OSINT Background Check

OSINT Background Check

What Makes An Expert Background Check from Neotas Different?

We are experts in background screening, from pre-employment online reputation checks to online due diligence for financial institutions. But background checks are nothing new, right?

We know that there are lots of companies providing different types of background checks out there, so why are ours different? Here’s why…

What is covered in a standard background check?

Everyone in recruitment for high-risk roles has to run standardised background checks and regulators require due diligence for financial services organisations. But what are these standardised checks and are there any weaknesses?

Typical background screening can include any number of elements including criminal (DBS check) and credit checks, references, qualifications and employment history, PEP & sanction list checks and media database searches. The issues with traditional background checks is that they’re limited by their very nature. 

References, qualifications and employment history are all easily falsified while many of these checks, while effective, simply tell you whether a company or individual appears on a database or not. It’s a straightforward exercise that isn’t always robust or complex enough for properly identifying risk.

A DBS check, for example, is limited to show only crimes committed and convicted in the UK. What about international crime or migration? How much does it tell us about a person’s personal behaviours? What if there are non-convicted crimes from their past that could pose future reputational risks?

Then there are the issues around manual, in-house checks. These are often time consuming, resource draining and run the risks of bias. Exposing internal staff to bias, or accusations of it, could be seriously damaging to any organisation.

Read more: 5 Industries that should be doing more than a DBS check

So what do Neotas do differently?

As experts in background screening, our reports are completely objective and all-encompassing, best of all they are supercharged by incredible advanced technology. We use OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) to Go Beyond our competitors and current services listed above into data that isn’t covered in standardised checks. We paint a complete picture.

The Neotas methodology leverages open source intelligence by combining proprietary algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing, and human input to investigate individuals and entities in core risk areas.

Open source data isn’t exclusive to Neotas, it’s publicly available and everyone has access to it – but only experienced industry specialists like us have the skillset and technology to unlock it fully.

Best of all? We’re able to guarantee results at a fraction of the cost and in a much faster timeframe than traditional risk consultancies.

“Our results continually show that we are providing more information than any other screening system out there” Ian Howard, Founder, Neotas

Do enhanced checks replace standard background screening?

We don’t replace existing checks, we supplement them and enhance the results. The traditional checks listed above all have their strengths and many remain legal requirements for certain roles or regulations.

By supplementing standardised checks with OSINT, we uncover 100% of publicly available data, from surface level (search) through to the deep and dark web. In contrast, typical online or desktop search facilities can only account for 4-6% of available information. 

This process enables Neotas to accurately report on the character, behaviour, networks and risks associated with the subjects it investigates and highlight critical information that is not identified by the traditional desktop tools. Using OSINT provides a richer, more complete profile of real people – not just database results.

OSINT Background Check tools
Iceberg Image Showing That Only 4-6 Percent Of Data Is Hosted On The Surface Web, With The Rest Stored In The Deep And Dark Web
OSINT Background Check tools
Iceberg Image Showing Data Included In Osint Web Searches Including Deep And Dark Web

Are Neotas background checks compliant with all regulations?

Our searches and results are all completely in the public domain. All searches and results are fully compliant with GDPR and all other regulatory requirements. That’s guaranteed. So what are the expectations for the regulators?

The regulators, including the FCA, expect any information in the public domain to be used in risk-based decisions. In these cases, lack of knowledge would be hard to defend when the data is so readily available.

Organisations such as Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis collate adverse media data from sources like news websites, online search and sanction lists. Our definition of “media” takes that one step further. 

We collate information from the full digital footprint of a business or individual, including social media. This advanced definition of media is crucial and continues to evolve all the time. With new mediums constantly developing, it’s critical that background screening stays relevant this way and continually adapts to include new channels.


Is social media screening ethical? Do background check results stay private?

Privacy matters at Neotas. Our reports ensure that protected characteristics stay protected. As a third party, we will objectively review a lot of information but only the incidences flagged as risk indicators will be reviewed. We only include relevant data in the report. 

Our role will only ever be to demonstrate that a candidate or business meets the level of honesty and integrity expected, then highlight any points of concern. 

“… using Neotas allows us to cover potential risks more thoroughly at lower cost to our clients.” Mike Hicks, Founder, Catalysis Advisory

What is shown on a background check report from Neotas?

Our reports are clear, concise and always supported by clear evidence. We identify risk indicators using a traffic light system. “Red flag” behaviours indicate serious risk, “amber flags” show potential risk that may warrant further investigation. A “green flag” shows minimal risk and confirms the suitability of the candidate or investment.

In all cases, the crucial element for a Neotas search is the context we provide. In due diligence cases, our report provides detailed evidence and an audit trail – including source, screenshot and relevance. We assist clients by providing a framework to help with their decision making processes, ensuring that AI powers the search but our clients make the final risk decision.

For HR and Recruitment, context is equally important. Our HR and Recruitment reports highlight clear risk indicators like abusive or discriminatory language, violence or undisclosed criminal behaviour. We search only for role-related risks and behaviour patterns, reports do not display personal, sensitive information or content.

OSINT Background Check tools
Online Background That Uses Advanced Technology Including Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence And Expert Human Analysis
OSINT Background Check tools
Online Reputation Screening From Neotas Supplements Traditional Background Checks And Reference Checks With Social Media Screening

How is a Neotas search more advanced than standard background checks?

Our signature blend of AI, machine learning and human analysis means we can process data at a hugely efficient rate while producing the highest quality search results. This technology drives all of our searches and is one of the main reasons why we’re able to provide high-end checks both faster and in a more cost efficient way than our competitors.

Although Neotas searches are powered by advanced technology, human analysis remains critical to what we do. Qualitative analysis of reports ensure all results are fully contextualised and that only clear risk indicators are included.

