Background check typically involves accessing a variety of public
records for locating information about your subject. Specific types
of information you're searching for (credit history, business information
etc.) may vary depending on why you're doing the investigation.
However, in all likelihood, you will be looking for information
in one or more of following sources:
These are set of documents maintained by the government directly
through its various arms (e.g. court records, voter list, land
Publicly Available Records
These are public records, made available to public by private
organizations (e.g. Telephone directory, Yellow Pages, Business
Directories, Association Publications, Annual Reports etc.)
These are records collected or compiled by special organizations
like credit rating companies, research organizations, newspaper
offices etc. Usually, these types of records are not freely
available to general public but can be purchased for a fee (e.g.
Dun and Bradstreet Credit Report).
How Do I Go About It ?
Its always advisable to start any background check
by focusing your investigation. First, you must determine what you
presently know about the subject. Second, you must be clear about
what you want to know about him.
Once you are clear about what you already know and what you want
to know - decide which are the likely sources of information for
what you want to know.
Remember, success of your search on selected sources will depend
a great deal on what you already know - so any error on this count
may jeopardize your investigation.
A Checklist for your Investigation
Before starting any background check - one should
ask following questions:
Why am I doing this background check ?
(Possible Answers: business background, credit rating, reference
checking, pre-employment screening, pre-relationship check,
tenant screening etc.)
What do I already know (or think I know) about
(e.g. Pramod Ranjan Tewary, Age around 40, deals in scrap business
somewhere in Mumbai)
What do I want to know ?
What geographic areas do I want to check?
What are the limitations in terms of time, depth
of investigation, budget (if any) etc.
Once you have completed above exercise, your preliminary
work is done. Now you are clear about what information you have
or need to verify about your subject, and what information you are
Your next task is to identify possible sources of information for
this investigation. We shall discuss various sources in next issue
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 4, Issue 06
Jun 17' 2003
Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various
capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development,
MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce
venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of
his own. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org