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Background Check Websites: Get What You Pay For

Background Check Websites: Get What You Pay For

There are many reasons why companies and individuals may need to conduct a background check investigation to minimize risk and verify a person or company.  Unfortunately, there are now a host of websites claiming to offer “background checks” when in fact they are merely selling generic database searches of very limited value.  Professional investigators say if you’re only paying $50 or $100 for a so-called investigation or “background check”, you should ask yourself how much of an investigation (if any) could actually be conducted for such a price, and what type of skills would such an investigator has.  Surprisingly, 99% of the websites claiming to offer “background checks” do not offer real risk mitigating services, they do not employ investigators, and in fact, only offer a database and internet search.  No doubt, as in other industries and businesses, you get what you pay for!

In principle, the need to get a background check comes from the need to verify that someone is trustworthy and that this person is who he or she claims to be. This happens every time we are trying to establish a new relationship, and it can be for business or personal reasons. For instance, individuals look for background checks when they start dating someone, especially in cases of online dating, want to be safe and know they are dealing with a legitimate person, not a fraud, dating scam or criminal.  Companies do the same when they hire someone new to lower their risk, and to be sure they are hiring someone reputable, who truly has the expertise and background they need.

A proper background check is not the same as checking criminal records.  Checking criminal records alone is not a prudent method of mitigating your risk, and is only a small part of a real background check investigation.  For international cases, checking criminal records and searching databases is even of less value, if not worthless all together.   Real verification requires real investigators, period.

Conducting a true background check investigation is no simple task, especially when the person in question is from another country. Even U.S. citizens who worked and lived outside of the United States can be difficult to verify.  There are many obstacles in the investigation process that only a true professional can solve, who has access to local records, speaks the language and has connections in the country, and has investigators on the ground where you need them.  Think you can verify an individual’s background in China or Russia?  First you’ll need to speak the language.  Second, you’ll need to have a lot of connections.  Third, you’ll need proper training!  There are no magic databases to turn to.

Many “background check” websites only compile information that they gather online: email listings, consumer databases, online public records, certain criminal records, etc.  They can also contain information that was sold in the black market. This information is not only incomplete, but it could be wrong or outdated.  For verification on international cases, searching a domestic website in the U.S. for example will get you nowhere.  Professional investigators verify many elements as part of a proper background check, including passport or ID verification, date of birth verification, criminal and court records, employment and education verification, reference and address checks, fraud screening and more.

When searching the web for a background check, the first thing to do is a list of the companies or websites that offer the service and then research a bit about them. It is not uncommon to find reviews of large companies that offer this service where people comment that they ran a background check on themselves and the information was all wrong.  Ask if the company has any investigators, and what their training and experience is.  If the company has no investigators, you might consider doing the so-called background check yourself, instead of paying someone to search the internet and check criminal records for you.  Most criminals and persons committing fraud and lying on resumes have no criminal record.

Ask yourself how important it is to know the truth, and to have the person or company properly verified.  If it’s not that important, consider making some calls and searching the internet yourself, and hoping for the best.  If it is important (and normally it is), then do the job right the first time and speak to a professional private investigation firm about how to properly lower your risk.  For international cases, the risk is higher, so it’s critical to consult an international investigation company with investigators in the countries where you need evidence.

An important aspect to check is if the website is a scam. The internet is full of websites that offer online services that are nothing but fraud. Companies that offer services claiming to be background checks with very low pricing clearly cannot conduct real investigations for such a low price, so be sure to ask exactly how their services can benefit you – and be skeptical.  Real background checks require the skills and training of private investigators who do have access to databases, but more importantly, know how to investigate!  It takes time and money to do things right.  But in the long run, a proper background check by a professional private investigator can save you money and prevent you from being a victim.

Remember to think about what you really need when considering a background check investigation. For an employer looking to hire a candidate, criminal records will not be enough. Many of the greatest criminals –like Osama Bin Laden- didn’t have criminal records. It takes a true professional to verify the details of a person’s past.   A significant percentage of people lie on their resumes, either with small facts or with big things that they want to hide and leave behind. Fifty-eight percent of hiring managers say they’ve caught a lie on a resume.  In personal relationships, the risk for blackmail, hacking, internet scams, online dating fraud, identity theft and countless other risks are present, so it’s important to verify.

For those looking for dating background checks or international background checks, never hire or pay anyone who does not have investigators in the country or countries where you need them. A professional company offering real background checks and proper risk mitigation will have professional investigators on the ground who can verify all the information directly at the source for clear evidence.

C. Wright
© 2014 Wymoo International
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© Copyright 2014 Wymoo International.  All Rights Reserved.  This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.

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