As of today, housing prices in the US are still stratospherically high. Coupled with rising interest rates, massive student loan debt and runaway inflation, this means that more and more people must shuck their futile hopes of ever acquiring a dream home. Instead, they’re forced to eke out their morbid, meager existence as lowly tenants, with no means of ever acquiring the land based wealth their parents once had.
But truthfully, I’m not a realtor… I’m not even a homeowner. So there’s nothing I can do except look at the bright side! And the bright side is that this isn’t about the poor plight of the American homeowner. Rather, this is a blog about all those Americans who don’t own homes. And of course, how you can find them and verify their address anyway!
Life is complicated. Perhaps you’re like me, and just looking for your old pal from grade school. Or maybe, just maybe…you want to sue your ex-tenant for being a lousy deadbeat who skipped out on you… when all you did was rent to them without a credit check, and give them the chocolate milk latte of your human kindness! But whatever your reasons, I too am a man of many flaws. So who am I to judge?
Below is the saga of how I found my 7th grade friend Jay Lus (last name misspelled to ward off the Googlebots). But for a more general overview on how to find anybody’s address, I urge you to check out my earlier blog on Find Their Current Address.
First Stop: Cyberbackgroundchecks.com or other Free Age/Address/Phone Number Lookups You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know why I use Cyberbackground checks. Not only is it FREE; but it also lists your “private” addresses, cell phone #s, emails, and sometimes, even your businesses. Alas, no one is perfect. And even they can screw up on the correct address for where I should mail you back your car keys!
Now with my friend Jay, they listed that he lives on 72nd street in Manhattan. But I was skeptical of this. Also listed, were various other NY, NY addresses, along with an address in Atlanta and Baltimore County. See below.
I also learned the various companies Jay owned-many of which turned up from a Google search with his name in quotes. This included his LinkedIn resume which showed he probably owned
ty Hat Productions. From there, I could have checked the free corporate lookups to get an address. But I did not find any active companies in NY and GA (and didn’t bother with Maryland, or Delaware-the latter where many people ink their INCs.)
Also, I could have looked for contact info at http://jauntyhatproductions.com/contact. But the latter was a form field, and I had no interest in filling it out! I did try the Wayback Machine to see if an earlier version of the webpage listed more contact info. But it showed me the same old form!
And of course, I tried the obvious such as Facebook and the US free property lookups. (OK, I only looked in NYC…) But Jay doesn’t own property in NYC, and I wasn’t even sure which photo on Facebook was his. After all, people can change a lot in 40 years!
The good news is that I easily found his sister and she still listed him as a friend! So now, I knew that Jay looks a lot like his idol Bill Murray! And being the ambitious sort, I tried to friend him. (Still waiting for Jay to accept that friend request…)
However, I doubt he ever will. The reason is that his last Facebook post was from the year of our Lord 2013. I also did reverse lookups on Jay’s phone numbers, and emails. And he’s still listed as the phone owner. But I didn’t want to call him. And the record could be wrong anyway.
Establishing a Timeline through Google But between Facebook and Google, it seemed that sometime around 2013, Jay Lus just dropped off the planet! Naturally, I searched for mugshots and obituaries. Sadly, I couldn’t find anything. This meant that my friend Jay was still at large! Of course, if Jay had died, I doubt his sister would have allowed him to remain on her friend’s list. But again…even if she did, who am I to judge?
So my next step was to Google him alone or with references to him and his company. But this time, with a date stamp to track all his sinister machinations! In this way, I hoped to find what state he was in and when.
Since I already knew his latest company, I Googled site:jauntyhatproductions.com. This restricts the search only to this particular website, e.g. the one he owned. And this gave me 7 results. But not all of these were dated. So on the Google page, far right top, I clicked Tools, Any Time, Custom and then entered a large date range from 1/1/1998 to today’s date.
