Meeting a new person can be exciting, but there are very real dangers in the world, so wondering about the best background check for dating is a common question.
This is especially true when the background check needs to keep the person from finding out about it.
This full guide explains everything about how to run a background check on someone without them knowing (legally) and the best background check for dating that provides a full and comprehensive report.
How to do a Background Check On Someone You Are Dating
Performing a background check on someone requires some knowledge of the law and how to get a criminal background check. For example:
- A background check requires consent if it is done for professional reasons (a tenant background check, employment background check, firearm background check, etc.)
- A personal background check does not require consent, but there are limitations.
- Make sure to have the person’s date of birth, to improve search results.
With those fact in mind, a dating background check can be done manually online, or through a background check agency.
Is it Illegal to Do a Background Check Without Permission?
It is not illegal to run a background check without permission for personal reasons, such as investigating a boyfriend or girlfriend or potential dating partner. On the contrary, consent is required if it’s being used for professional reasons such as employment.
Public records can include criminal history information, social media profiles, certain financial information, and even where someone lives. This means that if someone knows where to look and what databases have the applicable information, all kinds of useful information can be found online in a matter of minutes.
What is Included in the Best Background Check for Dating?
Whether the background check is for dating or to find an old friend or relative, most of the websites will return the same information…All the public information available.
Some common results include:
Many websites will include additional information that is contained in a name based background check, also called a Level 1 background check.
DIY Dating Background Check: Best Background Check for Dating
Virtually all the information that background check companies return is publicly available, and with a little bit of effort and knowing where to look, the information is often fairly easy to find.
Simply follow the steps below to perform a dating background check that examines the information needed.
Social Media & Online Presence (Online Dating Background Check)
Social media accounts are one of the easier searches that can be done by those looking for more information on a person. Obviously, this will be slightly more difficult if the person has a common name but is still entirely possible. Detailed steps are provided below.
Step 1: Set Browser to Incognito
Setting the internet browser to incognito is an important step in getting accurate results. It won’t change anything dramatically, but it will prevent certain settings, such as location related settings, from interfering with the search.
Step 2: Search Name and Location
The next step is to search the first and last name of the individual as well as their location. This will significantly increase the odds of finding the actual person, as it will filter out most of the other people with the same name.
Step 3: Verify & Narrow Search
With the search completed, the last step is to sort through the results and identify which social media accounts are the correct ones.
This is fairly easy for individuals who know what the subject of the search looks like, as even most private social media accounts will display a profile picture.
From here, add words like:
When searching just the person’s name and location, other information can be displayed as well. This can include a newspaper article they were mentioned in, legal documents with their name, business that they work for and more.
Tip: to make your search more accurate, place parenthesis around their name (example: “john doe”). This will search for the exact phrasing of their name. Include a middle name if you have it.
Search Criminal Records for Dating Background Check
Criminal records are often the most important part of a background check. Luckily, it is easier than ever to find someone’s criminal records with so many states featuring online databases that can be searched using the name of an individual.
The steps vary slightly from state to state but the process is mostly the same. Detailed steps are outlined below.
Step 1: Identify Where Criminal Records Are Held
Every state should have a criminal database of some kind. This is often maintained by the department of justice or the state police, although there are several exceptions. The first step is to determine which agency is in charge of criminal records in each state.
This can be done by using the google search: “Criminal Records State”
Example: California criminal records are maintained by the Department of Justice.
Step 2: Follow Steps to Perform a Search
With the proper agency identified, the search is usually quite easy.
For an online database, simply search the name of the individual and results should be available immediately. In some states the process may involve an extra step, such as mailing a request form to the agency.
Finally, expect to pay a small processing fee to get a copy of the results, should they exist.
Corrections Facilities Search
Searching corrections facilities is also another useful search tool for dating background checks.This provides links to past mugshots and previous incarceration records.
Corrections facilities searches will work similar to state criminal records searches, with the same slight differences from state to state. Information on each state’s corrections facilities search can be found below.
Look for terms like “inmate search,” to help locate the inmate finder tools that most corrections facilities will offer.
Sex Offender Registry Search for Dating Background Check
Sex Offender registries can also be a useful check that can be done easily and for free. Every state has a sex offender registry that can be searched using a name, or even for sex offenders near a certain location.
The National Sex Offender Registry is updated frequently and will only have mistakes if the offender fails to notify law enforcement that they have relocated. This is fairly uncommon as notifying agencies of relocating is required by law for sex offenders.
A link to the sex offender search for each state is available below.
Curious to find out where they work?
There is no “official” employment check available online, however performing an employment check is incredibly easy, and there are many options for how to find employment history records.
Simply find the name of the business that the person supposedly works for and contact them directly. A phone call is often the best method, and simply asking to verify that the individual is employed by the company should be no problem. Keep in mind that while they can verify employment, other personal information will likely not be given out by the company.
Background Check for Dating: Marriage License Check
Requesting a marriage record can be a little bit tricky as the method will vary from county to county. Since marriage records are held by the county, the county clerk will have this information.
In many cases there will be no online system so contacting the county clerk via phone may be the best option. However, some counties will have an online request portal. For example, when performing a free background check, California County of Los Angeles:
Step 1: Access the County Clerk Website
For Los Angeles county, the clerk website contains a request portal for certain public records.
Step 2: Navigate to the Request Portal
The portal can be accessed from the homepage by clicking the services tab and selecting the “Request a marriage record,” option.
Step 3: Submit Request
Records must be gathered by the clerk recorder so a request must be made. Simply enter in the requested information and the clerk will have the results in 3-5 business days.
What’s the Best Background Check Site for Dating?
There are many different websites that offer background check services of various kinds and types. Many of these websites will even outright advertise that they can run background checks on a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Although there are a wealth of options to choose from, not all of them are created equal so it’s important to understand what makes a good background check website and what to expect for individuals looking to hire a background check company, rather than do the search themselves.
Bottom line: use a level 2 background check because this will include not just local records, but national records. If a level 1 check is used, records from their “past life” are very likely to be hidden.
How Do Background Check Websites Work?
Most background check websites first require a name and some other basic information to perform the dating background search. While the search is being performed, more information may be requested to help narrow down the results, especially if the name of the individual is a common one. This is why knowing someone’s middle name is important for getting accurate results.
Once the search is completed, payment of some kind will be required to see the results and obtain a report (unless a 7-day free trial background check is used).
With payment entered the results of the search will be available immediately. All of this can be completed in less than 15 minutes, with a ton of useful information being available at the end of the process. The advantage to gaining public records from an online site is the speed and convenience.
How Much Do Background Check Websites Cost?
The cost is one of the biggest differences between various background check companies. Each company will have a slightly different payment model, but for most of them viewing the results will require a monthly membership that will come with a specific amount of checks. Oftentimes this membership will come with unlimited checks but in some cases the amount of checks per month will be limited or there will be an extra cost to obtain certain information in the report.
The cost of these memberships and what is included ranges dramatically from website to website. Many websites offer free trials or trials at a significantly reduced cost, which is a great option for individuals who are only planning on running one background check.
Prices can be anywhere from $35 for a monthly membership, to as low as $3 for certain trial periods that some companies offer.
There are tons of different options to perform various background checks completely online. Going through a background check company is arguably the fastest but also the most expensive, but what determines the best background check for dating will depend on what information is needed, and knowing how to do a background check on someone you are dating can be a huge benefit for personal safety and security.