CheckPeople Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/features

Summary

CheckPeople.com provides a simple, straightforward way to find basic information as well as criminal records and background checks. It is a cost effective and secure site that will give you the peace of mind you are looking for.

3.8
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • Simplicity is key – the site was easy to navigate and the results were narrowed down so that you weren’t overwhelmed with too many options.
  • The comprehensive list of people you’ve searched is very nice. If you have searched someone with a generic name and had trouble finding the right person you won’t have to search through a long list again – you can go directly to the correct person.

Cons

  • The initial search to find who you were looking for before you signed up took a very long time. I was able to walk away for a few minutes and come back to a screen that was still loading.
  • Cancellation was a hassle because you had to search for the number to call and then wait on the line for a significant amount of time before being connected with a customer service representative.

Meh

  • There were quite a few times where a search would fail or stall, leaving me on a blank screen and forcing me to start over from scratch. If I tried to reload, it would do nothing. This could, however, have been caused by my browser or internet.

I was searching for a background check site because I was buying a car for my daughter from a gentleman in another city. I wanted to make sure that he was who he said he was and that he didn’t have a criminal record or anything else I should be aware of on his record. It seemed a little fishy when he requested that I give him a cashier’s check for the cost of the car so I did a background check just to feel more comfortable meeting up with him.

Who is CheckPeople.com?

When I looked into this background check company, I was pleased to find that the team who put together CheckPeople.com was founded in Palo Alto, California and has over 20 years of experience in running internet businesses. Their main goal was to help people make well-informed decisions by providing a wealth of information without breaking the bank. They did the best they could to make it affordable so that everyone could have access to information.

CheckPeople.com Pricing and Plans

As opposed to other companies I looked at, CheckPeople only had one pricing option. For just $1 you are given a 5 day trial of the site, after which you are billed $44.85/month. The trial gave you unlimited searches and there were no upgrades or hidden fees. If you cancelled within the 5 days you aren’t billed recurrently. Truthfully, you can’t beat that price anywhere else I looked!

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I also found it reassuring that they made it clear in the text below your payment information what you were agreeing to. It was not an obscured link that you had to search out and find but was, instead, in plain sight.

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How To Use CheckPeople.com?

When I began the search, it took a little while to load up the report but it showed a status bar alongside the many things it was searching. Not only did it search public records but it also searched a plethora of social networks for information. This showed me that they cared to look in as many venues as possible so they can get you any information they can.

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It also went through a few security checks and made you agree to not misuse the information and confirm that you are not “a robot” by doing a captcha-style confirmation. Its nice to know that they are taking measures to keep data-mining bots out of the system.

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The site offered you a few different ways to search – by name or by phone number. Once you searched, the results were listed and all potential matches showed age, location and relatives to help you find the correct person. This was especially helpful when you were looking for someone with a generic name.

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At the very top of the page was an easy-to-use menu that let you tab between personal information, address history, related people, marriage/divorce records, criminal history, and sex offender records. Each section was very straightforward and told you clearly if no results were returned. The Sex Offenders section searched not only the person you looked up but also people nearby their current residence.

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Above where the different sections are, there was a PDF download option which, for $1.99, allowed you the ability to download the results of any search you do in PDF format and save it forever on your computer.

It does seem that the background check function was the same thing as the people search. I didn’t notice any difference between the two.

How Good is CheckPeople.com Data?

Because I’m a cynic, I wanted to make sure the information being provided to me was correct and trustworthy. I searched myself and a few people I know well to see how accurate the results were and found that it was mostly correct. There were a few discrepancies peppered throughout but nothing significant.

I have been married and divorced and I was surprised to see that was not reported when I looked myself up. There weren’t any marriage or divorce records for anyone I searched across the country. Of course, some states do not report that information, while others make those records public and searchable.

When I reverse searched my own phone number I found it linked to my maiden name, which has been changed for over 7 years. I will say, however, that the handful of other numbers I reverse searched did come up with correct information from which I was able to search the people they were linked to.

I also happen to know that I have 3 sex offenders living within a half mile from my house. As any mother would, I’ve looked this information up independently on online sex offender registry sites. None of this showed up on my own background check, which makes me weary that the same might be true on other reports I searched. Perhaps the radius is less than a half mile, though. If it was only looking at direct neighbors it may not have come up with anything.

When you visited the “My Home” tab at the top you were taken to a place where you could change your password and assess your membership status. It also gave you a comprehensive list of the people you have searched with a direct link to their report so you don’t have to do all of your searching from scratch.

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How do I Cancel CheckPeople.com?

To cancel this subscription, I had to do a little more work than I expected. There was no readily available option to cancel your subscription. I looked in my “My Home” and under “Update Account Information” but found nothing. I scoured the site and finally, buried deep in the terms and conditions, found that you could cancel your account by calling a toll free number. Upon calling, I was directed by an automated system to wait as all representatives were currently busy. After about 10 minutes of mildly-pleasant classical music, my call was finally answered. A sweet lady named Elaine asked why I was canceling, offered me a discounted subscription rate of $14.95/month if I wanted to continue, and then gave me a cancellation verification number and told me to look for an email. Most sites I’ve encountered in the past let you cancel online with just the click of a link and answering a question as to why you were canceling the service. I found the phone call and subsequent wait to be rather tedious but ultimately effective. I wasn’t harassed and I felt like I was able to accomplish my cancellation

CheckPeople.com Final Thoughts

Compared to other sites, CheckPeople seems to be focused on simplicity and ease of use. It provides you with the data you need without a bunch of hassle. It is generally correct and thorough, which is ultimately what was most important. In my search, I didn’t find any sort of criminal record or red flags that would breed mistrust. The last thing I would have wanted to find was that he had a history of fraud! True, the information doesn’t go into much detail but it was sufficient for what I was trying to do. I’m sure that more in-depth information would be more costly and I was trying to avoid spending a bunch of money if it wasn’t necessary. CheckPeople was the perfect tool for me and I will surely be back next time I need to do a little research.

 

InstantCheckmate Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

The information I acquired through InstantCheckmate has proved to be thorough and correct, making it invaluable to me. It blows the competition out of the water with the user-friendly interface and high level of commitment to accuracy, providing you a ton of information in an easy-to-navigate format.

