What is the Best Background Check in California?
Background checks are conducted to authenticate a person’s identity and investigate their past. They usually include a review of public records, employment and education history, criminal records, and other relevant factors. In California, they’re considered a valuable tool in risk management as they can help evaluate individuals’ trustworthiness and reliability.
Background checks involve searching comprehensive public sources and individual references to verify an individual’s personal and professional history. By conducting a thorough review of an individual’s past, including concealed information like previous locations where criminal records may be found, background checks can help confirm various details.
Overall, a thorough background check is necessary to obtain reliable information about an individual’s history. By revealing and verifying public records, background checks provide valuable insights and help to assess credibility.
List of Best Services for Background Check in California:
TruthFinder – Best overall background check site
Instant Checkmate – Best for searching through criminal history background
Intelius – Best customer support
Spokeo – Best for searches of third-party data
Been Verified – Best affordable background check service for criminal records
People Finders – Best for editing information available about yourself
Public Seek – Best for property searches
Verifirst – Best for identity verification services
Info Tracer – Best for specialized searches
Coco Finder – Best for reverse phone lookups
TruthFinder was originally founded in 2015 in San Diego, California. Naturally, this meant that not only is this company aware of California law regarding background checks, but they also abide by them. In recent years, they have become one of the most popular background check services as they can scan millions of public records and social network data.
What helps set TruthFinder apart from many of the other public record background check services is its extensive coverage of public records and ability to scan the dark web to find any compromised personal data. The information you can uncover through their background check reports is often considered hard-to-find.
TruthFinder scans a broad range of public records, including federal, state, and local government records. These records can contain various types of information, such as an individual’s contact details, location history, criminal and traffic records, and even possible assets. You may also find information from social media profiles.
With their monthly subscription, you can order an unlimited number of background checks, which is beneficial if you are using this service to verify individuals’ reliability and credibility. The plan is not that expensive, and you can pay on a month-to-month basis, which means you aren’t required to purchase an annual membership.
Even if you have a membership, you will still be required to pay to download PDF versions of the background check reports, which is not necessarily the best if you need to print many of them to keep them on file.
For those who want to use TruthFinder, it is also important to note that they have a good customer support team and have a lot of information on their website on how to use their service. There are also additional safety measures that allow users to securely use the website and Android app.
DISCLAIMER: You may not use TruthFinder or the information it provides to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. TruthFinder does not provide consumer reports and is not a consumer reporting agency. (These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., (“FCRA”), which are incorporated herein by reference.)
- Scans public record and social network data
- Has dark web scanning
- Unlimited background checks with a monthly membership
- Monthly subscription is required
- PDF downloads cost extra
- It is only available for those located within the U.S.
Instant Checkmate is a people search finder that uses public records to complete a background check. The reports can take a bit of time to generate and it is generally a slower service compared to other entries on this list. However, despite its shortcomings, Instant Checkmate is one of the most popular background check report services, and on their website, they note over 1.4 billion searches have been conducted.
Those using Instant Checkmate will also need to purchase a subscription, which is relatively pricey, especially when compared to some of the other services on this list. They also don’t include any single purchases for background checks so the subscription is the only option for those wanting to use Instant Checkmate.
The site scans various sources of public records, including court records, employment history records, criminal records, traffic records, and more. These sources contribute to the comprehensive reports available on Instant Checkmate.
Apart from the quality background check results, Instant Checkmate is also known for its secure and user-friendly platform, making it a preferred choice among many users.
- Unlimited background reports with the monthly subscription
- Extensive search of public records
- Simple to use service and Android app
- There is no iOS app
- Pricing is subscription-based
Intelius is another online that can be used for extensive background checks. This public records and background check service provides access to detailed information, such as address history, criminal records, employment history, and other public records. What makes this site great is the added features, such as theft protection, for an additional fee.
Intelius is able to offer a comprehensive background check report by sourcing information from various directories, ranging from phone directories to public records. This allows them to gather a broad range of data and present it in a comprehensive report.
Much like many other background check services in California, this service is completely subscription-based, allowing users to carry out multiple background checks per month.
There are various search options, such as searching for a person by name, address, or phone number. These multiple search options make it easier for users to access a wide range of public records, including court records and criminal and traffic records, for individuals they want to investigate.
- Customer support is widely available
- Comprehensive background check reports
- Flexible search options
- No single report purchase option
- Can be complicated to use with misleading content
Spokeo is a background check company located in the U.S. IT currently isn’t a Consumer Reporting Agency, as is described by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Because of this, it can’t be used for employment screening, credit background checks, or tenant searches. This means that the use of Spokeo is quite limited and can’t really be used for any professional services.
With Spokeo, there are a number of different ways in which you can carry out a search to find background information on different people. These include searching by name, email, address, and even phone number. For more accurate results, Spokeo uses a geo-grouping algorithm to narrow results down by location. If you are using the free search option, then the results these searches will give you are quite limited and oftentimes inaccurate.
