How Do Background Checks Find Your Data?

By Jamie Hill - 21 January 2021

Opinion and Features

The popularity of personal data search engines has been growing steadily for a few years now. With the explosion of social networking, we have revealed to the world what we think others should know about us. That is, one's social profiles are their digital trace on the web.

When you run an authorized check on a candidate using a service like Checkpeople, the first thing that it does is scrape the internet for any social media profiles that match the search criteria.

The deepest background checks don't rely on online info alone

One's online footprint is essential, but the best people search agencies never rely on the web alone to collect background information about a particular individual.

Their officials go to police departments, courthouses, and even libraries and file requests for information on the person that the agency has been asked to check. These requests usually take several days to complete, but the obtained data is 100% relevant and accurate.

Federal and national criminal records

Background check companies deliver useful safety information to employers by carrying out thorough searches of the national criminal record and sex offenders' database. Member jurisdictions can provide records from various correction facilities about felonies and sex offenses committed by the researched individual.

In the U.S. district courthouses databases, background screening agencies find information if their candidate is on any terrorist watch lists or if an international search warrant has been issued against them.

The departments of homeland security and treasury can provide information if one has been denied access to the U.S. labor market.

Background checks collect financial information

In a split second, people search websites' powerful algorithms whiz through hundreds of thousands of publicly-accessible financial records to find the ones that match the checked candidate's profile. These include bank and credit card statements, mortgages, consumer loans, etc.

Bank statements are people search engines' primary sources for extracting one's current and past residential addresses. In theory, such information should be protected by banking secret but in reality, it is readily available to most free online people check services.

Background check websites browse thousands of employment files

Background check services try to access any databases of schools and companies that are open to the public to verify a candidate's employment and education history. It is not uncommon for a company to have photos and short bios of its top managers on its landing page.

Employment records also include information about one's job title, job description, and length of service. Some premium people search services can even find information about one's current gross salary. This information is usually stored in online employment verification databases.

Your college keeps tons of personal info

You'll be amazed to find out just how much personal information schools and colleges keep. Student files show mostly academic records and exam results, but there is also information on the student's membership in any prominent sororities or fraternities during their education.

Insofar as these records are available online, they may also reveal information about the checked person's professional orientation and of any internships that they might have done during their final year.

People search services scrape school yearbooks for personal info

High school yearbooks are another invaluable source of information for people check services. If you know the candidate's high school, you can access their yearbook using your premium people search account. Almost all yearbooks have been digitalized and uploaded on the schools' websites.

Yearbooks contain information on the candidate's participation in various clubs, sports teams, and student organizations. Some yearbooks even include information about the student's personality and academic achievements with comments from their teachers. The yearbook will include individual photos of the person as well as group shots. You can thus discover other people that may still be connected with your target.

Background check engines crawl the deep web

Almost all people search engines collect personal data from the so-called "deep web." The deep web includes user databases that are accessible online. In addition to personal profiles, these databases also store public records and consumer-related information. People search engines mostly collect in-depth web data from sites like Flickr,, or Amazon.

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