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Let’s say you’re in the market for a new flat screen television.  Before you go spending a big chunk of money at Best Buy, you take a look on Craigslist.  Sure enough, someone a few towns over is selling exactly what you want for a fraction of the price.  After a few emails, all is set.  A plan is made for you to pick up the television from that person the next day.

That very afternoon it just so happens that an old college friend calls you to catch up. Let’s call him Keith, a lawyer in Southern Florida.  You start telling Keith about the television set you just agreed to purchase.  Being the lawyer that he is, Keith interrupts your excitement with a dose of caution.  Sounds like a great deal, but do you know anything about this guy?  Is he a friend of a friend?

Keith asks you to give him the address to the house.  You are confused. What is that going to do? Keith says that he runs background checks on people all the time at work.  His office has access to a great service where he can type in the address, find out who lives there and then view all criminal and court records of that person.

Later that afternoon Keith calls back.  It turns out that the man from the address has very “questionable” records.  You look at the report and realize right away that the deal was in fact, too good to be true. There is no way you would hand him a check for $1,200 for a “barely used, perfect condition” $5,000 flat screen.  Crisis averted – thanks to your friend Keith.  Sometimes it’s nice to have friends in high places.

You follow-up with Keith to let him know the outcome, you told the guy the deal was off which did not go over too well.  While overzealously expressing your gratitude for Keith giving you free access to his resources, he interrupts.  “Actually, all these are public records. All law firms have them.”

“Oh, ok they are public records.  So I can get them myself if I wanted to?” you ask. Keith chuckles and replies, “Not necessarily, we pay a lot of money for access to these records. The service we use brings all public records together, updates them automatically, and makes them easy to search and understand.”

You’re surprised that public records are not free, but at the same time, this makes sense. You continue to try and understand, asking Keith how much they pay for the service.  He responds by saying that it’s a lot of money, but it’s included in the cost passed on to clients as part of their legal fees.

Does everyone have a good friend like Keith, a lawyer who would have his legal assistant run the check for them?  No, they do not.  Should people who have lawyer friends or a tremendous amount of money be the only people to have access to this information?  No, they should not. In fact, the people who need this information the most, the people who are most vulnerable, are the same people who usually do not have the same resources as a privileged few.

This is exactly why we created BeenVerified.com.  Our mission is to make public records easy, affordable, and accurate for everyone, giving all people the opportunity to access public records when they need them – instantly, affordably, and reliably. We aim to level the playing field by giving everyone access to the same information for when it comes to making important decisions within our everyday lives.

Large companies always use background checks.  Landlords, lawyers and other professionals have always used background checks.  Why not me and you?

What do you think? Do you have a Keith in your life to run background checks for you, or are you left up to your own devices? 

Public Records Search