Fraud is becoming an increasing problem for many members of the business community. The mortgage industry alone has over 3000 pending FBI fraud investigations resulting in financial losses in excess of 3 billion dollars (according to the latest available FBI statistics). This is why it’s more important than ever to verify the identity and credentials of both business partners and potential clients.
Fortunately, the internet offers many online tools to quickly and easily perform online background checks. State of the art online databases which were once the private domain of law enforcement agencies and private investigators are now open to the public. These databases contain detailed background information collected at the municipal, state and federal levels. They also have the ability to scan social networks for potential red flags. Law abiding citizens deserve privacy, but that’s a right that criminals and fraudsters relinquish when they get arrested and convicted. You have both the right to know, and the tools to find out who someone truly is.
Basic background searches include information from court records, marriage and divorce records, birth records, death records, property records and asset Information. All that is required to do an online background check is a first and last name plus a state of residency. This basic information will also unlock information about arrests and convictions, felonies and misdemeanors, sex offences, mug shots, criminal driving infractions and court records (including probation information). This alone will give you a fairly comprehensive picture of the person you are dealing with.
Not all criminals have been caught and/or convicted. But they can still be caught in a lie or have their past catch up with them. Most online background check services now dig even deeper, providing information such as phone numbers, email addresses, residential address history and verified date of birth. Imagine how useful such information would be for landlords wanting to screen potential tenants.
For an even more comprehensive background check, several services now screen blogs, professionals associations, social networking profiles and archives and publications to glean even more information about specific people.
Performing all these checks on your own would be both an expensive and time consuming endeavour. Fortunately, several reputable online services now perform all this leg work for surprisingly low fees. Basic background checks can be found for as little as $15 per check, whereas high volume clients can opt for a monthly subscription that offers unlimited checks for a set fee schedule.
We all understand that the majority of people are law abiding citizens. Be we also need to consider the fact that people who are out to commit fraud will go to great lengths to hide their true intentions. It’s always better to play it safe. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And when it comes to fraud, this is especially true. We hope this article provided you with the information required to make informed business decisions going forward.