Conducting a background check for employment, housing or financing purposes may require you to look up your own, or someone else's address history. If you are working with minimal identifying information, such as a full name and date of birth, you can use some online resources; however, with a Social Security number and written authorization, you can pull a credit report and get an accurate picture of where someone has lived for the past several years.
More Information, More Accurate Results
If you're screening a roommate or someone subletting a dwelling, you may not feel the need to ask for a Social Security number (SSN), but still feel compelled to thoroughly research the applicant's housing history. Certain websites can help you retrieve previous addresses based on minimal information. Common names can pose a problem, as you will have to sift through more hits, and if you don't find the results you need, you may have to pay a website to dig further. Free and fee-based services include:
- Zabasearch.com, for free
- Peoplefinders.com, for a nominal fee provides up to a 40-year address history
When You Have The SSN
Use annualcreditreport.com to retrieve your own address history, or use a third-party vendor to order someone's official credit report. You can also order a credit report from any one of the three credit reporting bureaus:
For a fee, you can get a background verification or credit check, both of which list previous addresses, from:
- Factual Data
The final three companies charge approximately $12 to $20 for their services. You'll need an authorization form from the person whose address history you seek, to run his credit report.
- If you are a landlord, many companies offer "tenant screening" services. These can be completed with a Social Security number. Just make sure to comply with all Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements.
Karina C. Hernandez is a licensed real estate agent since 2004 in San Diego. She has written legal articles pertaining to housing and real estate for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA.