Cyber Background Check: What Is It and How Does It Work?

why people need cyber background check

In today’s digital world, millions, and even billions, pieces of individual information have been weaved into an interconnected web of data, making it easy to find almost anyone on the internet.

A cyber background check can help you uncover an incredible amount of information with significant ease and speed. No matter what your goals are, whether you want to find somebody’s court records or simply check an acquaintance, a cyber background check is one of the most effective methods for this.

But what exactly does it involve, and how does it work? In this article, we take a deep dive into cyber screenings to unravel the answers.

What Is Cyber Background Check?

Unlike a traditional background check, a cyber check relies on the internet and digital data to discover an individual’s personal details.

How is this possible? Remember, you leave behind digital data trails each time you use a product, service, device, or tool connected to the internet.

Some of these are voluntary — think about the content you post on social media or the contact information you share on a personal website.

However, third parties could also create or add data relating to you to the internet without your explicit awareness. For instance, a friend can tag you in a photo or share your messages, posts, emails, and other digital communications with others without your knowledge.

Then there are government agencies, such as your local county clerk, privy to personal information. They could also make some of their records public on their websites.

And when data is in digital form, searching and uncovering it becomes a lot easier than when you’re hunting for information on paper.

But what could show up on a cyber background check?

Depending on the tool you use, cyber background checks can reveal an extraordinary amount of personal data. It can range from online aliases, phone numbers, past and present addresses, social media profiles, and personal relationships to assets, mortgages, liens, and criminal records, including traffic violations, arrest records, and court cases.

Here are the instances when cyber background checks can become useful:

  • Ensuring Personal Safety

Sometimes, you may want to identify anonymous callers, track someone’s movements and online behavior, or learn more about a potential date you’ve met on an online dating app. In all these moments, a cyber background check can help you find information with ease to ensure your safety.

  • Conducting Employment Screenings

According to studies, 71% of hiring managers consider social media screening important for assessing job applicants.

In fact, many employers now use cyber background checks as part of education verification and specific technical skills evaluation processes.

An online screening can also help find information about a candidate’s criminal history for jobs that require a criminal background check.

  • Avoiding Online Scams

The cyber world can expose you to various frauds, from banking scams to shady investment schemes.

You can avoid many of them by verifying you’re dealing with legitimate individuals with a cyber background check.

  • Checking Potential Tenants

Conducting a cyber background check on a tenant is a crucial step in the rental process. Many landlords use it to determine if potential tenants have a reliable rental history and don’t have any criminal records.

With a cyber background check, home owners can understand whether it’s worth renting out a property to someone or not.

Essential Cyber Background Check Tools

learn how to perform a cyber background check

The best options for conducting cyber background checks can depend on several factors — from the purpose of your information search to the type and amount of data you require.

Here are the top tools we recommend:

Nuwber, a people search website

People search platforms rely on trusted sources to find public records and provide accurate and up-to-date information for cyber background checks.

Nuwber, for instance, collects information from federal, state, and local government agencies. The information gathered is vetted for accuracy and compiled into individual profiles, which makes it easier to quickly produce detailed reports.

In addition to a name search, the platform offers reverse number, address, and email address searches.

However, keep in mind that Nuwber isn’t available for employment verification and tenant screenings.

Social Media

With billions of people having digital footprints across multiple networking platforms, social media background checks have become increasingly popular for finding people data.

What type of information can you unearth on these sites? In addition to personal profiles and bios, you can discover someone’s social media connections, interests, activities, and a host of other useful details.

The best part is that these sites are free to use, although you may need to have an account to access their full search capabilities. They won’t typically have any restrictions for employment or tenant screenings either.

Search Engines

While there are a number of search engines available for desktop and mobile, Google is the global market leader for search services. It gathers data by crawling and indexing online web pages and deploys sophisticated algorithms to identify content that matches search queries. This increases the likelihood of finding relevant information for your digital investigations.

Apart from text-based searches, many search engines also offer image verification services with their reverse image searches.

