Instant Background Checks
June 13, 2007
Believe it or not, there are some relevant and thorough portions of a background check that can be conducted instantly. Typically, these are searches where there is a direct line to the source of information that has been thoroughly vetted for accuracy and depth of information. Such searches include Motor Vehicle Records, Address History Search, Homeland Security Searches (often referred to as Terrorist Watch lists), Office of Inspector General Searches and Credit Reports. However, you should be weary when you see things such as "instant criminal background checks". For the only instant source for a criminal record search is a database product which is cheap and is fast, but is neither thorough or comprehensive. The gold standard for thorough, accurate and complete criminal record searches is still the time tested practice of on-site research in the county (ies) where a person has lived, worked or gone to school over the past 7-10 years. While it might take more time (average of 1-4 days), there is no substitute or shortcut that has proven to be more effective.
Eventually maybe there will be one consolidated source for all criminal record searches, but there is also a day when we all might choose to fly our own personal vehicles to work rather than drive. Right now the date for both of these endeavors is in the yet to be determined future. Until then, beware of the instant criminal background check.