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Private Investigator Background Check

Private Investigator Background Check

If you're considering getting a private investigator background check on someone you will want to know the ins and outs of what to expect. You will want to ensure you get an accurate background check and not just some information gleaned from a Facebook profile. Pay for a cheap background check and you will get what you've paid for; a few details that you probably already knew.

This type of private investigation service is extensively used in businesses but personal use has soared in the wake of internet dating and romance scams. Unfortunate as it is, background checks have become essential.

In this article we're going to cover what a background check actually is, what information you can expect to receive in a private investigator's background check service, the costs and different types of background checks done by a private investigator that they can be hired for. Also, we will go over a private investigator versus online background checking services and what the limitations and legalities are.

What Is A Background Check?

A background check (also known as background screening), in simple terms, is to check the identity and credentials of someone. A background check's purpose is to prove or disprove the accuracy and truth of who someone is, what they are telling you, what they have done and what they get up to. It's very easy today for someone to hide or mask their true identity and their true intentions. We live in an age where even neighbors are strangers, despite having lived next to each other for years. It is the background investigator's job to unearth the fakery.

Depending on the situation or reason for checking someone out will determine the thoroughness, and how detailed the background check investigation should be. In some instances it may not be necessary for a private investigator background check, if for what you want one for is not that sensitive or serious. A simple online check may suffice. However, if you have a fortune and want to protect your assets, business, public profile, children, etc. then a fully trained background check investigator will be necessary to dig in deep.

Private investigator background check services can encompass the following areas:

  • Checking the identity of an individual
  • Personal and character references
  • Checking employment / employment history
  • Checking education qualifications
  • Special licenses
  • Reference checks
  • Arrest / criminal / court records
  • Sex offender checks
  • Military records
  • Medical checks
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Financial status / credit reports
  • Property ownership

A background check private investigator will usually be aware of the laws governing this type of work. This ensures they conduct their background investigations legally and stay on the right side of the law. Not all private investigators offer background check services so you will have to ask at the beginning stages before hiring them.

Private Investigator Background Check Services

Private investigator background check services are done for a variety of reasons and for a variety of individuals and organizations. But before going into the different types of background checks and the reasons for using them, it's good to know that there are two approaches when checking someone out. These approaches are Overt and Covert background checks. What's the difference?

  • Overt: an Overt (out in the open, not hidden) background check will be carried out with the FULL knowledge of the subject that the check is being done upon. The subject will have signed a consent form giving authority to ask for and obtain personal information about them.

  • Covert: a Covert (hidden, not revealed) background check will be done by a background check investigator without the knowledge of the subject.

Again, depending on the circumstances will determine the approach that is taken. But bear in mind, if the subject is aware of impending checks and if they have criminal intent then the chances are they will strike first, or with a bit of luck, promptly leave the scene. Here are some of the different types of background checks done by private investigators:

Personal background checks

This service is simply checking out who someone is or is about to associate with on a personal level. Examples of this type of personal background checking is for pre-dating or dating - finding out more about the online date you've just met; or, a pre-nuptial background check where significant finances, property and assets are at stake. A personal private investigator background check on a potential spouse could save thousands later on. This type of check can be done with the partner's knowledge or not.

Employment / employee background check

This is a background check for employment and checking the details, past employment history and records of potential employees. Pre-employment background checks are an integral part of the hiring process in companies, particularly companies that have highly sensitive work and information.

Employee background screening services by private investigators are usually done with the full consent of the applicant and before any contracts of employment are signed. Potential candidates for high powering positions go through the process of having their full work history, education and qualifications scrutinized in case they fraudulently acquire a position with pay they are not qualified for. Likewise, in the lower ranks of the workforce, background screening and employment history background checks ensure a business gets what it has asked for.

Company background checks

A private investigator background search service on a company or business, checks to see if the business is what it is and not just a fake front held up with words alone and clever lies. This type of check - done on the business itself and not an individual - is beneficial when takeovers or buyouts or impending business purchases are contemplated. The company assets, records and materials are scrutinized for their veracity to ensure the buyer is not being led down the garden path by a con-artist, or fraudsters fluffing up a failing or bankrupt business.