This got me proof that at least through 2019 Jay was still alive! See green below:
There were other approaches that I could have used to get similar results. For example, I could have done the same custom search with a date stamp for “Jay Lus” or “Jay Lus” plus “his company’s name.” But in this case, I knew it was his company, and figured given its small size, that a search within the website would show his most recent footprint!
But still, I had no confirmation of his address! The links just didn’t tell me anything. Nor did I find an address by looking at his trademarks or copyrights (none found-not even for his photos). And the same went with finding the contact info for who registered his website.
Voter Records Hit Pay-dirt! By this time I was mighty discouraged. But then I found a neat website called Voteref.com. This free site can track the current whereabouts of voters even when they haven’t voted for decades. (I just love good ole American ingenuity!)
It found my current address, and for Jay, it did a whole lot more! All I had to do was type in his name (but for common names I’d add a state).
And finally… Proof of his current address as of 2020.
Back in law school I knew three people who went by different names. There was Pat, who’s first name was really John. There was Steve, who’s friends and business associates called him “Greg.” And then there was Mike Davis, who spent 9 years in a Texas prison for a quadruple homicide. Later when it hit the newspapers that Mike had quietly enrolled in our humble law school, we soon learned he was the notorious Walter Waldhouser.
Pat and Greg turned out to be law abiding citizens…mostly. Walter Waldhouser, not so much. He’s now back in prison on five counts of third-degree money laundering.
In the first two cases, Pat and Steve preferred using their middle names. They did this for innocent reasons (I suppose). But whether innocent or not, a name switch tends to mess up a good background check.
So here’s how to pull the beard off Santa and expose the fraud. Here’s how to spot the person who gives out a false name, or who uses their middle name to hide from their own wrongdoing.
Right from the start: Take any contact information (old or new) and plug it into Google and the various free reverse lookup sites. Then see if the name they gave you matches the name that turns up in your results. If it’s different, it’s time to do another background check!
Grab The Low Hanging Fruit (Emails and Cell Phone #s)
These days, virtually everyone sends texts. And this means almost everyone gives out their cell phone number. Free websites such as OKcaller.com, Cyberbackgroundchecks.com and Spydialer often pull up a name based on a cell phone number. For more See Consumer SOS: Reverse Cell Phone Searches.
You can also get their full name simply by knowing their Gmail address. And it’s all for free! For more, see my handy dandy collection of free email reverse searches.
Ever want to get in touch with an old housemate but have no clue how to reach them? Or what about your frat brother with the weird ethnic name no one could pronounce? Yeah, you remember; the guy who everyone called “The Schmoo!”
There are plenty of excellent reasons to reach out to a former roommate. Perhaps they owe you loads of money. Or maybe you just want to send them wads of their old magazines.
As a recruiter, sales person, or wannabe Ponzi schemer, it’s always good to explore new and sometimes very old connections. Same goes if you’re looking for alumni donations or are in charge of your class reunion!
But whatever your reasons are, I’m here to show you how easy it is to reach out to those who previously shared your home address. And it works even when they have a new surname, you forgot their last name, or you have no clue how to spell it!
Backgrounding All The Places You’ve Lived At
Let’s break this down nice and easy. First, you’ll need to find a free Orwellian website that just happens to list all your prior addresses with links to all or most of the people you once lived with.
From there, simply click on the prior address where you both were housemates, so you can see a list of present and former residents. A good site will have their names in hyperlinks, and provide exciting personal information about them such as their ages, middle initials and new surnames. From there it’s just a game of point and click!
How I Used PeopleSearchNow To Locate My Indian Roommate of 25 Years Ago
I’ll start with one of my favorite free websites. The very best is Cyberbackgroundchecks.com. Second best is PeopleSearchNow.
