How to Do a Background Check? [And How To Check Your Record]

Ivailo Ivanov
Ivailo Ivanov

Updated · Mar 10, 2023


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You can do a background check on yourself or someone else in the form below. (For personal use only)

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Secure connection. The results from the background check will open in a new window on TruthFinder's website.

These days, it’s so easy to get fooled by who other people claim they are and the false information they give.

Conducting a background check and learning the truth can sometimes make all the difference. 

And that’s how we get to the big question - how to do a background check? We’ll explain everything in this post.

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is a way for individuals and companies use to verify someone’s identity, education, work history, and more. Most often, HRs do a background check on someone before hiring them.

However, there are various other situations in which you can do it.

Let’s imagine you’re buying an apartment. 

The seller has to be entirely sure who they’re dealing with before they accept any offers. A successful background check can show them that you’re a genuine buyer and make them feel more confident about your bid. Some other situations that require it include buying firearms, taking a loan, and renting a property.

It’s also worth pointing out that this process isn’t only limited to professionals. Anyone can run a background check on someone if they want to.

But how exactly does it work?

How To Do a Background Check?

So, how to do a background check?

Whether you’re just getting a new roommate or you’re a small business owner adding more people to your team, you might want to learn more about them.

Some individuals and companies choose not to do thorough research in such situations, and all they do is run a quick check on social media.

The problem is, everyone has full control over their Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles. They can post anything they want, and you have no way of finding out whether the information is true or not.

Luckily, doing a background check tells you everything you need to know without stepping over the line.

Here’s how to do a background check on someone:

Start with choosing the type of background check. They range from a simple verification of skills to a more extensive search of an individual’s personal information, criminal history, еtc.

One of the most common ways of conducting a background screening is examining county, local police, and state correctional records. In many situations, the available public records will yield you everything you need. 

The local law enforcement agency should also be able to help you. They can connect with other police departments and check if that person is listed as a sex offender, for example. Similarly, state corrections departments can provide details about criminal history.

Collecting information this way can be tiresome and may take a lot of time. Luckily, you can use a website that offers public background checks for a fee. Background check websites can be of much help when you’re in a hurry to find out more about a job candidate. Sites that offer background screening can gather a wide array of information for you and combine it into a single record. They can collect more data than you would ever assemble manually, and they can do it quickly.

Sometimes, doing a background check DIY-style can only go so far. That’s when you might want to consider outsourcing the entire process to a private investigator. The biggest advantage of working with them is that they can collect and interpret detail on a more personal level. Private investigators can ask questions and get a feel for a person, making them a perfect solution for more sensitive work.

Here’s a fun fact.

According to one report, 85% of job applicants lie on their resumes

When running employment background checks, you have to double-check everything candidates have put in their resumes and employment application forms.

You can talk to their previous employers and verify the information they provided.

When speaking to candidates, you might have to notify that specific individual you’ll be running a background screening. This isn’t always obligatory and largely depends on the country.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have to let the applicant know that you plan to run an employee background check on them. You can then put that in writing and ask them to sign the document.

How To Check My Criminal Record?

Let’s imagine you’re hiring an employee once again.

Would you be fine giving just anyone access to your company’s valuable data?

Probably not.

Running a criminal background check online can help you ensure your new employee hasn’t been convicted of any crimes.

Of course, possession of a criminal record doesn’t always have to be a red flag for hiring someone.

Arrests don’t always equal convictions and minor incidents sometimes mean a person was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sometimes, a candidate’s record might be enough to make you think twice about adding them to your team - especially if they try to lie about it.

With that said, it’s wise to check your own record when going on a job hunt. The same applies when getting a loan, immigrating to another country, and various other situations.

That’s how we get to another major question - how to check my criminal record?

Basically, you have two options when checking your record - you can opt for a paid criminal background check or manual research. 

The advantage of a background check service is that it can provide you with records from thousands of jurisdictions in a timely fashion. This is definitely not the case when researching manually. 

In fact, if you choose to do everything yourself, the only place you’ll be able to research at is your local county courthouse. That is, if you don’t plan to travel to other jurisdictions just to do a criminal record check over there. Conducting a free criminal record check is, however, way cheaper.

