WhatsApp Web Video Calls: A Simple Android Hack

You can use WhatsApp from your computer with WhatsApp Web. It lets you send and read texts from a computer by connecting directly to your phone via the WhatsApp mobile app. Everything looks almost the same as it does on the mobile app, but with one major exception – you can’t make WhatsApp Web video calls.

If you want to make WhatsApp video calls from your computer, you can’t use the WhatsApp Web interface. What you can do instead is put WhatsApp on your computer and run it there as if it were on your phone.

The only problem with that is that there isn’t a WhatsApp desktop version that supports webcams! The solution is to install the WhatsApp mobile app within an Android emulator so your computer thinks that the app is the mobile version. This will enable the video calling feature.

Here’s how to fool your computer into thinking you’re on your phone so that you can make video calls from WhatsApp using your computer’s webcam. The method we’ll use involves a completely free Android emulator that fully supports WhatsApp and has been tested to work almost as good as using the real mobile app.

How To Make WhatsApp Web Video Calls From a Computer

To make video calls with WhatsApp on a computer, we have to avoid the WhatsApp Web option and go straight into using the Android app.

  • Download BlueStacks, a free Android emulator for Windows and Mac.
  • Open BlueStacks and install the WhatsApp mobile app.

Note: You should be asked for your Google login information at some point during this whole process. Provide it when asked so that you can proceed with the WhatsApp installation.

  • Select Open when WhatsApp finishes installing.
  • Open WhatsApp from your computer by following the on-screen directions: select Agree and Continue, enter your phone number, and so forth. 
  • Once you see your list of contacts, select the one you want to make a video call with.
  • Just like when you use the WhatsApp app to start a video call from your phone, select the video icon at the top right corner of the conversation to start a WhatsApp video call from your computer.
  • Select Call to confirm.
  • Choose Continue to give WhatsApp access to your mic and camera, and allow the other prompts about recording audio and accessing pictures.
  • The call will start immediately and look exactly how it does from the mobile app on your phone.

Tip : Maximize the screen to take advantage of your monitor’s size during the video call.

Other WhatsApp Web Video Calling Options

You should be aware that BlueStacks isn’t the only Android emulator out there. Some other options include NoxPlayer, Remix OS Player, and Andy. We’ve reviewed a few of the better Android emulators in the past.

It’s important to note that not all Android emulators have a built-in app store like BlueStacks. That’s the easiest way to install WhatsApp on your computer; otherwise, you have to find the WhatsApp APK file and install it manually, which doesn’t always work well.

WhatsApp also isn’t the only video calling app. There are lots to choose from, some of which fully supports web video calls without the need to jump through hoops like you have to do with WhatsApp.

Facebook Messenger and Skype are two examples of apps that have web versions that can make video calls. Just visit Messenger.com or web.skype.com to make video calls from your computer without WhatsApp.

Get This Inventive Android Browser With Full Chrome Extensions Support

While Firefox has been able to install add-ons for the Android version of the browser for some time, the most popular browser Chrome has yet to allow you to run browser extensions in its Android version.

If you have been using desktop Chrome with useful extensions all the time, you will certainly feel that this great feature is still missing when you switch over to the mobile version of Chrome.

The good news is there is an inventive mobile Kiwi Browser that supports desktop Chrome extensions. Based on Google’s open-source browser Chromium, Kiwi is developed by Geometry OU and supported by a team of volunteers.

Besides full extensions support, Kiwi has incredible page load speed, powerful ad blocker, cryptojacking protection, options to move the address bar to the bottom, block annoying notifications and more.  Read More

Using Nmap For Ping Scan + Other Tools to Use

Ping scans are typically used to find which IP addresses are in use on a network. There are, as we’re about to see, many reasons why one would need to do that. Traditionally, this task would be done by issuing successive ping commands and making note of the results. It is obvious that doing it that way is only practical with the smallest ranges of IP addresses.

When you have more than a few addresses to scan, you better resort to using a specialized scan tool. Nmap is one such tool and today, we’re having a look at using Nmap for ping scan.

