Author Archives: Karen

Top School Districts in Wisconsin, 2018

The Badger State compares very favorably in pre-K-12 education with the rest of the nation, ranking 6th in the U.S. in NAEP math scores and high school graduation rate, as well as 8th in NAEP reading scores according to U.S. News & World Report. Wisconsin offers its residents some of the best public school districts in the nation.

Wisconsin’s best public school district is Mequon-Thiensville School District, comprising six schools serving Mequon and Thiensville, two suburbs of Milwaukee. MTSD has been repeatedly recognized nationally for its academic excellence, with three of its schools earning the National Blue Ribbon Award in the past fifteen years, most recently Oriole Lane Elementary in 2017.

Waunakee Community School District is Wisconsin’s #2 school district. Administering one independent kindergarten, three elementaries, one intermediate school, and one high school, WCSD schools either meet or exceed expectations in every academic measure.

Ranking third is Whitefish Bay School District, a small system comprising four schools serving Whitefish Bay, WI. The district has consistently excelled in academics and standardized testing compared with the rest of the state, recently becoming the only district in Wisconsin to boast an average ACT score above 25 for over 16 years.

#4 Kohler District honors Wisconsin’s legacy of excellent public schooling, with one of its schools earning a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2013.

Elmbrook School District places fifth due to its students high academic performance: the district’s graduation rate regularly reaches 98%.

Top School Districts in Wisconsin, 2018

State RankSchool DistrictState
1Mequon-Thiensville School DistrictWisconsin
2Waunakee Community School DistrictWisconsin
3Whitefish Bay School DistrictWisconsin
4Kohler School DistrictWisconsin
5Elmbrook School DistrictWisconsin
6Hamilton School DistrictWisconsin
7Middleton-Cross Plains Area School DistrictWisconsin
8Benton School DistrictWisconsin
9Mcfarland School DistrictWisconsin
10Kettle Moraine School DistrictWisconsin
11Germantown School DistrictWisconsin
12De Pere School DistrictWisconsin
13Franklin Public School DistrictWisconsin
14Grafton School DistrictWisconsin
15New Berlin School DistrictWisconsin
16Monona Grove School DistrictWisconsin
17Cedarburg School DistrictWisconsin
18Wauwatosa School DistrictWisconsin
19Northern Ozaukee School DistrictWisconsin
20Mukwonago School DistrictWisconsin
21Shorewood School DistrictWisconsin
22Pewaukee School DistrictWisconsin
23Kimberly Area School DistrictWisconsin
24Menomonee Falls School DistrictWisconsin
25Oregon School DistrictWisconsin
26Slinger School DistrictWisconsin
27Mount Horeb Area School DistrictWisconsin
28Howard-Suamico School DistrictWisconsin
29Oconomowoc Area School DistrictWisconsin
30Greendale School DistrictWisconsin
31Muskego-Norway School DistrictWisconsin
32Gibraltar Area School DistrictWisconsin
33Hudson School DistrictWisconsin
34River Falls School DistrictWisconsin
35West De Pere School DistrictWisconsin
36Grantsburg School DistrictWisconsin
37Deerfield Community School DistrictWisconsin
38Winneconne Community School DistrictWisconsin
39Spring Valley School DistrictWisconsin
40Oostburg School DistrictWisconsin
41Sun Prairie Area School DistrictWisconsin
42Southern Door County School DistrictWisconsin
43Pecatonica Area School DistrictWisconsin
44Hilbert School DistrictWisconsin
45Sauk Prairie School DistrictWisconsin
46Howards Grove School DistrictWisconsin
47Neenah Joint School DistrictWisconsin
48New Glarus School DistrictWisconsin
49Pulaski Community School DistrictWisconsin
50Onalaska School DistrictWisconsin
51De Forest Area School DistrictWisconsin
52Verona Area School DistrictWisconsin
53Hortonville Area School DistrictWisconsin
54West Salem School DistrictWisconsin
55Cedar Grove-Belgium Area School DistrictWisconsin
56Platteville School DistrictWisconsin
57Fall River School DistrictWisconsin
58Whitnall School DistrictWisconsin
59Lake Mills Area School DistrictWisconsin
60Wrightstown Community School DistrictWisconsin
61Dodgeville School DistrictWisconsin
62Elk Mound Area School DistrictWisconsin
63Port Washington-Saukville School DistrictWisconsin
64Plymouth Joint School DistrictWisconsin
65Wild Rose School DistrictWisconsin
66Elkhorn Area School DistrictWisconsin
67Highland School DistrictWisconsin
68Rosendale-Brandon School DistrictWisconsin
69Ashwaubenon School DistrictWisconsin
70Green Lake School DistrictWisconsin
71Somerset School DistrictWisconsin
72Denmark School DistrictWisconsin
73Beloit Turner School DistrictWisconsin
74Random Lake School DistrictWisconsin
75New Richmond School DistrictWisconsin
76Stoughton Area School DistrictWisconsin
77Turtle Lake School DistrictWisconsin
78Prescott School DistrictWisconsin
79Columbus School DistrictWisconsin
80Sheboygan Falls School DistrictWisconsin
81Holmen School DistrictWisconsin
82Altoona School DistrictWisconsin
83Ellsworth Community School DistrictWisconsin
84Spencer School DistrictWisconsin
85Luxemburg-Casco School DistrictWisconsin
86Osceola School DistrictWisconsin
87Reedsville School DistrictWisconsin
88Belleville School DistrictWisconsin
89Kiel Area School DistrictWisconsin
90Tomorrow River School DistrictWisconsin
91Milton School DistrictWisconsin
92Cochrane-Fountain City School DistrictWisconsin
93Evansville Community School DistrictWisconsin
94Lodi School DistrictWisconsin
95Prentice School DistrictWisconsin
96Weyauwega-Fremont School DistrictWisconsin
97Saint Croix Central School DistrictWisconsin
98East Troy Community School DistrictWisconsin
99River Valley School DistrictWisconsin
100Amery School DistrictWisconsin


The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.

Did your district make the list?

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US Census Guide: How to Get the Most Out of Census.gov

If you ever visited Census.gov before it was updated you’d have found the process of sifting through the plentiful information about America’s economy, places, and people incredibly time-consuming and difficult. Thankfully, the website has been updated, which has made it slightly easier to navigate. However, with so much information available, it’s still easy to miss key features or you may struggle to pinpoint the data you’re looking for.