Most people know whether they were convicted of something or not. However, even if you know exactly how your record looks, it’s still worth checking it out. Sometimes, the text in the record may seem more severe than the crime you committed is. Not to mention that it might leave out crucial information and make the entire thing look worse than it actually is.

Luckily, doing a free criminal background check is enough to prevent this.

Oh, and imagine this - you’ve never committed any crimes and you believe you don’t have a record. But somewhere out there lives another person with the same name and date of birth as you. 

And guess what? 

They’ve committed some crimes in the past and do indeed have a criminal record. There’s always a slight chance that your records got mixed up at some point.

So, if somebody does a crime check on you, they’d get an entirely wrong picture. In fact, it would probably interfere with your chances of landing a job or passing a credit check. 

You might also want to check if any crimes you got expunged are still there. 

Sometimes, the court simply fails to get the job done, and it’s smart to double-check it, even if you believe you’ve already dealt with the problem. 

The best companies that offer background check services online usually have an entire range of options for finding the information you seek. They come with all kinds of features and with different payment plans.

Some of the top sites give you a chance to sign up for a subscription, while others allow you to pay per report you order.

Here are our top four picks for popular background check websites:


This online background check provider is one of the most unique ones around. 

While TruthFinder does the usual stuff, it also comes with some unique features. It’s one of the few websites with its own family tree builder. Once you pull your report, this software will create a graphic representing your family’s lineage.

TruthFinder is also great for dark web monitoring. If you sign up for a membership, it will notify you as soon as your personal information appears on the dark web.


Intelius is one of the leading websites that allows you to do a full background check on someone. It has more than 20 billion public records at its disposal. Naturally, with the largest database amongst such websites, Intelius can generate the most substantial reports.

From divorce histories to the sex offender registry, there’s nothing you can hide from this website.

Intelius offers a tiered service, meaning that you commit to a type of subscription that best suits your needs.

Owned and operated by Intelius, US Search is another website to trust for a full background check.

An important thing to keep in mind is that US Search is not a Consumer Reporting Agency. This means you cannot use the website for employment, credit, and other related purposes.

The features that make the website stand out are the reverse phone number lookup and reverse address lookup services. Whether you have someone’s phone number or address, you can learn everything about them that you might need.

US Search can also flick through millions of social media accounts for you and find the one you want to track down. The more information you provide it with, the more accurate results you’ll get.

Instant Checkmate

Next, we have Instant Checkmate, another top place to do a background check online.

It is also not a Consumer Reporting Agency, as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The website is a great place to connect with relatives, learn more about your date, or check someone’s criminal history.

One of the features you’ll love is the nationwide inmate search. If you suspect someone you know is in jail, Instant Checkmate can help you check.

The site is also known for its social media side. It can help you find forgotten social media accounts, old dating profiles, and additional contact information.

Wrap Up

Doing a background check on yourself or someone else can help you in many ways.

Depending on the path you opt for, the process can reveal so much about a person and give you an entirely new perspective.

You can either choose to run a background check manually or leave the job to someone else. It entirely depends on your purpose and schedule.

Whether it's a new employee, a possible roommate, or a date, it’s wise to know who you’re dealing with. Keep researching and be safe out there!

More helpful reads:


How do I do a background check on someone for free?

You can do a free background check on someone by going through public and court records state by state. In addition, you can do some extensive research on Google. This, however, requires more time and effort. Also, the results won’t be as accurate as they are when using a dedicated service. However, the more information you have about the subject, the easier it’ll be.

How do I do a background check on myself?

Basically, follow the same steps you’d take, if you’re researching someone else. We have it all explained in the article above.

Can you do a background check on someone without their permission?

Screening ethics aren’t as simple as they may seem. In some situations, you can do a background check without the subject’s knowledge. But you’re not always allowed to do it. Be sure to check the rules that apply before embarking on your research journey.

Can anyone perform a background check?

As long as you know how to do a background check, nothing stops you from doing so. All you need is the subject’s name. You can get their personal information, criminal record, and even their driving record.


Ivailo Ivanov

Ivailo Ivanov

If I was asked to describe myself using just a few words, I’d go with digital marketing expert, ex-cook, tech nerd, and dog lover. I’m fascinated by video and board games, art and nature. I love to travel and I’m always ready to go on the next adventure to discover the hidden beauty of our world.

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