Background Checks

Whether for business, legal, personal, or insurance purposes, background checks are an important investigative tool in numerous situations. Putting a person in the context of their personal history can help you verify information and base your decisions on facts rather than feelings.

Employee background checks give you the opportunity to evaluate both potential and current employees depending on your needs. You can also order a background check on a business partner.

Personal background checks uncover information about a person’s character and past. Often used in dating and prenuptial situations, a background investigation tells you if someone is being honest about their past or if they are lying about it. They are also used for domestic help screening such as nannies, housekeepers, and personal assistants.

For attorneys and legal or insurance purposes, a background investigation can give you the best information available to judge the opposition and assess their past, helping you win your case. Read more about each area we cover below.

Business and employee background checks

If you are interested in researching a potential or existing employee, or if you just need to verify information on a potential business partner, a background check is your best bet. Below are some common questions about business and employee background checks.

Legal background investigations

The chart below describes the various services we offer for background checks. Note that the last category on the chart describes the Background / Asset Combination. Choose this search if you want to conduct a personal assets investigation in addition to researching someone’s background. For a free consultation or to get started right away on your project, call us for service throughout California and the US at (800) 487-0947 or e-mail us. You can also order your investigation by going to our online order page or download our fax form.

  • Choose a Plan
  • Name and social security number verificationName and social security number verification
  • Criminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and feloniesCriminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and felonies
  • Countywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record searchCountywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record search
  • Includes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residenceIncludes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residence
  • Statewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of defaultStatewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of default
  • Felony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender RegistryFelony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender Registry
  • Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc. Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc.
  • Real property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraftReal property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraft
  • Education, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliationsEducation, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliations
  • Family background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens - confidential source informationFamily background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens - confidential source information
  • Level 1

  • $250*

    You provide name and recent address, SS# or DOB

  • Name and social security number verificationyes
  • Criminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and feloniesyes
  • Countywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record searchyes
  • Includes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residence
  • Statewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of default
  • Felony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender Registry
  • Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc.
  • Real property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraft
  • Education, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliations
  • Family background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens - confidential source information
  • Level 2

  • $485*

    You provide name and recent addressrecent address, SS# or DOB

  • Name and social security number verificationyes
  • Criminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and feloniesyes
  • Countywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record searchyes
  • Includes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residenceyes
  • Statewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of defaultyes
  • Felony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender Registryyes
  • Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc.
  • Real property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraft
  • Education, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliations
  • Family background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens - confidential source information
  • Level 2 Plus

  • 1. A complete wide-ranging profile of your subject

    2. Often used for business due diligence, prenuptial, dating and executive pre-employment

    3. Background portion gives personal profile, including criminal research, (felonies and misdemeanors), civil cases, divorces, driver record, age confirmation, aliases, relatives, address history and false Social Security numbers

    $750

    Combines Level Two Asset & Background Searches

  • Name and social security number verificationyes
  • Criminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and feloniesyes
  • Countywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record searchyes
  • Includes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residenceyes
  • Statewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of defaultyes
  • Felony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender Registryyes
  • Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc. yes
  • Real property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraftyes
  • Education, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliations
  • Family background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens - confidential source information
  • Level 3

  • $950

    Deep Background - special projects

  • Name and social security number verificationyes
  • Criminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and feloniesyes
  • Countywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record searchyes
  • Includes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residenceyes
  • Statewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of defaultyes
  • Felony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender Registryyes
  • Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc. yes
  • Real property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraftyes
  • Education, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliationsyes
  • Family background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens - confidential source informationyes

Legal Background Investigations

Level 1 – $250

You provide name and recent address, SS# or DOB

  • Name and social security number verification
  • Criminal research – countywide searches for misdemeanors and felonies
  • Countywide search for superior court civil cases, DMV driver record search

Level 2 – $485

You provide name and recent address, SS# or DOB

  • Includes all Level 1 searches above
  • Includes fraud scan for aliases and false Social Security numbers, address history with dates of residence
  • Statewide bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, evictions, foreclosures and notices of default
  • Felony searches in three counties where the subject has preciously resided, Sex Offender Registry

Level 3 – $750

Combines Level Two Asset & Background Searches

  • Includes all Level 1 and 2 searches above
  • Real property search by name and address and vehicle ownership search, Fictitious business (DBAs), corporate president and agent for service searches, Uniform Commercial Code filings, Superior civil court cases, etc.
  • Real property equity assessment, with trust deeds and current market value, Limited partnerships, statewide professional licenses, Board of Equalization and watercraft