4.5
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • The interface was very easy to use, visually appealing, and was very direct. You didn’t have to search around for what you wanted because there was a guide on the left side of the page that let you quickly jump to whatever section you were looking for.
  • When the report is generated, the site guides you through a few steps showing you where to find pertinent information, how to navigate successfully, and just general suggestions to make your experience easier. I found this to be very thoughtful and helpful.
  • The ability to flag information as incorrect is a nice bonus. It shows that the company is concerned about the validity of their information which made me feel much more confident in the information I was receiving.
  • Canceling the service was simple and easy. In the account settings, I pressed the link to cancel account, it asked me why I was canceling, then it offered me a discounted price to stay. The discounted monthly price was $9.97/month, which is a tempting offer but I decided to cancel anyway.

Cons

  • The time it took to search seemed excessively long. There must have been at least 6 screens showing that data was loading in the process of procuring a report and that was before you ever paid for the service. After you paid for the service, the searching was instantaneous which makes you think that maybe the beginning wait was just a way to create suspense and get users invested emotionally in the search process.
  • The price was a little steep for me, considering other sites offer background checks for less. It was only after I signed up that I was made aware that there was a premium option that was an additional fee. All in all, I paid a little over $50 for information that proved to be invaluable so it was an ok trade off, in my opinion.
  • If you had the need to use the service for an extended period of time they offer a discounted price for 3 months but unfortunately they only offer this if you pay the entire price up front. With the automatic renewal, this would mean that you are charged $83.47 every three months and if you accidentally forgot to cancel the service it could be quite the hit to your bank account.

Who is InstantCheckmate?

InstantCheckmate found its beginning in 2010, originally serving as a resource for people to search online-dating prospects. This was around the time that online dating became popular and, unfortunately, more and more fraudulent profiles were being created. Of course, people needed to be able to trust who they were talking and InstantCheckmate provided them with the resources they needed to validate that the person not only was who they were claiming to be but also that they didn’t have any glaring negative marks on their record that they may not be admitting to. From there, they expanded to serve people on so many more levels. Ultimately, they seem to have made it their goal to make the truth accessible to anyone, from the basics like contact information all the way through criminal records and sex offender status.

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InstantCheckmate Pricing & Plans

I stumbled across InstantCheckmate was because of a gentleman I met on a Caribbean cruise . We got along fantastically and started to spend quite a bit of time together. He seemed very sweet but, for the sake of being thorough, I decided to do a little background research.

When I searched his name, I was offered two package options. The first was a 1 month of unlimited reports for $34.78/mo and the second was $27.82/month if you signed up for 3 months at the very beginning.

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I chose the 1 month because I only really needed to search one person and didn’t think I would have an ongoing need for the services. I made sure to check out the billing details, as denoted by the asterisk and found that the membership would automatically renew after 30 days unless cancelled.

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Upon entering my details, I submitted the form and was taken to a screen that offered the option to download my reports to my computer, print or send reports to friends. If I hadn’t been paying attention, it would have been very easy to press the big green button to continue but I chose to continue without the ability to download them.

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I’m sure it is a very convenient option for people that don’t mind spending a little more money.

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How to Use InstantCheckmate?

Once I was all signed up, it pulled up the report and gave me little tips and helpful tidbits of information to help me make the most of my search. It showed me where to find features and offered an upgrade that would reveal a deeper level of information which, to be honest, I didn’t think I needed until I read his report.

Everything seemed pretty normal at first – contact information and relatives were sparse and there wasn’t much of a social media presence reported. A little further down things got a lot more interesting. There were a slew of charges against him noted, beginning with underage drinking, fraudulent license plate tags, driving without insurance, driving while license was suspended, etc. Then, the fraud charges. Not only did he have charges against him referencing Financial Identity Fraud but also a Felony Larceny!

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Needless to say, I immediately paid for the premium membership so I could access more information, It offered civil judgement, professional licenses, weapons permits, and much more.

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At this point, it was mostly curiosity that drove me to dive deeper and it didn’t prove to be that much more beneficial. Most sections that were provided by the “premium” function were blank and said returned 0 results. Despite the lack of more information, I am incredibly glad that I followed my intuition and checked into him! There is no way, knowing what I know now, I would let this man into my life.

When the website said that they have a wide variety of information that was suited to anyone, they weren’t kidding. The report showed basic contact information, possible relatives, birth date and other known names for the person. Something I haven’t found with other search sites is that gives you pictures associated with the person you’re looking up. This gives you the peace of mind to know that the person you’re looking up is the correct person. If you didn’t know the person already and had only met them online it would give you a helpful visual representation of the person so you can put a face with a name.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they provide you with as many connections to social media profiles as are known. It shared a direct link to the person’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a handful more. From my report, I was able to look through these social profiles, all of which were pretty clean. This didn’t benefit me directly but if you were searching someone you met on a dating site this would be incredibly helpful because most people use their social profiles to express their personal opinions on a wide variety of topics. You could potentially get a good sense of someone’s personality before investing too much time into conversation.

Another feature that might be of assistance when considering dating someone would be the birthdate and zodiac sign matching. Whether or not you believe in the Zodiac as truth or just regard it as entertainment, it is interesting to look into. All you do is enter your birthdate or choose your Zodiac sign and up pops a compatibility report with a detailed result with suggestions of how you might interact and how to best navigate your relationship for optimal results.

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With potential pitfalls as well as ways to avoid them, this is a very helpful tool for people pursuing a relationship. Apparently this gentleman and I would be a great match… if he wasn’t a liar and a fraud who spent his days taking money from naive people who trust him.

In my experience, the criminal records were what proved to be the most helpful. Each offense was listed separately with the booking date and location. Not only did they outline the offense but gave you an expandable menu that let you see deeper. It gave you a case number and the charge type, detailed offense code, criminal code, arrest disposition showing whether they were arrested or released, disposition date, and court where the offense was dispositioned. With the case number in hand and the county location you should be able to either locally obtain a report on the offense or pay for someone else to procure that information for you online. If they were arrested, it gives you the offense they were arrested for, the type and level of arrest, and the sentencing start date.

