Nowadays you can't be too careful especially when dealing with clients and businesses and that's where background checks come into the picture.
In the old days background checks were done by private eyes or law offices. Sometimes even by the local law enforcement all for a fee. Never mind the movie Private Eye imagery where some trench coat wearing guy with a fedora and a cigarette hanging from his mouth wandered through dark alleys gathering information from shady characters who cowered in the shadows; today's background checks are mostly done with push button ease from one's own computer.
There are now databases that collect large amounts of data about anyone who is on the public radar. Everything from birth dates to past residences, to past employment can be found in these databases. They're quite the controversial topic as sometimes the information is gleaned from information people input from the services they purchase online or even from one's own banks, schools, and especially public venues such as court appearances.
With today's internet based background checks, companies that collect data offer both cursory and in depth coverage so that a person can check on just about anyone or any company to get information that allows them to get a good idea about them.
These are by no means absolutely accurate but an honorable service will provide a gradient of information for a price. Some of these background checks services even have subscriptions so to lower the costs and provide updated data.
It's wise to not only utilize one of these services but also use the consumer based background checks on such companies! You can't lose by layering your options so that you get the best and most accurate information.
Finally, be careful of companies and services that boast about their services, check on what the customers have to say. Also, are their methods of gathering data lawful and ethical? You don't want to be involved in a debacle because some company needed a background check on themselves.