Can Neotas provide international background checks?

Harnessing this advanced technology makes it possible to interrogate unindexed and unstructured information across global data sets and languages, with zero false positives and on an unlimited timeline. 

Using in-house skills and machine translation tools, our searches are able to process data in over 200 languages. We provide enhanced due diligence across global jurisdictions, removing the limitations of traditional criminal or background checks that may only investigate localised or regional databases.

In practice, this technology enables us to identify international aliases, networks and financial data in a rapid turnaround time.

What bodies regulate Neotas background searches?

As a member of AFODD, we guarantee to provide results that have been obtained entirely within the law through access to publicly held information. The rigorous membership criteria ensures that services are held to the highest standards, providing confidence to organisations who want to use internet searches for pre-employment, due diligence or KYC purposes.

OSINT Background Check tools
Neotas Are A Member Of Afodd, Are Gdpr Compliant And Have Iso 27001 Certification For Data Handling

Alongside AFODD, we hold ISO 27001 and POSS (Personnel Online Screening Standard) certification. ISO 27001 is the highest international standard for managing information security. POSS guarantees that our DD searches are carried out by qualified experts, with consent, and fully in line with UK data protection laws. 

How will these background searches protect your staff and reputation?

Accusations of bias, whether conscious or unconscious, can be damaging to any organisation or individual. The real risk comes when these checks are conducted internally. Internal checks leave compliance personnel and recruitment managers exposed to accusations of bias when reviewing potentially sensitive data.

Legally, it’s hard to prove an organisation didn’t use the information seen by an employee to inform any decision. I.e, in the event of a claim, it may be assumed that if you accessed information, you used it to inform your decision. Outsourcing removes this possibility. Neotas are able to process vast amounts of data objectively, only presenting the relevant, risk-based results. 

Do you only background check suspicious profiles?

Up to 25% of our cases in 2020 identified at least an “amber flag” within the report, with up to 5% displaying more serious “red flag” behaviours. With a quarter of cases needing further investigation, deeper analysis insight is clearly critical for safeguarding businesses and improving decision making.

Equally important is that 75-80% of cases return “green flags” – confirming the suitability of a candidate or investment. This confirmation can act as a final seal of approval on a potential investment or hiring decision and comes with a guarantee of zero false positives.

OSINT Background Check Process
Osint Background Check Process

Here’s the Difference

We have the benefit of being experts in background screening and ultimately, our role is to bridge the gap between the information that’s available and the information that’s leveraged for risk-based decision making. The data itself is useless without the tools, insight and deep industry expertise to analyse and contextualise it. There’s where Neotas make the difference and that’s what sets us apart.

We harness proprietary advanced technology to provide insights that are high quality and hyper-accurate, all while keeping costs low. We guarantee to lower risks and improve decision making, that’s the real difference. 

OSINT Background Check

An OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) background check is a comprehensive investigation process that utilizes publicly available information from various online sources to gather insights and details about an individual, organization, or entity. OSINT background checks are commonly employed by businesses, government agencies, law enforcement, and individuals to obtain information for purposes such as due diligence, risk assessment, employment screening, and security measures.

Through OSINT background checks, a wide range of digital platforms, social media networks, news articles, public records, and online databases are analyzed to compile a comprehensive profile. This profile can encompass personal details, professional history, affiliations, relationships, online behavior, and any relevant public information.

The process involves systematic data collection, analysis, and synthesis of information from diverse online sources. This data is then evaluated and verified to create a comprehensive overview that aids in making informed decisions or assessments.

OSINT background checks offer several advantages:

  • Cost-Effective: OSINT relies on publicly accessible data, reducing the need for extensive financial resources.
  • Efficiency: With the vast amount of information available online, OSINT background checks provide a swift and efficient means of gathering insights.
  • Non-Intrusive: Since the information is publicly accessible, OSINT background checks do not involve intrusion into private spaces.
  • Holistic View: OSINT amalgamates information from diverse sources, allowing for a more comprehensive and well-rounded understanding.

However, OSINT background checks also have limitations:

  • Limited Accuracy: Information obtained may not always be accurate or up-to-date.
  • Privacy Concerns: Depending solely on public information may inadvertently intrude on an individual’s privacy.
  • Data Interpretation: The process requires skilled analysts to accurately interpret and synthesize data.

While they offer an efficient and cost-effective means of gathering intelligence, careful consideration of accuracy, privacy, and data interpretation is essential. OSINT background checks harness the wealth of information available on the internet to provide insights that aid in making informed decisions.


Manage Business Risk with OSINT.

Neotas is an Enhanced Due Diligence Platform that leverages AI to join the dots between Corporate Records, Adverse Media and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).

Schedule a Call or Book a Demo of Neotas Enhanced Due Diligence Platform.



Related Articles and Case Studies:

Neotas Social Media Screening and Online Reputation Screening Services:


Picture of Neotas Enhanced Due Diligence

Neotas Enhanced Due Diligence

Neotas Enhanced Due Diligence covers 600Bn+ Archived web pages, 1.8Bn+ court records, 198M+ Corporate records, Global Social Media platforms, and more than 40,000 Media sources from over 100 countries to help you screen & manage risks.

Book a Demo

Explore Neotas Enhanced Due Diligence

Stay ahead of financial crime threats and compliance challenges.

  • Learn about the amendments made to Money Laundering Regulations in 2023 aimed at bolstering the AML framework.
  • Gain insights into the significant increase in SARs and its implications for compliance.
  • Explore the implications of new legislative measures, including the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act.
  • Discover innovative solutions for compliance that promise to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

Stay resilient in the face of regulatory challenges. Download the whitepaper today to empower your compliance strategy for 2024.