The location information would also be a very helpful section if you were trying to find old friends. Not only does it show their most current reported location but also any past known locations and the time period they lived there.  A premium function furthers this search because it lists possible neighbors for this person and their address. Each one gives you the option of doing a report on them which would provide you with their contact information and their criminal record. If you wanted to get a character reference for someone and weren’t afraid to do a little cold-calling this would be a great resource. This resource would also prove very helpful in a situation where you were sending a child to a friend’s house to play; You could look into the neighbors to make sure it was a safe neighborhood and that there weren’t any pedophiles living next door.

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How Good is InstantCheckmate Data?

Something that is very important when you’re looking someone up online is that the information provided is accurate and reliable, especially in my situation when I am making a character determination on someone who is essentially a stranger to me. The last thing you want to do is falsely accuse someone because of a search that provided you with misinformation.  So, to be sure, I searched myself and a few close friends. It showed a handful of correct relatives, 5 email addresses (only 3 of which were correct), and almost every address I’ve ever lived dating back to when I was in primary school. It pulled up one traffic violation but, truth be told, I have a few more that weren’t shown. It pulled up 8 social media profiles for me, two of which were completely empty and were nothing I had ever intentionally signed up for. As for criminal offenses, I have a clean record so I had to look up someone I knew that had a misdemeanor to see if it was reported and was pleasantly surprised to show that the information was accurate. The same proved true for the most part on the other people I searched. To the best of my knowledge, the information was correct and thorough.

The amount of data available on InstantCheckmate was much more than I expected. It covered all of the major categories and branched into the social aspects of people. It provided information that would be helpful for people searching for any reason, be it personal or professional. I do, however, wish it gave you a little more information on the person’s education. It listed “some college” for one friend but nothing for me despite completing a bachelor’s degree and having a few professional licenses to my name.

Something I’ve never experienced on any other search site is the option to flag information as incorrect, rate information by how helpful it was, and the option to leave comments. You are allowed to anonymously leave a comment about a person or the information provided which would be very helpful if you were reviewing your information and found something untrue.

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How do I Cancel InstantCheckmate?

After the cruise docked back in port, I decided to cancel my membership. I hadn’t met anyone else worth searching and had no use for the service. The cancellation process was quite simple; just a short form with a few quick questions. Upon submitting the form, they offered me a discounted price of $9.97 to keep my membership which, if I had use for the service, I would definitely have taken advantage of.

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My cancellation was confirmed and they let me know that I could still use the service for the remaining month that I had already paid for.

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InstantCheckmate Final Thoughts

I have used background search sites before with varied results but InstantCheckmate has been one of the more well-organized collection of resources and gives you a more diverse selection of types of information than other sites. It went above and beyond by linking to social media accounts and providing pictures of the people you were searching. The reports were intuitively designed and it seemed as though they had thought of everything that the end-user might need. When it comes to peace of mind and security, it is important to know that your results are accurate and thorough and that is exactly what I found with InstantCheckmate. If I ever have the need to research someone in the future I will definitely be back because I know that I will get the results I need.

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Been Verified Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

Been Verified incorporates a wealth of good features and manages a seamless blend of tech and old fashioned leg work that gives you a wealth of info and the ability to dig really deep.

4.8
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Comprehensive standard search
  • Tech savvy

Cons

  • Option for non-digital searches

Meh

  • “Premium” databases don’t always deliver much more

Who is Been Verified?

Founded in 2007, tech-savvy Been Verified is based in New York City. This fast-growing company has one of the most popular background check sites on the market. Started by a pair of young entrepreneurs, Been Verified now has more than 50 employees, over 100,000 subscribers and boasts 10 million visits each month.

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Been Verified Pricing and Plans

One feature that sets Been Verified apart from many other in the field are the apps available for iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches or Android devices.

Expensive if all you need is a single basic search, Been Verified’s three-tiered monthly subscription schedule gives you a break the longer you sign up for – $22.86 for a month, $14.86 a month for three months and $9.83 a month for six months. Though pricey for a single search, Been Verified gives you far more info than some other sites and could be the better choice depending on how important it is to get the answers you’re looking for.

For an extra $9.95 per report you can access additional databases that provide more comprehensive info like employment and education histories and any licenses and permits the person you’re looking for might have.

Been Verified also goes the extra mile to search out records unavailable online by offering a “Court Runner” option for searching county criminal court records that have not been digitized. Cost for a  “Court Runner” typically starts with a flat fee of just under $20 and ultimately includes any court fees incurred along the way.

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How to Use Been Verified?

Been Verified does a great job of meeting its deceptively simple goals of providing the most info for the best price quickly and painlessly. This is an excellent site if you’re doing your first background check. It’s a site that practically takes your hand and leads you through the whole process, often answering questions you haven’t even thought of yet.

I’d recommend this site if you’re attempting to perform your first background check.

Clean, uncluttered webpages make using Been Verified almost second nature and the site displays results in an easy-to-read format with an option for downloading an equally straightforward, printable PDF.

Sign up

Been Verified’s sign up process is a breeze and, as an added bonus, a painless and comprehensive tutorial on the do’s and don’ts of private background checks. Even better, the sign up process provides a number of surprising and helpful suggestions on who you might want to check out and why – from locating the long lost relative of a seriously ill friend or checking to see if those misdemeanors you committed in junior high have been properly removed from your records.

Standard search

The site’s standard search is so extensive, notably including criminal info, that it’s likely you’re not going to need to pay extra for a deeper search.

The standard search turns up public phone numbers, email addresses, a residential history, immediate relatives (noting those who are deceased), any imposters, available educational and professional info, social media presence, photos, criminal and traffic records and bankruptcies.

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At every step, Been Verified politely and conscientiously reminds you what you should and should not be using the info for. It also goes a step further, providing a number of testimonials which detail the many uses for background checks.

Premium data

This feature is just as easy to use as the rest of the site, pretty much clicking on a single button to quickly update the report (for a fee of course) with more educational, employment, financial, and contact info.

Social media monitoring

There is also an option for monitoring any changes in the social media presence of someone you’ve searched for.

