Tag Archives: employment history

Verify What They Do For A Living

So you met this neat guy at Starbucks and he’s full of fascinating tales about himself. He says he’s a wheeler dealer world traveler. He likes art. And in his spare time, he bakes, he sews, and he deworms stray kittens. But is he for real? Is this guy too good to be true? And how can you find out?

Curiously absent from any of his exciting stories, was what he does for a living. Is a he a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker? Or perhaps he’s a doctor or lawyer or grim undertaker? Does he have his own a company? Does he rent from his mom? Is he an industrious inventor? Is he building a bomb?

So how can you find out about these things? Or at least confirm if anything he says about his work is true.

Well, have no fear. Underdog is here! Yes, this is a blog all about employment. And how you can verify what’s true and what’s not.

Knowing The Source of Where The Information Came From
Often you’ll find lots of information, but have no idea where it came from. The source of a record is key. Because if it came from the person himself, you’ll want other means to determine if it’s true or not.

Obviously you’ll know the source if you find it on LinkedIn or Facebook. But what if you find it on seemingly respectable websites like Intellius or US Search? Where did they get it from? And is it reliable?

It may surprise you to know that often they too get their employment info from LinkedIn and Facebook! And I have proof of such which I’ll go into shortly!

The 4 Sources of Information You Need To Know About
When it comes to employment info, there are only 4 types of records to be concerned with. These are:

1. Self Published Info (but allowed to lie);
2. Self Published Info (but required to tell the truth);
3. Reliable Info Published By Others;
4. Info that mixes all three of these.

The good news is that all 4 types of records have their purpose. All 4 of these can be used to find or verify someone’s employment. OR at least to catch someone in inconsistencies.

1. Self Published Info (but allowed to lie)
The first source of info includes what they say about themselves on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media. You may think that because it’s self published it can’t be reliable. And you’re partly right. But it’s very useful as a starting point. And even here you can verify things.

First of all, people usually tell the truth about themselves. So Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to begin. Use these resources to gather as much as you can about the person’s employment. Later you can and will be verifying from other sources. So be patient.

Sometimes, the self published records on social media are quite reliable. Especially when you’re looking to confirm someone is being deceptive.

For example: if their Facebook posts brag about their two years as a homeless hermit in India, what does their LinkedIn account say? Does it claim that during this time they worked in NYC for Arthur Andersen?

On the flip side, social media can also prove he is telling the truth about himself.

Suppose I claim to work at the law firm of Heninger Garrison & Davis. And behold, 20 of my Facebook friends and various LinkedIn contacts also work at Henninger Garrison & Davis.

Chances are, this is a very good indication I worked there now. Or at least once worked there! And what if I have posts where others laugh at what I did at last week’s office party? What more proof do you need?

Using LinkedIn & Facebook To Find Other People Who Work At The Same Company
Of course, not all Facebook friends are visible. And even when they are, not all of them will list where they work.

You could of course ask to be part of your subject’s LinkedIn network. Then you would see if they really know people in the same company. But that could be awkward. And it might make you look  like a neurotic busybody.

If you’re like me, you don’t want others to know you’re backgrounding them! So your best bet is to find the guy on Facebook and see if any of his friends work at the same company! With Facebook’s Advance Search function, this is very easy.

Once you’ve logged into your own account and are on your main page, click on Find Friends and scroll down a bit to your right where it says Search For Friends. Ignore every other field except for Employment, and type in the company they say they work for. Whallah! Suddenly you have a list of names and faces. Are any of them on his friends list?

Of course, for small companies, you can find employees by going directly to the company website. But in the case of law firms, secretaries and paralegals won’t be listed. So you’ll want to search on Linkedin, even if you don’t have an account.

As I mentioned earlier, to find employees on LinkedIn is easy when you’re already in their social network. For everyone else, you can
Google for company employees within the Linkedin website.

