Have you ever wondered where you can go online to discover the information you need about a person's criminal background? You may even have gone as far as hopping onto your favorite search engine to have a look at what's out there. Unfortunately, though, unless you know exactly what you're looking for, then the thousands of results that will appear before you can become awfully overwhelming.

The trick is to first find out how to identify the right kind of website for your needs so that you can identify it when you see it. Unless you've had one suggested to you, then you will have to do a bit of sifting along the way to check out some of the websites you've found, but it is certainly worth the effort because a good quality site can be used for many years.

When you head into a site, the first thing you should look for is the way in which it divides its services. The majority of people find that the most effective sites are broken down by state. This gives you a more refined set of data that can be broken down to the community level or looked at overall while still being far more useful than looking at stats that cover the whole country.

Furthermore, it means that all of the resources with which you'll be provided will be state-specific instead of only those that are nationwide. This ensures that you'll have a lot more options open to you. For example, while you'll still be able to look at national resources such as the National Sex Offender's Registry, but you'll also have access to your state's court and incarceration records, among other useful facts such as criminal records.

Remember that a background check is only as good as the service that you decide to use to get the job done. Therefore, if there is any effort that you're going to put into your information hunt, it should be for the discovery of a highly effective website that you know is reliable and provides all of the resources that you need for what you're aiming to learn.

Originally published February 4, 2009 10:16 AM