Reverse phone lookup

Is just what it sounds like it is: enter a phone number in the search field and find out who it belongs (though only if it is a public number).

Customer service

Been Verified goes out of its way to make it easy to get help, staffing a call center 7 days a week and providing ample online assistance. Unusually for a website, the “Support” section under the Help heading at the bottom of the webpage actually provides useful info on how for DIY tasks like cancelling your subscription, explaining why you’re having trouble with your search, downloading an app or using a specific browser.

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How Good is Been Verified Data?

Results on the searches I performed were nearly universally quick, accurate and comprehensive. Searching for one of the roommates I shared a flat with in San Francisco more decades ago than I care to remember, not only turned up all the current info for him I could’ve hoped for, but also that apartment address in SF as well and several email addresses, too. Searching with premium data unearthed limited employment data, an additional phone number and the fact he once had a pilot’s license (who knew?). A self search revealed that, no, I was never arrested on some of those nights in San Francisco that I don’t remember so good and a very old satellite photo of my current residence.

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How do I Cancel Been Verified?

Cancellation was so simple I forgot I’d done it! I had to go back and double-check myself. Here’s how it works: simply call customer service (1-888-579-5910) or email: support@beenverified.com.

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Been Verified Final Thoughts

I’d have to say you’d need to look around for a while to find a better value than Been Verified, especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of searches over several months. Although some sites charge considerably less for a single search you might want to consider Been Verified if that single search is a really important one – in the long run you could end up paying more for criminal and financial records on another site than if you’d just signed up for one month on Been Verified.  

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Intelius Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

Intelius is a resource that allows you to search for information about an individual privately and securely. With a high accuracy rating, you can trust that the results are as thorough as it gets.

4.5
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • They seem genuinely interested in knowing how to better their service.  They have a floating “feedback” bar on the right side of the site that opens up a quick questionnaire asking what you liked and didn’t like and how they could do better.
  • The site lets you search by name, phone number or email, which opens up a lot of options for how to use the service.
  • The results were propagated quickly; I didn’t have to spend a lot of time waiting for the search to load information.
  • The mobile app is very helpful for reverse searching phone calls that you don’t recognize.
  • There is a tab at the top of the page entitled “My List” which shows you people you add to your list,, which keeps the information at your fingertips  for as long as you have the service.

Cons

  • To get more than just the one criminal background check you are given with your membership you need to upgrade your account.  This is an additional $19.95 per report, which seems expensive compared to other services that allow you to do unlimited background checks for around $40/month.  If you were needing to do multiple background checks this service might not be the best one for you.
  • Background checks are only available when you purchase them and after you close out of them they are gone.  They should be available for continual access on your profile since you paid for the information.
  • I wish there had more contacts listed in connection to the person I was searching.  It seemed like there should have been more people associated than there were.

Recently, I was contacted by a woman who claimed she owned a local photography business that I had never heard of.  She was looking for someone to collaborate on a creative project with.  The concept was interesting to me but it almost sounded too good to be true so I decided it was in my best interest to verify the identity the person contacting me to make sure they were someone I wanted to spend a significant amount of time with.  I looked online for the highest rated research company and stumbled upon quite a few but the one that stuck out to me was called Intelius.

Who is Intelius?

Intelius has been around since 2003 and specializes in information and interconnectivity of people throughout the world.  Located in Bellvue, Washington, they are fully integrated both online and on mobile devices so you can use them at home or on the go with your smartphone.  I also noticed that they were rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, you know you are going to get detailed results and top-notch customer service.

Modern technology is a wonderful thing that opens doors and sheds light on who people are but it is not always thorough and what is presented online is not always reported correctly or fairly.  Intelius offers assurance that you can’t get other places because they boast access to billions of public records each year.  That, paired with noticeably fast servers, gets you reliable data quickly.

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Intelius Pricing and Available Plans

There are, of course, many companies that offer similar services.  They have all been reviewed many times, both by vetted news corporations as well as thousands of individual user reviews.  All too often, human nature is to only leave a review when you have something you need to say which generally is when you’ve had a negative experience so I had no trouble finding a plethora of negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau website. However, this is consistent with all of the other businesses I looked into that were similar.  Ultimately, people did not read the fine print when they signed up and were complaining about so-called ‘hidden’ charges.  Intelius had the same public response as did others like US Search, NetDetective, and InfoRegistry.  

I looked into a few of the comparable companies and this is what I found.  With US Search, I was able to access a full background check for a discounted rate of $29.95 as long as I agreed to have OmniSearch, a $19.95/month subscription, along with it.  The OmniSearch function would be free for 2 days but you had to remember to cancel it.  NetDetective was simplistic looking and felt cold; very basic and rudimentary.  It offered a discounted rate of $4.95 for a 5 day trial version which renewed to a $29.95 monthly fee.  Finally, InfoRegistry was also rather basic in nature.  None of the results of my initial search matched the name to the location and a $29.95 subscription only promised that a report MAY include all the information I was looking for. The site seemed broken because when I clicked to see a sample report the page appeared jumbled  and when I inquired into the “Terms of Service” it lead me back to the home page and did not give me the information I needed.  With Intelius, I noticed that you can do a simple search if you’re just looking for a way to contact someone or you can look deeper into their history by doing a background check.  From this standpoint, Intelius is the clear winner.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of finding the person I was searching for.  All I had to do was enter their first and last name along with the city and it immediately returned the correct result.  There, in front of me, was the person who had contacted me.  I was presented with 3 options – 1 month for $14.95, 3 months for $9.98/month, or $7.48/month for 6 months.  Because I was only searching for one person, I opted for the one-a-month plan.  It was a little more expensive but it included the background check that I wanted so I didn’t mind paying for it.  

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How to Use Intelius?

As soon as I put in my payment information I got immediate results!  It was a detailed list of where she lived (both past and present), relatives, contact information, and even gave detailed market value information of her home.  I used my free background check for her and was able to look to see if she had a criminal record, any infractions or offenses, and so much more.  

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Front and center, there was an interactive map that linked to people and locations that the person is closely tied to.  You can click on any of those bubbles and explore the information that is given on them.  

