How to do a free online background check

You can find dozens of background check agencies online.

If you do reject a potential tenant or employee (even semi-informal employees like domestic workers) based on a background check from a company that isn’t a CRA, you could wind up in trouble.

All consumers are entitled to get a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

After that, you might want to drill down to discover any felony and misdemeanor convictions on the county and city level. You might also dig up information on a person’s habits or character that a professional might not consider. Maybe you’ll find a picture of yourself or a comment you made years ago somewhere that’s a little embarrassing.

The more information you have about a person, the better your searches will be. Look around at several companies to find the average price for a background check and avoid any companies that are too low or too high.

These things will pop up and hurt your chances the next time you apply for a loan or a job. Fortunately, you can take steps to correct or remove this damaging information.

Have you done an online background check of yourself lately? There are several reasons you should.

It’s also a very good idea to do a background check before taking on a roommate or going out m88 on a date with that new crush you met online.  Click here for four sites that can really help you learn about someone. To subscribe to Kim’s free email newsletters, sign-up at: http://www.komando.com/newsletters.

In most cases, a credit report can’t be pulled without a legitimate business purpose and written permission. If you are performing a background check as a landlord or employer – or for credit, medical or insurance reasons — you can’t use just any service.

You can find a fairly complete list of CRAs here on my website.

If you want to save some money and you have some time, you can do many of the same checks yourself. Note that you can request and dispute the information that these CRAs have on file for you.

For checking on potential roommates or romantic partners, you can use just about any service or (legal) method.

There might be erroneous information about you floating around the Internet or in your credit report. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. You never know what sort of worrying or dangerous details could be lurking in someone’s past.

Copyright 2013, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. The list is helpfully divided into categories such as credit reporting, employment history, insurance, renting and so on. Knowing a middle name and date of birth will help you weed out people with similar names.

The simplest option for a background check is to hire a professional service. Fortunately, several ways won’t cost you a thing.

Before I continue, I should point out a tricky fact about background checks. Keep an eye out for civil judgments, too, such as a bankruptcies and court orders to pay debts.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have to use a Consumer Reporting Agency. However, you probably won’t see important details about whether they’ve been arrested or evicted in the past.

If you aren’t completely sure you’ve found the right person, don’t act on the information until you’ve verified it is actually them. A CRA has to maintain certain standards for data protection and offer dispute resolution.

You will need to watch out for scam companies. To find it, go to your state’s official government website or find the information you need at the National Center for State Courts. Make sure you search every state that the person you’re checking has lived in.

A Google search could turn up other things about the person that might make you think twice, too. Being penalized for something that isn’t your fault isn’t fun.

. They comb Google, Facebook and other information websites to find out details that the person has willingly shared.

Because checking people’s background is such a pressing need, there are dozens of ways to go about this. All rights reserved.

Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. A good strategy for screening a roommate would be to ask him or her to volunteer a report.

Luckily, most court information is public record

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