Note: If you know the person’s name and it’s a rare one, simply look it up directly in the Name search box. Or if you know an old address of theirs, you can enter it here and then when it lists all tenants, you can look for the link to their name. Or you can use the top links in the website to do a reverse search on emails or phone numbers. For a backup site, checkout Search For Free (by name) or Search For Free (by address)
Otherwise, look up your own name so you can find the address you both lived at. Below I’ll show you how I found “Sameer” when I had no clue how to spell or even say his last name! But as you can see, I found not only his last name, but probably also his current cell phone number.
First, type in your own name and hit enter. If your name is a common one, you may want to narrow your search with a city and state. Note that you’ll see a partial list of addresses, sometimes with the top address being old and not your current address.
The goal is to find and click on the address that you and your former roommate lived at. To see more addresses, click View Details.
Still can’t find the address you both shared? Well, then scroll down until you see more addresses. And click “Show More” for even more addresses. Don’t bother clicking on court records or other links-they’ll just wanna charge ya! Now click on the address you both lived at.
Once you’ve clicked on an address, there may be several pages of people who have lived there. So be sure to search all pages until you find them.
Here I found Sameer from my old address at 2422-D Morosgo Ct, Atlanta GA. (There was no way I could spell that surname!)
When I clicked on View Details, I was able to see his cell phone numbers, and places he’s lived at. Note that his current address may be wrong, but who cares? You can always confirm his address through reverse lookups, property records or various other means.
Moving Into Senior Housing or Living With A Family Member
What The Doctor’s Note Must Say
Other Required Documentation
Notifying Your Landlord: How & When To Send Notice
Sample Notice Email(Should also Mail to be safe)
Hand Deliveries: Sample Form For Agent To Sign (Showing Notice Was Received)
The Actual Statute: New York Real Property Law 227-a (With Highlights)
Getting Help Through an Advocate
I am New Yorker who moved to Atlanta long ago. I would never have written this, until my mom needed to move to Georgia because of serious medical issues. Sadly, the law on breaking a lease is extremely confusing, even for consumer rights lawyers like myself. So here’s a stab at making it simple for you and your loved ones.
What The Law Allows The law is called “Termination of residential lease by senior citizens or individuals with a disability moving to a residence of a family member or entering certain health care facilities, adult care facilities or housing projects”(New York Property Law 227-a).
It allows a person 62 or over to break their New York lease if they have a medical issue that affects their ability to live independently. However, the senior must be moving into senior housing, or other qualified housing, or the home of a family member. AND the senior must provide timely notice and all the documentation required by this statute.
In short, the senior must follow every jot and tittle of the law or they could lose another month’s rent and possibly forfeit their security deposit.
Once the senior meets all the requirements under New York law, the landlord must legally end the lease, refund their security deposit, and cannot charge any more rent or fees in lieu of rent.
Note that New York law trumps a New York lease. This means the senior can walk away Scot-free even if the lease has penalties for early termination or other more stringent requirements for giving notice. But to be safe, I recommend you follow both the law and lease when giving notice of termination.
The law also applies to seniors who are at least 62 years old or will be age 62 during the lease term. It extends to the senior’s spouse and their dependents (even if younger than 62). So everyone gets out of the lease, not just the senior. This makes sense as families should be allowed to stick together.
The Senior Must Move In With A Family Member or Into Qualified Senior Housing The senior can’t break the lease simply to move elsewhere. Rather, the senior must move in with a family member or into qualified senior housing. Qualified senior housing does not just include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The statute actually allows the senior to move into “any complex erected for the specific purpose of housing senior citizens.” In other words, even an independent living facility will qualify.
A Doctor’s Note Must Show A Medical Issue Exists To Justify The Move Under RPL 227-a, the senior must have a doctor certify that the senior is “no longer able, for medical reasons, to live independently in such premises” and the senior either:
Requires “assistance with instrumental activities of daily living;“ or Requires “assistance with personal activities of daily living.”
The law does not require that the senior be so impaired that they must move into assisted living or a nursing home. As stated earlier, the senior can move into independent living as well.
