5 Free Ways to Check Someone’s Background Online in Seconds

Running a free background record check on someone may be easier than you think. Today, there are several online resources you can use to find arrest records, divorce certificates, birth certificates, and more.

Woman Checking Criminal Record Website Online

Some people use these resources to lookup their own criminal record. Others use it to check the criminal record of a neighbor, coworker, boss, teacher or someone else. You can even use these resources to check a celebrity’s criminal record.

Today, we’re highlighting some of the best online resources you can use to check someone’s criminal record online.

Criminal Record Check Websites

There are plenty of criminal record check websites out there. Check Criminal Record is popular, and all it requires is a first name, last name, and state to get started.

Most other criminal record check websites work in a similar way: you enter the person’s name and location, and the website does the rest of the work.

Sometimes, criminal records are split across multiple states. Somebody might have lived in one state, committed a crime, and then moved to another state. That’s why these free criminal record check websites are useful. You can enter the same name for multiple states and get instant feedback for each state.

Sometimes, the criminal record check website will charge a fee. There’s a good reason for that fee: some courts charge a fee to access records, and this fee gets passed onto you, the user.

The advantage of using a criminal record check website is that the site combs through an extensive range of databases at once. Instead of forcing you to manually check each database and each county courthouse, you can run one scan to unveil countless records.

The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW.gov)

The United States Department of Justice runs the National Sex Offender Public Website. The website makes it easy to search for sex offenders in your neighborhood. You can also verify that a coach, teacher, friend, date, or partner has a clean record.

Using NSOPW.gov, you can:

  • Search by name (using a first name and last name)
  • Search by location (using an address, city/town, and state)
  • Search by radius (within 1, 2, or 3 miles of a given address)

The NSOPW even has a map you can use to scroll around the neighborhood. You may be surprised at the number of people living around you that are in the sex offender database.

Some people use the NSOPW website for general curiosity. They’re checking a new neighborhood before moving in, for example.

Others use it to search specific individuals. However, you want to use the website, however, the NSOPW is one of the best free ways to check someone’s background online.

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC)
If you don’t want to pay a professional criminal record check service, then we recommend visiting the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) official website.

Many state courts across America allow you to access court records online. It’s easy and free to lookup someone’s history with a specific court. If you know someone was charged with a crime in a specific state, or if you know someone lives in a specific state, then you can narrow your search to the state level and find any criminal records or arrest records.


Sure, you could scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media until you find the people you want. Or, you could use a single search service like PeekYou. The website is free-to-use and offers a searchable collection of a person’s social media profiles.

  • Just enter a first name, last name, and location to get started.
  • You can also search someone based on their username.

Within seconds, PeekYou will crawl the internet for all public information about someone. With just a username, you can find someone’s location, for example, other known aliases, and any other information the person has shared online.

PeekYou isn’t always accurate, and you can tend to get multiple search results for each person. However, it’s great at providing at-a-glance information about anyone.

County Court Registrar Databases

Want to find out if a coworker is really married? Want to find out if your boss just got a divorce? Want to check someone’s birth certificate to see if they’re the age they claim to be?

Many are surprised to find that most marriage certificates are public, which means that anyone can access them freely and legally – if they know where to look. County court registrar databases hold this information for millions of Americans across the country.

The problem with county court registrar databases is that you may need to look at the county level. If you know the county in which a person got married, then that shouldn’t be an issue.

If you want to look up marriage records in Los Angeles County, for example, then you can submit an online request through the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Most counties have similar online request systems.

Alternatively, VitalChek (a LexisNexis company) collects birth certificates, death certificates, marriage records, divorce records, and other public records in one convenient location here, although you need to pay to access these records.

Is Checking Someone’s Criminal Record Online Legal?

Checking someone’s criminal record online is legal for some purposes but not others.

Generally, if you’re checking someone’s criminal record out of curiosity and not making a major decision about the person with that information, then it’s legal to check without permission.

However, if you are a landlord verifying a tenant or an employer checking an employee, then you need to meet additional standards. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have to use a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), which maintains certain standards for data protection and offers dispute resolution. Many of the free online criminal record check websites listed above are not Consumer Reporting Agencies.

For most casual purposes, however, it’s free and legal to check someone’s background online.

Final Words About Online Record Checks

Use the resources above to verify background information today. Many people are surprised to discover how much information is out there.

Take advantage of these free record check resources above and discover real background information about the people around you.