Using Google To Search Within Facebook and Linkedin
In the Google search box , search within a website like this:

Rooms To Go site:Linkedin.com (Searches for other employees)
Graham Firestone site:Linkedin.com (Search for your subject)
Graham Firestone site:Facebook.com (Search for your subject)

Using Other Self Published Info Mixed With  Reliable Info (Source 4 docs)
At this point, we’re still trying to find employment information on the quick. So your next step is to look for them on the websites that offer free background check information on employment.

These sites are great for matching a name with an age and a job. And they often include a mixture of information which they get from  social media, the government and professional licensing boards.

But watch out! This 4th source of information is where you can run into trouble. Sites that provide mixed records, take information from wherever they can get it. And often they conceal where they got it from. So you can gather here. But you need to verify elsewhere!

For example, most people know about Pipl, Peekyou and Spokeo. So they expect that some of the information is official (like their age) while other information is clearly self published (i.e. taken from social media).

But what about the “respectable” pay websites such as Intellius, US Search and Radaris? Won’t their employment information be more reliable?

Believe it or not, they too get much of their information from LinkedIn! So you may actually be paying for self published information you could have gotten for free. And worse, it’s never been verified. So you may be paying for lies.

Proof That Pay For Background Check Sites Use Social Media
Take my employment information. Did you know I worked for the prestigious white-shoe law firm of Salamander and Spivak? It’s a law firm that’s so exclusive, only the best even know of it.

The truth is it doesn’t exist! Except in my mind of course! Years ago I put it on LinkedIn as a joke. But it’s now listed on Radaris, US Search and other sites that charge you for online background checks!

So don’t trust them simply because they look official. Before you pay these sites a dime, find out where it is they get their information from! Sites that gather from social media may include the Whitepages, Pipl, Spokeo, US Search, Intellius and other background check websites.

2. Self Published Info (but required to tell the truth)
The second source of info is deliciously wonderful. It’s where people must voluntarily list their employment when dealing with the government, the courts or a licensing agency.

Examples include court filings, bankruptcy petitions, license applications, tax filings, census filings and the job information they volunteer when donating to political campaigns.

No one goes to jail for lying on Facebook. But lying to Uncle Sam is a sin. And if they’re caught, it could cost them their case, their license and even their freedom. With this in mind, people are usually more truthful here than on social media.

Find Their Latest Job Through Their Professional Licensing Board
Many professionals such as doctors, lawyers, nurses and insurance regulators all need to update their respective licensing boards. And this means they often are required to list where they currently work. They could lie of course. But if they get caught they could lose their license. To look up your professional by job type and state, see
Occupational Licensing Boards For All 50 States & DC.
See also Their Profession/License Or Certifications (Consumer-SOS)

Find Job Histories Through Their Federal Campaign Contributions
When you donate to a political party or candidate, Uncle Sam wants to know where the money came from. And so every contributor is asked to list their employment. The beauty of this is that you can sometimes trace the donor’s job history.

Here’s how I did so for John Stanford using the free website Political Money Online. This site tracks all federal campaign contributions since 1980. And this includes the employment history of the campaign donor!

Just enter in their name like below and select their state. Ignore everything else except Search All Cycles.

Wallah! Suddenly their occupation is listed along with the date and amount of their contribution.

In the snapshot above, I even numbered the last five jobs he had in chronological order. Are these the same jobs he posted on LinkedIn and Facebook? Is this what he put on his job application? If not he’s got a lot of explaining to do!

For more links of this sort see Campaign Contributions (Consumer-SOS)

Find Job Histories Through Their Bankruptcy Petitions
A person’s bankruptcy petition can capture years of their financial activities. And it can include other information such as where they worked, how long they held a job, and what they spent their money on.

If you want to see the type of employment info you can get for free from bankruptcy petitions, see the Sleuth For The Truth video Search For Bankruptcy Filings (Free Public Records) and advance to 5:36.

For more on using PACER to get free bankruptcy petitions, see the bottom of the Sleuth For The Truth Blog Free Bankruptcy Records.

3. Reliable Info Published By Others
Now is the time to talk about the reliable outside sources that show where they work or have worked in the past. The more official these sources are, the better. These could include government listings, a news article, or a membership roster from an occupational licensing board.

