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Checking someone's identity online

Do you need to check that someone is who they say they are? Perhaps you’re a small business that needs to verify a customer, an online dater checking-up on a potential suitor or an eBay seller wanting to check address details. Whatever your needs, you can check the reliability of the information they gave you against official sources.

In the past, screening someone's details could be a time consuming procedure, which would involve contacting multiple organisations or trawling through offline records. However today, services like Peopletracer allow you to check details, such as name, address and financial history, at the click of a button and for just pennies per search.

We've created this guide to show you how our tools can help you check that the information someone has provided you, is reliable.

Why should you check someone's identity?

There are a number of reasons, business or personal, which might mean that you want to check someone's identity online. People may lie about their circumstances, and the fact is that you can't always trust what people tell you. Identity fraud is an increasingly common offence and accounted for 60% of all fraud recorded during 2013.

  • Are you a letting agency and need to check a potential tenant?

  • Or perhaps you’re a tenant and would like to check a landlord’s financial background before handing over a large deposit?

  • Have you met someone online and want to find out more about them and check for any marriage records before you meet them?

  • Are you a business that wants to confirm a client’s identity online?

  • Do you sell products on credit and want to check a customer's financial history before trading with them, such as whether they have any County Court Judgements?

  • Are you a business looking to invest in, or work with another company, and want to check the owner's financial history for issues such as past insolvency?

  • Are you recruiting and want to check a candidate's background and financial history, as they will be required to handle money as part of the role?

  • Are you selling an item on eBay or Gumtree and want to check a recipient's address for peace of mind?

  • Do you have age restricted goods and need to verify a customers age?

Before you begin your search

Finding out as much information as possible about the individual in question will help you with your search. For instance, if you're online dating, the person you are hoping to meet may have mentioned key details such as their middle name, surname, the names of their parents, previous addresses or their age. Details such as these can be valuable when searching, and can help you distinguish them from people with the same name.

As a business, you will likely ask customers for information as part of your standard sales or recruitment process, and this will provide you with what you'll need to verify details online. For example, a letting agency or business that offer products on finance, such as car dealerships, will usually ask for details such as name, past addresses and evidence of employment.

What should you be checking?

  • Address - If you want to verify someone's residence, an address search can throw up a wealth of information. As well as returning the full address and name of the present occupants, you can also view residency information (such as how long they have lived at the address, who else they live with and previous occupants of the property) and property information (such as the tenure, purchase price, and the owner of the property).

    Address searches can also provide you with a Google Map Pin, which allows you to see the location of the property on a map. You can use Street View by dragging and dropping the icon of the orange man on to the location pin of the search result.

  • Financial history - The ability to check people's financial history is a useful tool should you need to perform employee background checks, due diligence or insolvency research to highlight inherent financial risk.

    When you perform a People Search, your results report will provide the option to view insolvency information about the person in question. You will able to see if the individual has any UK CCJs, Bankruptcies, DROs or IVAs.

  • Marriage and Death Records - Checking for marriage and death records related to an individual can be useful for a number of reasons. If you're an online dater, checking for marriage records can alert you to potential foul play and infidelity. Alternatively, checking for death records is an important step to ensure that the person you're dealing with hasn't stolen the identity of someone who is deceased.

Peopletracer offers online access to official birth, death and marriage records sourced from the General Register Office, a department of the Office of National Statistics.

Peopletracer Packages


To get started, simply create an account and select a search package that fulfils your needs. We offer a number of different sized packages which are suitable for different people. If you only want to verify one person's details, the bronze package is ideal, but if you're looking for a number of people you will need a bigger package. To see how many credits each search will use, view our credit usage page.

What can your business do to tackle ID fraud?

More and more businesses are now turning to electronic/online customer identity checks rather than screening paper based documents. This is because paper trails are far more vulnerable to forgery or leaks and the cost of storage is often high. The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group has stated that comprehensive electronic identity checks meet legal standards for customer verification.

Online Know Your Customer checks have therefore become part of everyday business processes, and refer to due diligence activities that regulated companies must perform to ascertain and verify information from their clients.

Peopletracer’s parent company, Tracesmart, offers IDU, a powerful identity verification and fraud prevention solution that may be employed within a variety of business activities and industries to reduce ID fraud and comply with Anti-money laundering regulations. If you are a business looking to conduct 100 or more checks, you can sign up online today.