Tag Archives: background checks

Reverse Searches: Background Them By Old Contact Info

Ever Google a common name like “Jason Smith” to find there’s thousands of them?  Or suppose you want to learn more about Carol Jones, the hot vendor who moved into the office next door?  Google lists over 100 millions hits for her.

So which one is the pretty blond without a wedding ring?  And is she really single?  Or does the wedding ring vanish, but only when she’s selling to her mostly male customers?

There are many reasons to do a background check.  For example: If Carol is single, just knowing what she does for fun could put you miles ahead of the competition.  Imagine her surprise when she hears you talk about her one true passion.  Which of course is to see the Special Olympics Unicycle Ukulele relay race. (Now I don’t recommend you lie.  But if you truly have similar interests, you’ll feel a lot bolder when you talk to her!)

So how can you find out this info?  And do it quickly without false leads?

By the way, this blog is a short add on to People With Common Names-How To Background Them and to the blog  Age, Relatives & Middle Name: The First Stop In Any Background Check.  In those blogs, I spoke about finding people by their unique identifiers, such as their age and middle name.  But  I assumed you only had their first and last name to work with.

Sometimes you have more.  For example: you could have their old or current email address, an old or current cell # or a prior home address. You might even have an old user name of theirs from when you met them on Match.com.  Obviously you waste nothing by plugging this into Google.  For more on that see Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips & Tricks).

But even before Google, you’ve got a powerful tool you may not have thought of.  Through reverse lookups, you can cut to the chase and find your exact Carol Jones in an instant.

Reverse Lookups (Searching By Contact Info)
When Googling  for common names, you know from my other blogs that it’s best to have at least a middle initial or maybe even a state where they once lived.  From there you sift through all your hits.  Usually you will find your target.  Usually.

But with reverse lookups or Reverse Searches, you can shortcut this process.   Key is finding the right FREE websites where you can plug in whatever piece of information you got.  The best of these instantly give you more information than what you started with.  They don’t take forever to load; and they don’t string you along.  Key is that they hone in on your subject, not someone else with the same name.

Well, guess what?  I just gave you these links both above and below!  And they’re organized based on the type of contact info you’re most likely to have!  Emails, phone numbers, addresses and user names.

For example:  this link in Pipl.com searches based on my email address of g_firestone@yahoo.com.  Now click on a few of the links and you can find my middle name, my Twitter and Facebook accounts, my age, my profession, etc.  What’s more, the hits you get are linked directly with this email address.  So you know you got the right Graham Firestone.  Not that there was any doubt.  I’m the only Graham Firestone on the block. OR in the world!  But it matters when your name is a common one.

For phone numbers, you could get similar hits to the above.  Or you may just find the invaluable middle name.   But Google whatever you get for even more results.

Note that you can always plug an email, phone number or user name directly into Facebook or other social media.  Sometimes it even works!

So stop lollygagging and start searching!  And don’t forget to comment if you have thoughts, feelings or suggestions.  Doing so makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And I like warm and fuzzy.

Good luck!

Reverse Searches

Emails Phone #s
Photos/Images Street Addresses
User Names/Dating Profiles Websites/Intellectual Property

 

 

Why A Background Check?

For anyone who would background the house or car they buy,  but not their date…

Are Public Records A Bad Thing?
Are you a privacy nut?  Or someone convinced that free public records mean the end of the world?  Or maybe you’re less extreme than that, but just a little alarmed because there’s far too much public information freely available online.

Well, to quote Bill Clinton: I feel your pain.  There’s a lot on the Internet that can be used to stalk people, defame people, or simply harass people. Too much hate, too much bullying, too much social media.  And yes, too many YouTube videos with annoying pop up ads.

So what are you going to do about it?  Without a time machine, we’re stuck in the here and now.  And like fire, which is good in the oven but terrible on the curtains,  so is the free information you’ll find on the Internet.

Think back to all the amazing inventions.  And the opposition they all received. The VCR allowed you to illegally copy.  But with it you could watch all your favorite programs without the commercials.