It also gives you the option to upgrade the membership and run a criminal background check on the person which, for me, wasn’t necessary but could be helpful for others using the service.  

Another really neat feature was the map showing exactly where the person lives.  It gives a bird’s eye view of the home and breaks down the estimated market value and other property details.  Again, this didn’t seem to matter much to me at first but it could have changed my opinion if she had lived in a really rough neighborhood as I was potentially going to be spending a lot of time at her home.  To be honest, I don’t know if I was excited or disappointed to find nothing questionable in her background check.  While it didn’t note any criminal offenses or civil court records it also had a disclaimer noting that some records may not be digitally accessible and that the results may not include all types of civil cases. I was relieved to know that the person I was searching wasn’t a convicted felon but I question that maybe there is something not listed.  It also had no education or employment records for her, nor did it reference any social networks.  

When I signed up for the Intelius Premium membership I was offered a free-of-charge social media assessment called TrueRep.  The idea is that they survey your social media presence and show you how it looks to others and how you could potentially improve it to make it more appealing to people, including prospective employers or business relationships.

They also have a smartphone app that lets you reverse-search phone numbers.  All you have to do is copy the number from your recent missed calls, paste it into the search and it will actually pull up a decent amount of information on the person, including their name, age, address, work, other forms of contact, social media profiles, and even relatives.  Each section is expandable, so you basically get a full breakdown on the person.  

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How Good is Intelius Data?

To verify that the information I was being given was correct, I decided to go rogue and see if there was a facebook profile that might give me more information and, in fact, there was.  Her business page linked back to her personal page and I was able to view a decent amount of information through that avenue. None of this information was available through the Intelius, search, which leads me to believe information is potentially being missed.

I installed it and logged onto the mobile app with no trouble at all and, though I didn’t necessarily think I needed this function, I have used it quite a bit!  I tested it out on a coworker, asking for her phone number and punching it in.  It not only provided me with her name but also her husband’s name and her address!  I searched a few calls that I had screened recently and found them to be local people.  A few of them linked to possible social media profiles.  I was more confident calling them back because I knew who I was talking to.  I booked two photo shoots that I would not have otherwise booked because they had not left a message and I would not have called them back blindly.  Because I had the information to know who I was talking to I felt comfortable connecting with them, which is a huge perk for anyone who might otherwise shy away from answering or cold-calling unknown numbers.

However, when I went into the TrueRep section it was locked and asked me to verify my identity, which it said it could not verify.  After working with a customer service representative, I was able to sort out the issue and review my online reputation.  As it turns out, I’m not very influential when it comes to social media but I’m ok with that. However, this could be a really powerful tool if you utilize your social media presence to market your business online.  It also gives you tools to help you improve your reputation score, which is above and beyond what I expected from this free perk.CaptureVisit Intelius

How to Cancel Intelius?

When I had searched to my heart’s content I decided to cancel the subscription.  I was surprised how easy the process was!  There was a simple form to fill out denoting why you were canceling your subscription and then they confirmed that you would not be billed further.  It was that simple!

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Intelius Final Thoughts

With all the searching I did, I didn’t find much. This is a good thing, though; The last thing I wanted was to find out that she was a felon or had other strikes against her.  Of course, no online inquiry is going to have all the information and ultimately they are all searching the same pools of public data. The fact that it did not find any felonies or negative remarks on her or her business  was reassuring. Because of what I found (or, perhaps, didn’t find) I felt comfortable working with her.  I later inquired about her phone number because the one given for her did not match what she had used to contact me and she had no idea who that phone number belonged to.  

If I had to rate the service, I would give them a 5/5 for price, 4/5 for accuracy, 5/5 for support and 5/5 for interface and features.  All things considered, this website saves you a significant amount of time and frustration and gives you mostly trustworthy results quickly. I was sure to leave a positive review online.

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Spokeo Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

Spokeo is the “Glinda, the Good Witch” of background check sites, emphasizing all the positive reasons to research people and downplaying the Information Age’s darker sides.

4.3

Pros

  • Lean, clean, search machine
  • Great price
  • A snap to use

Cons

  • Weak on crime
  • Extra searches can lead you down a rabbit hole of info

Who is Spokeo?

What a couple Stanford grads started as a “social network aggregator” in a Silicon Valley basement in 2006 has morphed into one of the better means of mending your long neglected social ties. Sure, there’s some criminal info available on Spokeo, but the company’s website sends the clear message it would rather bring people together than keep them apart.

The customer testimonials shown below give you a good idea of the top uses promoted on the site:

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Spokeo Pricing and Available Plans

Straightforward price structure is among the lowest in the field – $13.95 for a month, $7.95 a month for 3 months and $4.95 a month for half the year. Your base subscription seems to get you enough reliable, current background info to help you reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with for a very long time.

Base plan provides contact info, location history, relatives and some other bare bones personal info – enough to make certain you’ve located the right person.

Searching available court or historical records is $2.95 extra, each.

How to Use Spokeo?

Sign up

This portion of the process could be done in your sleep.

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Customer Service

Spokeo customer service could be among the most responsive in the industry. You can talk to a real person 24/7, unless you’d rather just handle things on your own easily online.

Spokeo’s standard search

Seems to work exactly as advertised. Simple search format is flexible enough you can include anything you happen to remember about the person you’re looking for, even if it’s incomplete, and returns a manageable list of possible matches. Once you select the most likely candidate, the extensive location history and list of relatives quickly confirms if you’ve got the right person.

Some contact info appears outdated, but the most recent available is clearly identified, which should take some of the hit and miss out of getting ahold of whomever you’re trying to connect with.

Spokeo also digs through more than 60 social networks, giving you another avenue for reestablishing those old ties.

Court and historical reports

Are fairly cheap, but still might not be worth the cost, returning a lot of US Census, marriage, death and court records on anyone sharing a name the least bit similar to your subject’s (though some of this could be helpful if you’re working on a family history).

Connections

Is a unique feature that allows you to import an address book, then performs searches to update the contact info it contains, filling in a name, perhaps, for that random phone number you once jotted down.

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Web design

Spokeo is tops among several sites I’ve used. The site is ridiculously easy to navigate and displays search results in a plain, uncluttered format with no distracting graphics or annoying pop-ups for “free credit reports!”

