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What The Heck Are Online Background Checks?

You probably hear the term thrown around a lot—online background checks. But you, like many others out there, may find yourself at a loss when it comes to what the heck they actually are. How do they work? What are they used for? Are there different types of background checks? Well, we've come to the rescue, and by the end of this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about online background checks. The next time someone mentions this term, you’ll be able to explain the ins and outs of this complex topic. So, here we go!

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What The Heck Are Online Background Checks?
Image Credit: bestbackgroundchecks

What Are Online Background Checks?

Online background checks provide web users with a way to learn more about a person in their life. It could be a friend, a family member, a new love interest, or even a neighbor. There are lots of different websites you can visit to run these searches and learn about a person’s history. One of these sites is, which is an online resource that operates by pulling information from extensive public records databases across the U.S. So when you use sites like this to run an online background check on someone, essentially anything that is public record will show up on the report.

What Information Can You Get?

There are several different pieces of public records information that you could potentially find out about the person you’re researching, and it’s usually dependent on what type of report you choose to obtain. Most services provide different options such as a basic report which often consists of details like birth and death records, marriage certificates, addresses, contact information, prior arrests, and criminal convictions. Premium reports will inevitably search much deeper in order to provide users with in-depth information such as email addresses, voter registration, professional licenses, weapons permits, and much more depending on which resources you’re using.

When Are Online Background Checks Useful?

Online background checks are extremely useful in many situations, especially when it comes to people you meet online. The Internet is full of creeps and criminals who lurk on social media, online dating sites, and digital marketplaces like Craigslist. This fact becomes even scarier when you think about how many people engage in conversations with individuals whom they really know nothing about—often disclosing personal information. Running a background check is a quick and easy way to find out who you’re dealing with online (and more importantly) if they could possibly be a threat to your safety.

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Are There Restrictions?

The services mentioned above operate as “People Search Engines,” and with that comes several restrictions. Individuals turn to these resources out of curiosity, or as a personal safety precaution. When it comes to official background checks, like those used for credit checks, or the screening of potential employees or housing tenants, these people search resources cannot be used. It’s actually against the law and anyone caught doing so could face serious consequences. In order to screen a tenant or an employee, you must obtain an official consumer report like those provided by companies like LexisNexis.

Do YOU have any additional questions about online background checks? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author:

Jennifer Perry is a blogger from Portland, OR. She specializes in writing about Internet safety and security. 

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