There is a difference between a background check, and a background investigation. Most of our clients can afford a background check, but not a full-fledged investigation.
When we perform a background check for $500 we don't leave the office. We search many public and non-public online records for information on the subject. We search newspapers online to find any possible articles written about the subject.
We also perform an in-depth Internet search, often coming up with very hard-to-find items. We also may employ some private investigator's "tricks-of-the-trade".
A $500 background check includes an address history, a search for criminal records going back 7 years, in any states and counties the subject has lived in during that time. It includes a search, again online, of relatives, associates, and may include anyone the subject has lived with, including a spouse. It includes bankruptcies, liens and judgments, and vehicle, boat and plane ownership. We also check to see if the suject is a registered voter, and if so, what party affiliation.
If we've been given a resume, we'll verify past employers and education claimed. Generally, a $500 background check won't include present employment (although it may come up in a routine search, and if it does, we include it). Of course, anything that comes up in the course of the background check is given to the client (However, we don't usually give out Social Security Numbers.)
I think that that's quite a lot for $500. However, some clients want much more than that. OK, now we're talking about a background investigation. An investigation includes all of the above, but more. An investigation may take us out on the street. We may interview neighbors, past employers, relatives...whatever it takes to get the job done.
One problem with this type of investigation is that the subject of the investigaion may learn about it. Sometimes great care needs to be taken to prevent this, which makes things even harder.
Background investigations may cost in the thousands of dollars. Telling us what information you specifically want will help keep down the costs. In any case, being specific about yours needs is always helpful.
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