Last Updated: February 1, 2023
Over the last few decades, the internet has become not only a great source of information and interpersonal connection but also a place where personal data is stored. Whether it’s photos, contact details, or employment history, you can discover a lot about someone by doing an online background check. If you are wondering how to do a free online background check? Then read on.
Most background check companies require a fee to use their services. But there are ways you can perform a free background check:
- Search engines
- Social media networks
- Free background check sites
In this expert guide, we will go over everything you need to know about the credibility of background checks and how to perform a free search online. We’ll discuss what is a background check, why are background checks important, different background check options, how to do a free online background check, and the best background check sites that allow you to run a check for free.
What Is a Background Check?
No matter whether you’re an employer, financial lending service, landlord, or just a private individual, double-checking background information is important to prove an individual’s credibility. It can also help you find long-lost friends or family. This is where the best free background check online services come in handy.
How Does a Background Check Work?
Background check services combine millions of public data sources to create one large database of information on people within the country. Their services are used to help companies, landlords, tenants, and private individuals to verify the identity and background information provided by a new contact. It also gives an individual the opportunity to check what information on their own background is publicly accessible to potential employers and landlords.
Information that can show up on a background check report will include:
- Employment history
- Address history
- Financial history/credit scores
- Full names, nicknames, and aliases used in the past
- Public arrest records
- Criminal records
- Marriage and divorce records
Why Are Background Checks Important?
There are many reasons why background checks are beneficial not only for employers but also for everyone else. Here is a list of reasons why employers, financial institutions, and landlords will benefit from the service:
- Doing a criminal record check can verify whether a person is suitable for a certain position or not
- Verify identity for potential new employees
- Landlords can check the credentials and trustworthiness of their potential tenants by using tenant check sites
- Consider whether a person is trustworthy when it comes to paying back loans by looking at their credit report and checking for any past bankruptcies
- Verify past experience by getting information on education and employment history
Here is how ordinary people can use background checks:
- To check whether someone is catfishing you online
- To double-check the credibility of someone offering services and products for purchase online
- To track down long-lost family members or friends
- Check up on a potential housemate or significant other
- Doing a free personal background check on yourself will give you an idea of what potential employers and landlords will see when they do a 100% free background check on you
Different Background Check Options
Even though many companies use paid employee background check sites, it’s worth it to first check how to do a free online background check. When doing a background check on someone, consider whether the information is from a CRA (Consumer Reporting Agency). Any online information and data resource channel that falls under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is committed to protecting data, as well as hosting verified information.
There’s no use in consulting a search engine or database where all the information is false or unverified. Individuals can conduct background checks for free on:
- Search engines
- Social media networks
- Free background check sites
If you want to do a comprehensive background check on someone without spending a dime, then you have a few options. Let’s take a closer look at how to get a background check on yourself or anyone else, for free, by using the above-mentioned methods:
How to Do a Background Check via Search Engines
The easiest way to look for information on someone online is by simply typing in their name and surname into the search bar. The most famous search engine is Google. By typing in the name and surname of a person, you’ll receive access to loads of information. This might include articles, links to social media profiles, professional profiles on employment websites, and connections with other people. Search results found with a simple search on Google is just one way to get background checks for free.
Other search engines you can try include:
- Wolfram Alpha
How to Do a Background Check via Google
If you want your search to be successful, you should take care of how you input the search item.
- Use quotation marks to help the search engine narrow down exactly who you are looking for. For example, type in “Jane Doe” instead of Jane Doe. This way you’ll receive a more specific answer to your question.
- Add specifics. Help Google track down a particular person by using specifics and additional information. The additional information can include country/city of residence, place of work, educational institution last associated with the person, nicknames, second names, or even an email address. For example, type in “Jane Doe”, Mississippi, MSP High School. The more information you are able to type into the search bar, the more accurate the results will be.
- Go past the first page. Using search engines as a totally free background check option is a great place to start your own background investigation. Even though the first-page results will be the most accurate – don’t get stuck on the first page. Scroll through the pages to find links and other connections for more information on an individual’s background.
- Go through image and video results as well, as you might find a photo of the person that otherwise won’t be listed in the articles or website posts.
How to Do a Background Check on Someone via Social Media
The difference between search engines and social media networks is that information provided on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter has been voluntarily shared. Compared to search engines that share data on someone from a third-party writer, blogger, or organization. Even though the information on social media isn’t always 100% accurate, it is likely that it will lead you in the right direction.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can do a totally free background check on someone using different social networks:
Facebook stores huge amounts of data on its members. Over the past couple of years, Facebook has strengthened its privacy settings and members have the option of setting all their profile information to private. This makes it a bit tougher to dig up the information you need on someone. At the very least, however, you’ll be able to see the person’s profile pictures, featured photos, and some major life events.
How to Search for a Person on Facebook
Just like you would with free background check websites, type in the person’s name and surname. To narrow down your search, add their workplace, location (city, town, or country), and education.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can try and search for mutual friends, or people that they might know. Go through the acquaintance’s photos and you might find a photo of the person in question.
Most companies have a Facebook page as a form of marketing. If the person in question has claimed to work for a certain company, then see if you can find that company. Browse through its posts and photos to find evidence of them working there.