We’ll start off our discussion by explaining what a ping scan is. And since it relies heavily on ping (who would have thought?) we’ll also give you some background information on the ping utility, what it is and how it works. We’ll then introduce Nmap, a free and open-source tools with several uses and tell you how to use it to perform a ping scan. Finally, we’ll have a look at a few other ping scan tools that you might want to try.

What Is A Ping Scan?

In a nutshell, a ping scan is the act of pinging each IP address in a given range or subnet to find which ones are responding and which ones aren’t. It sounds pretty boring and, to be truthful, it actually is. But there are several reasons why one would want to do that. One of them has to do with detecting rogue devices. They could be devices connected by malicious users to spy on your organization.

They could also be the act of users with perfectly good intentions. I once had this user who prevented many of his colleagues from accessing the network when he connected his home Internet router to it. He just needed a couple of extra ports to connect an additional test computer and thought he could use the switch built into his router. Unbeknownst to him, the router’s built-in DHCP server started assigning IP addresses from the wrong subnet to computers that were trying to connect to the network.

Other than security reasons, scanning IP addresses is also the first step of most manual IP address management processes. Many IP address management (IPAM) tools will include some form of IP address scanning but if you choose to take care of that manually, IP address scanning tools can come in handy. And for those who don’t have any IP address management process in place, scanning IP addresses is even more important. It will often be the only way to ensure that there are no IP address conflicts and it can be seen as a rather crude way of pseudo-managing IP addresses.

About Ping

No matter why you want to scan IP addresses, most tools are based on ping so let’s have a look at this vintage utility. Ping was created out of necessity back in 1983. Its developer needed a tool to help in debugging abnormal network behaviour he was observing. Today, ping is present on almost every operating system although its implementation varies somewhat between platforms. Some versions are offering multiple command-line options which can include parameters such as the size of each request’s payload, the total test count, the network hops limit, or the interval between requests. Some systems also have a companion Ping6 utility that serves the exact same purpose as ping but for IPv6 addresses.

How Ping Works

Ping is a simple utility which sends ICMP echo request packets to the specified target(s) and waits for it(them) to send back an ICMP echo reply packet for each received packet. This is repeated a certain number of times—five by default under windows and until it is manually stopped by default under most other implementations—and it then compiles response statistics. It calculates the average delay between the requests and their respective replies and displays it in its results. On most *nix variants as well as on the Mac, it will also display the value of the replies’ TTL field, giving an indication of the number of hops between source and destination.

Here’s a typical use of the ping command on Linux (the “-c 5” option tells the command to run five times and then report on the results, mimicking Windows’s operation of the command):

$ ping -c 5 www.example.com

PING www.example.com (93.184.216.34): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=0 ttl=56 time=11.632 ms
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=11.726 ms
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=10.683 ms
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=3 ttl=56 time=9.674 ms
64 bytes from 93.184.216.34: icmp_seq=4 ttl=56 time=11.127 ms

--- www.example.com ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 9.674/10.968/11.726/0.748 ms

For ping to work, the pinged host must abide by RFC 1122 which specifies that any host must process ICMP echo requests and issue echo replies in return. Most hosts do reply but some disable that functionality for security reasons. Firewalls often block ICMP traffic too. Pinging a host which does not respond to ICMP echo requests will provide no feedback, exactly like pinging a non-existent IP address. To circumvent this, many IP address scanning tools— is one of them—can use different types of packets to check if an IP address is responding.

Introducing Nmap

Nmap—which stands for Network Mapper—is a free and open-source network scanner created by Gordon Lyon (A.K.A. Fyodor Vaskovich). It is primarily used to discover hosts and services on a computer network by sending various packets and analyzing responses. Nmap started as a Linux utility and was later ported to many other systems including Windows, Mac OS, and BSD.

Nmap provides a number of features for probing computer networks. These include host discovery as well as service and operating system detection. The tool’s features can easily be extended by scripts that provide more advanced service detection, vulnerability detection, and more. It easily adapts to various network conditions including latency and congestion during a scan.

Nmap was originally distributed under the GNU Public License (GPL). However, in later releases, the tool’s authors added clarifications and specific interpretations to the license where they felt the GPL was unclear or lacking.

