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Free Public Records and Private Databases for Background Checks

Until a decade or so ago, PI's gathered information the old fashioned way: they made numerous phone calls to contacts and associates; they went out looking for answers; they asked questions; they dug through repositories of printed records.

Times have changed: the modern PI still asks a lot of questions. That phase of the snoop business will probably never change. He, and more often she nowadays, continue to rely on phone, fax, and Internet.

It is the computer and the Internet that has brought about the greatest transformation to the way the pros now do their jobs. The proliferation of computer databases has really changed things, including, and especially, the methods of collecting, storing, and distribution of data. These technological advances affect all of us - the way we live, how we work, and how business is conducted.

There's one good thing the information age has brought with it: more than ever before, we Americans have the lawful right to tap into huge repositories of facts. We have the means, right at our fingertips, to access a veritable treasure trove of practical, useful information.

With very few exceptions, every American is on file somewhere. Hundreds, if not thousands, of repositories throughout the country and around the world have a record of you - and numerous details about you. Submit Our Extensive Background Check to see what is in public records about you using our connection to a world network of database.

Order a Background Check online now!. Experienced database search specialists will immediately go to work for you, to quickly return real, meaningful results. See our Sample Report

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Credit Reports

Credit Bureaus gather credit data about individuals from a vast network of retailers, businesses, and financial institutions. In exchange for this data, they provide credit information to all their members. This information is also sold or traded to one or more of the giant Commercial Credit Bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

These Commercial Credit Bureaus sell data to local credit bureaus, as well as to a variety of Information Providers, who resell it to their clients, most of whom are known as Information Professionals.

All involved in this "data chain" must agree to enforce the regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Generally, the Act stipulates that credit information is confidential and can only be released to those with whom you have applied for credit and to those to whom you have given permission to review your credit history.

Business Reports
If you are a member of a Business Credit Bureau, you may request a credit report about any business, regardless of its size. Many information providers are online with Dun & Bradstreet and will access this information for you - for a fee. Our specially designed Business Profile Investigation searches for all available records pertaining to a business, including business assets, professional licenses, and principals.

Directory Industry

A major source of data has been created by the telephone industry - the same people who publish your local phone directory. Seasoned Private Investigators advise you to start any investigation with the phone directory. You might get lucky right away.

Another resource is city criss-cross directories in which information is collected and published for community use. Cris-cross directories list neighbors, who may provide more complete and worthwhile information than is available from any directory, records source, or database.

Note: Cris-cross directories of every city in the world (!) are maintained at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

There are plenty of free public records available at the local level. You will find local phone directories at the public library. These directories have also been combined on database. This allows you to search each directory one at a time, or search larger geographical areas with the help of Information Providers. Some directory services may be contacted simply by dialing a (free) 800 or (pay-by-the-minute) 900 number. The Internet will prove to be an excellent source of information and can be searched by city, state, or region. Try all the big search engines. Try variations of your search submission. As with ordinary phone directories, you may get a hit right away.

Information Status

Release of data is governed by laws whose effects at the national, state, and county levels are diverse and far-reaching. Information about you - about all of us - is classed either open, semi-open, or closed. At the national level, the laws are fairly consistent, but at the state and county levels, interpretation governing the release of data varies from state to state, county to county.

Open Records

Open records are records open to public scrutiny. You have a broad right of access - without discrimination - to government information. Most important, you do not have to prove a need to know or furnish a reason why you seek certain information. And, once you have it, you are free to use it and disseminate it any why you see fit. You can even sell it, as many do.

Public records are gathered and cross-referenced by an army of database operators. The information is combined, sold, and traded to other database operators, and ultimately sold to end-users.

Most records, except those covered by privacy acts, are public or "open" records.

Semi-open Records

For a number of reasons, access to semi-open records is limited. Legal dictates, state statutes, and business policies may limit access. Financial reports, credit reports, medical records, and employment information are all considered semi-open records.

Closed Records

Closed records are maintained by the federal government. Closed records can be opened only by court order and are not subject to The Freedom of Information Act.

Once you have determined which records are public, which are private, which are open, semi-closed, and closed, and which state and local laws apply to you - you are ready to begin your information quest.

Information Brokers, Information Distributors, Information Resellers, Information Providers

These new job titles have carved an impressive notch in our daily language, especially our business language. Here are some terms you should know:

State Repository

Records of a similar nature are stored on microfilm, microfiche, computer database, and/or on paper. State capitals are repositories of local, county, and state records. Credit bureaus are repositories of credit information. The US Postal Service is a repository of change-of-address information.

Records Distributors

These companies have access to many information repositories. They disseminate this data in high volume to Information Providers. Many of these repository databases are highly specialized and complex, such as the database operated by the US Postal Service.

Value Added Information Resellers (VAIR)

Information Providers are on-line with Information Distributors, who can locate and call up data almost instantaneously. "Value" is added by combining related data from other searches, then reselling that data in single units or combination packages at a profit.

A VAIR may conduct a social search using a SSN by requesting reports from all three major credit bureaus.

A VAIR can run a state driver license search and a national change-of-address search to locate an individual.

PI's and individuals, called "end users," purchase data from VAIR's department store-like catalog of services.

Information Resellers may also offer access to their own databases to a variety of Information Professionals.

You can run an Expert Assisted Background Check using our connections to a world network of databases.

Information Specialists, Private Investigators, Tenant Screeners, Employment Background Specialists

These are people who gather data for a client. They are called Information Professionals. The insurance, legal, financial, real estate and employment industries seek out the services of Information Professionals who extract the details from a variety of sources, from the library, from public records, from interviews.

Information Retriever is the job title assigned to individuals who retrieve and deliver specific records and/or data.

Information Professionals often have access to data directly from the distributor, especially if their volume warrants the expense. (If you are considering a career as a Professional Investigator or Information Provider, check out these huge database systems.) Small users and single unit purchasers will employ the services of VAIRS - Information Providers.

For the nonprofessional, VAIR'S offer added value. They prepare their customer's requests in the proper way and know how to interpret the information received. Also, they generally know what information they must access and what the information on the report really means. Some records contain complex codes. The assistance offered by a professional will help you to derive more useful data from the reports you receive. A reputable professional will most likely be familiar with the many laws that regulate the release of information.

There are a variety of ways to access and receive data from databases. Requests can be made by mail, phone, fax, or email.

We've listed a few of the large national databases. Even though you probably won't be accessing them directly, it is helpful to know who they are and what data they furnish.

Business Public Records Databases

Ninety percent of what you want to know has probably already been researched - especially in the corporate sector. Many companies specialize in business news and related public records, providing information relating to mergers and acquisitions - legal and financial, company and industry - plus competitive intelligence information. The services and information these companies offer might provide important data to flesh out business background investigations.

Order a Background Check online now!. Experienced database search specialists will immediately go to work for you, to quickly return real, meaningful results. See our Sample Report

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