There are a growing number of online options available to individuals looking for background information.  The increasing accessibility of online background screening has fostered the misconception that these checks are easier and cheaper than ever before…and that the information available through an automated platform is of the same quality as that obtained through a qualified credit or background investigator.

We live in a society accustomed to having a wealth of information at our fingertips. The internet is an endless resource for FREE information! However, the plethora of public data does not necessarily make it any easier to generate quality screening information. This is the first problem with online person search products: shockingly poor quality.

Online companies are not able to adequately cross-reference for accuracy. The human element is missing, and in that void lays the essential key to quality screening.  An inaccurate address could lead to a complete dead-end, or worse, information on someone who is not actually the person you are searching. There may be a thousand John Smiths with the same birthday. In order to verify that you have the correct information for your John Smith, a multitude of other personal information needs to be cross-referenced.  A person who is trained as an investigator is able to determine when there are inaccuracies or missing data. An automated program is not capable of completing the same screening report as a qualified investigator.

Poor quality is not, however, the biggest problem with online sourced background checks. The most concerning issue is, perhaps, the least obvious to the average person. Most people are not aware that you are not legally able to use the information provided through these online companies, and in some cases, not even legally able to search for that information.

FCRA regulations stipulate that only credit reporting agencies should provide information to be used as a determining factor in employment eligibility, tenancy, personal credit, loans or insurance transactions.  Online person search sites such as,, and are not credit reporting agencies and are not, therefore, providing background information that can be used as a determining factor in any of the above circumstances.

Furthermore, it is important to be aware that federal, state and local statues govern the regulations and licensure required to conduct background screening. Online background companies have waivers stating that you are responsible for following these regulations and not requesting any information that would be illegal to obtain without the required license or authorization. This means that depending upon where you are located, and where the individual you are searching resides, you may be breaking the law by accessing background information even though it is available to you for purchase through this online companies.

After close examination of background screening options, the choice is easy. You can pay for bad information, you can be liable for obtaining, and are not legally able to use…or you can hire a qualified investigation company and obtain high quality, legitimate information which you can use as a determining factor when it comes to protecting your business or personal assets.

For more information on screening options, visit our website at

Bosco Legal Services, Inc. website publications were used as a resource for writing this article.

Popular posts from this blog

Rental Services, Inc. Offers Property Management Software.

Warranty of Habitability

Rental Services, Inc. August Newsletter