Alternatively, you can use your favorite search engine to find Facebook profiles. Type in Facebook.com ‘Jane Doe’ into the search engine bar.
LinkedIn is one of the best places to check a person’s employment history. On this site, professionals list their employment history, education, work experience, and achieved certifications. Some people even list recommendations from trusted mentors and previous managers, as well as a short ‘About Me’ summary.
While it’s not the best option if you need a background check site, there’s a lot of information you can find on LinkedIn. There are no strict privacy settings and all information is voluntarily given by the person who created the profile. For further verification, you can see whether you have mutual professional connections. This makes it one of the most exceptional and trustworthy public data sources.
How to Search for a Person on LinkedIn
To find someone on LinkedIn, you can type in their name, surname, and any last known employment company. To further narrow down your search you can add their area of expertise (example: Human Resources, Accounting, etc.) or their profession.
You won’t necessarily find any personal information like address, birthday, or relationship status. But LinkedIn is the perfect social networking site to use when you want to check someone’s employment history and experience.
By searching for someone’s tweet or username on Twitter, you might find some helpful background information. Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t allow for that much personal information like Facebook, but it will give you some insights into the person’s likes and interests. At the very least, it’s the perfect accompanying background check.
Instagram is a social network filled with photos. Although this platform won’t give you access to personal information, such as marital status or public arrest records, you’ll be able to see where they’ve been to and who they’ve spent time with by browsing through their photos.
How to Perform a Search for a Person on Instagram
You’ll be able to track someone down by searching either their name and surname or username. Members have the option of setting their profiles to private or public. When a profile is public, you’ll be able to see all the photos they’ve posted, as well as the photos they’ve been tagged in. When you go into messenger, you’ll be able to see their online activity status too.
What if the Person Has Deleted Their Social Media Profiles?
Sometimes, people don’t want to be found and they end up deleting their social media profiles. Even though they can try to delete themselves from the internet completely, there will be some leftover information. Either they’ve been tagged in someone else’s post or their photo has been uploaded onto a company’s page. All of this third-party information can lead you to the person in question.
Other social media platforms you can consider searching through are TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Reddit.
Best Free Background Check Sites
If you don’t want to do all the digging that social media and search engines demand, then you can always refer to a background check website. Let’s take a closer look at the different free background check sites available:
Users can look for individuals in all 50 US states using Zabasearch.com. You’ll find information on someone by entering their first and last name, as well as their phone number and state. It also gives you the option to do a background check on yourself without having to register for the service.
Through Zabasearch.com you’ll get address information, residential information, and contact numbers. It’s worth mentioning that this service isn’t a Consumer Reporting Agency; it’s only a hub with lots of publicly available information.
Wondering, how do I do a background check on someone for free? Then Backgroundchecks.org is for you.
You can start your search by filling in the first name, last name, and state of the person in question. It also gives you the option to do a reverse address and phone lookup. Through this service, you’ll get access to millions of public records that are stored online, including criminal records, arrest records, and court records.
Whitepages is a background check company used by millions of people every month. Users can find the following through a Whitepages free search:
- Age and personal information
- Maiden names
- Criminal records
- Fraud and scam ratings
- Lien records
- Relatives and other family information
- Carrier information
- Professional licenses
- Traffic tickets and records
- Property details
- Financial records
Established in 1997, Whitepages.com is one of the best and most accurate background check companies in the industry. They offer paid plans that provide more in-depth criminal record information.
This service is a good option for a free criminal background check online. Before employing someone as a nanny or in-home tutor, it’s important to check their criminal history to make sure they are the right fit for your family. For a detailed criminal history search that includes all sex-related offenses, traffic violations, and any other crimes, users will have to pay a small fee of $25.
Some of the above-mentioned background check sites offer a free trial before charging a small fee. If you change your mind and are willing to pay a bit for some extra services, check out what Truthfinder, Intelius, and Checkr have to offer.
Getting a Background Check on Yourself
How can I check my background for free? In the same way, as you would run a background check on someone else. There are many reasons why you should consider doing a background check on yourself, especially if you are applying for a new job or a loan. It will help you to:
- Check whether there is incorrect information about you online
- Check what your potential new employer or landlord will see when they do a background check on you
- Identifying any potential problems and issues when applying for a home loan or when a landlord decides to screen you
- Gives you the opportunity to delete false information about your background before you get screened
If you want to delete yourself from Whitepages and other search engines, you should check whether the database has an opt-out option. Whitepages.com does offer individuals an option to remove themselves from its database.
Whether it is for security or curiosity reasons, background checks can help you get information on an individual. If you follow this guide, you will be able to perform a free online background check by yourself, but if that doesn’t work, try with an online background check service that guarantees quick and accurate results.
There are background check sites that offer free trials that will help you find basic information. Even though this might be helpful, you should consider a paid search for more in-depth checks that may require more research.
By using your favorite search engine, social media network, or a free trial with a background check site; only insert the name and surname of the person in question.
Backgroundchecks.org and Whitepages.com are two of the most reliable free background check websites available. Their sites’ user-friendly interfaces will show you how to do a free online background check while providing a large database filled with public information.