There are literally tens of thousands of websites on the internet selling background checks and public record information. A simple Google search on the phrase online background check returns more than 28 million search results. This tells us that there are lots of choices out there. So, if you need to check the background of someone who is from a foreign country, the question quickly becomes how do you know which international background check company to choose? Before you pull out your credit card and shell out your hard earned cash, a little due diligence is in order. The idea is to avoid getting duped by online background check websites that over promise and under deliver. Most of these background check websites dont provide a service at all; they simply give you access to instant data that has been circulating around the internet for years.
Lets get right to the chase. What are the things you need to look for when selecting an online international background checks service?
1)AVOID INSTANT BACKGROUND CHECKS
Instant background check is just code for database searches, which is why they can be produced instantly. Database searches are background searches from data that has been complied and entered into an online database. Most of the time, these databases are owned by private companies that buy their information from data brokers or government agencies. The problem with this is that database information is almost always inaccurate, incomplete or not up to date. This is because databases by their very nature- even government run databases, only update their information at certain intervals. These intervals can be monthly, every other month, every quarter, or even every year. This means if you search a particular database, the information you are getting is only as up to date as the last time it was updated. Many foreign countries dont even have a nationwide database of criminal records to search! Out of those that do, many of them restrict access only to law enforcement or authorized personnel, just like the United States. In the U.S., what is commonly known as a National criminal search is a simply a network of online databases from private data brokers and state and local jurisdictions that make their records available to an online database search. It is not nationwide, and it is not accurate, thorough or up to date, which is why it is against federal regulations to use this type of search for pre-employment hiring purposes.
So how do we know whether or not a particular country has a reliable nationwide criminal database search available? You dont- which is why you should avoid them. We know that almost all westernized countries have some kind of mechanism or system that allows an authorized individual to search for criminal histories on a local or regional level, and that is what you will want to purchase. Local or regional searches usually have to be conducted at the local courts, the local police or with other local authorities. They tend to be much more accurate than national database searches. Purchasing a database search is like spinning the roulette wheel- you might get lucky, but most times you wont. In fact, you may just be getting ripped off.
2)DONT DO BUSINESS WITH OVERSEAS FIRMS
Why? Its simple. You are more likely to get ripped off, and then you have no recourse. Dealing with a reputable company in the U.S. makes them subject to U.S. law, which means they are subject to our court system. Getting ripped off by an overseas firm leaves you with little or no recourse. It may cost you more, but it is worth it if you need reliable information. And chances are if you are doing a background on somebody from a foreign country, it IS important that you get accurate information. There are numerous firms in India that claimed to do a nationwide criminal background check in that country in 48 hours. The average time it takes to get a nationwide criminal search out of India is 10 days to 2 weeks. They were charging people good money for this service, and each and every search result came back the same- No Record Found. That is because they never looked. There is no such thing as a 48 hour Nationwide Criminal Record search in India, but these unscrupulous firms will take advantage of your lack of knowledge to rip you off. Doing business with a U.S. firm means you at least have a chance at getting a refund. You increase your chances for success by dealing with a reputable company. How do you spot a reputable company for doing international background checks? Read on.
3)CHECK OUT THE COMPANY THAT IS DOING YOUR BACKGROUND CHECKS
Anyone can set up a website and purport to do background checks. Just because a website looks legitimate, does not mean that the business you are dealing with is legitimate. It is important to make sure that you check out who you are doing business with. A legitimate business will have a physical address and phone number listed somewhere on their website. Ideally you should select a company that has a professional license, such as a private detective license. Dealing with a licensed professional gives you the confidence to know that the company is overseen by a regulatory agency that has authority over them. This means that if the company does something dishonest or unethical, you have some recourse because they will be held accountable for their actions if you file a complaint. Another indication of a legitimate business is accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org). Just because someone has the BBB logo on their website doesnt mean they are accredited; the logo should specifically say BBB Accredited Business, and when you click on the logo it should take you to that companys Reliability Report and grade rating listed on the Better Business Bureaus website. Finally, look at the service they are offering and see if it makes sense with what is being offered in the marketplace. If you talked to three companies who quoted you between 5 and 0 to conduct an international background check that would take 5-10 days to complete, and the fourth company says it can do the same thing for 0 in 3 days, then what is wrong with that picture? Are they really cheaper and faster than everyone else, or are they taking shortcuts? Ask these kinds of questions and use common sense.
Now that you are armed with the information you need to identify and select a legitimate background check company to provide you with the international background check services you need, you should feel confident in contacting a company you are thinking about doing business with and asking them questions about their services. A professional background check company will be willing to answer your questions and take the time to address any concerns you may have. A company that doesnt allow communication by telephone or wont answer questions in a straightforward manner is not the kind of service you want to do business with. Good luck and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at www.realbackgroundchecks.com -Anthony Rizzo