And what about the Internet?  It made huge numbers of teens more isolated, more asocial and even more into pornography.  Yet it also allowed bedridden grandmothers to Skype their distant grandchildren.  I could talk about the car, the iPod and the smartphone.  But you get the gist.  The technology is neutral.  What counts most is what we do with it.

So let’s stop the complaining. It’s now time to make the lemons into lemonade.

Trust But Verify
Too many times I get the question: Why do a background check?  Sometimes I’m even accused of being  a snooper or stalker.  The people who ask these things tend to think there’s something shady when you look someone up online.  Their concern is that the mere act of backgrounding someone creates inherent feelings  of mistrust.  And that it’s better to be ignorant than poisoned by unfounded suspicion.  In some cases they may be right!

I agree that it’s what’s in our heart that matters.  It harms us when we always suspect others of being liars or underhanded.  But this doesn’t mean we throw away our intelligence or our caution.  We live in an age where people are no longer in communities.  A time when people are no longer accountable.

Unlike a century ago, people now have the power to run away from their own heat.  They can escape their own bad reputations.  So you’re an abuser, a liar or a cheat?  Simply cut off old ties, move to another town and reinvent yourself.  Who will know?   Unless of course, there’s a trail of all the harm you’ve caused.  A trail that can be found easily and for free by those with a need to know.

Your Need To Know
As employers, parents and singles, we all have a need to know.  We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our friends and our families.  We need to know who we’re going to hire or date or allow near our children.

As Ronald Reagan once said when dealing with the Russians, we should  “trust, but verify.”  This means we start out in good faith and with the best of intentions.   But we’ve got to do our homework as well.  We cannot close our eyes to the realities that surround us.

As the mom of little red riding hood, would you let your little girl wander alone in the forest?  And what about the man you invited home for dinner?  Are you so sure he’s not the big bad wolf?  How can you tell?  As in the story, the wolf wears many disguises.  And the faster you know it’s a wolf, the faster you can protect those you love.

When Is A Good Time To Do A Background Check?
So now you’re seeing wolves and want to do a background check.  But when is a background check appropriate?   It’s all about balancing your desire to trust verses the risk of being too trusting.  The threshold of trust is different for everyone.  It’s your life.  So only you can answer that question.

But allow me to make a few suggestions.  Do a background check whenever the stakes are high.  At the the very least, I recommend it when dating, hiring, renting out your house, or when investing in someone’s business.

I also recommend a background check when you notice something is wrong.  It could be that someone’s story doesn’t add up.  Or that an employee has a pattern of acting strange or erratic and you’re unable to figure out why.

What Do I Look For In A Background Check?
What to look for in a background check all depends on why you’re doing it in the first place.  For example, if your dating someone, their age and marital status may be more important than their DUI of 20 years ago.

If you’re checking out a renter, take a look at any incidences of violence or prior evictions, destruction of property, etc.  Also find out if they ever sued their landlord.

For investors,  you’ll want to check out their honesty and their competence in financial matters.  Do they have recent bankruptcies or defunct companies they ran into the ground?

Were they ever charged or convicted of fraud or embezzlement?  How do they manage their assets?  Checking out what they own tells you if they’re good managers.  It may also reveal if they have undisclosed conflicts of interests.  For example, are they asking you to invest in something they have hidden ties to?  Is it a Ponzi scheme or a company secretly owned by their kid brother?

Lies, Omissions & Funny Business (My Law School Days at ASU)
Often we have no clue what a person has done or even what to ask them.  In other words, we don’t know what we don’t know.  But if something suddenly appears fishy, it’s time to do a background check!

A great example of this occurred in my law school days when I met a a self proclaimed millionaire named Mike Davis.  Mike was smart, affable and seemed like a really nice guy.  But I should have suspected something fishy when I caught him waiting on the financial aid line.  Law school was a lot cheaper back then.  Millionaires didn’t need or qualify for student loans.  That was my first clue something was definitely amiss.

Years later at a party, I confessed to him, “Mike I’ve known you for three years and you’re still f*n inscrutable!  I know as much about you now as the very first day I met you!”  Mike grinned at me and said “just ask away little buddy!”  I was  silent.  What could I ask him?

