Internet Background Check- Part II What is Internet Bacground Check ?

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:

  • Public Records

    These are set of documents maintained by the government directly through its various arms (e.g. court records, voter list, land records etc.)

  • 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.)

  • Private Records

    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:

  1. Why am I doing this background check ?

    (Possible Answers: business background, credit rating, reference checking, pre-employment screening, pre-relationship check, tenant screening etc.)

  2. What do I already know (or think I know) about the subject?

    (e.g. Pramod Ranjan Tewary, Age around 40, deals in scrap business somewhere in Mumbai)

  3. What do I want to know ?

  4. What geographic areas do I want to check?

  5. 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 looking for.

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


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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 4, Issue 06 Jun 17' 2003

Author : 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 )

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