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How Good is Spokeo Data?

In keeping with Spokeo’s semiofficial mission of optimistic reconnection, I decided to dig up what I could on a once close friend who’d gone through some rough times before completely severing all connections with the circle of friends we shared. No one had heard from him in several years and all of us were concerned about his health and happiness.

I’d tried finding what I could on other websites with absolutely no success at all, excepting a list of literally hundreds of names scattered willy-nilly around the country without out any useful corroborating evidence. My first search on Spokeo returned a single unequivocally positive result, complete with age, names, dates and places that clinched the ID. What I did not expect was my reluctance to contact him.

Perhaps it was the subliminally gentle message that seems to permeate Spokeo’s website, but I was more inclined to respect my old friend’s apparent wish to start his life anew. Rather than startle him a phone call from a ghost from the past, I was content with the knowledge (supplied by Spokeo) that he seems surrounded by new friends and family, is living in a safe neighborhood and is, apparently, pursuing some of his favorite interests once again.

How do I Cancel Spokeo?

Cancellation was easy peasy. You can cancel anytime on website’s “Usage and Subscriptions” page, call (877) 913-3088, or send an email to CustomerCare@spokeo.com. If you used PayPal, it’s even easier: 1, Log in to your PayPal account; 2, Click “Profile” near the top of the page; 3, Click “My Money; 4,Click “Update” in the “My Preapproved Payments” section; and 5, Click “Cancel” or “Cancel Automatic Billing” and follow the instructions. That’s it!

Spokeo Final Thoughts

There are a lot better sites out there for digging up dirt on people, if that’s what you need in a background check. But, if you’re idly musing about what happened to an old and once dear friend or need to locate a family member you’ve lost touch with, Spokeo is perhaps the best, and cheapest, way to do it.

Without really meaning to, Spokeo tangentially touches on the issue of privacy in the information age: just because you can do an extensive background check, does it mean you should?

PeopleSmart Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

PeopleSmart is a public records search that bridges the gap of the other search avenues and provides simple, direct, correct results. It’s easy-to-use interface can reconnect lost friends or help companies feel secure about people they trust.

4.3
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • The information was straightforward and presented in a user-friendly manner.
  • When you search, it pulls up multiple people so that I could make sure I was selecting the correct person.
  • The site wasn’t inundated with banner ads and pop-ups.

Cons

  • The information presented was very basic and didn’t go into much detail.
  • To get any significant information on someone other than their basic contact required an upgrade in your account, which was confusing. Your account already has some credits (in my case, 75 credits) and a premium report cost 250 credits. To buy the outstanding 175 credits was going to cost me $35. It also gave me an option to spend $99 to get a PremiumPro membership or I could spend $119 and get 3 premium reports. It seemed to me to be excessive for my purposes and was an expensive upgrade.

Meh

  • There were a few discrepancies on the information provided but nothing major.

I stumbled across PeopleSmart completely by accident, or maybe it was a fortunate mistake. I was in charge of putting together the class reunion and had a handful of contacts I couldn’t reach. While looking for an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to in years I ended up on PeopleSmart. After searching other places unsuccessfully for a long time I was ready to give up but this was the breakthrough I needed.

Who is PeopleSmart?

Upon digging deeper, it turns out PeopleSmart is a side-project of a company called Inflection, based in Omaha, Nebraska, which is ultimately a resource for employers to verify and background-check their potential employees. As you know, technology never stops growing and changing. In a world of increasing connection over the web, the power of inquiry has become increasingly important. This applies both to small businesses and to large, established corporations. The internet lends many tools to not only learn and grow personally but also connect and build relationships across the globe. This can be a great opportunity to branch out and grow, unleashing the ability to link up with people that are well suited to your goals. Be it close to home or abroad, it is important to know who you are connecting with and trusting. Inflection offers a host of options, including CommunitySafety and Identity.com. CommunitySafety is geared toward non-profits and schools to make sure the people they are allowing in are trustworthy and identity.com gives you quick and reliable identification and background checks to make sure you know who you are speaking with and gives you that extra buffer against fraud and unnecessary risk.

PeopleSmart Pricing and Available Plans


Not only is the site easy to use but it is direct. It is a service you pay for, which might deter some people, but the fact that they outline exactly what you get for your money makes you realize the worth. I opted for the $19.99/month plan that gave me 10 searches by phone number, 10 by email, and even let me send emails and physical letters on my behalf through the company. Because I had more people on my list to contact, this was the best option.

How to Use PeopleSmart?

There are so many interesting facets to this service that I got hooked almost immediately. Unfortunately, the friend I was looking for has a rather generic name, which proved very frustrating. When other search queries amassed a blur of results, PeopleSmart allowed me to look deeper than just the name I was searching for and find the specific details that narrowed my search. Even though it returned 14 results the search provided things like estimated age, previous known cities, maiden name(s), and even relatives. Some of the entries also listed if the person had passed away and how long ago they passed. I was absolutely blown away by the accuracy and was very quickly able to find the specific person I was looking for.

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I wanted to check to make sure the site was legitimate so I looked online for reviews and was pleasantly surprised! When you see, “we found that PeopleSmart was very close to being 100 percent accurate” you know you’re onto something good.

How Good is PeopleSmart Data?

The report showed a map of where she lived but did not give a direct address. It offers you the option of upgrading your membership to reveal a direct address but by collaborating with different search avenues I was able to cross-search and find what I needed. It also provided me with her current phone number as well as her cell phone number and an alternative home number. I called the cell phone number and was successfully connected the first time!

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When you sign up, it offers you something called “IdentitySmart” which allows you to monitor your public records including credit accounts and email addresses which would be really helpful to potentially avoid credit card fraud and identity theft. This was an additional $14.95/month and I might do it someday but decided to skip it for now. It did, however, pique my interest. Of course, I had to look myself up; Curiosity is a powerful thing! I’m not sure if I am happy or disappointed but I did not find much about myself. It provided my name and birthday but did not have any contact information for me. It did, however, list relatives of mine which would probably get someone the information they needed to contact me if they really wanted to.