Spokeo mainly looks through public search directories to find information for the background check. As this is all publicly available information, they might not always get the most up-to-date information for the check, which can be a problem for users. They also use data from third parties, such as Google and Criteo to increase the search results they are receiving.
To use Spokeo’s more extensive features, you can utilize their 30-day free trial. Some of the features available through the trial do not actually relate to the background check capabilities of this platform.
If you want to carry out a background check on arrest records, court cases, and the general criminal history of someone including misdemeanors and felony records, you will need to purchase an add-on as these are not normally available as part of the free plan available with Spokeo. There are also other background check options available with Spokeo.
These include a reverse background check, which allows for an extensive search into someone’s criminal history information, identification, and even education. These reviews are not always accurate and there have been many reports of inaccurate background checks being completed with Spokeo.
Finally, you can use the reverse phone number tool and find who is calling you. All of these are easily accessed through the Android app. Spokeo is currently available only for Android users.
- Basic features available for free
- Easy to use interface
- Option to remove data and information
- No plans for unlimited searches
- Highly inaccurate background searches
- Not a part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
Been Verified is a New York-based company founded in 2007. The company is meant to be used for extensive background checks mainly through the use of online databases. It also has a number of features that are specific to this particular company that has allowed it to climb up in popularity.
As of 2020, BeenVerified has around 10 million monthly visitors. This is because it is a great source for those who want to access public records, property records, credit reports, social media accounts, and other criminal records as part of their search.
This subscription-based service does not offer a free option, as all of its features are only available for paid members. In general, using the service is relatively easy as you only need to provide the personal information of the person you are searching for to get an extensive background check completed. With BeenVerified, what you are paying for is convenience. While there are ways in which you could potentially track down all of the records and information yourself, it would probably take days if not weeks of visiting multiple different public offices.
The monthly subscription service will offer you all of those results without the need for you to hunt them down. BeenVerified is also one of the more affordable options for background checks which can be important if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on this.
- Transparent background check company
- Easy to use interface with a simple pricing plan
- Comprehensive background check reports are available
- Searches can take a bit of time
- Inaccurate results
- No free trial options
People Finders is one of the brands with the best brand reputation in the background checks industry. This is in part because of the many great reviews that they have received both on Trustpilot and BackgroundCheck.org. This is a California background check data-as-a-service provider that can generate extensive background checks based on someone’s name, address, and phone number.
There are many different pricing options available as well as a free trial which can be important if you want to try the service before committing to it. What’s more, they are one of the few background search companies to not only have a subscription service but also allow for single background checks. This can be important if you are only looking to carry out a single background check.
Among the searches that People Finders will carry out will normally be a scan through all available public records based on the name and location of the person. The results found will usually include criminal records, criminal conviction history reports, arrest records and criminal charges, birth and death records, property records, and credit reports. This extensive list means that you will get a report that covers most bases.
One of the best things about People Finders though is that you can use it to polish your online image. This is because if you carry out a search on yourself there is also the option to use their opt-out service. This service allows you to ask for the removal of certain information you might find about yourself based on “General Privacy Concerns.”
- Great reputation
- One of the most accurate background check services
- Many different pricing options allow for more specialized use
- Cancellations can take time as you need to contact the support team
- Often times the search is too wide with unnecessary information about the person’s relative included in the report
- No social media searches
Verifirst is a part of a larger business called the BYL Group. This organization collects invoices and background checks. This is mainly considered to be a commercial organization as it has FCRA compliance and it can be used according to both California law for commercial purposes, including employment checks.
As a part of the background check, Verifirst looks at both federal and state criminal charges, civil actions, court records, driving records, and credit records. They also pass an education and employment verification to ensure that the information the person has provided you with is accurate. When requested they also offer drug screening as an additional service.
The company was founded in 2004 and since then it has developed a generally good reputation for providing relatively accurate results. However, the price of these reports is unclear from their website as they don’t provide an accurate price list with their service. This can be quite confusing for people who want to sign up and use the service.
It also doesn’t offer great customer support when compared with other services. This is in part because while information-heavy, the support provided is only offered during limited hours.
- FCRA compliant
- Extensive and accurate criminal history and employment verification checks
- Good reputation
- Unclear pricing structure, with pay-as-you-go pricing plans
- No 24/7 customer support
- Previous inaccuracies with reports have led to litigations against companies
InfoTracer has one of the most all-encompassing search engines out of all of the background check services. This is because their criminal background check service actually goes through an extensive search of public information before a report is generated. Much like many other background search companies, this one is also not accredited according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and it can only be used for personal purposes.
One of the best features of InfoTracer actually relates to its search tool. This is because you can actually find someone’s information by name, phone number, address, email, and even username. This is not the only unique search tool that InfoTracer offers. In fact, they are the only service to offer facial recognition search.
This means that you can use this service to identify someone using one of their photos. As all of the information that InfoTracer uses is taken from public data, it is completely legal to use this service. However, facial recognition may not be permitted under certain state laws.
