What Background Checks Are Free?

What Background Checks Are Free?

When looking for a new background screening provider, it’s natural to wonder about the availability of free background checks. This article aims to clarify the reality of “free” background checks from the perspective of a prospective client in need of comprehensive, fast, affordable, and legally compliant services.

The Truth About Free Background Checks

While there are advertisements for “Cheap Background Checks” or promises to “Check Anybody Anywhere Anytime” for less than $8, these offers come with significant risks. Such checks often lack the compliance necessary for employment, volunteer, or business purposes, as they are not conducted by Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) adhering to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)​​.

The Hidden Costs of “Free” Checks

  1. Legal Risks: Engaging in non-compliant checks can set your organization up for costly litigation.
  2. Incomplete Data: These checks often use nationwide database searches of public record sources, which may include limited searches like sex offender registries. However, the crucial aspect of ensuring the accuracy of the information, name matching, and compliance with FCRA reporting standards is often missing​​.
  3. Potential for Errors: Without proper validation and adherence to legal guidelines, these checks can harm applicants and expose the employer to legal challenges.

Why Professional Background Checks Cost Money

  1. Compliance with Laws: Professional CRAs ensure that all background checks comply with the FCRA and other relevant laws, protecting both the employer and the candidate.
  2. Accuracy and Depth of Information: Comprehensive checks involve accessing various databases and records, often requiring fees for retrieval and processing.
  3. Expert Analysis and Reporting: Professional background checks include the expertise of analysts who ensure the accuracy and relevance of the information reported.


While the allure of free background checks is understandable, the potential legal and financial risks far outweigh the initial savings. For businesses looking for a reliable, efficient, and compliant background screening process, it is advisable to invest in a professional service. A qualified consumer reporting agency like EDIFY Background Screening offers the experience and technology to conduct thorough background investigations efficiently and affordably. Choosing a professional service ensures that your background checks are legally compliant, accurate, and a valuable investment in your organization’s safety and integrity.

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