A few years later Mike made national headlines.  And I so badly wanted to go back to that party and ask him: Hey Mike, by any chance, is your real name Walter Waldhauser And before I knew you, did you ever flunk out of a Texas law school and serve 9 years in prison for killing people to collect on their inheritance money?   And by the way, if you hadn’t plead guilty and ratted out your accomplices, do you think you too would have died by lethal injection as they did?  Just asking little buddy.  Just asking…

But again, you don’t know what you don’t know.  That’s why you should do the background check as soon as you know something’s fishy.   If there’s water dripping from the ceiling, don’t sit around until the roof caves in.

Related Links

 

 

Public Salaries And Employment History

Did you know that nearly one sixth of all U.S. employees work for the government?  That’s right.  Twenty two million people are employed by the federal, state, county and city governments.  This includes powerful senators, eminent college professors, lawyers, judges, school teachers, postal clerks, librarians, trash collectors and city bus drivers.  The government is BIG.  And it hires people from all walks of life and every profession.

Imagine 22 million people who rent, buy homes and date, just like you.  But with one itty bitty difference.  Unlike the private sector, their salaries are totally public!  In fact, for millions of people, you can find their exact salaries along with where they’ve worked and for how long.  It’s all on-line!

Why Do I Care How Much They Make?  Isn’t That Just Snooping?

Of course it’s snooping.  But there are many good reasons to snoop.  If government workers are all around you (and they are), it means you’re bound to have some personal and professional contact with them.  So why wouldn’t you snoop?

If you’re going to date them, hire them, rent to them, invest with them, or even go bowling with them, you might as well know who it is you’re hanging out with.

Plus, if you ever apply for a government job, you can lookup up the exact salary of your boss and your peers.  In other words, you’ll know exactly what to negotiate for and the salary you should reasonably expect.

How To Lookup Federal Salaries and Employment Histories

Excluding the military, there are almost 3 million people who work for the federal government.  And there are millions more who once worked for them and have moved on to other things.  The good news is that you can find their the salaries,  job titles and length of service at just two websites!

The salaries of six hundred thousand postal workers can be found at the Feds Data Center where you can Search USPS Pay.  This site also shows six years of their employment history.  So even if they don’t work there now, you can see a snapshot of their work history from when they did.  Knowing their work history is important.  It can help you determine if they’re stable, dependable and trustworthy.  Pretty important stuff if they’re dating your daughter!

For the 2.1 million other federal employees, check out their salaries, job titles and seven years of their job history at Feds Data Center Search Federal Pay.

Note: Some federal employees are exempt from disclosure such as those involved in national security.  Names in these cases will display as “Name unknown” or “Name withheld by agency.”

Searching The Database For Federal Non-Postal Workers

Since both federal databases are similar, let’s take a look at the larger one for non-postal workers.

Here you can search by last name only or last name and location or by last name and agency, etc.   I recommend you search by last name only: Leave all the other fields blank.  The only reason to add more in other fields is if your name is an extremely common one.  You can also choose various years of their employment history or all years.  Selecting ALL YEARS shows the last seven.

Whenever you search be sure not to add too much information.  If you do, you may miss records due to someone else’s data entry error. (i.e. you can’t find them because your subject was listed at the wrong agency or the wrong location or with a different job title).

Checking Out Their Job History
Obviously, if they’re in years 2014 and 2015 but no earlier, it’s safe to assume they’re fairly new with the government.  You may also find the same person has changed jobs.  (The earlier years show the exact same first, middle and last name with a different position.)

If you get lots of hits, you can change SHOW ENTRIES from 10 to 100 entries.  This allows you to see them all at once rather than scroll page by page.

Now let’s test the database by searching for ABRAMS, RUTH, a name which was already here when we arrived.  Notice an exact salary is shown along with her job title, agency, and the city and state she worked in.  Click all years to see how long she worked there.

In many cases, you can learn their middle name, something which will help immensely in your Google searches.  For more on how to Google someone see the Sleuth For The Truth Video Google Like A Pro (7 Tips & Tricks).

Search By Both Name and Occupation (When in Doubt)
Government sites are known for sloppy search engines that don’t work well.  So if you can’t find the person by name, try a separate search leaving every field blank but their occupation.  Also check if they are of the class excluded from being in the database.