When it comes to other unique features that InfoTracer offers, the fact that it actually allows users to limit the type of search results they are going to be seeing in the report can actually be useful. Many background check services in an effort to gain more traction will often use all sources they can find. As a result, the report generated can have some generic or irrelevant information not just about the person, but also about their family members.
With InfoTracer, you will not have to worry about receiving a report full of uninteresting facts. Instead, you can limit your search by assets, criminal histories, arrest records, criminal records, and other various categories. This allows for more targeted and substantial reports to be generated.
Outside of official public records, InfoTracer also uses forum posts, business associates, and other occupational and political affiliations as part of its search. This allows for the creation of a more complete and all-encompassing California background check. They do not offer any Dark Web scanning so if this is something you are wanting you might need to search through a different company.
- Many specific search options
- Very secure search and platform
- Up-to-date databases
- Some incomplete reports
- There is no web accounts search
- Facial recognition is not legal everywhere
CocoFinder is widely believed to be one of the best online platforms for background checks. This is because it includes many different features including background checks, address lookups, reverse phone number searches, and a general people finder. What really sets this company apart from others is that it is essentially free.
In fact, you can use CocoFinder without actually even setting up an account. This means that all you have to do is visit their website and search for the person you want to complete background checks on. However, as a free service, it does have some limitations that other companies would not have.
For example, the reverse phone search lookup can work great for landlines and mobile phones, but it fails to recognize any virtual phone numbers. This means that if you are trying to find who a spam caller is, chances are you will have limited success with that.
Their website in general is relatively simple in both its interface and the way that it works. Their Whitepages page is essential as an old-school phone book where you can type in someone’s name and get results about how to contact them. Because it’s free you can actually access all of the results immediately, and the searches you make are not saved.
As such, using this service is quite secure and you won’t need to worry about anyone potentially finding out what your searches were. As you don’t need to sign up to use the service it is also unlikely that anyone will access your account to see what you have been searching for. The servers are also encrypted which adds an extra layer of security.
The background checks feature especially can be great if you want to find some general information about people in your life. However, before you start using this for commercial services try to remember that there are certain California laws you need to abide by for the use of employment background checks as an employer.
- Free to use
- Simplistic design
- There is no history of what you have searched
- Might not always be legal to use as an employer based on state and federal laws
- Phone reverse search capabilities are limited
- Search time is long
When it comes to carrying out background checks on anyone you know you will need to remember to always check whether the company you are using is legitimate. If you are choosing to run pre-employment background checks as a California employer, make sure to do so through an accredited website or service to ensure there won’t be any legal troubles in the future when screening job applicants. As most websites tend to have fairly similar capabilities, choosing one is mainly a matter of preference.
You should also make sure to check the California background check laws and fair chance act. This will help ensure you are abiding by the California Civil Code when looking at who to make a conditional offer of employment to. The applicant’s criminal history can only be used in the later parts of the application by California employers according to the California Department of Justice. This helps ensure fair employment opportunities for all applicants in the Los Angeles County.
If you want specific types of search results relating to Dark Web scanning, criminal records, criminal history, education records, or employment records you might need to focus on using one company over another. These choices will certainly help you narrow down which of these services is best for you. This individualized assessment can help you decide as a private employer which of the five or more employees is best for a certain job or position.
Finally, knowing what information you already possess before going into your search will help you select the best California background checks services. For example, if you only have someone’s address then you might need to select a service that excels in property record searches, while if you want to search based on the phone, choosing one with a strong reverse phone feature can be important.
FAQs about California Background Check
What is the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act?
The Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) of California mandates that ICRAs take reasonable precautions to protect the privacy of their clients when providing consumer reports for various purposes, including employment, insurance, and landlord-tenant relationships.
What is the California Consumer Privacy Act and how does it affect background checks?
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) gives customers more control over the personal data that businesses collect about them and provides guidelines for how to implement the law.
The CCPA has an impact on background checks since it greatly expands employee rights by enforcing mandatory privacy notifications and disclosures regarding the data acquired by employers and their purposes for collection, as well as the right to request access to or deletion of personal information.
How long does it take to get a California background check report?
The time it takes to complete a background check might range from the standard 3-7 business days to much longer or shorter delays. These delays depend upon a number of different factors in the processing of documents.
Can I dispute errors in my background check report?
Everyone has the right to dispute the accuracy of the information contained in their background check report, as guaranteed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
What is Ban the Box and how does it apply to California?
Ban the Box Laws require businesses to wait until later in the application or hiring process before inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history.
Companies with more than five workers are prohibited by the Ban the Box Act from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal background. Once an offer of employment has been made, the employer has the right to revoke it if the applicant’s background check reveals any cause for concern.
Are there any restrictions on what information can be included in a California background check report?
Background checks in California are restricted from disclosing any information about a person’s criminal history, including any incident, complaint, indictment, arrest, or conviction, that occurred more than seven years ago.