The latest wave of kidnappings has made parents more weary of hiring people to work inside their homes.
But, many families are resolving these fears by using the Internet to do background checks on babysitters and maintenance workers. Web-sites like ussearch.com allow parents to search for criminal records online. The search sites offers different levels of background checks at different prices.
In Texas, state residents can search for sex offenders on the Texas Department of Public Safety's site free of charge. Private investigators say the search sites can be helpful in finding convicted sex offenders and criminals, but parents need to remember only offenders who are convicted will be listed.
"It's a tool, it's not a be all end all deal," says investigator Tony Hairford with Isis Investigators. "A person could be arrested 20 times that may be 20 times that may be 5 or 6 years before they're convinced."
Recently, the name Richard Ricci was imputed into an Internet search engine. Four previous arrests turned up on Ricci. He's the handyman who worked in the home of missing Utah teen, Elizabeth Smart. While he hasn't been charged in her disappearance, he was charged with burglary and theft of the Smart home.