Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web How to Do a Free Background Check Get the scoop on someone or see what's out there about you by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on November 09, 2019 Around the Web Browsers Cloud Services Error Messages Family Tech Home Networking 5G Antivirus VPN Web Development Around the Web View More Tweet Share Email Want to get information on someone you know, or see what's on the record for yourself? You can use the internet to do a free background check via a multitude of sources. What Is a Background Check? A background check is simply a report on someone. There are various tools that are built specifically for finding public information on people, and you can use them for a variety of reasons. You might run a background check on a potential employee to see if their work history story is accurate, or on someone who's thinking about renting a property from you. You can even get background information on yourself for free to see if your data is accurate. What a Free Background Check Gets You Before getting started, please know that most of these free background check resources require so much personal information that it's unlikely you can run one on someone else. However, there are other services that are great for those types of background checks. For example, if you want to learn whether someone has a criminal record, see where they used to work or live, check their education history, etc., a people search engine is a better bet. However, if you're doing the background check on yourself, the links below are great for all sorts of things: Check your credit report for inaccuraciesSee if your insurance information is correctLook at the same information that potential landlords look atTake a look at your social security earnings The data you can find online, on yourself or other people, can be quite useful, but it's up to you to determine whether it's accurate, or to take steps to ensure that it is. A misrepresentation of your information can determine whether you're eligible to take out a mortgage, buy a car, or even get a job, so it's in your best interest to monitor this data and ensure that it's correct. Unless otherwise noted, all of these background check resources are completely free. A few of them must be completed offline and sent through the mail. Financial Background Check Annual Credit Report: Request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus annually.Innovis: You can obtain one Innovis Credit Report at no cost if you meet certain criteria.Securities and Exchange Commission: Search through SEC filings, administrative judgments, and consumer complaints. Check Your Credit Score With These 5 Apps Consumer Reporting History LexisNexis: Request a free report that includes both public records and non-public records. You must include quite a bit of identifying information to get this report. Reports are requested offline through the mail. Web Ownership History Domain Tools Whois Lookup: See who owns a domain name, along with their email address, phone number, physical address of the registrant, and the registrar information.Wayback Machine: Review archived web pages from nearly any website by entering its current or outdated URL.Domain Tools Reverse IP Lookup: If all you have to go on is an IP address, you can use this site to find out who owns the website. Use the Whois Record option for more details after the hostname is identified from the IP address. Health and Medical Insurance Reporting History MIB Reports: If you've "applied for individually underwritten life or health insurance in the last seven years", MIB (Medical Information Bureau) will have a report on this information that you can request for free. You can complete the request online or by phone. Return History The Retail Equation: If you weren't able to get your money back the last time you returned something, you can request a free return history report from The Retail Equation, an organization that tracks merchandise return information. Car and Home Insurance History VinCheck: Enter a VIN (vehicle identification number) to see if a car has a history of being stolen or reported as stolen.ISO Passport Loss History Report: Order loss history reports. Checking and Investment History ChexSystems: If you've been denied a checking or savings account from a bank or credit union, you can request a free copy of your ChexSystems consumer report to see what might be dinging you. This works online as well as through mail and fax.TeleCheck: You have the right to order a free TeleCheck report that details your consumer information for free every 12 months. Employment History The Work Number: Can request one report annually; this report will contain income and employment information as well as lenders, credit agencies, or other reporting agencies that have received your data.Request for a Social Security Statement: Get a free record of your social security earnings history year by year, and get an estimate of how much you might qualify in the way of benefits in the future. Other Background Check Sites Better Future: Verify someone's social security number and confirm where they've lived, whether they're a registered sex offender, if they're wanted globally for a crime, and if they have any local criminal charges. This free background check uses Checkr.Facebook and LinkedIn are two examples of social media sites that can be used to run a background check on someone without needing a credit card. You can find everything from their work and school history to past and current addresses, associates, etc.