Key is that:
There are medical reasons why the senior cannot live independently in their current premises;
The senior requires some assistance (even if very small) with either personal or instrumental activities in their day to day living.
The doctor’s note makes clear these three points above, (preferably by using the exact language found in the law, e.g. the terms marked in red.)
Example of Not Being Able To Live Independently in Their Current Premises My mom is a senior over the age of 62 who lives in Midtown Manhattan. She is visually impaired and keeps falling down the step between her living room and dining room.
When she has to go buy groceries, she must risk her life to cross the street in heavy midtown traffic. Thus, her poor vision is a medical reason why she cannot live independently in her current premises. For all I know, she may magically be able to live independently in an apartment without steps, or move somewhere safer in a quiet, low traffic part of Queens. But the statute only requires that she cannot live independently in her current apartment.
Example of Personal or Instrumental Activities Likewise, my mom has trouble putting on her makeup or reading the labels on her medicines. Either of these could be deemed personal or instrumental, and that should be enough. It is not a tough standard to meet. But a doctor’s note is mandatory.
Required Documents under New York Real Property Law 227-a.
If the senior is moving in with a relative, send the landlord:
The doctor’s note (does not need to be notarized);
A notarized statement by a family member that the senior will be living with them for at least 6 months;
A notice of termination letter as required by your lease (Optional but highly recommended though the law should trump any lease notice requirements.)
If the senior is moving directly into senior housing, send the landlord:
The doctor’s note (does not need to be notarized);
A copy of the signed or executed contract or lease with the senior housing facility;
A notice of termination letter as required by your lease (Optional but highly recommended though the law should trump any lease notice requirements.)
When and How To Send A Termination Notice under RPL 227-a Your termination date (the date you can get out of your lease) all depends on the date your landlord receives your written notice. It is not determined by when you sent the notice. The exception is if you mail it. (see Mailing Your Notice for details).
For when to send notice, scroll down to “HOW LATE CAN MY LANDLORD RECEIVE MY TERMINATION NOTICE WITHOUT PENALTY?“
Notice Can Be Sent by Mail, Email, or Hand Delivery There is nothing in the statute that restricts how you can send a termination notice. It can be sent by mail, email, certified mail, hand delivery or passenger pigeon. Key is being able to prove the landlord received it prior to the deadline. So keep a paper trail of all you do.
Mailing Your Notice RPL 227-a contemplates that a mailed letter may not be responded to or signed for. So if you decide to mail your landlord the notice letter, “notice shall be deemed delivered five days after mailing.”
This five day mailing rule means you best send it at least FIVE DAYS EARLIER THAN if it was hand delivered or emailed. The better approach is to send it certified mail, return receipt requested. Then you’ll have proof that it was received on time. However, IF NO ONE SIGNS FOR YOUR LETTER, follow up with an email or hand delivery so the landlord has it before the notice deadline.
Emailing Your Notice For emailed notices, ask the landlord in your email to send a reply email once notice is received. (See sample email below)
You may want to copy two or three people just in case the leasing manager is on vacation or on maternity leave. Sometimes names and email addresses can be found on your lease or on the Landlord’s website. If not, there’s always Google. Or you can call the leasing office and ask for a contact name and email address.
Don’t forget to attach all the required documentation. To be safe, be sure to blind copy yourself on the email and double check that you received all the required attachments.
IF NO ONE RESPONDS TO YOUR EMAIL, don’t wait until after the notice deadline. If the deadline is today or tomorrow, BE SURE TO ALSO HAND DELIVER OR MESSENGER THE NOTICE SO THAT IT WON’T ARRIVE LATE. Then follow up with another email stating you just delivered notice.
Hand Delivering Your Notice If the notice is hand delivered, make sure the landlord or agent signs a dated confirmation sheet so you can prove it was received at least 30 days before your desired termination date. See a sample below.
