Courtesy of Andertoons
Background checks. You have to have one done in order to get certain jobs,
purchase guns, become a citizen or obtain a passport. Yet, many people
do not ever consider running background checks for another far more important
reason: their own or their family's safety.
Throughout my career I have had numerous clients who did not know the person
they were dating, married to or had a child with either had a criminal
history or had a more extensive history than they were led to believe
existed. Not knowing the criminal history of a person can have serious
consequences for you or your child(ren) in the future.
For instance, I did a consultation with a person a few years ago who had
a young daughter. After several months of dating a man she thought was
a great guy, they moved in together. The mother did not do a background
check, and he had given her no reason to believe he was anything but the
good upstanding citizen he claimed to be. After a few months of living
together, the child's father filed a suit against her and asked the
court to award him custody of the young girl. The father had done a background
check on the boyfriend and discovered he was actually a convicted sex
offender whose victim was only a few years older than his daughter. The
mother was understandably distraught at the thought that not only could
she lose custody of her daughter to the child's father, but that she
had unknowingly allowed her daughter to reside with a sex offender.
We would all like to think we would never be that person; that we would
never unknowingly date a criminal or sex offender, let alone allow one
to live with us. The unfortunate reality of today's society is that
we cannot always trust people as much as we would like. So how do you
protect yourself and your family? Short of hiring a private investigator,
which can cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars, there are
some simple things you can do to perform a cursory background check.
Check the Texas sex offender registry. This will only provide you those
sex offenders that have registered. Some offenders fail to register, particularly
if they are out-of-state; they will not be included.
Check the national sex offender website:
You can do a criminal history search on the Texas Department of Public
Safety website (there is a fee):
For a small fee you can use public records services such as
www.beenverified.com, or many other services you can find doing a Google search.
Check the local jail records. Below are the Collin County, Dallas County
and Denton County links:
- Do a Google search.
While the thought of digging into someone's background may make you
feel uncomfortable, your personal safety and that of your family is worth it.