Therefore, to help get you started and to make sure you’re getting the most out of Census.gov, we’ve put together this handy guide which will show you how to navigate the site and get the results you’re looking for.

Using the Navigation Bar

At the top of the site, you’ll see a navigation bar which contains the links, “Topics,” “Geography,” “Library,” “Data,” “Surveys/Programs,” “Newsrooms,” and “About Us.” So, let’s take a look at each of these to see what you’ll find in each section.

Using the Topics Feature on Census.gov

When you click on the “Topics” tab at the top of the homepage, this presents you with a drop-down bar with a number of further options. These contain the economic and demographic content within certain areas of interest, including population, education, income and poverty, and health.

Clicking on one of these will provide you with a further breakdown of the statistics that are available for this area. For example, if you click on ‘Health,’ this presents you with several more options, including Disability, Expenses and Investments, Fertility, Health Care Industries, Health Insurance, HIV/AIDS, Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE), and Social Assistance Industries. As you click into each of these categories you’ll be taken to a new page that’s dedicated entirely to this area. At the top of the page, you’ll see an overview of what the statistics include along with any new releases that are available.

When you’ve found your chosen area and have clicked on it, you can go into much more detail using the additional tabs and sections within each sub-category. For example, on the Disability page, you’ll find information about the data that’s collected, how it’s collected, and what publications have been released. For further information on the specific area, there are also links to related sites or you can contact the team for more information.

Alternatively, if you just want an overview of one of the main categories (e.g. Health) and don’t want to go into a specific sub-category, you can enter the main page by clicking on “[CATEGORY NAME] main” in the white box that’s on the left-hand side of the drop-down within each section. This provides you with a general overview of the data that’s been collected, any news stories, recent publications, new surveys/programs, working papers, and so on.

Using the Geography Feature on Census.gov

Clicking on the “Geography” tab opens up some more possibilities for your data search. Here you’ll find access to an overview of the geography section of the website, “Geography Main.” Or you can refine your search by clicking on the various features available.

This includes cool interactive maps that display things like populations; education tools like blogs and brochures; metropolitan and micropolitan information; and further details on the Geographic Support System Initiative (GSS-I).

Using the Library Feature on Census.gov

For photos, videos, and audio tools, you’ll need to click on the “Library” tab. Here you’ll find access to all the available publications, infographics, and audio/visual tools available.

For example, if you click into the infographics section you’ll be able to see the latest ones that have been published. Codes for each of these are available so you can embed these into your own website to provide a cool graphic for your visitors.

All of the multimedia available within this section is sorted by their date of release.

Using the Data Feature on Census.gov

Under the “Data” tab you’ll find some great tools that help you find the data you’re looking for. (We’ll delve into the QuickFacts section of the site in more detail below.)

Within this section, you will find more sub-categories that allow you to explore different areas of the site. Helpful tools (like the QuickFacts feature) are located under the tab “Data Tools & Apps,” but you’ll also find a section that’s dedicated to developers.

The developers’ section of Census.gov has been designed to help provide greater access to the stats and data the website’s got available. Therefore, within this section developers can use the application programming interface (API) to reach new users and create custom apps by incorporating the stats found on the website into their own designs. For example, a developer may use the stats to show what commuting patterns there are in a particular American city, or they may show how many homeowners there are within a certain neighborhood.

However, if you’re not a developer, you can gain instant access to some of the apps that are already available. Contained in the “Mobile Apps” section you’ll find a number of free apps that help you process the information that’s available on the site. Or, if you fancy putting your knowledge to the test, you might like to download the Census PoP Quiz!

Furthermore, in the “Software” sub-category you’ll also find some free software that allows you to process, map, extract, display, and/or create tables from the survey and census data.

There’s also a “Product Catalogs” section where you’ll find information that’s been separated into key subject categories (e.g. Business and Industry, Geography, and Housing). Within these sections, you’ll find publications in print, CDs, DVDs, certification services, and reference files and maps.

Finally, for information on combining data and where you can get more training or attend workshops, you’ll need to be in the “Training & Workshops” section.

You can also access to the visual tools through this Data section, too.

Using the Surveys/Programs Feature on Census.gov

To gain instant access to the surveys and programs that have been run throughout the U.S., click on the tab for “Surveys/Programs”. Through the drop-down menu, you can access all of the surveys available, which include the 2010 and 2020 Census, the American Housing Survey (AHS), the Economic Census, and so on.

Clicking on the relevant one will take you straight to the relevant survey while also providing you with more information on the survey. For example, in the 2020 Census section, you’ll find details on things like research and testing, the latest news, and a monthly status report.

If you’re not sure what survey or program you want, you can click on the tab that shows “All Surveys & Programs.” Displayed in alphabetical order, there are over one hundred different ones available for you to choose from.

And, finally, if you ever want some more details on a survey you’ve been asked to take part in you can learn more about this in the “Are you in a Survey?” section.

Using the Newsroom and About Us Sections on Census.gov

The final two tabs on the website are pretty self-explanatory. Within the newsroom section, you’ll find the latest releases and blog/social media posts. You can also get facts for your features, stats for your stories, and press kits here. And if you want to know more about Census.gov, how it operates, who’s behind it, and what their research involves, head to “About Us.”

Getting the Most Out of Census.gov QuickFacts

The QuickFacts tool provided by Census.gov is incredibly useful if you want to refine the data on offer. To access the tool you can either click through from the homepage or go to the “Data” tab before clicking on “Data Tools & Apps” and “QuickFacts.”

Once the QuickFacts screen has loaded up you’ll see a search box where you can enter the state, county, city, town, or zip code – and a drop-down box that allows you to select a fact.

The facts include various factors within several sections:

  • Population
  • Age and Sex
  • Race and Hispanic Origin
  • Population Characteristics
  • Housing
  • Family and Living Arrangements
  • Education
  • Health
  • Economy
  • Transportation
  • Income & Poverty
  • Business
  • Geography

To access the data, simply enter the area you want to look in. The search bar at the top does also give you the option to choose the factor you want to filter by. For example, you may want to look at Oklahoma to see how many people are living in each household. To do this, you’ll type in “Oklahoma” in the search bar before selecting “persons per household” under the “Family and Living Arrangements” section. However, unfortunately, the tool doesn’t filter out all of the other information when you do this, so you’ll still see all the other data among the data you’ve asked for.