IF NO ONE WILL SIGN, use your smart phone to take a dated time stamped photo of the person and your document, so it’s clear notice was delivered. Also immediately send a follow up email with all the documents attached stating you delivered notice to X but no one would sign for it. In your email ask for them to confirm notice. Be sure to blind copy yourself on the email and double check that you sent them all the attached documents.
HOW LATE CAN MY LANDLORD RECEIVE MY TERMINATION NOTICE WITHOUT PENALTY?
Making Sense of the Strange Termination Language Found in RPL 227-a(1) The earliest termination date that you can have (without penalty) is one that is at least 30 days after your next rent payment (the rent payment that follows the date the landlord received your notice letter.) So don’t plan on giving notice in October so that you can leave in November. If you do this, the law will not protect you.
That said, if your rent is payable on the first of every month, be safe, and always give written notice at least 36 days before the date you will be stuck paying rent for an unwanted month. (For mailing you want to include the 5 extra days notice plus 1 day of padding, in case you miscalculated.)
If you hand deliver the letter or email it, you may be able to get away with just 31 days notice. (30 days plus 1 day of padding in case you miscalculated.)
Notice Received Anywhere In October Means Lease Can Terminate Before December 1st So, say you wish to move out before December 1st and your rent is due on the first of every month. In that case, the landlord could get your notice on October 1st or October 31st. And either way, your termination letter is effective by November 30th at the earliest.
In other words, you still must pay one full rent payment after the notice was received. From there you must wait an additional 30 days before the termination is deemed legal. This doesn’t mean of course, that you have to stay in your apartment until November 30th. You can certainly move out earlier-as long as you still pay November’s rent.
Notice Received Anywhere In November Means Lease Can Terminate Before January 1st Now instead, suppose the landlord received your notice on November 1st rather than in October. This would mean your earliest penalty free termination date would be December 30th. By law, you would still have to pay the rent for the month afterwards (December’s rent) and also add another 30 days before the termination was effective.
NOTE: THERE’S NOTHING THAT STOPS YOU FROM GIVING MORE THAN THE LEGALLY REQUIRED NOTICE. BUT NEVER GIVE LESS THAN SUCH or you may forfeit another month’s rent and some or all or your security deposit.
Sample Notice Letter For The Landlord (Email)
Kimberly Quest (Person listed in Lease for Sending Notice) cc: Amy Pullman (Back up person in case Ms. Quest doesn’t respond) Subject: Carla Freedman Tenant Termination Notice per New York Real Property Law §227-a
If Sending By Mail: Northmoor Leasing (Name of NY Landlord) (use landlord address listed in Lease For Sending Notice of Termination or other required notice)
Dear Ms. Quest
My name is Graham Firestone and I am the son of Carla Freedman. This letter is to provide the required 30 day’s notice that on or before November 30th, 2019, Carla Freedman will be moving into The Renaissance on Peachtree, located at 3755 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30319, which is deemed long term senior housing per New York Real Property Law §227-a.
My mother is slowly going blind and has extreme difficulty with even ordinary life activities. She is also prone to falls, which makes it unwise for her to live alone in an apartment with stairs between the entry way and her living room.
Attached is a doctor’s note which certifies that Carla Freedman is 71 years old, nearly blind and for medical reasons is no longer able to live independently in her apartment. Also attached is a copy of the lease at Renaissance on Peachtree. Please email me within 24 hours to confirm receipt of this notice and contact me immediately if you have any questions or concerns.
515 Wyncourtney Drive NE Atlanta, Georgia 30328
C 867-5309 H 678-587-9228
Sample Proof of Receipt For Hand Delivery
Make sure the landlord’s agent prints their name, signs and dates the form below. (You can have them sign two copies if you like, one for their records and one for your own.)
I confirm that I work for Northmoor Apartments and have received from Carla Freedman, tenant of apartment 4B, the following documents:
A doctor’s letter;
A lease from Happy Hills Senior Housing; and
A notice letter dated October 31, 2019.