For example, a government listing of property owners, a federal listing of all US Postal workers, or a state bar directory of all Georgia attorneys. These are all official publications.

Ignore Commercial Directories Which List Employment
Commercial directories are almost never reliable. To be reliable means their information is accurate and includes all licensed members of the profession. Most commercial directories only publish the names of those who pay their fees. And they also rely on whatever their members say about themselves.

So if you’re not sure, test them by looking up at least two people you know are licensed in that profession. If one of them is missing, you’re either a bad speller or dealing with a commercial directory.

Commercial Records Can Be Reliable
Don’t be so quick to write off a record just because it’s commercial. Reliable records can be found on the employer’s website, in newspapers, from charity events, or in a list of consumer complaints from the Better Business Bureau.

For example: You can bet Steve Wosniak really works for Apple when their website shows he hit a home run at the company picnic.  Likewise, when a charity lists a 10 million dollar donation from Graham Firestone of Firestone Tires, wanna bet they got his job title right?

Googling For Reliable Records
OK.  Suppose you want to confirm that Bill Gates works at Microsoft. The first stop is to go to the firm’s homepage and see if he’s listed there or in some employee directory.

But what if he isn’t there? And suppose the firm doesn’t have a search engine where you can look for him? In that case, use Google to search for his name within the company’s website like this:
Bill Gates site:microsoft.com

If the website blocks Google from searching within the site, (and some do) you can still Google “Bill Gates” Microsoft. The latter may pull up other reliable sources such links to newspapers and charitable events that show his affiliation with the company.

To find where lawyers and other professionals work, you could also Google a person’s name along with their occupation, like this:
“Graham Firestone” attorney or
“Graham Firestone” attorney Georgia

Verify If They Have A Professional License
Earlier we used the professional licensing boards to show where they currently work. But here we just want to know if they really are a doctor or lawyer or acupuncturists. Unlike commercial directories, the licensing boards will have every single person in that profession.

How Do I Search For Licenses?
Every state’s website is different and has different ways to search for a professional. In GA, for instance, you can do a general name search without checking off which profession you’re looking for. This is great when you’re just curious as to what they do for a living.

In most cases, I recommend you search by first and last name and a profession. If you can’t find them, search by last name only. Sometimes people will register with a first name, but their friends and colleagues know them by only their middle name.

To look up your professional by job type and state, see
Occupational Licensing Boards For All 50 States & DC.

Verify Job Histories of State, Federal and Other Government Employees (Salary Lookups)
Nearly one sixth of all U.S. employees work for the government.  That’s right. Twenty two million people. The links below can show up to six years of their employment history and may include their job title and salary.

See Public Salaries & Employment History (Blog) and

Salaries: Government, Non Profits, Foundations & Publicly Traded Companies (Links)

Verify Job Histories of Executives At Publicly Traded Companies
Each year, high ranking officers of big companies like Walmart, Exxon and Apple must publish their job title and salaries. So you can see exactly how long they worked there and what their job title was. See Private Salaries That Are Really Public (Blog) and

Salaries:Publicly Traded Corporations (Links)

Verify If They Own A Corporation (Consumer-SOS)
The government keeps records on every Inc., Corp, and LLC.
The link above will also show if they are officers or agents of the company. Sites ending in .gov are the most accurate. Other non government sources may miss records, but are good when you don’t know what state the company may be incorporated in. (Allows you to search by the person’s name or company name in all 50 states at once).

Verify if They Own A Business That’s Not Incorporated or Have Patents or Other Intellectual Property
Some people are inventors. Others have a thriving business which you can only find through their websites. For links to find out if they own a website or other intangible property, see Find Their Intellectual Property(Consumer-SOS).

Verify if They Are High Up In A NonProfit or Foundation
See Foundations & Non-Profits (By Individual or Company)

Now you have more than you ever wanted to know. There’s loads of free stuff out there.  So stop lollygagging and start backgrounding!


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!