Technology has made it increasingly easy for us to share our lives with others – both instantly and constantly. Yet, as we leave traces of our online footprint every time we surf the web, it has become more important than ever for us to be concerned about data privacy.
However, there are a few easy steps you can take to review your information floating on the internet that you don’t want to display to the public correct or remove this damaging information. You can use the same techniques to do a free background check before taking on a roommate or going out on a date with that new crush you met online. You never know what sort of worrying or dangerous details could be lurking in someone’s past.
There is a tricky fact about background checks. If you are performing a criminal background check as a landlord or employer – or for credit, medical or insurance reasons — you can’t use just any service.
Under the Australian Human Right Law, only the Australian Police Agencies and ACIC accredited Agencies can provide the National Police Checks for above-mentioned purposes. In addition, all police checks must be undertaken with the written consent of the person being checked, unless the check is mandated by relevant legislations.
How Can I Do a Background Check on Someone?
Read the below seven different types of ways you can conduct a free background check on someone.
The first place you should start is your favourite search engine. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines if you have any piece of information about the person. The search results provide a broad starting point from which to branch out. The advanced search options will help you narrow your search results and pinpoint the information you seek.
For optimal results, make sure you limit your search by putting in any relevant information you may know about your targets such as his or her city of residence, job occupation, or education.
While a Google search may prove to be revelatory, it will hardly yield sensitive results, such as a person’s criminal record or history of eviction. For that, you’d have to go a step further!
2. Social Media Network:
Many employers these days resort to Facebook to find out about a person’s lifestyle and personality. If their profile is public, you can simply search for them using their full name and affiliated email address.If there are multiple people with the same name, use their location, education, and workplace details to hone in on the right person. If a Facebook profile is set to private or protected from search engine searches, however, it will not appear in the Facebook search results. Varying levels of privacy for different Facebook features means that some information may be public while some will be hidden.
There is an awesome tool called AFS you can use to do an advanced search on Facebook platform. It allows you to perform specific graph searches to find stories, connections, photos, events and interests of People on Facebook. You can get the plugin here
LinkedIn is a fantastic source for professional networking and background checks — assuming users provide accurate information about themselves. The website is a great place to inspect job resumes and check out an individual’s work experience but offers little in the way of interests or personal information.
Twitter can be a useful platform for discovering an individual’s personal tastes, opinions and interests. Even though it might not be the ideal place to discover information about a person’s background, it might still give you a glimpse into who the person really is!
3. Criminal databases
Running a criminal background check on someone is undoubtedly going to be most revealing and useful. If you’re hiring a new babysitter, or perhaps an electrician to do work in your home, you probably want to know if they have a relevant criminal record. Bare in mind that due to strict Privacy Law in Australia, you can only request a copy of your own criminal record, you are not allowed to access anyone else’s if you want to find out whether they have been convicted of a crime unless you are a business or an employer.
A police check may be used to help screen and make informed decisions about individuals within the Australian Community for a host of roles, including but not limited to:
- recruitment and job applications
- volunteer and not for profit positions
- working with children or vulnerable groups
- licencing or registration schemes applications
- work-related checks due to legislation or regulations
- Australian citizenship and visa applications
- adoption applications.
Intercheck: Intercheck Australia is your go-to for online criminal background checks. The site is straightforward, easy to navigate, and allows people to get National Police Checks for varieties of purposes (some exclusions apply). 80% come back within one to two business days. Plus, it’s fairly extensive, revealing all results that the person in question has been to court for, which can range from violent crimes and sex-related offences to behavioural issues and minor traffic violations. If you are a business and require police checks to be conducted on your employees, you can learn more about the police check solutions for businesses here
About Australia Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC): The role of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s (ACIC) National Police Checking Service (NPCS) is to manage the system that Australian Police Agencies and Accredited Organisations use to submit National Police History Checks. It is important to know the ACIC does not directly receive application forms or submit police checks on behalf of individuals.
Note: For Visa and Immigration purposes, you have to apply directly with the Australia Federal Police.
4. Right to Work in Australia:
Government figures show there are nearly 1.9 million people in Australia who hold a temporary visa, an estimated 100,000 of whom are working illegally.
