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Use the Web to Do a Free Background Check

Get the scoop on someone you know, or see what's out there on YOU.

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Businessman working on computer
B2M Productions/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Want to get information on someone you know, or see what's on the record for yourself? You can use the Web to do a free background check via a multitude of free sources.

Now, why would you want to do a background check on yourself? Here are a few reasons:

  • Check your credit report for inaccuracies
  • See if your insurance information is correct
  • Look at the same information that potential landlords look at
  • Take a look at your Social Security earnings

Basically, the data you can find online, on yourself or other people, can be quite useful. It's up to you to determine whether it's accurate - or to take steps to ensure that is. A misrepresentation of your information can determine whether you're eligible to take out a mortgage, buy a car, even get a job, so it's in your best interest to monitor this data and ensure that it's correct. Note: Unless otherwise noted, these reports and information are completely free as of this writing (November 2011).

Financial History

  • Annual Credit Report: Request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus annually.
  • Innovis: You can obtain one Innovis Credit Report at no cost if you meet certain criteria.
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  • Securities and Exchange Commission: Search through SEC filings, administrative judgements, and consumer complaints.

Consumer Reporting History

  • LexisNexis: Request a free report (must include quite a bit of identifying information) that includes both public and non-public records and information.

Web Ownership History

  • Domain Tools: Find out who owns a domain name, along with their email address, physical address, and phone number.
  • WayBack Machine: See what other forms a website might have taken with this interesting tool; just enter in a URL and you'll get a detailed history of archived pages.
  • IP Address Report: If all you have to go on is an IP address, you can use this site to find out who owns it, what it's hostname is, what country it originates in, even what browser the IP address is presenting itself on the Web in.

Health and Medical Insurance Reporting History

  • MIB Reports: If you have applied for "individually underwritten life, health, or disability income insurance during the preceding seven year period", then MIB (Medical Information Bureau) will have a report on this information that you can request for free.
  • Intelliscript: Find out what insurance companies have requested your prescription history.

Rental History

  • First Advantage SafeRent: If you have been denied in your application for housing, you can see what your potential landlord is looking at by requesting the consumer information file maintained by First Advantage SafeRent.

Return History

  • The Retail Equation: If you weren't able to get your money back the last time you returned something, you can request a free return history report from the Retail Equation, an organization that tracks merchandise return information.

Car and Home Insurance History

  • VinCheck: Enter in a VIN (vehicle identification number) to see if a car has a history of being stolen or reported as stolen.
  • ISO Loss History Report: Order one free loss history report annually.

Checking and Investment History

  • ChexSystems: If you have been denied a checking or savings account from a bank or credit union, you can request a free copy of your ChexSystems consumer report to see what might be dinging you.
  • TeleCheck: You have the right to order a free TeleCheck report that details your consumer information for free every 12 months.

Employment History

  • The Work Number: Can request one report annually; this report will contain income and employment information as well as lenders, credit agencies, or other reporting agencies that have received your data.
  • Request for Social Security Statement: Get a free record of your Social Security earnings history year by year, and get an estimate of how much you might qualify in the way of benefits in the future.

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