Using Nmap For Ping Scans

Because host discovery needs are so diverse, Nmap offers a wide variety of options for customizing the techniques used for ping scans. Despite its name, this technology goes well beyond the simple ICMP echo requests mentioned earlier. Using various options, you can skip the ping step entirely with a list scan (-sL) or by disabling ping (-Pn), or engage the network with arbitrary combinations of multi-port TCP SYN/ACK, UDP, and ICMP probes.

No matter what method you use, the objective is always to demonstrate which IP addresses are actually active (being used by a host or network device). On most networks, only a small percentage of IP addresses are active at any given time. This is particularly common with private address space such as 10.0.0.0/8. This is used by many organizations of all sizes, many with much fewer devices than the 16.8 million IP addresses which are available in that address space. Some will have fewer than a thousand machines.

So, without going in too many details, here are a few ways that a typical ping scan can be performed using :

nmap scanme.nmap.org, nmap scanme.nmap.org/32 or nmap 64.13.134.52

Any of these three commands will do the same thing, assuming that scanme.nmap.org resolves to 64.13.134.52. They scan that one IP address and then exit.

nmap scanme.nmap.org/24, nmap 64.13.134.52/24, nmap 64.13.134.-, nmap 64.13.134.0-255

These four commands all instruct Nmap to scan the 256 IP addresses from 64.13.134.0 through 64.13.134.255. In other words, they ask to scan the class C sized address space surrounding scanme.nmap.org.

nmap 64.13.134.52/24 --exclude scanme.nmap.org,insecure.org

This command instructs Nmap to scan the class C around 64.13.134.52, but to skip scanme.nmap.org and insecure.org if they are found within that address range.

nmap 10.0.0.0/8 --exclude 10.6.0.0/16,ultra-sensitive-host.company.com

This one instructs Nmap to scan the whole private 10 range but to skip any IP address starting with 10.6 as well as the ultra-sensitive-host.company.com host.

We could go on forever with similar examples of the tool’s versatility. Nmap’s website (nmap.org) provides ample documentation on how to do just about anything with this powerful tool.

Some Other Tools You Can Use

As powerful as can be, it’s not the easiest tool to use and it’s also not the prettiest. It will get the job of scanning a subnet or a range of IP addresses done but, if this is something you intend to do on a regular basis—and you probably should—perhaps you’d like to have a look at some alternative tools we’ve reviewed for you.

1. SolarWinds Ping Sweep (Part Of The Engineer’s Toolset)

First on our list is a tool from SolarWinds, maker some of the best network administration tools. The company is also known for its many free tools. When it comes to doing a ping scan, the SolarWinds Ping Sweep tool is simply one of the best products you can find. It is part of the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset, a bundle of more than 60 useful, Windows-based network management utilities, including Ping Sweep.

Using the SolarWinds Ping Sweep is super-easy. The tool has a graphical user interface where you enter the IP address range you want to scan. The range can be as big or as small as you want. You can even scan a discontinuous list of IP addresses from a text file. For instance, you could extract a list of assigned IP addresses from your DHCP server and use it as the tool’s input to see which ones are actually used.

SolarWinds Ping Sweep Screenshot

The SolarWinds Ping Sweep tool will ping all the specified IP addresses and list those that responded. This could hardly be simpler. The results can be exported to several file types such as CSV, XML, or even a web page. That way, you can analyze the results using your own favourite tool. As for the results, they don’t only include the IP addresses of the responding hosts. The tool also shows you each address’ response time and it does a reverse DNS lookup to find and display their hostnames.

Prices for the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset–including Ping Sweep–start at $1 495. This is a per named user price and you’ll need one license for each named user. Considering all the other tools that are part for bundle this is well worth the investment – and don’t forget there’s a 30-day trial which you could take advantage of.

Other Tools In The SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset

The SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset includes many more dedicated troubleshooting tools. Tools like DNS Analyzer and TraceRoute can be used to perform network diagnostics and help resolve complex network issues quickly. For security-oriented administrators, some of the tools can be used to simulate attacks and help identify vulnerabilities.

