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How to Vet Criminal Records Lookup Services

Criminal records lookup services are gaining more importance with more employers requesting them. With a growth of services and information, you must be clear regarding your needs and the reasons behind them. If you understand the basics, you’re in a better position to assess various options and pick the best criminal record lookup service.

Usually, there are two types of providers of criminal record lookup services: the full-service companies and the DIY websites. Whichever of the two you’re considering, here are the most important things to consider when choosing a criminal criminal record lookup service:

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Legal compliance is critical since you don’t want to end up being slapped with a lawsuit for performing illegal lookups. Know the background of the lookup company itself prior to hiring it. Of course, like any other provider, the criminal record lookup company you select should follow all laws and confidentiality principles that apply.
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Types of Lookup Services Offered

Majority of criminal record lookup companies also endeavor into other kinds of background investigations. For example, they may include credit or education verification. When allowed by law, they may also look into drug abuse history. It is good to know the standard and extended packages offered by a background investigation company because, after all, you may benefit from other types of lookups as well. Usually, a customized package is the best choice.


While cost should not be the most important consideration, it is nevertheless important. A huge portion of the price of a criminal record lookup service is dependent on how much you are willing to learning more about your subject. Employers, for example, are often charged a fixed or flat fee for every case. The cost may also change, depending on how detailed you want the report to be (you will be charged higher if you’d like a driving record lookup on top of the criminal check). Make sure you get a detailed price estimate so you know how the cost is distributed in each package.


How long it takes to finish a check depends on the company. But a good turnaround time is no longer than a a couple of days for the standard lookup. Turnaround time is one thing you have to check beforehand so you need.


Usability applies only to DIY websites. Because you will be doing the investigation yourself, make sure you don’t lose time just trying to understand how the website works. As much as possible, the process should be kept simple. The easier it is to use a criminal lookup website, the better.

Additional Considerations

Besides the other criteria, some unpredictable factors could influence your choice, such as a critical acclaim to a lawsuit. Look out for these things as they may point you to better choices.