Tag Archives: sleuth for the truth

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!

Top Signs He’s Married Or Cheating

ball-n-chain-guy_ball-channe art for mariage video

Did you know that 30% of the men on dating sites are
really married?  If you do the math, you’ll see you’re chances of being a homewrecker are close to 1 in 3!

You’d think a married man is easy to spot.  But such is not always the case.  One reason is that their excuses get better and better.  They’re some pretty slick men out there.  And they’ve been playing this game a long, long time.

Sadly, another reason they can get away with this is because many  women see the signs, but in their hearts, they just don’t want to believe them.  These women will ignore the advice of their friends, their family and even their own gut instinct.  They accept his excuses because the truth is simply too heartbreaking.

That said, I have compiled the biggest, most important signs that the guy is either married or cheating on you.  These signs are absolute show stoppers. You should be ready to bolt if you see any one of them.

SIGN #1: He Tells You He’s Married!
This sounds hard to believe but it happens all the time. You meet a great guy and he’s upfront that he has a wife.  Or he tells you so only after a few dates.  To keep you interested, he’ll claim he’s separated from her or getting a divorce.  And so you’re impressed with his honesty.  The problem is most of it’s a lie.

This is the cheater’s perfect cover story.  He’ll tell you:  “My wife’s crazy.  She doesn’t understand me like you do.”  Or “I’m separated and just waiting for the divorce papers.”

And so you’re the women on standby.  (All the time.)  It’s a great excuse to keep you hanging on while he does whatever he likes to do.  And meanwhile he’s still married and dating every woman in town.

He can’t see you right away?  It’s the wife’s fault of course.  He’ll say something about the children and custody and anything else he can think of.   And you’ll hate his wife for being so cruel and unreasonable, even when none of it’s true.

And if it’s all true, you just married his wife. Your highs and your lows, now all depend on a strange woman you never even met.

What If I Want To See Him Anyway?
If you’re determined to see him before the divorce is final, make him at least show you the proof he filed for divorce.  Anyone who’s in the middle of a divorce should at least have the court papers.  And be sure it includes a case filing number along with his name.  Better yet, tell him “sayonara” until after he’s really divorced.  And have him mail you the divorce certificate.

Sign #2:  A Tan Line On His Ring Finger
The tan line or indentation on his ring finger is a dead give away
that your man belongs to someone else.

Ask him point blank “You’re married aren’t you?”  RUN no matter what he says.  There’s no good outcome here.  Either he’s married with no intention of divorcing his wife; or he just decided “not to be married” and you’re the rebound girl he can use until he gets his act together.  This guy is bad news.  Wait for his divorce certificate.

Sign #3: He Never Invites You Home (Or It’s Very Rare)
So, he’ a traveling salesman; the home is under construction; he’s embarrassed how messy it is; his house has bad memories for him; or he likes your place so much better.

If he doesn’t invite you in, dump him!  And if he rarely invites you, drive by his  house and stop by unexpectedly.  Bring  a cute gift for cover!

Is he nervous when you drop in?  Does he have tampons under the sink?  Is the toilet seat down?  Does he even let you in?  Take a look around the place for signs of another woman.

Sign #4: He Pays Only In Cash
Sure.  He hates debt.  He has bad credit.  He got mugged and lost his debit card, or he’s an importer exporter with lots of cash on hand. OK.  But just maybe, he  doesn’t want you to see his real name.  Or for his wife to see the strange bills on his credit cards!

To verify his name, playfully show him your photo ID and ask to see his too.  Later Google him based on his full name, age ,state and county where the ID was issued.  And don’t forget to do likewise with his address.

In casual conversation, ask him the names of his relatives.  Does he have brothers or sisters or an ex wife?  Get a few names if you can, and Google them in the same search with his name.  For more on how to background him, See The Sleuth For The Truth Video Google Like A Pro.

Sign #5: He’s Never Available On Weekends & Holidays
(Every Date Is At The Very Last Minute)
This is sure sign he’s married.  But even on the off chance he isn’t,  you’re still second fiddle.  Sometimes he’ll actually make a date with you to show he can commit, but then has to cancel it as something else came up.   If there’s really no wife and kids, (hard to believe) you can bet he’s still playing the field.  The colorful excuses don’t matter.  The reality is he’s committed to other people and you come in last.  They get him during prime time.  You get the 3 AM slot.

Sign #6: He Never Introduces You To His Family, Friends, Colleagues or Children.  Or you meet only a select group of such.
Loose lips sink ships.  He’s either a sociopath with no connections, or he’s leading a double life where he doesn’t want you to know about them.  And he certainly doesn’t want them to know about you.  At best you’re the black sheep, a lapse in discretion, an embarrassment.  At worst, he’s a married man and you’re his unwitting adulteress.