SolarWinds Enginerr's Toolset - Web Console

The SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset also features some excellent monitoring and alerting capabilities. It includes several tools to monitor your devices and raise alerts for availability or health issues. And finally, you can use some of the included tools for configuration management and log consolidation.

Here’s a list of some of the other tools you’ll find in the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset:

  • Port Scanner
  • Switch Port Mapper
  • SNMP sweep
  • IP Network Browser
  • MAC Address Discovery
  • Response Time Monitor
  • CPU Monitor
  • Memory Monitor
  • Interface Monitor
  • TraceRoute
  • WAN Killer Network Traffic Generator
  • Router Password Decryption
  • SNMP Brute Force Attack
  • SNMP Dictionary Attack
  • Config Compare, Downloader, Uploader, and Editor
  • SNMP trap editor and SNMP trap receiver
  • Subnet Calculator
  • DHCP Scope Monitor
  • DNS Structure Analyzer
  • DNS Audit
  • IP Address Management

Official Download link: https://www.solarwinds.com/engineers-toolset/registration

2. Angry IP Scanner

Despite being deceptively simple the Angry IP Scanner makes extensive use of multithreading, making it one of the fastest tools of its kind. It is a free multi-platform tool which is available for Windows, OS X, or Linux. Since the tool is written in Java, you’ll need to have the Java runtime module installed to use it. This is pretty much the tool’s only drawback. This tool will not only ping IP addresses, but it will also optionally run a port scan on discovered hosts. It can also resolve IP addresses to hostnames and MAC addresses to vendor names. Furthermore, this tool will provide NetBIOS information about each responding host.

Angry IP Scanner Windows - IP Range

The Angry IP Scanner can not only scan complete networks and subnets but also an IP addresses range or a list of IP addresses from a text file. Although this is a GUI-based tool, it also comes with a command-line version that you can use if, for instance, you want to include the tool’s functionality in your scripts. As for the scan results, they are by default displayed on the screen in table format but they can easily be exported to several file formats such as CSV or XML.

3. Advanced IP Scanner

Advanced IP Scanner may seem like just another free IP address scanning tool but it has an interesting twist. The tool, which runs on Windows, is totally geared towards that operating system and it features several Windows-related advanced functionalities. More about that in a moment. The tool’s publisher claims this free software is used by over 30 million users worldwide. It is a portable tool that requires no installation.

Advanced IP Scanner

As for the tool’s functionality, it takes an IP address range as input but you can also supply a text file with a list of IP addresses. The results you get from this tool are impressive. You get, of course, the list of IP addresses that responded but you also get their corresponding hostname, MAC address and network interface vendor. For each responding Windows host, you also get a live list of its network shares. By live, I mean that you can click any share to open it on your computer—provided that you have the proper access rights. You can also start a remote control session with any discovered Windows host using either RDP or Radmin or even remotely turn a computer off.

4. Network Pinger

Network Pinger is another free Windows tool. Its interface is one of the most intuitive you can find. The tool’s performance is one of the best you can find. It was clearly optimized for the best possible performance. This tool can send 1000 pings in just 35 ms. This is fast; very fast. Network Pinger features several built-in tools. There’s automated mass ping, traceroute, port scanning, WMI, DNS and Whois queries, an IP calculator and converter, and many more.

Network Pinger Screenshot

Network Pinger makes great use of its graphical user interface and is loaded with visual features. For example, it can build live charts as it performs a ping sweep displaying a visual rendition of the important statistics such as a pie chart depicting the responding vs non-responding hosts or a graph showing average response times.

5. NetScan Tools

There are two different versions of NetScan Tools, a paid one called NetScan Tools Pro Edition and a free, ad-supported one called NetScan Tools Basic Edition with a reduced feature set. Both are toolsets which include multiple utilities and both include an IP address scanning tool called Ping Scan.

NetScan Tools Basic - Ping Scanner

NetScan Tools’ Ping Scan takes an IP address range as input, like most other IP address scanning tools. It scans the provided IP addresses and returns a list of all the scanned IP addresses with their hostname (when resolvable), average response time and a status in text form. Other useful tools in NetScan Tools include DNS tools, Ping, Graphical Ping, Traceroute, and Whois. If all you need is the IP address scanning functionality, go with the free Basic Edition.

