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Anyone who has interviewed a candidate for a job, sought out a babysitter for their child, or considered collaborating with someone on an important project has likely considered verifying the other person’s background information before moving forward. But whether they followed through or not, they may not know how challenging these searches can actually be.
It’s often assumed that a single, comprehensive national database exists, containing every bit of information that pertains to each and every United States citizen.
But, as The Hill reports, this notion is entirely false in a host of different ways, as there are so many websites devoted to background checks that the casual inquirer might not even know where to begin, and the sheer volume of data out there guarantees that valuable information has slipped through the cracks.
What You Should Know
When people refer to some mythical, “all-knowing” website, they’re most likely thinking of the FBI database. But even this national, government-run organization doesn’t have a unified site — instead, it features an assemblage of different systems.
Each state has vastly different laws and policies in place, each requiring their respective databases to be set up differently. And although the FBI undoubtedly has a sterling reputation, the organization itself encourages users of its databases to consult additional sources.
Moreover, most of us don’t even have access to the FBI’s typically well-guarded content. Instead, many curious employers, potential collaborators, or cautious parents turn to multi-jurisdictional websites, often referred to as “national databases.”
Compiled from purchased information that’s been thrown together over the years, these databases include incarceration records, law enforcement information, court and county records, government watch lists, and sexual offender registries.
While the streamlined nature of these sites certainly appeals to first-time users, the simplicity of their construction is misleading. Though the information they contain shouldn’t be discredited, none of these sources can actually back up their claim of a “national” scope. While they do indeed contain millions of records, the concept of an all-encompassing source is simply a fairy tale.
Furthermore, the accuracy of the data these websites contain depends entirely on the reliability of the person who first uploaded it. And even if this information was once spot-on, chances are it’s since been rendered irrelevant, especially if it’s been on the site for a number of years.
Finally, the manner in which data is ordered can vary from database to database, meaning that the same search may yield uneven results across different sites.
Searching for the Truth
Given these potential pitfalls, those in need of a comprehensive background check should aim to use these online resources as a supplement, rather than the end-all-be-all of an investigation. In reality, these searches are hopelessly complex and time-consuming, meaning that even the most curious and accomplished searcher may not have the time or energy to succeed.
Instead, truth-seekers are better off conducting their own preliminary research, recording their findings, and then contacting a certified private investigator.
Integrated Security Systems has a large network of PIs that are well-equipped to handle any number of investigative cases or background checks. No matter what type of information you wish to track down, our staff will work diligently and cleverly to accomplish your end goals.
Through careful research, private investigators are able to access information that these “national databases” simply do not have. Upon enlisting the services of one, you’ll quickly realize that having an intelligent, adaptable private eye on the case will yield far more extensive and accurate results than a simple computer search.
The Integrated team will discretely scour any and all records that your potential applicant, co-worker, or babysitter has left behind, and will be able to devote the time you don’t have to wrapping up your search quickly and effectively.