There was one person I looked up that did not give any phone contact but, instead, listed that they had an address and gave me the option to send a letter via the postal system. I opted to send a postcard and found it to be surprisingly simple! It opened up a dialogue box, I typed in my text, and I pressed send.

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I received a phone call 3 days later from the gentleman I sent the letter to confirming his reservation for the reunion. Though it did not give me a direct address, it got the job done and didn’t cost me anything extra. For the sake of full disclosure, there were a few addresses that were not current or correct within the results but the vast majority were correct.

Of course, no system is going to be perfect. The fact that it did not find any information on myself was a bit surprising because I do not go to any length to hide my contact information. My email and phone are both listed on my Facebook page and my LinkedIn. I am also a small-business owner which, I would think, would propagate my contact information throughout the internet. I had no problem finding information on the handful of other missing contacts I needed, which was nice. It saves you a significant amount of time and frustration because you’re not searching multiple locations for information.

The nice thing about PeopleSmart is that it gives you the flexibility you need to serve your personal needs. I only needed to search a handful of people so I was able to choose the less expensive monthly charge. Had I needed more, there was an option available for $49.99 which gave me 5x the search power and 10x the ability to contact people directly. If I only had to search for 1 person, there’s an option for that, too. You have the opportunity to pay a one-time charge of $4.99 and avoid costly subscriptions and the hassle of cancellation.

True, the business review ratings weren’t as high as their competitors but, for the price, it was absolutely worth it. On one review site, Intelius received a 90% accuracy rating, US Search received 85%, and PeopleSmart received 60%. It still gave me everything I needed, though. The review site stated that PeopleSmart, “offers a mostly accurate view of criminal and bankruptcy history on those we investigated. The complete reports offer more data than most, which can help you branch out your investigation if you choose”.

Upon looking into other services, Intelius offered searches for $14.95/month with one background check or discounted rates if you sign up for 3 or 6 months initially. If you only wanted one report, however, it would cost you $49.95! The other service, US Search, was much less appealing in my opinion as it came across as less user-friendly and much less personal. It gave a 1 person report for $2.45 which included just the basic contact information, a criminal check for $14.95, or a background check for $39.95. If you paid for a single report and it didn’t return any information you would be out of luck and would have paid to be told nothing at all. There really wasn’t an option to search multiple people without consenting to a $1.45 charge with a hidden $19.95/month subscription, which was only discussed deeper within the expandable details. It wasn’t exactly straightforward about the charges which might undermine your trust for the company.

How to Cancel PeopleSmart?

When I was done getting all of the names and contacts for my event I decided to cancel the subscription. It was surprisingly easy! I did not have to argue with customer service or go through any lengthy steps. It asked why I was canceling, I noted my reasons, it asked me to confirm and it was done. I got to continue my month of subscription and it would automatically terminate on the date requested.

As an added bonus, it offered me a lesser subscription where I could search name, address, email and work information for a discounted rate of $4.95/month.

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PeopleSmart Final Thoughts

Ultimately, I was very pleased with this service. Not only did it streamline my searching but it took only minutes to do what had taken me hours previous to subscribing for this service. I cannot even begin to tell you how valuable time is on this project and this service was a life saver! It was accurate for the most part and got the job done.

It wasn’t the least expensive option but it was the most appealing and seemed to have options that were best suited to my needs. For only $14.99 I was able to find everyone I needed with very minimal hassle. I was able to send a letter when no phone contact information was given, which is not something that was offered by other services. I could see it being very valuable in many different applications. I will absolutely be back in the future.

 

US Search Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

Well established with a good track record, US Search is a reliable, if somewhat stodgy, middle of the road site.

3.8
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • Well-established company
  • Low price for basic searches

Cons

  • Pricey for more detailed searches

Meh

  • Hasn’t kept pace with newer tech

Who is US Search?

Bellevue, Washington-based US Search was one of the first companies to provide information about people online and still occupies the comfortable niche it first carved out in 1994. From the beginning, US Search has been a reliable way to locate long, lost childhood friends or to verify your new neighbor’s backstory about having just relocated after living on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii for the last decade. From the start, this has been a company that seems to make certain that the information it does provide is both accurate and the most current available.

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US Search Pricing and Available Plans

You can get some peace of mind about that new neighbor or old flame for the modest a la carte price of $2.45 for the basic one-off “People Search” report that provides full name and any aliases, age, address and address history, publicly listed phone numbers plus relatives and associates. For a monthly fee of just under $20, you can perform an unlimited number of basic searches (minus relatives, but with social network info) with the company’s “OmniSearch” subscription. More detailed info, like that provided by the company’s top of the line “Background Check” comes at nearly $40 but adds real meat to the report including criminal records, social network information and financial information such bankruptcies and tax liens.

In between is the 1-State Criminal Records search for around $15.

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How to Use US Search?

Maybe not as cutting edge as it was when it pioneered the concept of supplying people’s info online, US Search remains a solid entry in the field, well-suited for those with an occasional need to search out basic contact information in order to reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with over the years or double check a new acquaintance’s backstory.

Sign-up

Although the signup process is fairly straightforward, it wasn’t immediately clear I was signing up for the monthly OmniSearch subscription and that if I wanted to dig deeper into any subject’s info I was going to have to pay quite a bit more to do it.

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People Search/OmniSearch

This is where US Search really earns its keep. If you’re only occasionally in need of locating a shoestring relative’s phone number or feel moved to contact your best bud from PS 23, a one-time People Search is the way to go. For less than $3 you’ll get an extensive list of possible matches, allowing you to focus your efforts on the most likely subject without paying for multiple look-ups.

Both include an address history check and list of relatives/associates which can be a real help in helping narrow down where you need to look or help you connect with that hard to locate someone through a third party.

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An OmniSearch monthly membership gives you access to the same basic info for an unlimited number of searches with the flexibility to opt-out whenever you please, an arrangement perfect for putting together contact lists for a class reunion or similar events. Be aware, thought, that you’ll be charged automatically each month unless you cancel your subscription online or, more problematically, by phone. US Search’s customer service phone lines are open Monday through Friday only from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time (3 hours behind the east coast and some 7 ahead of Alaska and Hawaii.