Therefore, to get the information you’re looking for your best off entering the area in the search bar, letting the graph load and selecting the section that’s relevant to you from the drop-down menu that’s located at the top of the table. This automatically shows “All Topics” but if you click on it, it’ll display the sections detailed in the bullet points listed above. So, for the previous example we’ve given, we’d select “Family and Living Arrangements” before narrowing down our search to see how many people were living in each household.

You’ll also notice that when your table’s generated, it will show the “United States” and your chosen area, e.g. Oklahoma. This allows you to compare the stats for both, or, if you want to focus solely on the area you’ve chosen, you can click the X above ‘United States’ to get rid of this.

Once you’ve created this table you can then add other areas to it to start comparing. All you need to do is type in the new area in the search box. For example, we might compare the number of people in a household in Oklahoma with the figures for Tennessee. After we’ve typed “Tennessee” into the search bar this will be added to the table next to Oklahoma so we can compare the two. And if you want to get rid of one of your search results, all you need to do is hit the X above the area name.

Because QuickFacts continues to add new areas to the table when you type them in the search bar, you will need to clear your existing table if you want to start a fresh comparison. To do this, just click on the “Clear” icon on the toolbar.

Using the Other Features of QuickFacts

You’ll also notice that, on this toolbar, there are a number of other icons, and these are designed to create interactive features for your searches. For example, after you’ve selected the area you’re looking at, you can click on “Map” to load a full map of the United States. It will highlight the area you’ve selected in red while also showing you all the other states. By hovering over the states you can see the total populations within each. Or, if you select a particular fact from the drop-down menu, it’ll display the total number of people within each area according to the fact you’ve selected.

The chart icon also provides you with another way of comparing your newfound stats with other states in the U.S. To use, just click on the icon after you’ve input the area and fact you want to search by.

And now comes the clever part! The “Dashboard” icon draws all three of the above features into one manageable place, so you can see the table, map, and chart at once. This offers a much more visual experience that you can continue to change and refine according to the topics you’re selecting.

If you do get confused as to what topic you’ve chosen, this is always displayed above the feature you’re using.

Finally, when you’ve found the data you want, you can start to use it by clicking on the “More” button at the end of the QuickFacts toolbar. Here you can choose to print your results, import them into a CSV file (for use with Excel spreadsheets, for example), email them to someone, get an embedded link for your website, or share them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Although the QuickFacts feature can be a little frustrating to use to start with, by playing around with it for a few minutes you should grasp the concept of it. And once you do, the information that’s available and the features you can use are incredibly useful.

Other Useful Features on Census.gov

U.S. and World Population Clock

To see how rapidly the world’s or America’s population is expanding, the interactive Population Clock is well worth a visit. With a clock counting the population as it grows and some other timers for births, deaths, and migrations, this is a great visual tool.

Here you’ll also find out how the population is changing, being able to see how frequently a new baby’s being born, how often there’s a death, and how the population is growing by region. You can also view the population density by age and sex, viewing how it’s changed over the years.

Additionally, you can find out how large the population of America was on a certain date by entering it into the calendar. This is also available to download and share.

American FactFinder

This tool on Census.gov lets you explore popular facts about your community, while also showing you the data that’s being frequently requested about this area. To find out more all you need to do is put your state, county, city, town, or zip code in the search bar and click “Go.”

Once you’ve done this it’ll take you to a page which shows you the total population and popular tables for this area. On the left-hand side, you’ll also see a number of categories, including age, education, and housing. Clicking on one of these will bring up the relevant data for this category while, again, showing you the popular tables for this section.

However, if you want to refine your search you may find the “Guided Search” option, which is available on the main page of the American FactFinder, helpful. Here you choose from a number of options, including what information you’re looking for, the topics you’re interested in, the location you want, and whether you want to refine your data to a race or ethnic group.

Once you’ve done this you’ll be presented with a list of tables and documents that are relevant to your requirements. This is a much easier way to refine your search!

There’s also an “Advanced Search” option that allows you to search by topics, geographies, race and ethnic groups, industry codes, and EEO occupation codes. You can also search by topic or table name or the area you’re interested in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Within this section, you’ll see what questions people are asking, with popular FAQs displayed on the main page. You can refine the results by topics or find what you’re looking for straight away, just type your question in the search box.

There’s some great information available that will help shed light on your research, the data available, and what goes into the surveys. You can also dip into the glossary for help with any unknown terms.


As you can see there’s plenty on offer at Census.gov, whether you’re looking for the latest mobile apps or you need to produce a table of facts for a new assignment. And, although the plethora of information can seem quite intimidating at first, the above explanation of how to access all of the key areas should hopefully help you find what you’re looking for!


FreeBackgroundCheck.org Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features


FreeBackgroundCheck.org is a data-pooling search site that offers many types of specific searching with the goal of getting you information quickly and efficiently. The accuracy of the information, however, is questionable and I would advise any users to do a double check on the information provided just to be thorough.

User Rating 2.45 (20 votes)


  • There is an astonishing amount of results propagated by each search. The probability that you are going to find something on the person you are searching is very high.


  • Many of the results returned are duplicate and/or incomplete. You may have 5 profiles that refer to the same person with different information in them. They would all be partially correct but none would give a cohesive report.
  • Searching took a long time. Both the initial search and subsequent ones stalled or failed multiple times.
  • Shuffling through incomplete information and incorrect details can get very confusing and concerning, especially when in reference to confused criminal and sex offender records! This is particularly important when you are searching someone you don’t know; You might not know that the information you are receiving is incorrect and that could influence you to make decisions that would be unfounded.


  • You were able to search many different ways, directing you to specific results that you may be interested. This could be helpful if you are desiring a very specific bit of information.
  • I also found it to be a little disconcerting that my IP address for multiple email addresses was provided. I can’t come up with many good reason why this information should be presented so readily.

Who is FreeBackgroundCheck.org?

