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by Bill Lamb

Look Out for Bogus
Background Investigations

The term “Background Investigations” is probably one of the most misunderstood phrases since the emergence of the Internet. Just type it into any search engine and see what comes up. Paid ads top the list. Some say you can have a background investigation performed for $20. Others claim to rate background investigation sites. While many of these sites are legitimate, others perpetuate the myth that there’s a crystal ball in cyber space with all the information you need to know about anyone—all for $20! Some boast flashing colors, sliding graphics and warnings about the “confidential” information you’re about to receive or even claim to reveal arrest records.

Don’t be duped by these misconceptions!

Who do you trust?
True background investigations require an investigator who knows where and how to look for the information. The first thing you need is a positive identification. That’s easier said than done. Try running the name Joe Smith through one of those “crystal ball” sites. Even if you know what city he lives in, you won’t be able to positively identify him. If you can provide a licensed investigator with a date of birth or at least an address, they can verify the identity through databases available only to them. These databases combine public records and the reported address information from credit reporting agencies. Please note: Confidential credit information is not available to investigators.

Once the subject is positively identified, the investigator can review the address history to determine where to look. Typically, the most important information can be found in courthouses. The majority of flashy background sites boast criminal records as being most important. That’s not necessarily true. While it’s good to know if the subject of your background investigation is a felon, a wealth of information can be found in misdemeanor, civil and family courts.

These types of records tell a lot about your subject, including whether:
  • felony cases were pled down to misdemeanors

  • they have a history of civil litigation

  • they were sued by landlords, credit companies or medical providers

  • they were divorced, maybe multiple times

  • there was a record of domestic abuse or failure to pay child support; and/or

  • they filed bankruptcies, maybe multiple times

Often people are involved in many types of these cases as the victim. They may be charged or sued, even when they’ve done nothing wrong. A licensed Investigator can evaluate these cases and tell you in more detail if the subject has been creating their own problems. Know that whether you’re right or wrong, if you’ve been accused of something you must answer your accuser.

The Personal Touch

We’re committed to protecting our clients. Our private investigators bring a human element to your search, unlike the faceless online providers who promise an "instant" background check. They have the resources and know-how to compile the most accurate, up-to-date background reports.

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