By way of example:  a name search for MATHUR, RASHMI finds nobody.   But don’t be so quick to presume he’s lying.  A search in the occupation box for “General Physical Scientist” shows he does in fact work for the feds.  So when in doubt search twice.  For a demonstration of how to search for federal salaries, see the Sleuth ForThe Truth video Verify Salaries & Work Histories On Federal Employees.

Salaries and Job Histories at the State, County and Local Level

4.0 woman-teacher-cartoon-welcome class

According to the US Census, there are over 19 million people on the state and local payrolls.  Most of these people have ordinary jobs and lead ordinary lives.  About 7 million are in education.  That means about 35% are teachers, professors, college administrators, and the like.  The rest include policeman, fireman, driving instructors, nurses,  prison guards,  scientists and clerks.

Like everyone else, these people apply for other jobs. They rent apartments, they buy homes, they ask for loans, and they put up online dating profiles.  And like everyone else, they make claims about themselves which you’ll want to verify.

So as we did on the federal level, I’m going to show you how to verify their job title, the years they’ve been in public service, and even find the exact salaries they were paid.

Most of the links are for state and county workers.  But in some instances you can find the salaries and job titles of city workers as well.

NOTE: Often, county teachers and even public college professors will have their salaries and work history listed in the state databases and not in the county databases.  For a good website on public payrolls, check out my website at Consumer-SOS.com (Government Salaries).

Our next stop is the State Employees & Their Salaries section, which has the one stop State Employee Salary Database.  This is a wonderful website which covers 26 states all at once.  And it allows you to search by name, state and year.  Or just by name.

The State Employee Database is far from perfect.  In some instances it’s missing people or missing their full work history.  But it’s  still a great tool for a quick salary and employment check.

Here I’ve entered the name Alice Mitchell, and we’ll search in the state of Georgia.  You can see that for 2010, the total compensation for Alice S Mitchell was 89,630 dollars.  It also shows that at this time she worked for the Georgia Department of Labor in Legal Services.

Using the back button, you can also see various other years where she held the same position with the same title.  Here, it lists  years 2010-2014 but not 2015.

Missing records are not uncommon.  But if you can’t find your person or the records are sketchy, use the back button to return to the Consumer-SOS salary section.  From there, scroll from A to Z for your state’s salary records.  Often you’ll see state sponsored links with more in-depth coverage.

Keep in mind that there’s no central state database like the feds have. The states do what they want to do.  Some states have lots of links.  Others have almost none.  And every website works differently too!

Now let’s go to  the state of Georgia and their state salary database, to see if we can find the missing 2015 data for Alice Mitchell.  Here, I can select the year I want her salary for.  Notice it gives 6 years worth of history.

Clicking on person, it now shows which employees you can find the salary of.  There are State Agencies,  anyone in the GA Public University System, Technical Colleges and Local School Teachers
in the Local Board of Education.

To find Alice Mitchell in the Department of Labor, I’ll click on State Agencies, enter her name and click on the search button.  And there she is still working at the DOL in 2015.   She’s in the same position and now making over 90 thousand dollars.

Our last stop is PI BUZZ.com.   Here you can find a tremendous wealth of information on federal, state, county and city salaries.  They also have links to numerous state employee directories.  For a demonstration of how to search for State and Local Salaries, see the Sleuth ForThe Truth video Verify Salary & Job Histories of Teachers & Other Public Employees. 

Happy hunting!

Arrests and Mugshots

Free Arrest Records & Mugshots
Anyone can have a nice talk.  But to know a person’s true character, you’ve got to see their walk. That’s why arrest records are important.  As everyone knows, an arrest is not a conviction.  Often charges are dropped or the person is acquitted in a court of law.  Sometimes it’s just about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But despite these flaws, arrest records serve a valuable purpose. They can be a powerful glimpse into someone’s crooked past. They can show a pattern of misconduct or a lifetime of bad judgment. They can also reveal if the person is still dangerous, and not one to date, hire or allow into your home.

For example: Imagine a person arrested five times for driving a get-away vehicle.  Or a lawyer arrested on a suspended driver’s license, when earlier he practiced law on a suspended bar license!  Obviously you can see the pattern here.  Excuses aside, the smell test shows something is fishy.  And the more recent the arrests, the more likely the person hasn’t changed.

