Background checks on pennies a day

One of the easiest ways to scour available public records is through a computerized database call PublicData.com.

As an investigative columnist, I’ve been using the site for more than a decade.

I can check criminal and civil records, sex offender records and many other databases within seconds. I use it mostly for criminal background checks and also to find people through their driver’s license records.

The information on it is mostly accurate. I would never put anything in the newspaper found on the database without verifying it further. But it gives me a great start.

In my book, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, I devote many pages to how consumers can use sites such as PublicData.com to learn information about individuals and companies before you hire them.

The cost for an individual annual account is about $30. Prices vary for corporate accounts. Here is the pricing schedule.

As a watchdog journalist writing the Dave Lieber column serving the public, I can say that this is my favorite database website.

As I showed in a previous post about an elderly man who lost $20,000 on bogus foundation repairs, this service easily pays for itself thousands of times over.

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Dave Lieber, The Watchdog columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is the founder of Watchdog Nation. The new 2010 edition of his book, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, is out. Revised and expanded, the book won two national book awards in 2009 for social change. Twitter @DaveLieber

Dave Lieber's Watchdog Nation book won two national awards for social change.

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