Top 4 Issues with Online Public Records Searches

November 2, 2023

It can be tempting to do your own research online (for free) when you really should perform a proper background check. Here are the biggest risks and top issues with trying to do this research yourself.

1. Information can be inaccurate and unreliable.

Online public records can be incredibly unreliable; anyone can post anything regardless of its truth. The nature of search engines makes them bad at collecting quality background check data. Searching someone’s name might yield thousands of results, and it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack when trying to find the specific person you’re looking for – not to mention not knowing if you’re getting complete or accurate information.

As you search online public records, many questions may come up, from what the source of the data is, is the information up to date, is anything missing, is this a trustworthy source – and is this even for the right person? Reporting false positives or false negatives can be bad for your business.

Tip: You can feel confident that Kredifi is getting you the most up-to-date and reliable information from the right source – and quickly.

2. Public record searches can take a long time

Looking through public information online can not only be inaccurate, but it can also be time-consuming. Searching and verifying information from court records can take a long time especially if the county or state records are accessible offline or through the physical access only at the county court? What’s not to be reported is just as critical as what should be reported!

Tip: Save time and feel confident in your screening information by using a company like Kredifi which works with specialized data partners. They will not only help you spot red flags and misrepresentation on resumes or applications, but can do it quickly.

3. You may be using unreliable, unverified sources, and might not be legal

Beyond questioning reliability and accuracy, you must also consider whether the site has permission to provide this data – and whether you have the legal right to access it.

The FCRA dictates what information you can get about other people and the circumstances under which you can request information. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) FCRA, one of the major steps for running employee background checks is getting consent from the applicant, and confirming you’ve complied with all FCRA regulations.

If you’re getting data from just anywhere without applicant consent, how do you know you’re complying with FCRA? How do you know you won’t get fined or sued for improperly handling or misusing consumer data?

What’s more, laws differ from one jurisdiction to the other and from country to country, so keep that in mind as well.

Tip: FCRA-compliance isn’t the only thing a quality background screening service should have. Kredifi is not only FCRA-compliant, but they can also customize the needed compliance, and run them quickly and affordably.

4. Costs outweigh benefits

Google searches or not running background checks isn’t the way to save money. A “free” price tag can be tempting, but the risks are just too high and could cost you in terms of time and money especially, but also you could be opening yourself up to lawsuits.

Tip: Background checks CAN be quick, easy, and affordable. So feel confident with the data you’re getting by using a company that has competitive pricing, like Kredifi.

One last thing: Social media checks

By checking out social media on your own, you might inadvertently learn things about the candidate that can’t legally be a part of your hiring decision. For example, pictures and statuses can reveal information about race, family status, religion, sexual orientation, and other protected class information.

Tip: Did you know that Kredifi can perform social media checks? It’s best to outsource social media checks with compliance so you make sure you’re following the law when hiring. Click here to learn more.


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