Let us tell you a little secret: when investigating the background of your roommate, online or new neighbor, a deep dive into the person’s social media activity is more telling than a huge pile of official documents. If you know how to read between the lines, then going through the subject’s Twitter feed, Facebook profile and Instagram photos makes it very easy to piece together the owner’s personal profile.
For example, if you are interested in the subject’s driving incident, a criminal record search will return information from the relevant court document – which will include case number, date, name of the offense, even the judgement – but it’s also likely that the person has written a long rant on Facebook explaining the situation to their friends, which is an excellent source to get the full context. But what if the target has multiple accounts, some of them even hidden?
Doing the Legwork Yourself
There are numerous reasons why you should keep an eye on alternative accounts. It’s possible that the person had a shady past or did something embarrassing a few years ago and then decided to create a fresh profile to avoid any backlash from the community. Members of the online dating world can also be threatened by ‘catfishers’, people who create a whole network of fake social media profiles in order to back up the credibility of their made-up persona. Of course, not everyone that has multiple accounts does so because of malicious reasons. It’s possible that they lost the login credentials or just felt the need to start anew, while artists and internet pundits commonly set up alternate accounts for their brand.
The problem with doing such a search manually is that it’s rather time consuming. Not only will you need to dig through dozens of profiles that share the same name but you’ll also need to repeat the tiresome process with every social media platform. Not to mention that the search engines on these sites are rather limited. All in all, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by finding a way to automate the search.
Using Free ‘People Search’ Engines
Outsourcing most of the heavy lifting to an algorithm is a clever move. There are numerous search engines on the internet that collect public data and can scout out someone’s social media presence for you. These are basically entry level background reports, granting the same results as the ‘people search’ category. One fine example of the service is PeekYou, which places a large emphasis on exploring the subject’s social media network by using different variations of their default email address. For example, it runs searches with Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail domains – an idea that you should consider if doing the investigation yourself. The system then collates together any instance of a match, usually on Facebook and Twitter.
Are Professional Background Check Services Any Good?
‘Why should I pay for a complete background report when I get the meat of it from a free search engine?’ you might ask. It’s true that the target’s social media accounts are part of the paid package, but bear in mind that you get higher quality results for your money. Background check sites gather information from far more sources than PeekYou and have a bigger database to work with, therefore the chances of finding hidden or alternative accounts related to the subject increase greatly. It’s also worth mentioning that such services investigate less popular or more obscure social media sites as well.