Individuals can download myVEVO app for Free to be able to track their visa details and conditions.
There is a simple way that employers can verify if an individual is a permanent citizen of Australia. All they need to do is request to see one of the following:
- Passport (issued by Australia or New Zealand);
- Australian birth certificate plus a form of photo ID;
- Proof of Australian citizenship (plus a photo ID).
To check residency status, employers can check:
- Certificate of residency status (and a photo ID);
- Passport issued by another country using the VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online) service;
- Driving licence, tax ID number, or Medicare card.
5. Public Records:
Don’t forget that you can also verify a person’s identity against the public records that are available to you. Ultimately, it depends on the kind of information you are after. If you are searching for someone’s address, then that should be fairly straightforward. On the other hand, if you’re looking for public records on someone’s birth information, then you may have a significant challenge on your hands! You can try using the following hubs to run a preliminary background check on someone:
National Archive Australia: Here, you can find information about family history. The National Archives holds many records in which you might find information about your ancestors. If your family members served in the Australian armed forces or if they migrated to Australia during the 20th century, you should be able to dig up all these details in this archive. In addition, The NAA holds records about people who arrived from overseas during the 20th century and some who arrived during the 19th century. They also hold records about Australians who left and returned to Australia.
Australia Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies: this site can help you to delve into the history of indigenous families in particular. Their collections have information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families, communities and places.
Department of Social Service: This brings together historical resources relating to institutional ‘care’ in Australia. Developed by a team of historians, archivists and social workers, it is designed to help those who experience out-of-home ‘care’ access records.
Australia Birth, Death and Marriage Use these indexes to locate official registration details of a person’s birth, death and marriage(s).. You can also find supplementary information such as the date and place of an aforementioned event, parents’ names and a person’s age at the time of death in these indexes.
Victoria Public Record Office: Public Record Office Victoria is the official archive of the State Government of Victoria documents. They hold approximately 100kms of records from the mid-1830s till today, for use by the Government and people of Victoria.
The Collection includes information on historical events, as well as records of immigration and shipping, criminal trials and prisons, premiers and governors, royal commissions, boards of inquiry, and wills and probates, amongst others. and more
6. Financial history checks
We all know your credit can make or break your financial dreams. Most credit report websites offer reports for a small fee or even completely free depending on your situation.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission: If you’ve ever applied for credit or a loan (whether or not you went ahead), you are likely to have a credit report.
Credit providers use the information in your credit report to help work out whether you can afford a loan or a larger credit limit on an existing loan, and whether you are likely to repay it. It’s a good idea to check your credit report every year. As well as affecting your ability to get credit, incorrect listings can alert you to things like identity theft, where other people use your personal information for financial gain! That would include situations where someone runs up debts on your credit card after stealing it or tries to apply for credit in your name.
Want to run a credit check on someone? The Australian Securities and Investments Commission: can help you with that. Following this link , you can discover basic facts about people, companies, schemes or personal property. This is important before you get financial advice, a loan or credit, buy financial products, or hand over your money for a purchase or an investment.
Veda: You can also use the services of Veda to order a one-day credit report that is delivered within 24 hours. If you find any errors in your credit report, they can ever help you to do investigate it for free!.
7. Checking web domains or IP addresses
It’s easier than you might think to figure out who owns a web domain because the bulk domain registration data that is publicly available — you guessed it — online. Whether you’re trying to purchase a domain name from someone else or simply trying to satisfy your own curiosity, you can rely on the Who Is Source to make your job easier.
Who Is Source is a straightforward, minimalist and to the point. You simply type in a domain name or IP address in the search bar and let the database scouring commence! There is even an option for finding every domain name owned by a specific company or individual by searching by their email address or company name. Keep in mind though that not all domain information is retrievable and some web hosting companies offer private domain registration that shields personal information from the public eye.
The more information you have about a person, the better your searches will be. Knowing their middle name and date of birth will help you weed out people with similar names.
If you aren’t completely sure you’ve found the right person, don’t act on the information until you’ve verified that the search results match the actual person.
For businesses, it is recommended that you go through a paid service as it will save you time and you know for sure that the provided information is trusted and guaranteed.