Are you starting to wonder if your "stockbroker" boyfriend is actually a professional scammer?
Or that the guy who messaged you on Grindr and wants to meet up in a random abandoned parking lot might turn out to be a serial robber?
We're here to help. Journalists are basically professional stalkers, but the vast majority of resources we use are free and available to the general public. You just have to know where to look.
Here are 15 tools that you can use to do a background check on your Tinder date, or just see what your ex is up to these days:
1. If someone tells you they’re a lawyer, that’s easily verifiable with the state bar.
2. Same with doctors: The Arizona Medical Board has you covered. You can even see any complaints they’ve gotten.
3. Verify whether someone owns their own business by searching either their name or the company’s name in the Arizona Corporation Commission's database. If nothing shows up, their “business” is probably not exactly above board.
4. Through the Arizona Corporation Commission’s site, you can also look up individual investment advisers and brokers. Their database will not only provide you with that person’s employment history and professional qualifications, but let you know if they’ve ever been convicted of breaking the law or subject to disciplinary action or civil judgments. (Here’s a similar resource that will search brokers registered in other states, too.)
5. Information about licensed Realtors — including work history and any disciplinary actions they’ve faced — is available on the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s site.
6. The Arizona Department of Insurance tracks all kinds of people who could broadly be considered to be in the insurance business — such as bail bond agents, rental car agents, and self-service storage agents. You’ll also be able to see if their license was revoked.
7. The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions provides lists of appraisers, mortgage brokers, and others.
8. The U.S. Department of Justice allows you to search by name for registered sex offenders. They even have an app, if you’re into that.
9. You may not be able to see all the details, but the Maricopa County Court’s site will at least let you know if someone’s been sued, faced a criminal charge, or gotten divorced recently.
10. The Maricopa County Justice Court keeps track of smaller charges, such as traffic tickets.
11. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's provides mugshots and arrest information for anyone who's been booked into jail in the past three days.
13. Using the Maricopa County tax assessor's search function, you can determine whether they own their home — and if so, where it's located and what it's worth. Then, using the parcel number, you can find out if there's a tax lien on it.
14. If you’ve only ever spoken to someone online, do a reverse Google image search for their profile picture before you go to meet them, just to be sure they’re not passing off someone else’s photo as their own.
15. Lastly, if politics are important to you, you may want to search both Arizona’s campaign contribution database and the Federal Election Commission's site to see which candidates they’ve donated money to.
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