I recently had to start over in life after a divorce and, though I had a home, I needed a new roommate. I put a few ads out on Craigslist, Facebook, etc. and got a handful of hits right away. I was particularly intrigued in a gentleman who responded to me through Facebook; I was able to look at his profile and could tell that we had quite a few things in common. I decided, just to be safe, to do a background check on him to make sure I wasn’t letting a creep into my home where my children would be coming to visit.

After a little online searching, I found FreeBackgroundCheck.org and it seemed like a very straightforward site with lots of search options so I gave it a try. My first clue should have been that I could not find any information on the site as to who the company behind the site was, where they were located, or how they started. Most companies will have an “about us” section where they proudly tell you about themselves and how they came into the business. I could not find anything about the company at all, even by searching on popular search engines.  

FreeBackgroundCheck.org Pricing and Available Plans

When signing up, I was offered 3 levels of access: 1 month of unlimited searches for $19.95/month, 1 week unlimited for $4.95, and just a single report for $29.95. I had a few people I could search if this gentleman wasn’t going to work out but I knew I would be making a decision within a week so I chose the 1 week option.

Nowhere on the sign-up does it say that the payments will auto-renew but I assumed it would, as this is how most of these sites work. I looked at my account and it showed my 7 day purchase and now listed it with the term “Trial” next to it. So, I dug into the Terms & Conditions and saw that it was a recurring charge unless you canceled the subscription. So, essentially, every 7 days it would charge me another $4.95 if I did nothing. I am pretty good at remembering to follow through on things like that so I decided it would be ok.

How to Use FreeBackgroundCheck.org?

My initial search took quite a while. I was willing to wait, though, because it showed that it was searching in many areas.

When the search was complete, it returned 54 results! I’m not sure if this is a good thing or bad in my situation, though. I don’t know much about this person other than the information I can find on their Facebook profile that they used to contact me. Because I only had his name and birthdate, I looked through the list to find people that were about 29 or 30 years old. Quite a few entries were returned without a birth date but one entry said the man was 29, which would make him most likely to be the guy I was looking for.

I didn’t know any of his relatives or locations so none of that information was of much help to me but I could see how that might make a huge difference for others.

The report generated very little information. There were minimal details given beyond his name, date of birth, age and address.

It gave only one address for him and then listed 3 sex offenses. This immediately caught my attention and decided to look further into these. The link was clickable but only brought up his profile again; it did not give any information about the offenses themselves.

Below, there were two death records listed but upon looking deeper into them I realized that they were both for other people who had been much older.

5 email addresses were listed but 4 of them were associated with someone at a different address and the person had a different middle initial. The 5th result was, again, associated with a different address and I did not have faith that it was correct.

That is it, honestly… It didn’t give me any more information than that. So, I decided to look at other people that might be him. I asked the gentleman coyly where he was living currently so I could send him a lease agreement to review and he gave me his address. I used this information to make sure I had the right person and was surprised to find that it actually was the correct address but that it was tied to three separate profiles, one with the correct birth date, one older person and one person with no birth date listed.

I checked each profile out individually and the one with no birth date listed 90 (Yes, 90!) traffic violations, most of which were duplicates. It also listed the same 3 sex offenses and email addresses as the original profile. The older gentleman, who I would assume is my guy’s father, gave 5 addresses but listed the current address as the same which would suggest that my potential roommate was living at home with his parents at almost 30 years old. That doesn’t really bode well with me because I would assume he isn’t paying rent there and might not consistently pay me on time. The older gentleman’s profile also listed the same 3 sex offenses and 5 email addresses.

It was at this point that I decided to look into the sex offenses to see if it was even the correct person. Upon searching the state’s sex offender registry it turns out it isn’t even remotely close to the same person, having been born at a different time and living at a different address than any listed for either person. This is concerning because if someone was not diligently checking into the validity of the information provided they could easily accuse someone wrongly of a very serious crime and potentially really screw up a relationship.

I did find it nice that there was a menu on the left of the page that would let you search specifically for criminal records, arrests, court records, sex offender, and many more. If you were looking for specific information, this could be very helpful. All you have to do is click on how you want to search, put in the name and it brings up a bunch of results.

It also lets you search by phone number and address in case you didn’t have someone’s name and just that information. To test its accuracy, I searched my ex wife’s address and, though the house was in her name alone, it lists that house as owned by me and that I am married and the current occupant. That has not been my residence since we split 5 years ago.

How Good is FreeBackgroundCheck.org Data?

I had become very skeptical so I decided to check the validity of the rest of the information being provided by checking my own report. Four results were returned and all four were incorrect. They were someone in a different city with a different middle name and I was nowhere to be found.

I tried, instead, to search my maiden name and that finally returned some positive results. However, none of them were fully correct.

The most correct one listed an old address as the current and then listed two phone numbers that were landlines not connected with either address. It also listed 4 email addresses, 2 of which were incorrect and none of which were current and valid. This is only concerning because I currently have 6 active email addresses that I use on a regular basis for both business and personal effect and they are no secret online and on my small business’ website. The fact that they were not picked up shows a lack of information being reported.

How do I Cancel FreeBackgroundCheck.org?

I decided to immediately cancel my subscription. I didn’t feel like anything I found was trustworthy which made it pointless to search other candidates. It also made me feel like the company itself might give me trouble cancelling which was, sadly, the case. When I had looked up the Terms of Service previously I had noticed a link to cancel the subscription. I followed that link and was directed to a “Send Help Request” with a drop-down menu to choose “Account Cancellation” from. I added comments to let them know I wanted to cancel and then waited for an email in response.

The next day, I received an email apologizing for the lapse in reliable information, confirmed cancellation and assured me that I would not be charged further.

FreeBackgroundCheck.org Final Thoughts

Though FreeBackgroundCheck.org returns a wide variety of information, I did not find it to be accurate or reliable, which is very important to me. When it comes to background checks and sexual predator histories, it is important to be sure that the information you are being presented is linked with the correct person.

I was not able to get the information I desired from this search so I ended up having to sign up for a different search site that came much more highly recommended. At the end of the day, I only spent $4.95 so I wasn’t too upset about the financial loss. Lesson learned!


