How to Run Background Checks Online

By: Staff Writer September 14, 2012
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If you're curious about what's contained on your criminal record, or if you manage a business and need to run a criminal record check on an applicant, the process for conducting background checks is easy. Especially online, where you'll find a variety of options.

Online Sources for Obtaining a Criminal Record

Use Local Sources for Criminal and Background Checks

Start locally by checking with your local courts (circuit, superior, and county).

Some court websites provide online access to criminal records. Or, at the very least, offer instructions on how to obtain a criminal record check by mail or in person.

In most cases you'll need to provide some form of specific information on the person you're searching. This may include the person's name, Social Security number, or date of birth.

Keep in mind the information will be restricted to the county you're searching in. This means if say you're searching in Cook County, Illinois, the report will only contain criminal information for Cook County.

Consider Commercial Background Check Websites

Use a commercial background check site.

Conduct an Internet search using the words "criminal background checks" and you'll immediately receive a wealth of site options. A few criminal history sites are free, but most charge a fee.

Before agreeing to pay, be sure you know what you're getting. If, for instance, you want a comprehensive report that extends beyond your county or state, make sure the service gathers information nationally from a variety of databases. Most sites will e-mail the report within minutes, if not seconds.

Information Contained on a Background Check

A criminal history check will reveal the following information:

  • Person's name and any known aliases.
  • Person's gender and race.
  • Date of birth.
  • History of offenses along with corresponding dates.
  • History of  convictions (usually including both misdemeanors and felonies) along with dates.

Have you gone online to obtain a criminal background check? Share your wisdom with our online community be leaving your knowledge in our comment section.

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