.e. location, gender, race etc. 


Step  4:  Sift through the filtered results and select the information that best describes the person you are conducting your background check on. You can create a file where you will enter all the information that you have received. 


Step 5:  For a more in depth check, use your filed information to conduct an advanced search. This time around, you should only receive information relevant to the person that you are doing your background check on.  


Step 6:  Once the advance search is complete you will have enough information about your subject to make informed assumptions about them. Furthermore, you should also have more of their contact details such as their mobile number, email address and street address. 


To curb identity theft that can be financially and legally crippling to you by conducting a background check on yourself from time to time cannot possibly hurt. You need to know what kind of information is on the net that is about you and you may find that some of this information is not true.


One thing that you need to be aware of is that for as long as you are a functioning member of society, there is some kind of information on you online. Ensuring that the internet carries the right kind of information about you will help you in cases where your future employers, business partners or landlords decide to do a background check on you. 


Background checks are an empowering tool if used for the right reasons. If you use this information to harm your subject in anyway i.e. cyber-bullying, then you will be faced with possible jail time. Background checks are great for pre empting someone’s personality, gaining historical knowledge and more, so search responsibly. 




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