TruthFinder Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features
User Rating 2.68 (22 votes)

Truthfinder Overview

Truthfinder is a background check service enabling subscribers to search for information on people using an extensive database of aggregated publicly available data. Type in a person’s name and Truthfinder will return any available information associated with the individual, including physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, criminal record info, and more.  Using the service is a great way to research a person met on an online dating service or track down old friends you’ve lost touch with.

Truthfinder’s people search service is its key feature and the first thing you see when you visit the site. While many people search websites provide a similar service, Truthfinder also offers a number of unique features, including a host of self-monitoring tools and an “opt-out” option, that set it apart from the pack.

What are Truthfinder’s weaknesses? 

The service shares the same basic weakness as many of its competitors: the limitation of public data. Occasionally, Truthfinder will deliver inaccurate or incomplete information because the public records themselves contain errors or because the facts are simply unavailable. However, Truthfinder is at least as good as any background check service (and definitely beats Google), delivering detailed, thorough results at fast speeds. 

Visit TruthFinder

How does Truthfinder work?

Truthfinder delivers search results drawn from compiled data deriving from scores of public sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and local public records 
  • FBI and local criminal records data 
  • Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Data from private companies. 
  • Financial institutions data
  • U.S. Census data

Yes, any information found through Truthfinder is also available elsewhere, but it’s great to have it accessible in one place.

Visit TruthFinder

Is TruthFinder legit?

Truthfinder is a legitimate company that is transparent about its data sources and services on offer. The webpage explains what Truthfinder can be used for, while also clarifying that it isn’t a consumer credit agency. Truthfinder also notes that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) makes the use of the service illegal for tenant screening, employee background checks, or determining an individual’s eligibility for a loan or financial aid.

However, there are aspects of Truthfinder that are somewhat deceptive, such as the lack of clear pricing information on the main page. Additionally, they use a ‘funneling’ technique wherein you must first perform a search in order to get concrete subscription and pricing details. This technique is used by many background check websites and it only hurts Truthfinder’s legitimacy.  

Visit TruthFinder

Key Features

People Search

Truthfinder’s most popular feature, the people search, is exactly what it sounds like: type in a person’s name, and receive a detailed report with extensive information drawn from a wealth of public sources. 

What info does it return?

A full Truthfinder report may contain the following information about an individual:

  • Names and aliases
  • Date of birth
  • Education history
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Job history
  • Possible relatives
  • Address history
  • Location information
  • Criminal record
  • Possible assets
  • Sex offender status
  • Social media accounts
  • Photographs

Does it work?

For the most part, yes. Of course, it’s unlikely that a single search will return all of the above information. However, you’ll be surprised at the depth of Truthfinder’s reports: the service certainly delivers on its promise of full background checks. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that information found using the Truthfinder people search will not be 100% accurate and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Dark Web Scan

This feature purports to scan thousands of dark web data points to check if a subscriber has been the victim of identity theft or part of a large data breach.  The dark web scan is provided in partnership with Experian.

What info does it return?

Truthfinder’s dark web scan will tell you if your personal information or credit card info has been used illegally, or if your personal information has been compromised as part of a data breach. 

Does it work?

While none of our searches using the feature returned any information about potential data breaches or cases of identity theft (thankfully), customer reviews on BBB claim that the dark web search works as it’s intended. Considering how frequently people use credit cards to purchase items online or type in their personal information to register for websites, this is a standout feature for Truthfinder. 

Criminal Records Search

Search a database of criminal history data drawn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other federal and state law enforcement agencies. Despite the fact that criminal records are included in the results of a standard Truthfinder people search, rendering the search somewhat extraneous, it’s nevertheless an interesting feature. 

What info does it return?

The criminal records search will return any criminal history information tied to an individual found in major federal and local criminal databases, including:

  • Arrest records
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony convictions
  • Traffic offenses
  • Court records. 

Does it work?

Truthfinder’s criminal records search is very effective in delivering criminal history information tied to an individual. However, there are cases where convictions and arrests are incorrectly attributed to a person due to an error or a similarity in names. 

Nevertheless, in light of the difficulty and expense of doing a criminal background check on one’s own in most U.S. states, the criminal records search is one of Truthfinder’s most useful features.  

Public Records Search

Truthfinder includes a dedicated public records search function that scans millions of data points to return any public records in a person’s name.

What info does it return?

 The most common public records delivered through the search are 

  • Arrest records
  • Criminal records
  • Liens and bankruptcies
  • Birth certificates
  • Death records
  • Marriage records
  • Divorce records 

However, Truthfinder may also return far more obscure public records, such as professional licenses and property records. 

Does it work?

Yes, the public records search is very effective. Although the information returned by a search is publicly available, you won’t find it all in one place unless you use Truthfinder or a similar background check service. 

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Additional Features

In addition to its principal functions, TruthFinder makes a number of bonus features and options available to subscribers, including:

  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Reverse Address Lookup
  • Self-monitoring features
  • Sex offender search
  • The ability to remove your own report from the Truthfinder database
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TruthFinder Pricing

Despite appearances, none of Truthfinder’s services are free, nor is there a free trial or complimentary search available, so you’ll have to buy a subscription in order to experience what the service has to offer. 

Unfortunately, Truthfinder isn’t totally clear about its pricing, either, so we’ve broken down its two basic subscription options for you:

  • 1 Month Membership – $28
  • 3 Month Membership – $78

You’ll save a couple of bucks committing to a 3-month subscription, but the difference isn’t all that great. It’s important to note that your subscription will auto-renew unless you manually unsubscribe, which has caused confusion and resulted in negative customer reviews on sites like Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

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Customer Support

Truthfinder’s customer service isn’t as good as that of its competitor, BeenVerified, which operates a call center 7 days a week and quickly responds to customer emails, but it does offer a customer support number on its website as well as several informative FAQs pages that touch on common questions about billing, canceling accounts, and resetting passwords.

We can’t say that Truthfinder excels in the area of customer support, and it isn’t clear about the operating hours of its helpline, but it could also do worse. 