Level 4 – $950

Deep Background – special projects

  • Includes all Level 1, 2 and 3 searches above
  • Education, business and professional history, military service, source of income, and business affiliations
  • Family background and marital history, search for Federal criminal cases -nationwide bankruptcies and tax liens – confidential source information

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I do a pre-employment background check on a new hire?
If you are thinking of hiring a new employee, you are well served to get a pre-employment background check done before the hire. If you hire a third party to conduct these background checks they fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) so procedures must comply with this law. The most important of these is that the employer must get the consent of the prospective employee before conducting the background search.The specific things that normally comprise these searches include the employee’s credit report, their driving record, any criminal records and their work history. Other items can include verifying education and interviewing references. While the employer can consider one’s credit report in evaluating a hire, they cannot refuse to employ based solely on a bankruptcy.

Private investigators are the best source for these pre-employment background checks because they are experienced at not only research but in sniffing out deception. Background checks for employees are essential not only to getting the best employee for the job but they also protect the employer from being found liable in the event the employee does something negligent and the company gets sued. If these checks are not performed, in some cases the company can be held liable for failing to properly vet the employee.

How do I investigate my employee’s background?
If you need to investigate a current employee’s background, chances are there is something suspicious going on that creates this need. Perhaps you suspect them of stealing or embezzling cash, merchandise or other property. Or you may suspect they are involved in workers compensation, disability or unemployment fraud. In rare cases you may suspect they are stealing intellectual property, trade secrets and selling them to your competition.Whatever the reason you need background research done on your current employee, hiring a private investigator is the best source for such an investigation. Since these background checks fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA,) hopefully you obtained their permission to run their credit report when they were hired. In cases where this is not available, it may be the case that if the credit report is not run, other types of background research can still be conducted. (State laws vary on this and prior advice from legal counsel is strongly recommended.)

Private investigators are experienced in tracking down fraud and other forms of employee misconduct. Get them involved early on so they can advise you as the best tactics. Also be sure to keep the circle of people that are aware of the investigation to a minimum to make sure the employee is not tipped off.

I think my business partner is stealing funds, how do I find out?
If you suspect that your partner, CFO or other key senior executive is stealing or embezzling funds, the first thing to do is limit the number of people who are aware of the suspicion. Secondly don’t try to go it alone and start asking a lot of questions that will alert the suspected person. As soon as you become aware there is a problem, hire a private investigator with experience in fraud to organize the investigation.The best way to prove stealing or embezzling funds is to catch the person red-handed and get solid evidence that is admissible in court. If you have a good idea of how it is happening, your investigator may create a strategy of setting up a sting or predictable situation where the crime can be documented either by covert video or a traceable paper trail.

If the crime has already transpired and the suspected person is not in a position to continue the fraud or theft, this is a slightly more challenging situation in which the investigator will work on solving the crime and finding ways to confirm the suspect did it. Lastly the private investigator can advise on counter-measures to prevent the criminal activity from happening again.

How do I investigate someone I’m thinking of going into business with?
If you need to investigate someone you are thinking of going into business with start by getting as much information on them as you can. This would include things like a resume or a LinkedIn profile. Getting their correct full name, date of birth and home address is also key.You can start by doing some online research on your own such as “Googling” them. Also ask for references and take the time thoroughly to check them out, a phone call is preferable. You should also get a list of any prior investments or business partnerships they have had and have conversations with those people as well.

The next step is to hire a private investigator to verify the information that has been supplied to you by the person. The investigator will conduct research as to what past business affiliations they have had and whether they have been involved in lawsuits. In addition the private eye will find out about their financial past, including bankruptcies, judgments, liens against their properties and IRS levies. A modest investigation investment before going into business with someone can save you from loosing thousands of dollars in the future!

Personal background investigations

Research on someone’s background in your own life can offer you piece of mind when making decisions about the future. All background checks are confidential, the person being investigated does not find out about the investigation.

What can be learned when performing, for example, a background check on a nanny or new boyfriend? The starting point includes information such as their age, marital status, address histories, criminal prosecutions and convictions, and their driving record. You can also find out if there have been debt problems in the past, including bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments and notices of defaults. We find out if they are using false Social Security numbers or if they have aliases or AKA’s (“also known as”). We can also identify past lawsuits, whether they are suing others or if they have been sued in the past.

