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Tips for Performing an Online Background Check

In a previous article I wrote about performing a background check. This task can be difficult to perform on your own and since you are limited to publicly available information the data can be prone to inaccuracies. You could enlist a background checking firm. These firms are usually run by private investigators and can obtain relevant information more quickly and easily than an individual. A thorough background check may cost $125 to $250.

A more convenient and cost-effective way to perform a background check is to visit one of the many websites available online. These sites typically charge anywhere from $10 to $120 for a comprehensive background check.

Here are some for choosing a background check website:

  • Be Wise: Don't base your choice solely on price. The most inexpensive searches are based on databases that are often out of date and are purchased by the provider in bulk. Many database checks claim to be national in scope, when in fact they only cover certain jurisdictions and are arbitrary in results. Many courts may not submit their information to the database provider, and records may be incomplete.
  • Be Fresh: Look for a website that uses "freshly-retrieved" rather than "stored" data. Vendors who use databases of criminal records and other data must purchase this information periodically from the various jurisdictions, and the cost to them is increasing. As a result, stored data is usually anywhere from 3 to 24 months old. A babysitter could have been convicted of a serious crime during this time gap, and this information wouldn't turn up in the search.
    Be Fair: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the federal regulation that requires authorization in writing for any pre-employment check and the use of freshly retrieved data, as mentioned above. Most reputable background search firms and websites will provide you with the necessary releases and forms to assist you with this process. You should not rely on any website that fails to require a signed release from your prospective babysitter. Written consent for pre-employment background checks is required by federal law.
Here are some sites that provide quality background searches:
™ powered by Background Network, Inc., is a nationwide leader in background checks. Crime check retrieves data from over 10,000 local courts and 3,500 county courts in all 50 states. Background screening services include comprehensive
Criminal Checks: misdemeanors, felonies, and federal offenses;
Data Checks: social security traces, motor vehicle reports, and pre-employment credit checks Reference Checks: employment verification, educational verification, and personal/professional reference checks.

The Integrity Center: They have a Nanny segment which has everything you need to perform a search for you prospective Nanny or babysitter. is powered and supported by INTELLICHOICE, INC., a leader in providing background verification services to employers since 1994.

Nanny Background Check: An Arizona based risk consultancy/pre-employment screening agency. Since inception in 2001, has become the nation's leading source for screening in-home childcare applicants. Nanny background check provides five levels of service for their background checks.

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