There is a treasure trove of information to be found online about practically anyone. What's more, this information is often freely accessible. To do a free background check in 2020, you start with getting permission (unless you're running a check on yourself, obviously). Then, you can search social media networks and Google as well as public records. You could also lookup an IP address or a web domain. Finally, you can see if someone is a registered sex offender by accessing the National Sex Offender database.
Reasons to do a Background Check
There could be unflattering information about you online that you never suspected existed. Such information can and does prevent people from buying a home or even landing their dream job. By doing a free check using one of the services on a site like UnMask, you can inspect insurance and credit data for inaccuracies and see what prospective employers or landlords will find out about you.
Start with Google
As long as you know someone's name and a few other personal details, Google will give you free access to tons of information. You can then branch out based on the search results. Use quotation marks to isolate search terms. If the person has a very common name, use additional terms such as education info, a job, an address, or a city to limit your results.
Use Social Media
Social networks give access to content that the user voluntarily shared, unlike Google, which finds content someone else published about them. While not always objective, social media can provide insight into an individual. When it comes to interesting information, Facebook is probably the most lucrative option. You can search for public profiles by name and associated email address and use the person's workplace, education, or location to narrow your search down. Private profiles won't appear in search results.
You can use Google to search within a given medium's domain, for example: site:Instagram.com 'Emanuel Jones.' You'll get content from people called Emanuel Jones across the medium, even from private profiles as long as they've posted to public groups.
LinkedIn is a great source for background checks with its more than 650 million users. LinkedIn users tend to provide accurate data, so you can learn a lot about someone's work history and education.
If you type in the person's name in Instagram's search bar, the site will pull up their profile. As with Facebook, public profiles are a treasure trove of info. Likewise, you can't get any info from a private profile.
Instagram lets you view people's lives through images. You can look at photos they've been tagged in or see who follows them and who they follow. Images are a rich source of information about a person's life and character.
Finding Contact Details
Sometimes, an address or a phone number is far more helpful than a profile picture. Sites like ZabaSearch and WhitePages give access to a relatively good people index. You can see someone's relatives, schools attended, address history, and previous or current workplaces.
Another useful site is Pipl. It can show your job, the high school or schools you went to, any social media profiles, and even previous addresses. All of this is free. Pipl also features a list of links to pages or articles that could be connected to you, and pictures from other sites that you may not have known had found their way online.
The site Family Tree Now has published billions of birth records, military records, death records, census records, marriage and divorce records, and more. It will show possible relatives, phone numbers, and current and previous addresses.
Criminal Background Searches
You can locate sex offenders in your area through Family Watchdog for free. Simply type in your zip code, city/state, or address. You'll get personal details, charges, addresses, aliases, and markings of any offenders in the neighborhood. The National Center for State Courts offers a wealth of data from state courts. However, you need to know which states someone has lived in. You can access bankruptcy records on PACER for 10 cents per page. You need to open an account.
Searching Public Records
If background information from international or national records is what you need, look no farther than searchsystems.net, a very reliable and impressive starting point. The site gives free access to almost 80,000 databases with public records, including campaign finance and birth records.