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Background Checking The Secret to Finding People

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I guess you all know that a background check can provide detailed information about a person.  It is one of the most commonly used tactics in finding a person’s identity, be it related to the person’s age, name, address, phone number, social security system, business, assets, criminal history or others.  

Background Check: The Definition

On its most basic, background checks pertain to a manual or database search to investigate the background of the person.   The search could range from a simple criminal check to a full blown investigation.   When it comes to the typical investigation, the search could cover criminal records, employment, education, driving record, and credit verification. However, when it is full blown, the background checks usually include other more in-depth elements like the multi-jurisdictional civil searches to interviews of the person’s relatives, neighbors, or friends.

Reasons behind the Investigation

There is a plethora of reasons why a person conducts a background check.  Let’s take a look at some of the aims maintained by most companies, for instance.  Well, most companies conduct a background check on their potential employees to see if they are perfect for the position and do not have existing criminal record.  At first glance, the background checks do not exactly affect the person’s performance, but these however will assure the employer that the persons they are hiring are dependable enough.  In addition, the background checks could relate directly to the position of the person.  For example, a tax consultant who is in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy is definitely a poor choice. 

Some individuals also request for a background check to investigate their child’s nanny or babysitter.   Of course, you want to know if the person you are entering relationship with has no criminal records or can be trusted.  After all, in today’s highly complicated world where crimes and other felonies rule, the need for a background check is a matter worthy of consideration.

A background check is also useful especially if you want to know the past dealings of your business partner.  If you have a friend or a coworker who is bragging about that college degree he/she has attained, or if you have got some strange neighbors, or if you’ve met someone new and think they may be the “right one” for you.  You can absolutely find out the answers to these questions with a background check.

Important Elements of a Person’s History

Now that you have seen a few reasons to conduct a background check, I guess it is now time for you to look at some of the elements of a person’s history that you might want to look at:

  • The person’s name, address, or telephone number
  • The person’s age
  • The validity of the person’s social security number
  • Personal credit report
  • Educational history
  • Professional licenses
  • Criminal history records and drivers license check for DUI or other convictions

Note that contrary to the popular belief; most of the information involved in these kinds of searches is a matter of public record.  Much of it luckily can be accessed through or with the help of the Internet, today’s highly accessible source for everything.

Actions to Take When Background Checking

Vital Records Search

When considering background checks, a vital record search should be the first step in your search for information on someone.  This type of check can be useful for accessing information regarding birth certificates, marriage certificates and divorce decrees.  Also, a vital records search can be used when you are looking for adoption records or perhaps performing an adoption search. 

Using the information you gathered in your vital records search, you will be allowed to potentially locate relatives, spouses and siblings of your subject.  Most of the times, these people, once located, will be helpful in your investigation. With that fact, the vital records search can then be considered as great for anyone conducting any type of genealogy or family research. The information gathered can even be useful to an adoptee, for example, trying to locate their real parents or siblings.

Here are too basic elements of the person’s history that you might want to look for with the use of vital records:

Name, Address and Phone Number Verification

How you can verify the person’s name, address and phone number?  Okay, here’s what you can do:  start with the easiest place to look – your local telephone book or directory assistance. Just make sure, however, that the person’s name corresponds with the address or telephone number you have available. Then, confirm that this is the correct phone number by dialing the number to check if the person, as listed, does indeed live there.

However, if the person is not listed in the directory, try looking him/her up in one of today’s available online directories. Just be sure to try several directories for the fact that they often will contain different information.  Some may even be more updated than the others. 

Age Verification

In the first place, verifying a person’s age is not as simple as checking their name, address and telephone number. Perhaps the best source to verify a person’s age is to check their birth certificate. However, you should note that access to birth records is restricted in some states and the methods they permit access from may vary from state to state.   Also, you can obtain information about the person’s age through the marriage licenses.  But, just like the birth certificates, access to marriage licenses is also sometimes restricted.

Accessing the Subject’s Social Security Number

The key to obtaining the desired information concerning an individual often lies with their social security number.  Experts say that if you have the social security number, the doors is open, but if you don’t, then there’s no room for you to locate a person’s identity unless you exert some efforts to knowing them.

So how do you get the social security number?

There are a lot of ways to obtain a person’s social security number.  One of the most commonly used is digging into the person’s driving license records or vehicle registration.   In some states, the social security number appears in the file, sometimes in the application, or on the actual license.  In these states, you can get the social security number of your desired subject by writing the state motor vehicle department, requesting a copy of the file.

However, before taking such action, there is a very important warning that you must know: under the Drivers Protection Act, which took effect just recently, there are certain limitations on who can access such mentioned records.  There are also several exceptions.  The Act stresses that if the person owes you money or if he/she is involved in an accident with you, you may be entitled to access the records.  This is also true if you are verifying a person’s employment application, or collecting a judgment.   And, athough false statements often go unchallenged they are still illegal.

What can a Social Security Number Tell You?

It is interesting to know in the first place what a social security number can tell you.  Well, according to some experts, the first three digits of the SSN indicate the area number.  For numbers assigned before the year 1973, it indicates the specific Social Security office from which the card was issued.   As far as I know, certain blocks of numbers have been allocated to each State since 1973.  The area number indicates the State that the number holder showed as his/her mailing address on the application for a number.  The State is then derived from the zip code in the mailing address.

Furthermore, the middle two digits indicated in the SSN are the group number.  It has actually no geographical significance. What the authority have done was they just break the SSN into conveniently sized blocks for use in internal operations and order of issuance.

The remaining four digits indicate the serial number, which represents a straight numerical series of numbers from 0001-9999 within each group. 