6. MiTeC Network Scanner

Last on our list is a free tool called the MiTeC Network Scanner. This is another multi-use tool. It boasts a powerful IP address scanning function which can find any responding host in the specified range. The software will list each found device’s MAC address, hostname, and response time. In addition to just pinging each host, this tool can also poll SNMP-enabled devices and list their interfaces. It can also identify Windows computers and let you see their shares, remotely shut them down, perform remote execution, and more.

MiTeC Network Scanner Screenshot

But back to IP address scanning, the results show up as a table on the software’s dashboard. They can then be exported to a CSV file to be used with another tool. The tool will run on most modern versions of Windows—either workstation or server—since Windows 7. As for the tool’s other advanced features, there are simply too many to mention them all. It includes, for instance, a Whois function and a DNS resolution function.

Read Using Nmap For Ping Scan + Other Tools to Use by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Are Background Checks Accurate? These Certainly Are.

There’s a lot of information that can be turned up using modern technology, but you may still wonder if background checks are really that accurate. After all, acting on incorrect information about someone can have consequences. In this article, we are going to explain just how accurate background checking sites are and which sites to use to get the current information every time.

 

People run background checks for serious reasons. Perhaps you are looking for a long-lost family member? Perhaps you want to find out more about a new neighbour or your daughter’s new boyfriend? Perhaps you don’t trust the new guy in the office.

Whatever your reason, if you run a background check, it is vital that the information you get back is accurate. Just imagine the consequences if it isn’t.

You could end up traveling across the country to meet someone who isn’t actually your long-lost half-sister. You might accuse your daughter’s new boyfriend of having a criminal record when he hasn’t. You could end up accusing your new colleague of something he hasn’t done.

It doesn’t bear thinking about which is why people are so keen to know which background sites are best at generating accurate results. The truth is that some sites are much better than others. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know to make sure that if you run a background check it is accurate every time.

What is a background check?

Before we begin, let’s establish exactly what a background check is and why you might want to run one.

A background checking site is an online service which can generate a profile of anyone in the country by pulling together information from hundreds of different publicly available data sources. The sort of information they can find includes things like:

  • Criminal records (state, county, and city)
  • Employment history
  • Work authorization
  • Credit history
  • Education history (high school and college)
  • Driving record
  • Licenses held
  • Social media profiles

On its own, this information doesn’t tell you very much. But when it is put together, it can paint a powerful and interesting portrait of a person. This can be useful for a number of different reasons:

  • Criminal checks – If you are worried about a neighbor or work-colleague a background check can tell you whether someone has a criminal record.
  • Employment checks – Before hiring someone, employees often like to run a background check to make sure their CV checks out. (There are specific laws governing this kind of background check.).
  • Finding information about someone – If someone in your life is a bit of a mystery and you want to know more, a background check can help.
  • Finding a lost family member or friend – If you have lost contact with a friend or relative, a background check can help you track them down.
  • Checking for local sex offenders – If the risk of possible sex offenders living in your area worries you, a background check can help you know or put your mind at ease.
  • Checking records about yourself – A lot of people are interested in knowing what information about themselves is publicly available. Running a background check on yourself will tell you.

Background checks are useful for all these reasons and more, but only if they are accurate. If they return information which is not correct, this can create far more problems than it solves.

What is the most accurate background checking site

Finding an accurate background checking site is very important, but it is also not as easy as you might think. Some sites are much more thorough than others and while some are just trying to get money out of you at any cost, others are genuinely built by people with pride in the service they offer and a commitment to getting things right.

We have been tested all the top background checking sites to see which ones can produce the most accurate and consistent results. The results are now in and here is our pick of the top three accurate background checking sites:

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified is both a great all-round background checking site and the most accurate of all the sites we tested. They generate detailed reports with all of the information presented to customers in easy-to-follow reports. We tested BeenVerified with multiple subjects and not once did they miss a record we would expect them to find. Even when given vague information, BeenVerified was able to track down the right data.

