If you Google "background check" there will be many many websites operated by people who are happy to take your money.

Suppose that you own a house.
You want to conduct a background check on a prospective tenant.
Which services are legitimate, and which are money-making scams?

Will the US government itself provide the pertinent documents?
Is a person's arrest record, motor vehicle history, etc... a matter of public record? If so, how are these public records obtained?

Companies often investigate job applicants.

What background checking services (if any) are used by large US corporations, such as the following?

  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • ExonMobil
  • Apple
  • Well's Fargo
  • AT & T
  • This question needs some focus. It is not clear exactly what you are trying to figure out. Are you looking for a recommendation on a background checking company for prospective tenants? Are you concerned someone will run one on you? Something else?
    – JohnFx
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 15:04
  • @JohnFx My question amounts to "what are the names of a handful of background checking organizations which are legitimate (not scams)." If I wanted to purchase a background check on someone, which organizations are most reputable. Which organizations are large, and used for background checks by major US employers, such as Walmart. Who does Walmart pay for background checks on employees? You asked if I not concerned someone will run a background check on me. That is really not what I am asking. Commented Nov 22, 2020 at 16:38
  • Ok. So why are you running background checks on other people? In most cases you need a legitimate reason like being an employer or landlord to do so. Or at least consent of the person you are running the check on. If you are looking for recommendations for a background service that is off topic for the site.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


One reason for using a real estate agent when looking for a tenant is to have access to the services they use. It is possible that a local real estate agent might provide you with the name of the company they use. Though it might not do you any good if the company they use only works with other companies.

You as a landlord will be interested in financial and criminal checks. Most of the companies you included in the list in your question will also be verifying the work history for potential employees, and might not perform any financial or credit checks.

What checks you can do may be dictated by local law. There will certainly be forms that the tenant will need to complete giving you and a 3rd party access to these records, and they may also be dictated by local law.


The exact company is inconsequential, a background check will use a persons address history from a social security number scan to find jurisdiction, then search for criminal cases in those jurisdictions. Lexis nexis, ncic, local websites are the underlying data.

  • You say that which website a person chooses does not matter. However, I think using any arbitrary background checking service over the internet is a bad idea. Most of the background check websites do not do any actual background checking. They are scam artists who take $10, and run. It may not be much money for the scam artist, but it also takes very little time. Everything is computerized. A computer program takes the credit card number and runs off with $10. Sometimes, a real background check is done, but the scammer charges $25, pays a legitimate company $5, and pockets the $20 difference. Commented Nov 22, 2020 at 16:49

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