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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

Conduct a Public Records Search

It may become essential to conduct a public records search in order to get information about an individual. The term public records encompass a large number of records which are regarded to be ‘open’ and can be accessed easily by any citizen of the country.

Whether it is a prospective employer or a landlord checking out the financial credibility of his/her tenant or an ordinary resident seeking to unravel the details of his ancestry, conducting a public record search seems to be the most effective means of achieving your objective.

The public record searches are mostly used for conducting background checks. The actual process of searching through the databases may, however, vary with the purpose of the background check. The best way to find public records is to search through the various official online resources provided by both the state as well as the federal governments.

Going through court records, financial records as well as education records are also effective as is the requesting for the driver information at the DMV of the state concerned. Various law enforcement agencies maintain their own database of records as well and while some of them might not be open to the general public, the lists of jail inmates or arrest records can easily be obtained from them.

 

Background Checks

 

Most employers usually conduct a search through some of the most commonly available records in order to ascertain the suitability of the individual as an employee. The databases search might vary according to the specific purpose of the background check. The types of records that are normally retrieved while conducting a background search is:-
 

Criminal Records- All criminal records be it instances of arrest, incarceration or a case of drunk driving can provide an insight into the nature of the person concerned. A number of online resources are available for this purpose with most state repositories and the national crime file providing the most accurate and updated details about the criminal history of an individual.
 

Citizenship and Immigration Records- Illegal recruitment of workers has become a major issue of late. The employers are concerned with hiring genuine citizens as well as bona fide immigrants instead pf people who do not have the legal right to work in the country. All the employers are now required by the law to maintain Form I-9 on their employees. A search through the E-verify program of the federal government is mandated in some states of the USA.
 

Driving Records- The driving records contain every occurrence of accidents and traffic law violation cases. Severe DUI/DWI offenses are a part of the driving records as well. The safety of other individuals as well as the responsibility and ability of a driver can be adjudged by going through the driving records available at the Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicles Division. The consent from the concerned driver is mandatory for checking the records.
 

Education Records- These are specifically checked to verify the educational qualifications of a person. The details of the education and certificates issued can easily be obtained from the academic institutions. The details of disciplinary actions can only be accessed if the concerned individual gives his/her consent in writing.
 

Financial Records- Going through the different financial records helps in ascertaining the credibility of an individual. The bankruptcy court records are open records and can be accessed online by using the PACER system. The credit score based on the credit reports from the three major bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion can substantiate the financial credibility of a person too. Tax information may also help in understanding the amount of money earned by the person subjected to a background check.
 

Social Security Number- The social security number of each person is unique and tracing it successfully will help the employer to form an idea of the citizenship status of the concerned individual. The successful tracing of the SSN also negates cases of identity theft and illegal resident status of the individual.
 

Licensing- The governmental authorities entrusted with the responsibility of providing licenses also maintain details of educational qualifications, complaints, investigations as well as disciplinary actions against the person in question.

 

Patriot Act and Background Checks

 

The recently enacted Patriot Act of the USA requires the financial institutions to match all its existing as well as potential customers against the Office of Foreign Control list. The list contains the names of all individuals suspected of acts of terrorism against the country. Employers are also advised to check their employees against the list for reasons of security.

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