Their service comes at a reasonable price too. A basic subscription is just $26.89 per month or you can pay a mere $17.48 per month for a three-month package. For such a thorough and accurate service, this is a terrific price.

You can stay up-to-date with the progress of your checks through an excellent desktop dashboard or their smooth and well-designed apps for iOS and Android devices. Their service is fast and easy to use, but there is also a responsive customer support team if you do encounter any issues

ACCURATE BACKGROUND CHECKS: BeenVerified gives you a thorough, detailed, and accurate background checks every time. Use this link for an incredible discount.

2. TruthFinder


TruthFinder was another background checking site that proved unerringly accurate throughout our tests. They didn’t put a foot wrong, even with complex queries and limited data being provided to them. The speed of their work was not quite as consistent as some other providers but this did depend on the nature of the search. Nevertheless, their reports were first-class as were both their dashboard and their apps.

TruthFinder also offers a responsive 24/7 customer support on a toll-free number which is great for new users. There is a real sense that the customer is their top priority, which is not always the case with lesser background checking sites.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: TruthFinder lets you run a quick, accurate background check without hassle. Give it a try with our special discounted subscription offer available to our readers only.

3. Instant CheckMate

 

Instant CheckMate impressed us with the accuracy of their results, and were especially good with vague searches. The speed of their service also impressed us too with results generated faster than every other site we tested.

At $34.78 per month, or with a discount, a three-month subscription for $27.82 per month, they are not the cheapest. But if speed and accuracy are what you need, it might be worth paying a little more.

Instant CheckMate also offers nice apps and a good dashboard. Their customer service was very helpful too and their reports, while detailed, were never too difficult to decipher.

Why are some background checks inaccurate?

There are a variety of different reasons why a background check could turn up inaccurate information. Some of these are avoidable and may be your fault rather than the site, and some are unavoidable no matter which site you use:

  • Initial information is wrong – When you start running a background check, you will be asked to input as much information as you can about the subject. Most sites can dig out accurate reports with a bare minimum of information. But if you input something wrong, it could end up with them checking someone else. It is therefore important to make sure all the details are correct and input accurately. If you have any doubt about a piece of information, it is best not to use it and risk a false-positive result.
  • An error in the records – Background checking sites source their information from dozens of differently publicly available records. It is not unknown for these records to contain mistakes either due to human error or a failure to update or amend files. If they do, a background check is unlikely to know so this false information could be reported as fact.
  • Common details – If a subject has a fairly unique name, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get accurate information. But if they have a common name, like John Smith, it can be harder to differentiate between individuals. Equally, if an address has multiple people with the same name there, mistakes can happen. High-quality background checking sites shouldn’t make these mistakes often, but it can never be ruled out entirely.
  • Different sources – Background checking sites will often source information from different places. Some of these sources can be more accurate and up-to-date than others, so this can have a bearing on how accurate their reports are.
  • Similarities and coincidences – Sometimes, inaccuracies are just down to bad luck. If someone with a similar name also has a similar social security number or birthday, sites can get mixed up and make mistakes. Again, the best sites, such as the ones we have recommended above, have taken steps to mitigate this risk. But none will claim to be able to offer a cast-iron guarantee.

What to do if you think a report contains inaccuracies

If you opt for any of the three providers on this list, the chances of you finding inaccuracies in your final reports are minimal. But it is possible, so it is useful to know what you can do if you have doubts. Try these three steps:

  1. The first thing to do is check through the initial information that you input into the site. Make sure you haven’t entered anything incorrectly, which could be affecting the results.
  2. Next, contact the site’s customer support to ask for advice. All high-quality background checking sites have excellent customer support which can usually be reached either on the phone or through a live-chat service online. They will be able to look into the results you have doubts over and even help you to double-check the source.
  3. The last step is to check the sources yourself. If a background check has got most things right, but there are one or two results which don’t look right, it is worth going to the source yourself to double-check. It might be that their site is checking an out-of-date or inaccurate version of the records and you may well be able to find the right information yourself in no time at all.

Will free background checking sites return accurate results?

We are often asked why people shouldn’t use a free background checking site rather than paying for the service. Accuracy is one of the main reasons we give.