The deeper levels of background investigations include contact with neighbors and associates to find out about personal habits, dating history, alcohol or drug use, personal lifestyle, social status and civic and community affiliations. All this is conducted using pretexts, so no one knows the investigation is being conducted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who initiates these searches?
Fiances, boyfriends, girlfriends, concerned relatives, and anyone else entering into a personal or any other type of relationship, personal or otherwise. You may need to background check a nanny, a new person in your life, or a longtime partner before marriage.
How do I find out about my son/daughter’s fiancé’s background?
If you need to find out about a fiancé’s background there are a few things you can do yourself and there are others that require the services of a private investigator. To do your own sleuthing, start with the obvious like websites Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also sometimes find more information on other sites such as Instagram and Pinterest.The next step is an in depth Google search. It helps to put the person’s name in quotes since this will filter out matches on just the first or last name. If they have a common name, include additional search terms like the city they live in and perhaps the name of a former employer or relative. Keep on clicking hits several pages into the Google results, you never know what you may come up with, such as revealing comments they have left on blogs or other sites.

The next step is to hire a private investigator to do a real background investigation that includes things like name verification, prior addresses, driving record, civil court cases, bankruptcies and criminal records. There are low cost websites that advertise these services; however they are often inaccurate and unreliable. A professional investigator can also conduct further research such as prior marriages and business affiliations.

I think my husband has been lying to me about his past, how do I find out?
If you think your husband is lying to you about his past, you need to do a background investigation on him. There are a few things you can try on your own such as “Googling” him, but in most cases the services of a professional investigator are needed to dig deep enough to get to the truth.Before hiring a private eye to do the background investigation, you can help by gathering all the data you have on him. This would include his full name, any aliases or nick names he might have used, his date of birth and Social Security number. Other important information would include the names of ex-spouses, the names and addresses of relatives and a list of places he has lived before. Lastly provide the investigator with whatever facts you think he is lying about.

The private investigator will then go about tracing back the history of the subject and figuring out what is fact and what is fiction. These investigations can reveal an accurate address history and any other names or alternate Social Security numbers they may have used. Depending on the type of background research you have requested, such vital information as prior marriages and any criminal past will be revealed.

I met someone online but I’m not sure if they are real, how do I find out?
If you meet someone online and you are not sure if they are real or who they say they are, you need to identify them and research their background. First of all if they are from a foreign country, there is a very good change that they are scamming you. The quickest way to check that out is to insist that they give you a phone number to call and have a conversation with them in which you ask questions that can validate their story.Even if the person is in the same country, the same test applies; you need to have a phone conversation to verify their story. If they pass that test, then you need to confirm their identity. One way to approach this is to ask for an address so you can send them a card. Once you have a name and address you can then hire a private investigator to verify that this person exists and that they are the person they claim to be.

If the person refuses to give you a full name and physical address, you have reason to be suspicious. In most cases it is reason enough to assume they are lying to you and end the communication. If you still want to pursue the relationship, then contact a private eye to have them research the identity and background of the person.

I think my boyfriend is married or has a criminal past, how do I find out?
If you think you boyfriend is married or has a criminal past you need to conduct a background investigation. First you need to gather all the information you have about them. One good place to start would be to get a copy of their driver’s license. If you don’t have access to a copier, then take a snapshot of it with your phone, store it in a safe place and delete the photo from your phone.Next gather any other data you can on who they are, such as date of birth, pervious addresses and names of family members. The next step is to hire a private investigator to verify the information and conduct background research. For criminal research it is important to have an accurate full name, correct date of birth and an idea of the pervious places they have lived. If you don’t have this a private eye can get it for you.

For research on previous marriages, the investigator needs a list of pervious places they have lived. Marriage records are usually kept at the county recorder’s office. If the person has lived in several counties or states, then marriage research has to be conducted at all of these locations. Again if you do not have the address history, a private investigator can find it for you.

Legal background investigations

For attorneys and insurance purposes, the legal background investigation starts with confirming information such as name, date of birth, Social Security number, drivers license number and last known address. From there it reveals whether the subject has aliases or false Social Security numbers. It identifies any criminal history, including prosecutions and convictions. The driving record is run to identify DUI convictions, moving violations and prior accidents.

One of the most important aspects of the legal background investigation is a thorough search for prior litigation. This includes cases where the subject is either a plaintiff or defendant. This may include searches in several jurisdictions in the event the subject has moved frequently. Also important is such information as whether the subject has bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments and notices of default in their records.

