The best investigators know three things that are secrets to everyone else.
1. Where To Find The Free Links
Most people don’t have a clue. But that’s easy. The free links to do online background checks are right here!
2. How To Search The Free Links
But free links are just the beginning. Second, you’ve got to know how each website works. If you search with the wrong format, or get too specific, chances are you’ll find nothing of value. So it’s always best to test out each website with a common name. A name that you expect to get hits for.
If say, you don’t get any hits with a name like “John Smith”, it means the website is bad or you’ve entered the name in the wrong format. For example, was the name to be last name first? Do you have an extra space, a misspelled word or did you perhaps leave out or include a comma? Every website has different rules for searching. Look at their examples, if they have any.
(Less Is More)
If you can, just enter in a first and last name and maybe a state. Also, be sure not to include too much information, even if there’s a field for it. That’s right. Leave out middle initials, race, age, location, etc. Too much will exclude valid records that could be missing these things.
3. How To Piece It All Together
But to really excel, you’ve got to know more than how to use a bunch of links. The best investigators leverage the facts they know to find out the facts they don’t know. And from there, they string together these facts into a story. This story is all about the person’s character and dependability.
This is what we’re after. This blog will show you how to string the facts together into a story. And from that story you can decide if the person is trustworthy. In other words, you’ll know better if it’s safe to date them, safe to hire them, safe to rent to them, or safe to let them into your home.
Finding Marital Status With Just A First Name & Phone #
Here’s how we searched for someone, what we found out about them and how we put the facts together. (All names, locations and ages have been changed to protect the guilty!)
Yesterday “Susan” wanted me to background a guy she met on a dating site. She didn’t have much for me to work with. Just a phone number from his texts and that his name was “Sam.” Up until now, Sam and Susan had never met each other. But Sam had great ambition. He told her that for their first date, they’d have a great night out and then go back to a hotel for sex.
Susan was less happy about this than Sam. But she was curious why Sam opted for a hotel instead of going back to his place. So she asked for my help with a background check.
What We Found
With just Sam’s phone number, we were able to confirm Sam had given us his real first name. After all, some people don’t. We also found Sam’s last name, his middle name, the names of Sam’s relatives, Sam’s age, and Sam’s current and prior home addresses.
From there we took a look at his property records, searched for criminal records, found tax liens on his home and finally, we Googled him. Turns out, Sam had good reason to meet Susan at a hotel.
Sam was still married! Indeed, according to at least one stat, 30 percent of all “single” men online are lying about their marital status. For more see The Top Signs The Guy Is Married Or Cheating On You.
How We Found It: An Anatomy of A Background Check
First Stop: Reverse Lookups
As I mentioned earlier, all we had was a first name and phone number. But it could have been a first name and an email address, or a first name and a dating profile name, or a first name and a physical address.
With reverse lookups, you can confirm his first name or learn he’s giving you a false one. The reverse lookups for all of these can be found at Consumer-SOS.com. But having the links is not enough. Here’s how we used them!
Our first stop was OKcaller.com. What we needed was a name behind the phone number. If that didn’t work, we’d go to Spydialer.com, and finally, we’d try our luck with Google or the less effective reverse lookup sites. (OKCaller is the best because it even works with most cell phone numbers.)
With OKCaller we hit the jackpot! We found Sam’s full name was Samuel Gruberman. We also got his home address in Cartersville GA! Sweet!
Second Stop: Sites For Age, DOB, Relatives & Where Else They’ve Lived
So we now knew an address, a phone number and that his name was Samuel Gruberman. At this point we could have jumped straight to Google. But then we’d be flooded with too many hits.
After all, there’s got to be a lot of Samuel Grubermans. So we had to find a way to know we had the right person. And that meant using special databases to find distinguishing things about him. (For more, see People With Common Names-How To Background Them.)
Knowing Sam’s true age, the names of his relatives and his middle name would be helpful. So our next stop was to the free sites to find their Age, DOB, Relatives & Where Else They’ve Lived. Our goal was to look for any Sam or Samuel Gruberman with the same Cartersville address. With such, we hoped to find other information including his age and relatives.
The age lookup sites not only found him, but listed his age as 61.
We also were able to learn his middle name was Raymond. So now we had his full name, Samuel Raymond Gruberman. (Later we would Google this along with Samuel R Gruberman.)
The age lookup sites didn’t stop there. They also listed the various cities and states where Sam lived and included his relatives. Now Sam was easier to identify than ever.
One of these relatives was a woman named Karen Gruberman. Later we clicked on the links for Karen Gruberman and found she was also 61 (i.e. probably not his sister.)
So we continued looking for records of Sam Gruberman. Within each website, we looked down each page for near duplicate records. In other words, we looked for those records that were mostly the same but would give us additional information about him.
We also looked at other age and relative websites. If the page within a site was very long, we used Ctrl F to search for his middle name or his address. (Command F for Macs). The goal was to find the old that we knew, coupled with the new things we did not know.
We paid attention only to the records that were clearly about him and not some other Sam Gruberman. For example: we looked for his name with the Cartersville address or his name with the states he’s lived in, or his name with the same set of relatives.
And our knowledge of Sam Gruberman grew and grew,
We now knew his age, his date of birth, the places he’s lived, his address, his prior addresses, his prior phone numbers and his relatives. Some of these sites even listed the companies he founded. We checked those out too at the GA Secretary of State. However, we found no additional names or addresses that might be connected to him.
But one mystery remained. Just who was Karen Gruberman? We knew they were both 61. Could she really be his sister? Doubtful they’d both be born in the same year. Was she an ex wife? Or worse, a current wife? We were at an impasse. There was nothing else the age lookup sites could do for us.
Third Stop: Free Criminal Records & Bankruptcy Records
At this point we wanted to know some hard facts about out quarry. Was he a child molester? Was he ever arrested? Did he ever file for bankruptcy? Armed with his full name and address, our next step was the free bankruptcies and arrest mugshot records. But we found nothing.
Fourth Stop: Free Property Records
We knew his name. And we knew his address. Was he rich? Did he own the property or rent from his mom? We were determined to find out.
So our next stop were the free property records. We could have searched by his address or by name. But a name search was easier. And the property records spoke volumes. Karen was listed as co-owner of the property! We also found their home once had IRS and GA tax liens against it!
So we now knew Karen co-owns the house with him. This smelled a lot like a wife. But how could we be sure?
Fifth Stop: Googling Names, Addresses & Phone Numbers
Now it was time to Google! The goal was to find only recent information about him. More to the point, we needed to know if Sam and Karen were still husband and wife.
Googling Only Recent Events
So we Googled Sam and Karen Gruberman together (just the words in red, no quotation marks). But there were so many hits! What we needed was the here and now, not ancient history. So we set Google to show only the returns from the last year. To see how this is done, see Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips and Tricks).
Previously I had set Google to give me 100 returns per page so we could scroll down the pages quickly. Now it was paying off big time. On the second page (hit # 200), we found an obituary for Sam’s Dad dated 9 months earlier. The obit was amazing because it listed all the relatives who attended.
It read “Mr. Gruberman (SR) is survived by his wife, and son, Sam Gruberman and wife, Karen of Cartersville, GA,”
WOW! Good ole Sam is still married! Karen was his wife 9 months ago. And Karen is his wife now. If they were really divorced, why is she still on the property records? No wonder Sam wanted a hotel. Bad Sam! Next time at least fess up you’re still married!