A free background checking site is unlikely to be using sources that are either up-to-date or accurate. They will certainly not be referencing the same huge range of data sources that a paid-for site does. This inevitably leads to them reporting inaccurate results far more frequently. Equally, the algorithms they use to search through these databases are likely to be far simpler than a paid-for site and this means they will make more mistakes.

We get far more complaints and comments about free background checking sites than we do paid-for ones and our tests back up this feedback. As a rule, if you want an accurate background check carried out, don’t use a free site.

Conclusion

If you pick the right background checking site, you can be fairly confident that it will deliver accurate results. But no site will claim to be 100% accurate. In this article, we have picked out the three sites which our tests found to be the most accurate.

But, as we have explained, there are occasions where even these sites can go wrong. Sometimes their sources contain errors and if you give them inaccurate information to start with, this can also lead to bad results. But the chances are that they will return accurate results far more often than not and we would not hesitate to trust any of them

Have you ever experienced an inaccuratebackground check? What did you do? Do you have any additional tips for our readers?

We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?

Read Are Background Checks Accurate? These Certainly Are. by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Does a Sealed Record Appear on a Background Check?

If you have a criminal record which has been sealed and are wondering whether it will show up someone runs a background check on you, don’t fret. In this article, we will explain exactly what happens to your criminal record once it has been sealed and recommend the best background checking sites to see for yourself what comes up.

It is possible for convicted offenders to apply to a court to have their criminal record either expunged or sealed. What’s more, it is quite common for offenders who are looking to make a fresh start to do just this. Depending on the nature of the crime, and whether they fulfill all the necessary requirements, many have a good chance of succeeding.

But even if their application is successful, a lot of people are still unsure whether a background check will be able to reveal their criminal past, even when charges were dismissed. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about sealed records and what information remains in the public domain. We will also advise you how to check your own records to see what can still be found.

What is a sealed record? 

A sealed record is a criminal record which a court has ordered to be sealed. This means that, while the record still technically exists, it is no longer part of public record. In theory, a sealed criminal record can only be accessed with a court order

Getting a criminal record sealed is a fairly simple process. There are a number of different requirements that you will have to meet and these can vary depending on what state the crime was committed in.

Typically, the sort of requirements that all states will look for include things like:

  • Have served your sentence and any probationary period you were given
  • Have no subsequent criminal proceeds or arrests against your name
  • Have waited for the required period of time
  • Have limited prior charges (“three strikes”) is still in place in some states

If you are thinking to have a criminal record sealed, it is advisable to check the requirements in the relevant state closely to make sure you fulfill all their criteria. It is not a bad idea to seek the advice of a lawyer too.

If you do decide to proceed, the next step will be to submit an application to the relevant court. You will then have to wait for them to reach a decision.

What is the difference between sealing and expunging a criminal record?

You may also have read about the possibility of getting a criminal record expunged and be wondering what the difference is.

Expungement is when the record is removed from your file completely and destroyed. There is no mark left against your name and no record exists for a background check to find. That means neither employers nor even the U.S. Army can access those records.

A sealed record is slightly different because the record itself does remain. However, that record is removed from the public archives, and can only be accessed with the court’s permission. Even advanced background checks won’t be able to peek into these files.

The process of applying to get a criminal record expunged is much the same as getting one sealed. The requirements will vary depending on which state the crime was committed and you have to make an application.

It is difficult to say whether you have a better chance of getting a criminal record sealed or expunged. Different courts and judges will have different views. If you are unsure which to apply for, the best thing to do is ask a lawyer for advice.

Do you need to get your record sealed or expunged 

Before going through the process of getting your criminal record sealed or expunged, it is worth checking whether you need to.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), if you were arrested or charged with a misdemeanor, but not convicted, your record must be wiped clean after seven years.

In some states, there are also laws which prevent background checking sites from looking back for more than so many years. In Texas, for example, there is a seven year rule preventing background checking companies from reporting dismissed charges. Other states with similar rules include California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, and Washington.

Also, if your criminal record dates back far enough, you could just chance it. Some background checking sites will only look so far back, so it is possible they will not find your record even if it is still there.