_______________ Printed Name
Getting Help Through An Advocate OK. So you did everything right but the landlord still won’t return your security deposit. Now is the time to call an advocate. Or perhaps many advocates. But first, why not give the landlord just one more chance to do the right thing. After all, if it works, you won’t have to risk using the heavy guns.
Keep in mind that big landlords are usually more sensitive to publicity while the smaller landlords are more sensitive to lawsuits. So if you’ve been treated unfairly, you’ve got to speak their love language. You must demonstrate that the cheapest, easiest and best course of action, is for them to follow the law , let you out of the lease, and return your security deposit.
Talking To Small Time Landlords Some landlords are individuals who rent out their homes, or slumlords who may depend on word of mouth rather than advertising. These are usually more prone to responding to legal pressure rather than bad publicity. Therefore consider going straight to the Government, Non-Profit and and Legal help agencies listed below.
Talking To Big Landlords (Apartment Buildings) Apartment buildings have leasing managers, leasing directors, lawyers and public relations directors. If you know their motivation, you’ll know how to persuade them.
Your leasing manager and leasing director want to keep their jobs and get yearly bonuses. Often these things depend directly on the apartment building having a high occupancy rate. If lots of apartments suddenly become empty. that’s going to look bad for them.
Similarly, the public relations director also thinks about low and high occupancy rates. Their job is to promote the landlord’s good public image OR to protect the landlord from a bad public image. So the last thing they need is for a media explosion to occur because they didn’t jump quick enough to stop it.
Lawyers The lawyers for your landlord are another matter. Lawyers think mostly about losing or winning lawsuits. And chances are they are quite good at such things.
What their lawyers are not good at (what they’re absolutely terrified of) is controlling and containing the absolute chaos that will erupt when your story gets out to the media, the government regulatory agencies and the non profits. Lawyers know the courts. But most are helpless before the court of public opinion. So don’t fool with their lawyers. And don’t waste your breath yelling about how much you can sue them for.
Explaining Their Exposure In Terms of Viewers & CirculationInstead, simply email your leasing manager and leasing director that you need your deposit back immediately. Otherwise, your next step is to spread the word to other would be renters through (Channel X, Channel Y and newspaper Z).
Inform them that your goal is to guarantee that everyone in New York knows how badly they mistreat seniors. (Including the disability rights groups) And that this publicity will cause their vacancy rates to skyrocket for years to come so they lose 1000 times more than your meager security deposit.
Be sure to copy the Public Relations Director and leave your phone number. She may be calling you shortly.
Don’t forget to provide a list of the TV stations, newspapers and government agencies you will be contacting. If you list the # of viewers each TV station has, and the circulation (# of readers) for each magazine or newspaper, it may drive home just how bad this thing is going to get.
To avoid looking like you’re just ranting and raving, keep it to about 3 TV stations, 3 newspapers and 3 magazines. Then add in a few of the non profits and government agencies for good measure. DO NOT FORGET TO LIST THE # OF VIEWERS and # OF READERS NEXT TO EACH MEDIA SOURCE.
In your email, feel free to explain the key buzz words that are sure to make media headlines. “80 year old grandmother,” “disabled senior,” “nearly deaf,” “nearly blind,” “can barely walk,” “must use a walker/cane,” “stumbles and falls,” can’t safely cross the street,” “suffers from dementia,” “just needs to be with family,” …”x million seniors live in NYC,” “y million Seniors in NY State.”
Also explain that you will file a complaint with the NY Attorney General and Department of Aging so they can continue to monitor how seniors are treated in the future.
If none of this works, your next step is to reach out to the Senior Advocates below.
Section 227-A Termination of residential lease by senior citizens or individuals with a disability moving to a residence of a family member or entering certain health care facilities, adult care facilities or housing projects.
(Age, DR’s Certification, Qualified Senior Housing, Release of Lease Liability)
(Advance Notice, Documents Needed, Long Term Stay With A Family Member)
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.