Apart from inspecting the actual company records, the investigator will also focus on the owners and directors of the company. For this type of background check the private investigator will usually have the added skill in forensic accounting or business accounting to make sure the numbers add up.

Nanny background check

If you are in a position of having to employ a nanny or au-pair to help around the house and look after your children, then it will be most advisable to get a nanny background check, particularly if leaving the children alone with them. There are companies that specialize in hiring out people as nannies, au-pairs, and home helpers and as a matter of course perform their own nanny background checks.

However, it is important to know that when you hire a private investigator - who will conduct the usual checks - that you can also ask them, as part of the private investigator's background checking service, to install a hidden spy camera, or nanny cam as they are known. This nanny cam will record the nanny with your child, giving you first-hand knowledge of how they treat your child when you are away.

Tenant background checks

Being a landlord you are simply putting your property in the hands of total strangers. Using the services of private investigator to do a background check on a potential tenant can give you a feeling of security. Nothing is worse than a tenant doing a disappearing act with rent owed, or gutting the property, selling the fixtures and fittings, or even using the property as a brothel. A renter background check should be done before any lease agreement is signed and most definitely before any keys are handed over.

How Much Does A Private Investigator Background Check Cost?

Using a professional private investigator to conduct a background check can cost you anywhere upwards of $300. The cost of background checks vary widely because there are different factors involved when considering where to get one and how much to pay. Some things to consider when looking at costs for a private investigator background screening service are:

  • How reputable is the company - Does the investigation company have good online reviews, particularly about their background screening services?

  • What does the check consist of - How detailed is the background check and what questions / information is requested?

  • What online sources or databases are used - What are the different sources of where the information will be searched?

  • Are the databases up to date and the information current - What is the frequency of updates or to what extent is the information up-to-date? It's not much use having out-dated information.

  • Is it just an online background check - Some companies only do online database checks. You may want a more detailed physical boots-on-the-ground check done as well.

  • Are there physical checks or visits carried out - Find out what, if any, actual visits are performed for the background check. Is it just online, emails, and phone calls to various sources?

  • What levels / options of background checking are there - the investigation company may offer different types of background screening services at different prices.

  • Level of importance - what is the purpose of the check and how important is it to get the maximum amount of the most up to date information possible?

The last point comes down to you and what you are willing to spend for the best background check that you're willing to pay for. Cheap is not always poor quality and expensive is not always the best. An online company costs versus a private investigator's fees for a background check can be quite different. Finding the best background check company or background check investigator will come down to searching, checking and cross-checking businesses.

Should You Do Your Own Background Checks?

Doing your own background check is a risky game. It's not just a case of checking out someone's Facebook or Twitter account; there's more. You could do your own private checks but in some countries and States it is a legal requirement to possess a license, such as a consumer credit license or a PI license, to perform certain credit checks and activities.

Also, a Texas private investigator will have different background checking laws to adhere to than a private investigator in Massachusetts. There are also data protection laws that need be followed when obtaining, collecting, storing, and passing on personal data. Besides some legality issues, doing your own background checks isn't advised and should be left to the professionals. Consider this; would you build your own house if you weren't a builder?

Another point is that background check companies and private investigators, as a part of their business, invest a lot of money in subscribing to and using quality information databases. These database providers don't come cheap.

Private investigator background check VS online company background check

As a quick note: online background checking companies may only use databases, phone calls and email to check on someone whereas a private investigator can be asked to do personal visits if required. The old adage "Actions Speak Louder Than Words" should be observed here. A private investigator is trained in surveillance techniques that can be used for a real-time boots-on-the-ground check of an individual and what they get up to.

I Want A Background Check. What Now?

If you are a business, particularly high risk, then consider as part of your hiring process some kind of background screening service. If you are an individual then consider it an option, particularly if a parent whose child is left with babysitters or nannies. If you are a property owner with tenants then, as a renting business, should get a private investigator background check done on your tenants. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to checking out someone's background! If you want to hire a private investigator for a background check, search our directory for an investigator.

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