Background checks have become a huge part of American culture. Whether you want to run a background check on a potential babysitter or employee, your new date or just someone that you think is suspicious you have all the information you could ever want at your fingertips via the Internet. However, running a background check via the net might cost you a bit of money, unless you're both careful and smart.

Things You Will Need

Internet Access

Personal Information (name, age, birth date, etc.)

Step 1

Find out all of the personal information about the person that you can. First, middle and last name are a good start, as is birth date, state of birth and maiden name if you're doing a background check on a woman. Things like a social security number would be helpful, but it's doubtful you'd get that sort of information unless you're a potential employer.

Step 2

Locate an online background check site. These search engines, like or will check public record databases against the information you provide on the person whose background check you want run. You can run these checks yourself for free by going to public records databases attached to city and county courthouses, but if you're not familiar with both finding and interpreting public records like court cases and divorce papers then you're better off letting the machine do the work for a small fee.

Step 3

Run the background check. Once you have all the information back, it may be helpful to run a second check using a different search program. If all of the information you get back checks out, then you likely got the right info. If you can't afford more than a single check though, make sure you carefully review the program you do use, and how it's rated by previous users before you hand over your fee.

Performing a background check on someone is fairly easy to do in a technological world. However, if you're not an experienced investigator yourself, then you'll be much better off parting with a bit of green to get the proper information.

Tips & Warnings

The more specific you can be the better. For instance, the program might show that John Smith is wanted on 36 warrants and has been divorced 3 times... but your John Smith was born in 1986, whereas the one whose info you have was born in 1990. It's important that you're running a background check on the right person, after all.