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent people search function that delivers detailed background reports
  • Handy self-monitoring tools keep subscribers clued in on potential cases of identity theft and data breaches
  • Extensive database of public records and criminal records
  • Truthfinder website offers a wealth of useful information on its data collection practices and the appropriate uses for information gathered through its service
  • Offers mobile apps for iOS and Android


  • Lack of transparency about pricing
  • Reports are occasionally inaccurate or contain falsely attributed information 
  • Confusing user interface
  • Pricey

Bottom Line

Whether Truthfinder is right for you depends on your need for a background check service and are prepared to foot the bill. However, the service excels at delivering detailed background reports and is useful for a variety of purposes. There’s also the fact that, despite its data being publicly available, you won’t find it all in one place (except on other people search websites). 

Although many people simply won’t feel the need to shell out $30 to perform unlimited Truthfinder background checks, the service is competitively priced compared and offers a number of useful services for those that need them.

Visit TruthFinder

CheckPeople Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/features


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.

User Rating 3.06 (84 votes)


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features


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.

User Rating 3 (7 votes)

Instant Checkmate: Overview

Instant Checkmate (www.instantcheckmate.com) is a subscription-based people search service that allows users to perform a search on any individual and receive a detailed report with contact information, location information, criminal records, and professional history. 

The service gathers its data entirely from publicly available sources such as public records repositories, social media websites, and information released from private companies. Instant Checkmate bests Google and other search engines for looking up long lost friends, learning more about new neighbors, or vetting online dates.

Instant Checkmate offers a service that is similar to other background-check companies, including that of its sister company Truthfinder, yet the price for a subscription is higher than most, and many of its additional features come with a price.  

Is Instant Checkmate free to use?

None of Instant Checkmates features are free. The site’s home page features a criminal records search bar that suggests that the company offers a free background report, but the results are inevitably hidden behind a membership paywall. What’s more, Instant Checkmate is more expensive to use than other websites of its ilk. 

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How does Instant Checkmate work?

Like other people search websites, Instant Checkmate aggregates public data from numerous government and commercial sources and it puts it all in one place. Although the information found on Instant Checkmate can be accessed through other sources, in practice, this is an onerous process requiring multiple trips to public records repositories, courthouses, police stations, and other record-holding agencies. 

Principally, what Instant Checkmate sells is convenience: they do the legwork so that your personal investigations and background checking is quick and painless.   

Where does Instant Checkmate get its information?

Instant Checkmate’s information database is comprised of aggregated data from dozens of public sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and local public records repositories
  • Social media websites
  • U.S. Census demographic information
  • FBI and local crime data
  • Commercial businesses
  • Sex offender registries
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Is Instant Checkmate legit?

Yes, Instant Checkmate is a legitimate company that is upfront about its services and does not scam its users, beyond some mildly misrepresentative advertising. In fact, the San Diego-based company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. 

However, Instant Checkmate has had its issues: in 2014, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) sued the company for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stemming from instances where Instant Checkmate provided reports to customers for illegal uses such as tenant screening and employment screening despite the fact that it is not a consumer reporting agency. As a result, Instant Checkmate has cleaned up its act, posting clear notifications in its FAQs page detailing how its services can and cannot be used.  

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Main features

An Instant Checkmate membership comes with two key features, the people search and the criminal records search. Let’s look at both features more closely. 

People Search

Instant Checkmate’s people search allows users to search anyone in the United States and delivers a detailed background report with extensive information on the person, in addition to any public records tied to the individual. 

How does it work?

Type in a person’s name, along with their approximate location (city and state), and Instant Checkmate scans its massive database for publicly available information on the person, returning a comprehensive background report. 

What info does it return?

Instant Checkmate performs a full background search on a person, delivering a report that may include the following information:

  • Names and aliases
  • Address and location history
  • Phone numbers
  • Photos
  • Family members and possible relatives (along with their contact information)
  • Email addresses
  • Social media accounts
  • Liens and bankruptcies
  • Civil judgments 
  • Vehicles owned
  • Employment history
  • Financial information

Additionally, Instant Checkmate offers a new feature that enables users to create a profile for individuals that a subscriber has searched, with editable characteristics like race, religion, political leanings, and more.

Criminal Records Search 

Instant Checkmate’s other claim to fame is its criminal records search, which delivers a thorough report with the criminal history of any person you search (if one exists). This feature is the best that Instant Checkmate has to offer. 

How does it work?

As with the people search, you type in a person’s name and Instant Checkmate scans its database of criminal record data and returns any arrests and convictions attributed to that individual. 

What info does it return?

Instant Checkmate returns a complete criminal background check on a person that includes the following information:

  • Arrest records
  • DUI arrests
  • Warrants
  • Mugshots
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony convictions
  • Court records
  • Inmate records
  • Traffic violations

There are some cases where Instant Checkmate will incorrectly attribute criminal offenses to people not responsible for them due to a law enforcement mix-up or a similarity in name between the actual offender and the search candidate. Additionally, some states restrict the release of criminal history information to a greater degree than others, resulting in low-information results for people living in certain states. Regardless, Instant Checkmate’s criminal records search is one of the best of its kind. 

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Additional features

To complement its main features, Instant Checkmate provides a number of other tools that subscribers can use. Unfortunately, unlike a number of other background check services, the company requires users to pay additional fees to access most of them. 

Here’s a brief rundown of additional features made available by Instant Checkmate:

  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Dark web scan
  • Address search
  • Sex offender watch
  • PDF copies of background reports
  • The option to remove your own report from the Instant Checkmate database
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Instant Checkmate Pricing

Instant Checkmate uses a “funneling” technique wherein users must first perform a perfunctory search–which is followed by flashy cinematic background scan graphics–before the user hits a paywall with genuine pricing information.  

While potential users will have no choice but to go along with this search, Instant Checkmate presents the following subscription options:

  • 1-month subscription – $34.78 
  • 3-month subscription – $83.46 ($27.82 a month)

Subscribers will save about $7 dollars a month if they opt for the quarterly subscription. All members are given unlimited reports for the duration of their subscription. As previously mentioned, extra features, like PDFcopies of reports ($2.99 apiece), come with added fees.

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Customer Support

Instant Checkmate has decent customer service: the company’s Member Care team is available by phone, email, Twitter, or Facebook. There are multiple phone numbers to call depending on the nature of your inquiry, and their service hours are posted on the website. 

Additionally, Instant Checkmate’s FAQ section is detailed and leaves no stone unturned, answering important questions about the accuracy of its data and its potential uses. 

