Background checks are a must, whether you are looking for a new employee or tenant. They let you find out more about the candidate, like their employment or criminal history. 

However, is it possible to run background checks for free?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. You may be able to discover some information about a person for free. But that is seldom accurate or reliable.

As a result, most background check services come for a fee. Even websites that claim to offer free checks ask you to pay for premium information. 

Let’s explore more on the topic.

Background Checks: What Can You Get for Free?

You can find out a few things about the person you want to hire or rent your property for free. This information is not confidential and comes from public records. Therefore, anyone can access them without restrictions. 

Below are a few factors you can assess for free:

Name and Address

You can easily find out the real name and address of a person online. It is also possible to find images, social media profiles, and professional bios on the internet. Most states maintain some form of database of its citizens that is available online. 

Employment History

Social media platforms like LinkedIn can help you in researching backgrounds. However, a candidate may omit employment records or specific job history. Additionally, they may present false information to hide their professional failures. 

Criminal History

A thorough criminal background check is essential for a safe and productive workforce. You can look for arrests or felony charges via public records like the list of sex offenders. Court documents may also be available online for your research. 

However, there is no central database to check a person’s criminal history. Additionally, the information may be in the court document of a county. Finding it can be tiresome and laborious, as the US has over 3,000 counties.

Additionally, you won’t find records for people acquitted or without previous charges. 

Personal Information

Google and social media websites can help you learn more about a person. You can access public records to determine whether they have spouses or kids. 

However, that information may not be available in certain circumstances. For example, couples can keep their marriage records confidential in California. 

The same applies for:

  • Birth certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Information on governmental transactions


Therefore, you will not be able to find such information for free. 

Why Should You Pay for Background Checks?

Free background checks may be suitable when you require only high-level information. However, you will need to pay to access in-depth and comprehensive information. Free background check websites may simply not give you the details you are looking for. 

Moreover, there is no way to determine if the information is accurate and updated. 

Paid background checks offer a range of benefits and peace of mind. They are professional agencies with premium resources to find out what you want. You may consider paying for background checks to:

Ensure Compliance

You are not allowed to access the confidential records of any person. Additionally, you may require written consent to access some records or run specific checks. You can land in legal trouble if you aren’t able to comply with these laws. 

Paid services ensure you access information safely. You don’t have to bear any responsibility as the company takes care of all nuances. Therefore, there are no legal hassles. 

Conduct Custom Background Checks

People with varied needs perform background checks. You may want to focus on the credit history and criminal background of a person for renting your building. However, for an employer, the employment history of a candidate may be more important. 

You can hire a background screening company to run custom checks. It may help you focus on specific areas important to your goals, like medical history or military records. 

Find Missing Information

As noted earlier, you may not find what you are looking for with free background checks. You may need to dig into resources not available from public sources. 

A paid service can come in handy in such situations. 

Final Thoughts

Free background checks only help you scratch the surface. You need to pay to access premium and hard-to-find information. It is available only from reliable background check companies – like Alert Checks. If you are looking to hire new employees, don’t forget to check our premium background check services today!