If you want to find out whether your record will show up on a background check, whether it has been sealed, expunged, or not, our best advice is to run one on yourself to see.

Best background checking services for checking your criminal record

We have tested all the leading background checking sites to see which offer the most comprehensive criminal background checking service. The results are in and our top three recommendations are:

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified was the most impressive background checking site we tested, especially when it comes to digging up criminal records. BeenVerified delivered accurate results and they delivered them fast. For the most comprehensive results, we would recommend signing up to their premium package for an extra $9.95 per month. This is on top of their basic subscription price of $26.89 per month or you can choose to pay $17.48 per month for a three-month subscription. While this might sound a lot, BeenVerified actually offers excellent value for money.

Their background reports are comprehensive, accurate, and easy to read. They have a fantastically easy-to-use desktop dashboard and great apps for iOS and Android devices too. Their criminal record checks identified every record we tested them on. They even send researchers to local courthouses and record offices in person to look through physical files and ensure nothing is missed. With great customer support, if you have any problems too, they really were the standout background checking site.

2. TruthFinder

TruthFinder is another background checking site which performed very impressively. They have a two-tier pricing structure, with a one-month subscription starting at $27.78 or you can opt to pay $23.02 for two months. Their basic package offers a full criminal record check which should return such information as sex offender registers, driving records, and data about known relatives.

If you pay a little more for their premium package, you will get every record there is. TruthFinder is impressively detailed and their results are delivered in well designed and easy-to-read reports. There is 24/7 customer support available on a toll-free number too. This means if you do have any issues, TruthFinder will help you day or night.

3. Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate was the other background checking site that we were particularly impressed with. Their comprehensive reports were among the very quickest of all the sites we tested. They are well-laid out and really easy to follow too which we were impressed by.

Instant Checkmate’s comprehensive criminal records searches will dig out complete criminal records as well as things like as sex offender registers, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history, and social media records.

Their prices start at $34.78 per month, but if you choose a three-month subscription you can pay just $27.82 per month. This is a little higher than some other sites but given the speed and quality of their results, it still offers good value for money.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Want to run a quick, in-depth background check with TruthFinder? Give it a try with our special discounted subscription offer available to our readers only.

Does a sealed record appear on a background check?

If you do succeed in getting your criminal record sealed, that should mean that it no longer appears in a background check.

This is because sealed records can only be accessed with a specific court order. These are only likely to be given in extreme cases, such as if you are a suspect or arrested in relation to another offense.

The offense is removed from public record and this is what background checks look at. They will never seek a court order to access records and even if they did, it is highly unlikely they would be granted one.

If you want to be sure your record is clean before applying for a job, the best way to check is to run a background check yourself using one of the sites we have recommended above.

Are there other ways a sealed criminal record could be discovered?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. Even though an offense has been removed from the public record, there are still other ways that someone could find out about them.

If your offense was high profile enough to attract media attention, the chances are that those reports can still be found online. A simple Google search could be enough although if the offense was long enough ago or you have a fairly common name, you might be afforded some protection through anonymity.

In some parts of the world, there are now ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ laws that require search engines like Google to remove content of this nature if you ask them to. Unfortunately, in the USA, there are no such laws, although some states such as New York have come pretty close.

It is worth seeing what the law is like where you are based. It is also worth contacting Google to ask the question too. There are other mechanisms they have in place that you might be able to use to either remove search results or push them down the Google rankings.

Social media could also reveal a prior criminal record too. Most employers these days do look at social media accounts before hiring so it is worth going through your accounts and ensuring any reference to an offense are either deleted or hidden from public view.

RELATED READING: How to run a national criminal background check online

Conclusion

Sealing your criminal record is another way of removing it from public files. The record is not removed completely but it is sealed and can only be accessed with the express permission of the court. A background check should therefore not reveal any sealed records. But it is worth checking before you apply for any job which is why we have recommended the best background checking sites to use.

Have you got any sealed records? Have you run a background check on yourself to see if it appears? It shouldn’t, but mistakes can happen. Is there anything we have missed in this article? Do you have any tips for our readers? We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?

Read Does a Sealed Record Appear on a Background Check? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter