Our comprehensive background check packages start at $1,000, which can cause a bit of sticker shock to those who are accustomed to seeing “comprehensive” background checks advertised on the Internet for less than $50.
So a legitimate question that is frequently asked is what is the difference between our “comprehensive background check” and what you find on the Internet, ranging from $14.95 to $49.95?
A little dark secret that most of these online background checks don’t want you to know is that their records are incomplete. And when I say incomplete, I don’t mean almost complete or missing a few records. I mean they are totally incomplete, especially when it comes to criminal records, which is hands down the most critical data point.
The simple fact is that most criminal records in the United States cannot be accessed via one database. Accessing all of them requires multiple data points, and sometimes it even means physically going to a courthouse to check.
Computer-generated reports do a great job of spitting out hordes of information, pages and pages of data that can take days to sift through and comprehend.
But what does all that information mean? And how does it affect me? Why should I care?
Having years of experience, investigators know where to look, what to look for and what is relevant. You don’t need to spend hours culling through data; we hand you the relevant information on a silver platter.
When it comes to background checks, the information that is ultimately included in the final report is highly dependent on the information that is researched and the quality of the databases used to conduct that research.
First, there is not “one” database. There are hundreds of databases that are critical. Second, not all databases are equal, and the most comprehensive ones are not cheap. Last, many of the databases are old, stale or totally incomplete. You ultimately get what you pay for.
So you order an online background check and get a list of a whole slew of criminal offenses. That’s great. But you will typically get little more than a date of arrest, description of the charge and possibly the date of disposition.
But what really happened? What was the outcome? Who was involved? Where did it happen?
Knowing that something happened is crucial, but knowing what actually happened is even more critical. These are the small details that you will most certainly not be able to obtain through an online background check.
Computer-generated background check reports have lots of errors. Since most records that are part of the report are matched by name only, there may be a whole bunch of records that are associated with the person you are investigating based on the same name but that are not, in fact, related to the person at all.
This can be really serious. For example, what happens if the report mixes up two people who have the same name, one with multiple criminal offenses and another with a clean record?
We recently completed a background investigation for a client who was interested in buying out his business partner who had left the country under some mysterious circumstances. The client not only wanted to find out why his business partner may have fled the country, but also was interested in establishing a negotiating position.
So in addition to our standard investigative process, we kept an eye on any financial troubles, assets sold or litigation that the partner was involved in, in order to help give our client the upper hand in negotiations.
The not-so-comprehensive online background check certainly has its place in society. But if you are looking for an accurate, detailed, thorough, relevant, state-of-the-art background check with a human touch, you might need to look elsewhere.