Conducting a background check on potential friends, work colleagues, a new partner, neighbor, or even a babysitter is becoming an increasingly popular way of ensuring the people we meet in Illinois are trustworthy. Even the closest of friends (even relatives) can surprise us. So why not take the initiative and double-check you're trusting the right people?
This article aims to uncover everything there is to know about conducting background checks in Illinois, including where to look to run a nationwide background search and whether one can perform a background check for free. But first, let's discuss why it's important to do a quick background check on people you've just met.
Why Should You Conduct a Background Check in Illinois
Running a quick background check in Illinois can help you understand and get to know the type of people you're dealing (or working) with. That way, you can make sure you avoid getting caught up in an otherwise avoidable situation.
Not everyone is as honest as they seem, and it can be difficult to know who to trust, especially if you're not a great judge of character. Deciding to go into business with a former work colleague, trusting your new neighbor to look after your kids, or even going out to coffee with a friend you met online could risk your safety and your families.
Where Can I Go to Conduct a Premium Background Check in Illinois?
There are many places you can go to conduct a background check in Illinois. However, there are three online resources that have proven well in delivering accurate and substantial information about a person.
Truthfinder is widely regarded as one of the most accurate services to check someone's background in the industry. Performing extensive background check services, Truthfinder relies on up-to-date public records to provide users with a detailed report.
Although it does require a monthly membership, you can search nearly any kind of public record through one complete system. Moreover, Truthfinder has a cohesively developed iOS and Android application that members of the public can use to perform a background check easily.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Intelius is a public record search business that provides an extensive search on various types of information, including properties, people, services, phone numbers, arrest records, criminal history, and more.
Intelius also made its services publicly available on iOS and Android, allowing members in Illinois and across the US to perform a comprehensive search at an affordable price.
Moreover, unlike Truthfinder, you don't need to pay a monthly subscription, but depending on what type of searches you execute, there may be some hidden fees.
Instant Checkmate is well-known in the industry when it comes to premium background check services on the market. Able to search through criminal, arrest, and traffic records, Instant Checkmate is a good background check option for employers.
Users will need to create an account; however, searches are easy to perform and unlimited.
100% Free Background Checks in Illinois
The surest way to conduct a 100% free background search is through a local or nationwide database system in Illinois. These systems contain free public records, criminal records, and arrest records on almost any individual.
If you're looking for information on someone you may be intending to date, then an official state public record portal should be the first place you look. These portals contain public record data free for the general public to access.
Though it should be noted that local database systems only provide public data on one particular state; for instance, a local database in Illinois will only provide information or records pertaining to people from Illinois or activity-based there, such as a property address or job.
For a more extensive search, or if you intend to do a background check on someone in another state, you'll need to use a nationwide database like the ones mentioned above.
There are still plenty of records and their respective directories in Illinois where you can access a local database. Described below are some of the different records and directories available.
Illinois Court Records
Link to Court Records: http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/?section=CASEINFOPage
Court records within Illinois are easy to pull up because they are free and maintained by the state judicial branch in an easy to search database. To obtain these public records, visit the state records website by typing in "Illinois State Records." Next, type in the person's name and city to conduct a free background check.
Court records can be thorough as they can obtain information such as documentation of allegations, sworn statements and any affidavits made under oath, and the results of any proceedings, including convictions.
Illinois Public Records
Link to Public Records: https://www.ilsos.gov/isa/globalsrch.jsp
Public records can contain data that may not appear in other Government sources, including records of schools, commissioners, and mayors.
Public records are usually discoverable actions that are typically tied to a credit report. This includes credit scores, but more importantly, any known judgments, bankruptcies, liens, foreclosures, and pending lawsuits against a person.
All these types of public search criteria are considered legal liabilities against an individual that are a matter of public record.
Illinois Criminal Records
Link to Criminal Records: https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/Offender/Pages/InmateSearch.aspx
Criminal records, also known as rap sheets, describe any illegal activities a person that has been processed by the criminal justice system has committed. The documents will also include the varied natures of any crimes committed and vast amounts of data pertaining to convictions, pending and past dispositions, indictments, arrests, and more.
Occasionally the subject can have these records expunged from their file. It's also important that if a criminal background check is carried out for something such as employment that a certified source is used.
Illinois Arrest Records
Link to Arrest Records: http://www.isp.state.il.us/crimhistory/chri.cfm
When Law Enforcement agents make an arrest, an arrest record is generated for the person in custody. Arrest records generally follow under a criminal record report but are more refined to information related to criminal procedures.
This can include what a person was arrested for if they were prosecuted and what the verdict of the prosecution was.
Arrest records often contain the arresting officer's name, place, date, and time of the arrest. Most importantly, the arrestee's personal information, including gender and birth name. Though, these records do not function as criminal records.
Illinois Vital Records
Link to Vital Records: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records
Vital records are search criteria that will show key events in a person's life that impact government influence on an individual's tax liability and assets, such as marriage, divorce, adoption, death, and so on.
Anyone based in Illinois can obtain any vital record through purchase from the county's clerk's office or the Division of Public Records in Illinois.
Illinois Death Records
Link to Death Records: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/death-records
Death records are a more defined subset of vital information explicitly focused on death-related events. These records include more specific information about the individual, including their name, age, race, sex, marital status, occupation(s), and nationality.
They will also include their place of birth and birth date, including the cause of death as well as the date of the deceased. These records are not public and can only be obtained by someone who has a personal or property right interest from the Illinois Death Certificate Database or cemeteries of burial.
Illinois Divorce Records
Link to Divorce Records: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/dissolution-marriage-records
Divorce records, also known as "Dissolution of Marriage Records," are available to the public unless there is an agreement in place to seal this information by all parties or due to certain reasons such as the protection of a child or victim of sexual abuse.
Certified copies of the divorce records cannot be obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and are only issued by the circuit court clerk at the place where the dissolution was granted.
Illinois Property Records
Link to Property Records:
A property search is generally the most popular type of record people research. These search criteria are usually maintained in a town or county assessor's office for tax information and sales transactions.
You can also obtain information regarding property lines and deeds through a town clerk, as well as any surveys that were performed and filed. These records can help us understand when and where people occupied and often portray significant family traces. Property data can be obtained in Illinois from state and federal offices as well as county offices.
City and County-Specific Records in Illinois
Additionally, some counties and cities have their own specific record-keeping databases that you can use for free to check a person's background. Below is a list of counties in Illinois with specific databases:
- City of Chicago
- Cook County
- DuPage County
- Lake County
- Will County
- Kane County
- McHenry County
- Winnebago County
- Madison County
The Bottom Line: Conducting a Background Check in Illinois
While a lot of information can be obtained through a public search in a state database, using a third-party site such as Truthfinder is a better alternative for a thorough background check.
While these sites aren't usually free, memberships entitle you to unlimited searches. Plus, these sites typically check every type of record available nationwide, not just in Illinois, allowing them to uncover data that may only be recorded in other state-specific databases or on social media.
Truthfinder and Intelius, for instance, can track aliases and potentially uncover more incriminating information about a person through their activities on social media, as well as a person's address, phone numbers, and associated family and friends. You will also find that these sites help organize the information into one easy-to-read report.
At the end of the day, whether you decide to conduct a nationwide background check online or via a free record-specific database, the need to look up information on the people we meet, work, date, or invite into our homes, is justifiable for both personal and business reasons.
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