Pros and Cons


  • Detailed background check reports
  • Great criminal records search 
  • Solid, attentive customer service
  • Thorough FAQs section
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android


  • Lofty subscription price 
  • Bonus features cost extra money
  • Unclear pricing information

Bottom Line

Instant Checkmate’s two main features, its people search and criminal records search, are some of the best of their kind on the internet. The main question is if they are enough to validate the steep subscription prices: a subscription to competing data brokerage company BeenVerified is at least $7 dollars cheaper per month. 

However, Instant Checkmate’s BBB accreditation is a testament to the company’s solid reputation, which, along with the company’s stellar search tools, may be enough to sway prospective users to their side. 

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BeenVerified Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

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.

BeenVerified: Overview

Over the years, background check websites have transitioned from entertaining curiosities into extremely effective tools for looking up all kinds of information. Leading the pack is BeenVerified (www.beenverified.com), a New York company founded in 2007 by Ross Cohen and Josh Levy.

Through its existence, BeenVerified has become one of the top background check websites on the internet by expanding its array of features and widening the informational database at its disposal. Along with its famed people search, BeenVerified offers a slew of handy features that cater to specific needs.  As of 2020, BeenVerified gets 10 million visits a month and has a subscriber base topping 100K.

BeenVerified delivers search results by combing a vast database of aggregated public data from dozens of sources and includes public records, criminal history information, property records, social media accounts, and more. Although this data is publicly available, having it all accessible in one place is very convenient. 

Is BeenVerified free to use?

BeenVerified is a subscription-based service: in order to take advantage of the service’s main features, you’ll need to purchase a membership, as none of them are free to use. However, the benefits of a subscription are generous, with members being granted unlimited background reports, phone lookups, email lookups, criminal records, and more.  Overall, it’s a great value for the money. 

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How does BeenVerified work?

BeenVerified gathers a wealth of information from thousands of public sources and makes it available in one place, allowing users to collect data with a single search that would otherwise require hours of independent research and multiple trips to courthouses, public records repositories and other places where records are stored.  

Even though it seems far-fetched considering the depth of information delivered in the company’s background reports, BeenVerified’s data derives solely from aggregated public records.  

Where does BeenVerified get its information?

BeenVerified’s data is culled from many disparate sources, including: 

  • Federal, state, and local public records repositories
  • FBI  and local crime data
  • U.S. census data 
  • Consumer reporting agencies
  • Commercial business data, i.e., magazine subscription lists and property records
  • Financial institutions like banks and credit unions
  • Social media accounts 
  • Court records

Could I track down all of this information without using BeenVerified?

While hypothetically speaking, you could gather any public information delivered by BeenVerified on your own by visiting county clerks’ offices, courthouses, police stations, and other record-holding institutions, it’s such a hassle to pay service fees, fill out forms, and sit for the mandatory waiting periods that it pays to have everything accessible in one place. 

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BeenVerified Features

BeenVerified advertises seven key features on its website. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

People Search

BeenVerified’s people search is the service’s main draw and perhaps the best of its kind on the web, returning heaps of publicly available information on any individual you perform a search on. 

How does it work?

Type in a person’s first and last name, along with any additional basic information that you have on hand that might yield better results, such as a date of birth or approximate location.

What info does it return?

BeenVerified returns a comprehensive report on the individual that may include the following information:

  • Names and known aliases
  • Age and date of birth
  • Current address
  • Full address history
  • Phone numbers
  • Possible relatives
  • Email addresses
  • Criminal history information
  • Sex offender information
  • Court records
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • Available photos
  • Tax records
  • Social media profiles

Reverse Phone Lookup

Receiving phone calls from unknown numbers–including prank calls and scams–is a nagging issue that everyone must contend with, but, thankfully, BeenVerified’s reverse phone lookup feature can help identify the culprits behind these calls. 

How does it work?

Type in the phone number of an unknown caller and BeenVerified searches billions of data points for information on the caller.

What info does it return?

BeenVerified returns any available background information on the identity of an unknown caller, including: 

  • A name 
  • A business name 
  • Location
  • Age of the individual
  • Email addresses attached to the number
  • Social media accounts attached to the number.

Unfortunately, the reverse phone search is not as effective as the people search since, by design, there’s often not much publicly available information for many unlisted numbers or random cell phone numbers. 

Reverse Email Lookup

Inevitably, email inboxes get filled up with emails from unknown senders, as the spam folder can’t catch everything. Similar to the reverse phone lookup, BeenVerified’s reverse email lookup reveals information on an unrecognized email address, letting you know if the sender is legitimate or a scammer. 

How does it work?

Type in an email address and BeenVerified scans its vast database for information about the sender. 

What info does it return?

BeenVerified returns information on the identity of the unknown sender of an email, including: 

  • Name of the person or organization tied to the email address
  • Social media accounts have been set up using the email
  • Personal information about the sender of the email

Reverse email lookup is a handy tool, allowing you to verify whether a person or company is legitimate or a scammer. It’s much more effective than a Google search in determining the identity of an email sender, and their motive for contacting you in the first place. 

Reverse Address Lookup

Another invaluable tool available to BeenVerified members, the reverse address lookup returns comprehensive information about any United States address you wish to learn more about.

Why use reverse address lookup?

Whether you want to gather data about a property you’re looking to purchase without contacting a realtor, learn more about your new neighbors, or would just like to get a better sense of a particular neighborhood, the reverse address lookup is a useful tool for any purpose. 

How does it work?

Type an address into the search and BeenVerified scans its records database for information on the home or business.

What info does it return?

  • Physical details about the home, such as when it was built, square footage, and the number of rooms 
  • Details about the people that live at the address, or have lived at the address in the past 

Username Search

Similar to the reverse email lookup, BeenVerified’s username search allows you to look up a unique username tied to a social media account or message board in order to learn more information about the person or organization behind the account. 

How does it work?

Type in a social media account username as it appears on a social media site and BeenVerified searches tons of social media sites, message boards, and chatrooms to collect information tied to the username.

What info does it return?

BeenVerified delivers a report with any data that can be attributed to the username, including:

  • Information about the individual or organization behind the user name 
  • Content posted by the user, including posts and photos

Compared to other BeenVerified features, username search is limited in scope, yet effective in what it aims to accomplish. 