One particular truth about the Social Security Numbers is that they are not assigned when people die.  The benefits may be payable to the dependents and survivors or the SSN long after the holder dies. The SSN is actually used to administer the payment of these benefits, and it is said that the current 9-digit number provide almost one billion SSNs.

Getting and Using Driving Records to Find People

As many experts often hold, using the driver’s license is one of the best ways to locate people.  This claim is supported by the fact that thousands of missing people are located every year through the departments of motor vehicles located in each of the fifty states.

So, if the person you are looking for is of legal driving age, experts suggest that this should be one of the first places you look for them.  As you may know, a driver’s license has become one of the most important pieces of identification carried by the Americans over the age of sixteen.  Also, it is generally the first piece of ID asked for by the retailers, bankers, police officers and just about everyone else requiring proof of identification.

In recent years, a few states have enacted laws limiting public access to driving records.  However, certain states still allowed access to these records with a nominal fee.  Well, what’s nice about the driving records is that you can obtain a wealth of information out by just placing very little information in.  Perhaps two of the most important information critically needed to start the search is the name of the subject and the date of birth.

Note that if you’ve got the person’s name and his/her birth date, the motor vehicle department should be able to give you the person’s current address; last know address; personal information like height, weight, eye and hair color; previous names, if any; the traffic tickets that may have accumulated in recent years, as well as the numbers and types of vehicles owned by that person. 

Those records can even be used to “skip-trace” missing individuals who may have moved in recent years.  This is true for the reason that each motor vehicle department maintains records going back from two to 30 years, indicating what state the person’s driving license was surrendered to.

What’s more interesting to know is that some states hold records of licenses issued to women under their maiden names.  Given this fact, it is then possible for you to find women whose last names may have changed through marriage.

Obtaining Vehicle Registration Records

Unlike the driver’s license which sometimes tends to offer addresses that are not current, the vehicle registration records are a great way to zero in on someone.  They almost always yield current addresses, perhaps for the reason that motor vehicle registration is renewed annually, unlike the driver’s licenses which are renewed every few years.  So, consequently, the address you get from the registration records is at most only a year old.

How you can obtain registration records?

Some states required you to present a letter of request, stating the appropriate records you wanted to look at.  With this letter of request, you can search vehicle registration records by using the owner’s name, by the license number or by the use of identification number.

Name Search

Searching by name is just very simple.  All you need to do is to ask the DMV in the appropriate state for a list of all the vehicles registered to your subject’s name.

License Number Search

If you know, the license number of the vehicle owned by your intended subject, you can ask the DMV to trace that number and give you the address of the person who owns the plate.  As simple as that!

Vehicle Identification Number Search

Now, if you know the vehicle identification number (VIN) of a car or truck owned by your subject, you can ask the DMV to trace the ownership of that vehicle.   What is nice about this method is that the vehicle registration records can lead you to a subject who has moved some time ago, since the ownership of motor vehicles is tracked so carefully by the government.  So, if you know a specific vehicle your subject owned, even if it was some years ago, you may still be able to use that piece of information to find him today.

Okay, here’s how:

  • Ask for a vehicle history or a body file on the vehicle from the DMV.
  • Note that that packet of information you are requesting will include the names and addresses of everyone who ever owned the vehicle.
  • Working back from the current owner, you should be able to contact all the previous owners of the vehicle. The person who dealt with your subject may recall information about them that can help lead you to them.

Furthermore, here’s what you can do to find your subject:

  1. Check the Traffic Tickets – If your subject is the kind of person who doesn’t provide accurate or proper information on licenses or other official documents, simply check to see if he or she has any traffic tickets. Do that by asking for driving records first.  If there are tickets on your subject’s record, write to the city or jurisdiction where the ticket was issued.  Then, ask for a copy of the citation. The copy should include the make, model as well as license number of the vehicles involved in the incident. After that, go back to the DMV and find out who owns that vehicle. In most cases, the owner will be someone who knows your subject and can provide information about his current address.
  1. Obtain Accident Reports – Accident reports are useful if you discover that our subject was involved in an accident.  You can obtain a wealth of information especially if lawsuits were filed as a result of the crack up.   From the DMV, you can find out where the accident occurred.  Or, you can contact the city or jurisdiction and get a copy of the police report that was filed for the accident.

If you’ve gathered the data, note all the parties involved in the accident.  The report will include addresses and other information for all of them, and there’s a possibility that you can find out a lot more about everyone involved, especially if any lawsuits were filed as a result of the mishap.  With the information, take the name of everyone involved in the accident to the local courthouse.  Then, ask the clerk to check to see if any of those people are involved in any lawsuits.  If so, review all the paperwork involved.

  1. Look for RV’s, ATV’s and Snowmobiles Licenses – Note that these vehicles are also licensed by the state, and these can be used to lead you to their owners.  So, check with the DMV to see how you can gather registration records of these vehicles.
  1. Track Ownership Records for Boats – You can track ownership records for boats much the same way you track motor vehicle records. So, search for people using their names, ownership and registration records of the vessels, and even with the use of the identification number of the boat. You can also order a vessel history and then trace ownership of the boat the same way you can for the motor vehicles.
  1. Obtain Airplane Records – These records are usually kept by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). So, if your subject happened to be a pilot or owns an aircraft, the FAA will have records on him or her. Typically, the FAA records on pilot includes the person’s address, the type of aircraft he/she is licensed to fly, as well as the date of the person’s medical examination. 

So those are basically the ways to obtain information and locate the person of your interest.  The resources mentioned are just out there, but oftentimes you may find them hard to locate especially if you don’t really know where to look or what to look for.  So note them carefully. Visit our website for more information call 615-547-9563

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