One-State Criminal Check/Background Check

US Search’s pricier options provide more info, but, in many cases, from fewer sources. For instance, the company has access to marriage and divorce records from only 11 states and criminal records from 43 (excluding Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, North and South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming). So, if you want to check if that great new dude/dudette you just met at the Flax Festival is, in fact, a serial polygamist/bigamist chances are you’ll need to go another route. Likewise if you’d feel better about your second cousin’s nephew from Wyoming with the odd face tattoo dating your daughter after a criminal records check.

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The 1-State Criminal Check is a check of the records available from a selected state for specific person. If that person has a criminal record in another state it will not appear in the 1-State Criminal Check.

The full on, full-priced Background Check proves all available criminal and financial info in the form of property ownership details and info about civil judgments, bankruptcies and tax liens. In order to limit identify theft, US Search does not provide credit histories, dates of birth and other sensitive information.

Reverse phone lookup

US search can also tell you who belongs to that phone number that keeps mysteriously appearing on your caller id, a family member’s phone or on a phone bill.

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How Good is US Search Data?

As a testament to US Search’s accuracy, it remembered more about me than I did, digging up an address from two decades ago I lived at for about a year and a half. Even better when I did a little digging on a neighbor, not only did it corroborate facts I was already certain of, it filled in a few blanks besides and as an added bonus displayed a satellite photo of what I couldn’t see clearly over the fence from next door. And when curiosity got the better of me it located the current location of my first crush. Try as I might, I could not unearth any criminals or deadbeats in my circle of friends and acquaintances, confirming I must be running in the right circles.

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How do I Cancel US Search?

Pretty standard stuff here. To cancel, go to your account settings, scroll to “membership info” and choose “cancel service.” Or you can contact customer support by phone M-F from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PACIFIC TIME, or Email: cservice@ussearch.com. Service terminates at end of current billing term.

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US Search Final Thoughts

I’d say this is a perfect site for the occasional, largely benign searches or to follow up on strong evidence that someone is not who or what they are pretending to be. US Search could be problematic if you’re planning on using it frequently for your business or for more specific checks of employment or education histories.

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eVerify Review

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

eVerify is singularly suited for deep research on a single subject and would be an expensive choice for someone looking to compile contact info on Riverdale High’s Class of 1979.

2.3
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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Pros

  • Lots of info.

Cons

  • TMI – for casual searches
  • Funky web design
  • Pricey and cumbersome for multiple searches

Meh

  • Notable problems with accuracy.

Who is eVerify?

A background check on this background check website turns up very little information other than a Boston, Mass., mailing address. Further complicating matters is the fact the employment verification website shared by the Department of Homeland Security and US Citizenship and Immigration Service has a nearly identical name: E-Verify. (Make sure you’re using the right one!)

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eVerify Pricing and Available Plans

eVerify’s $19.95 Instant One Time Report could be the best bargain out there in terms of the amount of raw data it dredges up.

The $2.95 5-Day Trial, on the other hand, is kind of a tease, promising a lot, but frequently turning up just a long list of “no reports found” responses, which are suddenly filled with scads of data when you pay the $19.95 to tack on a “premium search.”

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How to Use eVerify?

Sign up

Is relatively quick and painless as is cancelling the service.

Ease of use

Not so much. Not only does this site have a name dangerously similar the government site it also shares the same kind of red-white-and-blue, stars-and-stripes-forever themed web design. And it can be difficult to separate search results from Great New Offers! However, once mastered the site could be very useful for professionals tasked with meticulously checking out every single detail of a subject’s past and present associates, dealings, finances and history.

Standard search

eVerify requires more patience to negotiate than many other sites. General searches turn up so many possible matches that it can be very difficult to home in on the one person you’re checking up on (which is probably why there’s an instructional video prominently displayed on the site’s homepage). You’re best off narrowing down your search however you can beforehand (like knowing middle initials, relatives or narrowing the geographic scope of your search as much as possible.)

The standard search offers a big bonus when it comes to checking out the bad guys in your neighborhood, however. A list of sex offenders, complete with mug shots when available, living in the vicinity of the person you’ve searched for is automatically tacked onto the end of eVerify’s standard search.

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Premium search

eVerify’s premium search seems better suited to professionals such as investigative reporters or private eyes than it is to soccer dads checking up on carpool drivers. This search returns long lists of financial information as well as sizable numbers of the subject’s associates and the current owners of homes they once owned.

If you’re looking to talk to someone’s former neighbors, employers and need a fairly detailed snapshot of their past and current financial situation, you’ll get it here. The premium search is so detailed it brings up the all subject’s neighbors’ phone numbers which is, somehow, a little creepy.

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Social media/emails

As much information as this site returns on friends, relatives and associates, it’s very weak where social media and emails are concerned, frequently returning nothing at or results that are very clearly incorrect.

Customer service

Online – all the time. Call center – 10 a.m.-8p.m. EST, M-F.

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How Good is eVerify Data?

A premium search of my neighbor turned up more info (38 pages) than I could ever possibly want, need or have the time to carefully read. An attempt to locate an old college buddy with a standard search, on the other hand, was an exercise in frustration – pretty much the only result was a list of hundreds of names of possible matches without much to help further narrow down the list. While thorough in some respects, the site returned some clearly inaccurate results, especially in the area of social media, attributing accounts in Texas to a friend located clear across the country who I know has never done business in the Lone Star State. Even more disturbing were the 14 non-existent criminal offenses that showed up when I ordered up a report on myself (which also included relatives who aren’t and, although I often have trouble nailing two boards together, listed my occupation as craftsman).

 

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How do I Cancel eVerify?

Cancellation for eVerify is a pretty straightforward process. Email them at https://members.everify.com/customer/help or hit them up on the phone at (800) 791-1427. That’s it! Just keep in mind that fees are billed monthly, so there are no refunds for any unused portion of the month you’ve got left.

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eVerify Final Thoughts

eVerify is just not for me. I can’t imagine needing this much info on anyone unless I was looking for a Russian mole deep inside my Silicon Valley server farm. eVerify provides far too much info, too much of it inaccurate, but will garner a good market among those looking to identify convicted sex offenders and other creeps in the neighborhood.

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