As background checks become an industry-standard in many fields, more companies are offering to provide them. But, are they all the same? Do they offer exactly the same services? Do they use the same technology? The answer is no.

You can find very reliable and professional background screening services online, but you can also fall victim to a scam or even break the law.

How to spot the difference? Some tips to consider are:

Background Checks

1. A clear and concise privacy policy
2. A clear explanation of the services they offer and the type of information you can get
3. A professional-looking website
4. Upfront costs (no hidden or “extra” fees)
5. User reviews

Instant Results, Low Fees

1) If you are looking for a fast and cheap service, your best bet is to visit With an advanced technology that uses web crawlers to find information, you will get a comprehensive report, including everything that’s publicly available. What’s even better about them is that you get the first report for free, and then, for a low monthly fee, you can perform as many searches as you need. If you are, for example, a real estate agent, this is an important business tool that can save you a lot of time and money.

2) Another similar option is They offer services through a “freemium” model, in which you can get very basic information (contact details, list of relatives) for free (but you’ll see some ads in the process) The second stage of their service allows you to get mobile phone numbers and full address history, ad-free. And if you need to know more about criminal records, bankruptcies, or professional licenses, you need to pay a one-time fee for a report.

3) Another popular site, used for slightly different reasons, is Through information about graduation date, school name, and location, they can give you current information about your former classmates. It is a very popular service that also works with a freemium model. To get full access to the site’s functionalities, you will need to upgrade to a premium membership that costs $18 USD for a 3-month period. They have constant discount promotions, especially if you choose a one-time fee for an extended period (one to three years).

FCRA-compliant Background Check Services

What Causes Slow Turnaround Time For Background Checks?

The companies mentioned above base their services in publicly available information (which does not mean that is easy to find). But if you need to find financial information, you will need to look for a service that complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC. For these types of background checks, you need written consent. Here are three of the best alternatives:

4) For Nannies: eNannySource: Not just for nannies, but every type of caregiver or household employee. They focus on criminal records and other records that can resultin any kind of danger for those who hire. They also personally check each report to ensure its accurateness.

5) For Landlords and Finance Businesses: Justifacts. Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and one of its foundingmembers, Justifacts has over 36 years of experience. They don’t offer packages and work on a case-to-case approach, helping each client define their needs.

As you can see, there are many options to suit different needs. Before you make a final choice, always compare and contrast, and always make sure that you are picking a service that complies with industry standards and laws. Make sure that it has the accreditations required to provide a particular service, and always ask for a budget before making a contractual commitment. Background check services are an excellent tool to mitigate risks and make better choices and you can surely find an alternative that suits your needs and your wallet.