So where do you find these arrest records?  And how do you get them for free?  The first place to look are the mugshot databases. These are the free websites that pull up a person’s arrest photos along with their name.

Specific Arrest & Mugshot Websites

How To Find Arrest Records at Arrests.org
Arrests.org. is a great website for looking up mugshots and arrest records.  The only drawback is you must select a state.  This means you won’t be allowed to do a nationwide search.  So it pays to search all the states where you believe your subject has lived.

For a video on how to search this site see Free Arrest Records & Mugshots.

Make sure you’re always using the search box that says arrests.org. Otherwise you could get lured onto a site that will try to charge you for what you can get here for free.  Then enter in a first and last name only.   Do not enter in a full name or middle initial.  That will just exclude mugshots where this information was never entered but should have been.

Note: If you search for someone who has no arrests, it won’t tell you so.  It simply shows you the latest arrests on file.  I tried this with “Graham Firestone”but it just pulled up men and women with different names.

About Arrest Findings
The best arrest sites will tell you what the person was charged for and when, and give you a mugshot accompanied by their full name or middle initial, and a year or date of birth.  That’s a lot of information to get when all you knew was their first and last name!  So be sure to copy and paste this into Word or Notepad.  You’ll need it later when it’s time to Google them.

Keep in mind that no arrest site is complete.  So if you don’t find the the name you’re looking for, check at least 2 other arrest/mugshot websites.

How To Find Arrest Records at Mugshots.com
Mugshots.com is another great website that allows searches for mugshots and arrest records. The difference is that when you search here you don’t have to first select a state.

A national search is a powerful tool.  It means you don’t have to know anything about your subject except their first and last name.  With rare names, I recommend you do a nationwide arrest search.  A search throughout the US could pull up an arrest in a state you never knew  they lived in.  But with more common names, you will want to select a state so you don’t get thousands of false leads.

To demonstrate go to the top right and enter in the first and last name “jason moore” which yields 1297 results.

If an ad appears, make sure you click on “continue to mugshots.com.” Otherwise you’ll find yourself on another site that won’t be as helpful.

To narrow your search, click on US Counties and then click on your state.  Let’s choose GA.

Mugshots.com for example, has 5 hits for “jason moore” in Gwinnett county, Georgia while arrests.org had none.

This is why you need to search several of these databases.  Some will have records the others are missing.

How To Google For Arrest Records
You have two options here.  You can Google the individual’s name with synonyms for “arrest,” “indicted”, “charged,” or “charges.”  For example: “Graham B Firestone” arrested.  Or you can search for words that will pull up  other arrest-mugshot websites.  I recommend doing both.

How To Google For Other Mugshot Websites
Sometimes a mugshot database will go out of business or start charging for their services.  Just in case this happens, here’s how to find similar websites,

  1. First, Google a common name with the word mugshotExample: Harvey Moore Mugshot
  2. Look for the websites with names that suggest they are national databases. Ignore news stories or anything from a blog, TV station or local county jail.
  3. Save the good links in your favorites for future Reference. Often, the national databases will start with “arrest” or “mugshot” or “jail” in their domain name.

Ignore Sites Like These:
www.chicagotribune.com/…/chi-suburban-chicago-mug…
www.blogsrus.com/
recentarrests
www.gwinnettcountysheriff.com/php/recentreleases.php
www.jacksonheraldtoday.com
/.../7230-Forty-two-charged-by-Jackson-C

Look For Sites Like These: (Copy up to the .com or .org)
www. mugshots.com/US-Counties/…/Clarence-Harvey-Moore.39280649.html
http://arrest-mugshot-search.com
www.mugshot-media.com/Counties/Georgia/Gwinnett-County/?page
https://jailalert.com/arrest-records/georgia/
https://mugshotsearch.org
/search/georgia/gwinnett-county/1

For Videos On How To Do Free Background Checks, See Sleuth For The Truth (YouTube)

Related Links
Sex Offender Lookup
Federal Prison Records
Is The Crime Still Online?
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check
Google Like A Pro
(Quick Tips & Tricks)