Let’s Sum Up

cyber background check is used for many purposes

Cyber background checks can help you uncover a vast amount of information compared to traditional background checks, enabling you to learn more about individuals and confirm someone’s authenticity faster and without the usual hassle.

This can be invaluable when you need to review a person’s criminal background before hiring or renting out a property, avoid digital scams using identity verifications, or ensure the personal safety of you and your loved ones.

If you prefer a deep people search, a people search platform that could provide in-depth reports is an effective option. For basic cyber background checks, social media and search engines are excellent free resources.

FAQ

Is it legal to vet someone’s digital background?

Conducting cyber background checks using publicly available information is still legal in the United States.

Public data refers to records disclosed by government agencies, such as county clerks or law enforcement authorities. In addition, it includes any type of personal information voluntarily shared by the individual it belongs to, as long as it’s not restricted to a specific group of people.

However, the legality of use depends on how you intend to apply the data you’ve gathered. For instance, state and federal restrictions could apply when it comes to sourcing and using someone’s personal information for hiring purposes.

Therefore, it’s best to look into applicable regulations before you conduct cyber background checks in specific situations.

Respecting privacy is also important, even when you’re legitimately allowed to carry out digital screenings.

How accurate are cyber background checks?

Not all information on cyber space is 100 percent accurate. Some web resources, such as news sites and social media, could carry unverified or outdated data.

If obtaining up-to-date information is essential, using Nuwber is a prudent option. The platform uses advanced technology to source, vet, and verify people records to provide accurate reports for the search services.

Why is it important to screen your own digital footprint?

Many online scams rely on digital data to target victims for identity theft, financial fraud, and a variety of other cyber threats. An excessive digital data legacy can often make you an easy target for these.

A personal cyber background check can help you identify publicly available information that could expose you to criminal activities and enable you to maintain a reasonable level of digital privacy. At the same time, conducting regular data breach involvement checks is also necessary for detecting possible threats to your data privacy.

A digital footprint analysis can be useful for ensuring the accuracy of your personal data, too.

For example, incorrect health information can cause your medical insurance company to increase your premium. Similarly, a criminal charge mistakenly recorded under your name could affect your prospects of securing employment or renting a property.

A cyber background check will allow you to detect such inconsistencies or inaccuracies and correct them in a timely manner.

How can you remove your information from the virtual world?

Start by carrying out a cyber background check of yourself to identify your personal details available online and what you’d like to remove.

A Google search can often help you determine their sources. If they’re published on personal blogs, social media, and other platforms you could directly access, you can delete the relevant information yourself. Don’t forget to adjust your privacy settings to restrict data access.

When it comes to third-party sites you have no control over, you may need to contact their publishers or site owners and request data removal. Check their “Contact Us” pages to find out how you can reach them.

Certain platforms, such as data aggregators, may also have data removal options to delete records they have relating to you. If you want to opt out of Nuwber, you can do it here.

What can you do to protect your digital privacy?

Maintaining minimal data online is the most effective way to gain control over your digital data footprint and protect your privacy.

This would usually mean practicing cautious data sharing, whether on social media, shopping sites, messaging apps, or any other digital platform.

Be particularly mindful of intrusive data-collecting practices deployed by organizations. Cookies, for instance, can save your browsing activities, payment history, and other personal information that could compromise your safety. That’s why avoiding them is crucial.

In addition, adopt strong passwords for your online accounts and devices, seek encrypted digital communication options, and guard against phishing techniques, such as imposter emails and fake websites.

Also, don’t forget to conduct a cyber background check every few months and regularly review your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized usage or unfamiliar transactions.

Eugene Kirdzei
Eugene Kirdzei

Chief Technical Officer at Nuwber
With nearly two decades of experience in the IT industry, Eugene possesses comprehensive knowledge across his professional field, including in data management, data protection, and information search. Through his writing, he aims to provide valuable insights and practical advice on how to safely explore the online environment and leverage digital tools to enhance people’s lives.