After much research and analysis, we recommend BackgroundReport.com as the best online DIY background check website. We chose BackgroundReport.com from a pool of the dozens of background check services we considered. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can view our methodology and a comprehensive list of background check services and websites on our best picks page.
BackgroundReport.com is an affordable, do-it-yourself online service that provides instant results and complies with federal background check laws. BackgroundReport.com's background checks cost from $19.95 to $29.95.
What separates BackgroundReport.com from many other online background check websites is that it complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which makes the site legal to use for pre-employment job screening.
Unlike websites that don't follow FCRA laws, BackgroundReport.com actively involves the job candidate in the screening process. With this site, job candidates are notified by email that a background check is being conducted and are given a copy of the report to review when the check is finished. Even with these steps, however, employers still must get each job candidate to sign a consent form before conducting a background check. BackgroundReport.com doesn't need to see the consent form, but the company encourages employers to save the form in their files.
Many of the websites we investigated allowed you to run instant searches on anyone, without their consent. Not only are such searches illegal to use for employment-screening purposes, but the information in these searches is also often inaccurate and the job candidate has no chance to respond to what's found. With BackgroundReport.com, if any adverse information is discovered, the job candidate has the opportunity to provide an explanation before any hiring decisions are made.
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Services and Cost
BackgroundReport.com has some of the most affordable prices we found among do-it-yourself websites that abide by FCRA laws. The site offers two types of employee-screening packages:
The basic plan costs $19.95 per report. It includes:
- Social Security number validation
- Social Security death-index check
- Nationwide, instant criminal-convictions search. (This is a nationwide, multijurisdictional criminal records search. The company searches for criminal incidents in a variety of databases, including the state administrative office of the courts, state department of correction, National Criminal Search Index and county criminal courthouses, where available.)
- Sex offender check
- Terrorist watch list check
The premium plan costs $29.95 per report. It includes:
- Social Security number validation
- Social Security death index check
- Nationwide instant criminal-convictions search (see above)
- Sex offender check and terrorist watch list check
- Address history
- Alias name
- Phone number history
- Eviction records
- Bankruptcy records
- Lien records
- Judgment records
BackgroundReport.com does offer one optional service. Representatives from the site will conduct in-person county criminal searches. Those start at $9.95 each. Since not all county courthouses make information available to online searches, the in-person search provides a more in-depth look.
Unlike some of the other services we examined, BackgroundReport.com does not have any registration or monthly fees.
Ease of Use
The BackgroundReport.com website is very easy to use. First, you select and pay for the basic or premium plan and provide some information on the job candidate, including the person's name, Social Security number and email address. The job candidate is then sent an email with a temporary password for the website.
Candidates log in to the system to verify their identities. Once they have done so, BackgroundReport.com runs an instant background check based on the plan selected. Within minutes, the candidate is alerted that the report is ready for review on the website.
Unlike other sites on which employers view the report first, this service allows job candidates to have the first look, so they can add any notes and explanations about what was discovered. This gives candidates an opportunity to provide some immediate context about what was found, before employers have the chance to form any initial conclusions.
Once the candidate has reviewed the report, you are sent an email notification that the background check is complete.
BackgroundReport.com's reports are easy to read and navigate. In addition to the candidate's basic information, the first page of the report has a summary of the results that includes how many aliases were found, the previous addresses that were discovered and how many criminal records were revealed.
You can then scroll through the report to find more information on each item. For the criminal records, the report provides as much detail as was found in the databases that were searched. This can include the charge, how serious the offense was (misdemeanor or felony), whether there was a guilty plea and what the settlement was. You can view a sample report on the BackgroundReport website.
We were pleased with the customer service that BackgroundReport.com provided. To test the level of support offered, we called the company multiple times posing as a small business owner interested in pre-employment screening services.
During each of our calls, the customer service representatives were helpful and friendly. They walked us through how the service works, the costs and what the reports look liked.
Throughout all of our calls, the representatives we spoke to never tried to rush us off the phone and didn't try to pressure us into signing up for the service. Instead, they took the necessary time to thoroughly answer all of our questions.
The representatives from BackgroundReport.com gave us the impression that the service was more legitimate than other services we considered. Some of the other DIY services we spoke to gave evasive and unclear answers to some of our questions, which left us with concerns about the reliability of these companies.
Out of all of the background check services and websites we analyzed, BackgroundReport.com was one of the few that offered help on a Saturday. You can reach customer service representatives by phone or email, between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. (PST) Monday through Friday and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (PST) on Saturdays.
The biggest downside to BackgroundReport.com is that it relies mostly on online databases, so it can't provide some of the more thorough searches that a full-service background check provider offers. However, paying for an in-person county court runner does increase your chances of finding something that hasn't been digitized and inputted into any databases.
Additionally, this website doesn't offer you the ability to verify past employment or education. Those verifications are often crucial in helping to determine if a candidate would be a good fit for your company. If you want these more in-depth searches, we would encourage you to consider our choices for the best background check service for small businesses or best background check services for very small businesses.
Another potential concern is that there is no record of BackgroundReport.com with the Better Business Bureau. We would have liked to know where the company stands with the BBB.
Best Background Check Services
Ready to choose a background check service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- Background Check Service Buyer's Guide
- Best Background Check Services: Roundup
- REVIEW: Best for Small Business Overall
- REVIEW: Best for Very Small Businesses
- REVIEW: Best for Household Employees
- REVIEW: Best for Medical Practices
Editor's Note: Looking for information on background check services? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need