The more in-depth background investigation addresses the overall personality of the subject, personal habits, dating habits, family situation, divorces, substance abuse issues, standing in the community, civic affiliations and other such personal information.

Frequently Asked Questions

We need to investigate the defendant’s criminal background.
If you are involved in a lawsuit and you need to know about the background of the defendant the first key factor is making sure you properly identify the person. Do you have the full name with correct spelling and date of birth? Does the defendant have any AKAs (“also known as”) nicknames or aliases? Do you have a current or last known address? Having all this data will get the project off on the right footing.Hiring a private investigator is the next step in conducting a criminal background check on the defendant. Although many law offices have access to certain online research tools, a thorough and professional investigation requires more than just putting names in database queries. Professional investigators are skilled in knowing when to rely on databases and when to have court records checked in person.

One key factor in an accurate criminal background investigation is identifying where the subject has lived in the past, specifically which counties they have lived. Most criminal court records are kept only at the county court level since most states do not have accumulated court records for all counties. This means for the most accurate criminal background, multiple counties will need to be researched.

How do I find out about my client’s background?
Many times an attorney will need to check out his or her client’s background either because they have some suspicion there may be trouble or simply preemptively to be sure the opposing party does not bring an unpleasant surprise to court. If there is one thing you don’t want to happen in a court room it is to be ambushed with bad news about your client’s past.The best place to start is by asking your client to give you information on their past which can help you target the background investigation. Explain that the opposing side may do background research so it is necessary for you have all the facts, good or bad. Assure them that the information will be kept confidential since it will be covered by the attorney-client privilege.

After you have interviewed your client the next step is to hire a private investigator to conduct a thorough background investigation on your client. Supply the investigator with the data provided by your client, but also tell them to not rely solely on this data. The investigator will then perform the search and get back to you with the hopefully the good news that there is nothing in their background that can undermine your client’s credibility.

I need to find out if the witness/doctor/expert has a criminal background.
When you are going to trial it is often advantageous to investigate the background of any witness/doctor/expert who the defense or plaintiff may be calling to the stand. Valuable information gleaned from these investigations can range from criminal cases and civil cases to unknown business or personal relationships with parties involved in the litigation.Of course the mother lode of damaging background details is finding out the party has been convicted on criminal charges in the past. The key to making sure a comprehensive criminal background search is conducted is to make certain that you have good identifying data on the witness/doctor/expert, etc.

Many times you will only have a name and other minimal information supplied on these witnesses by the opposing party. This is where the services of a private investigator are needed to take whatever information you have and develop it into first a confirmed match for the name and home address of the person and subsequently a detailed criminal background investigation, including searching all the jurisdictions that the subject has previously lived in.

What people are saying

Thank you for providing me with such outstanding service. I truly appreciate you and your staff for all you’ve done for me and my family…. I’m totally pleased with the outcome and their findings… Great job!

Gerome S. | Retired | USA

I have used Tristar for years. Their response time and results are unparalleled. They get my highest praise.

Robert Clayton, Attorney | Taylor & Ring, LLP | Los Angeles, CA

Tristar found my birth mothers records the same day. I am very impressed with their professionalism and the services they provide. I will use them again for any of my needs.

Dr. Claudia Barne | Professor | 23 years

Tristar was very helpful in my address search. Kellie Anguiano was very personable and kept me up to date with the search process… Thank you so much for your help!

Emily | DDS Student | 2 years | Los Angeles, CA

Tristar is by far the most reliable and efficient investigator we have ever used.

Nicole Young | Attorney, 14 years | Woodland Hills, CA

Tristar in the news

Tristar Investigation has been featured in a dozens of publications, everything from print to TV and radio. Bellow you will find Burce Robertson interviewed and discussed on famous publications such as the History Channel, New York Times, CNN and a lot more.

News Coverage Highlights

Bruce Robertson is the founder of Tristar Investigation, a private detective agency in Los Angeles, CA. Tristar has a 28-year track record of delivering quality investigative results. Headquartered in West Los Angeles, Tristar has branch offices in San Francisco.

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Real Life Private Eye

In November of 1999 Bruce Robertson, founder of Tristar Investigation, was featured on CNN Worldwide show Showbiz Today with Gloria Hillard. The report was about an ABC television show called “Snoops”, which was a glitzy send-up of life at a detective

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