Sign #7: He Avoids Seeing You In Public Places
(Or Certain Public Places)
Instead, he prefers going out with you to remote places, or he always wants to stay inside and just be with you alone.  Another twist: When he goes out with you, it’s always with group of other people so it looks casual or like you’re just one of the gang.

Watch out if he hates public displays of affection or feels uncomfortable when you suddenly snap  a photo of you two together.  Yet in private, he’s a different man: He’s affectionate, passionate and really digs you!

This is a man who’ s definitely hiding something.  A man who for some reason is afraid to be seen with you.  Forget his excuses. What’s the pattern here?

Sign #8: You Only Get To See Him When He Wants You To
Cheaters have busy lives and they hates surprises.  You are the outsider, his secret life, the person he must squeeze in among his existing obligations and commitments.  Your impromptu call for a surprise date will go unanswered or it will be put off till later.  Or he may agree only to suddenly cancel.  You call him but never seem to get him. (The pattern is that he always has to call you back.)

Look out for his inability to commit in advance or his constant canceling of your plans together.  (Every guy knows not to cancel on your birthday.)  If your meetings always have to be prearranged and have strict time frames, this too is a  bad sign.

Sign #9: Weird Phone Habits

The examples below show he’s sneaky or concealing something:

  • He’s Talking or Texting You and It Abruptly Ends (The wife may have walked in)
  • He Never Picks Up Your Calls in the Morning or After Work (He always has to call back later)
  • Never Answers His Phone in Front of You but does look at who’s calling (could be the wife or another girlfriend)
  • Your Name & Phone # is Not in His Cell Phone or, Your Number Shows Up on His Phone as “Office” or with a Name Not Yours.
  • His Voicemails To You Are Overly Formal and Super Professional
    (for example, he calls you by first and last name, or the message never reveals any intimacy such as why he’s calling).
  • He Has Several phones,  or Cell #s, which he won’t give to you.

Sign  #10: He Never Talks About His Family Or Prior Relationships
He’s a blank slate with no past.  After all, the less you know, the fewer lies he has to tell.  And with the names of his relatives, you could find out he’s really married!  Tactfully bring up your family and prior relationships and ask him about his own.  Does he squirm? Does he change the subject or look uncomfortable?  Any guy who won’t open up is dangerous, even without a wife and kids.

Sign#11: He Pretends To Be Such A Super Dad
(So He Never Has Time To See You except when he wants a quickie)
Is he always breaking dates because of his little girl’s dance recitals?  Or is he always helping her with homework or dealing with family emergencies?  Shame on you for being upset.  How dare you be suspicious!  What a good dad he is!

But the real reason he can’t see you is because he has a wife or another woman on the side.  Being the superdad is a perfect excuse.  If the man cares for you, he’ll make the time for both you AND his family.  He did it once before when he got married.  He can do it again.  Unless of course, it’s all just a smokescreen for him while he tends to his wife or plays the field.

Sign 12: He Won’t Friend You On Facebook
Not everyone has a Facebook page.  But most people do.
And it’s a real danger sign if you’re dating him and he won’t accept your friend request.  He’ll give you some excuse that his Facebook page is only for family or for business or only for his class reunion friends.

But what’s he hiding?  A family?  A double life?  Is he afraid you’ll tag him in a photo of you and him in a romantic setting?  Or are you just not that important to him?  Men should be proud of their dates.  If he’s serious about you, he will want to show you off to others.  I’m sure he’s has plenty of excuses.  Do you believe them?

Sign 13: He Immediately Takes A Shower When He Gets Home
Some men just like being clean.  Others don’t want you seeing strange hairs or smelling another woman’s perfume.  If the shower thing is new, watch out!

Sign #14: He Fails The Smell Test
Trust Your Gut. Trust Your Girlfriend’s Gut.  If you’ve come across any of these signs, you can bet he’s got a wife or other girlfriends.  You are the side dish, not the main course.  He might be able to explain away some of this sneaky, flaky, wacky and erratic behavior.  But if you believe it all, perhaps you just don’t want to know the truth about him.

Related Links:

Sleuth For The Truth Videos
(YouTube)
Learn how to do your own background checks.

Reverse Address Lookups For Marital Status, Who Lives There & More (Video)

Free Background Checks (Consumer-SOS)
Find the free links to find out if someone is telling the truth about their criminal records, their age, their property, their name, who they live with and sometimes, even if they’re married.

Free Georgia Background Checks (Consumer-SOS-Georgia)
Same as above but specific to the state of Georgia.