How to Do a Free Background Check Online

Sometimes we may need to trust people we don't really know. If you're going to hire an employee or babysitter, it's crucial to know whom you're dealing with before you let them into your life. Nearly every online offer that claims to provide free background checks is really a trick to get you to pay for one. You can avoid spending money by searching for background information online.

Here's how to do a free background check online.


  1. Ask for identification Before hiring someone, get a full name, address, telephone number and if possible, social security number. Ask for a copy of an official state or federal identification too, so you have the right information for the person you're investigating.
  2. Google Your first step in a background check should be a basic web search. Google the person with his first and last name inside quotation marks. Many tidbits about us all are scattered across the web. You can learn quite a bit by sifting through these tidbits.
  3. Check social networking sites People post the darnedest things about themselves on sites like Facebook and Myspace.
  4. Ask for a credit report Free credit reports are available to Americans yearly. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you can access your credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies -- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion -- every 12 months [FTC]. You can request that whomever you're checking out shares his or her report with you.
  5. Search for a criminal record You need to know if you and your family is safe when letting strangers into your lives. Court cases are a matter of public record. Go to to get an idea if someone has been implicated in civil or criminal court. If you find someone has related records, follow up by contacting the local authorities to verify the information. [Criminalsearches]
  6. Check the sex offender registry The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is a government system that links all sex offender registries in one search. The NSOPW assists citizens with identifying location information about sex offenders. [NSOPW]