VIN Number Search

This tool allows you to look up the VIN number, or vehicle identification number, of a specific vehicle to learn detailed information about a specific vehicle and its history. 

How does it work?

Type in a vehicle’s 17-digit vehicle identification number and BeenVerified scans its database for information associated with the vehicle. The VIN is located on the front area of the dashboard of the driver’s side. There should be a metal plate with the VIN engraved near the lower righthand corner of the windshield. 

What info does it return?

The VIN Number search returns any publicly available records tied to a vehicle, including:

  • Accident reports
  • Safety recalls 
  • Estimated value
  • Ownership history.

BeenVerified’s VIN number search is a must for anyone in the market for a used car. The tool can help you separate out any lemons and give you a more concrete understanding of a vehicle’s value and history.

Unclaimed Money Search

Many U.S. citizens are completely unaware of unclaimed money in their name. It’s easy to forget about an overpaid utility bill, lost savings bond, or an unclaimed tax refund, and private companies and government agencies would like to keep it that way. 

How does it work?

BeenVerified’s unclaimed money search combs scores of data sources to find out if there’s any unclaimed cash out there with your name on it, allowing you to start on the path to collecting funds that rightfully belong to you.

What info does it return?

The search returns any unclaimed money in your name so that you can contact the agency or company and collect the funds.

BeenVerified Mobile Apps

Along with the features available on the web, BeenVerified has also released mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Apple Watch that allow subscribers to take advantage of BeenVerified tools and searches while on the go. 

What features do the apps include?

The BV mobile apps include all the features available on the website, and store past reports so that you can pull them up whenever necessary.

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Is BeenVerified legit?

The short answer is yes, BeenVerified is a legitimate company that is clear about its data sources and the services that it offers, and no, it’s not a scam. However, there are limits to public data, and reports delivered by BeenVerified are not always completely accurate, leading to some consumer dissatisfaction with the company and its service. In fact, there are many dissatisfied customer reviews on websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs.

However, many of these claims stem from unrealistic expectations about the product or involve personal vendettas people have with the company stemming from situations where information has been incorrectly attributed to them via BeenVerified reports. 

By approaching BeenVerified with a certain amount of skepticism and being aware of the service’s limitations, you’ll have more realistic expectations about what to expect. 

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BeenVerified Pricing 

BeenVerified memberships come in two “value plans”:

  • 1-Month Membership – $22.86 a month
  • 3-Month Membership – $14.86 a month 

BeenVerified does not have a tiered membership model and there is no difference in features between the two pricing plans. However, purchasing a 3-month membership for $14.86 (per month) results in 35% savings compared to paying the 1-month membership fee for 3 months. All memberships are identical and come with unlimited searches, lookups, and background reports. 

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Customer Support

The BeenVerified customer care team is almost always available and attentive to customer concerns. Their customer support phone line is open 7 days a week for 17.5 hours a day, and representatives respond promptly and thoroughly to customer queries sent through the site or to the support team’s email (support@beenverified.com).

Pros and Cons


  • People search returns detailed, comprehensive reports
  • Membership offers a wide array of features
  • Straightforward pricing model
  • Relatively transparent for a background check company
  • Quality mobile apps
  • Attentive customer support


  • Occasional long waiting times for search results
  • Search results are not always accurate
  • No free trial on offer

Wrapping Up

Internet background checks are now big business, and BeenVerified is one of the top names in the industry, delivering a reliable service and a slew of features for a fair price. 

It’s important to note that BeenVerified shouldn’t be used for tenant screening or employment background checks, which is illegal according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), but it’s a great service for tracking down long lost friends, updating contact information, or answering additional questions about the people in your life.

As long as you are aware of the limitations of the public data that BeenVerified uses to deliver reports and don’t mind a few inaccuracies or fruitless searches here and there, the company offers a solid product that compares favorably to those of its competitors. 

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Intelius Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features


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.

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Intelius.com: Overview

Intelius is a people search website that enables users to run background checks on any person, returning detailed background reports with personal information, phone numbers, address history, criminal records, and more. The company aggregates data from dozens of public sources, including federal, state, and local government agencies as well as private companies. 

Founded in 2003, Intelius is one of the longest-running internet background check companies in the business, and it offers one of the most reliable services in the data brokerage industry. Their reports are generally more accurate than those of competing sites, while Intelius’s subscription prices are lower than those of major competitors Instant Checkmate and BeenVerified.

Although it’s illegal to use Intelius for the purposes of tenant screening and employment screening according to the FCRA (they are not a licensed consumer reporting agency), the service is a great tool for tracking down long-lost relatives, learning more about new neighbors, and vetting people you’ve met on social media or online dating apps.

Is Intelius free to use?

Intelius allows users to perform one free people search that will return basic information about an individual, including a full name, location history, list of family members, and education history, but uncovering any further information requires the purchase of a one-time report or a full membership. 

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How does Intelius work?

Intelius collects data from a wealth of public sources, gathering it in a vast informational database. Users can search this database to retrieve detailed reports on any person in the United States. 

While all of the information found using Intelius is public record and available from other sources, tracking it all down individually could take months or even years, and you definitely won’t be able to find this stuff using Google or another search engine. The data is held by public records repositories and commercial businesses that are characterized by slow response times to records requests and often ask for lofty service fees. With Intelius, you can skip the headache and get the information that you need using a single service. 

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Where does Intelius get its information?

Upon scanning one of their comprehensive background reports, it may appear as if Intelius has special access to confidential information, yet all of their data comes from public sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and county public records
  • FBI and local crime data
  • Published phone directories
  • Social networks
  • Commercial business records
  • Financial institutions 
  • Court records
  • Lawsuit filings
  • Real estate deeds
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Is Intelius legit?

Intelius is a legitimate, accredited business with an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, and not a scam. While the company has experienced legal troubles in the past, they now include a disclaimer warning against uses of their service that are illegal according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law regulating the use of consumer credit information.  

While there are some red flags: some of Intelius’ advertising is a bit sensationalized, and clear pricing information is difficult to come by on the website, these flaws are characteristics shared by all internet background check services, rather than specific issues with Intelius. 

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Key Features

People Search

People search is Intelius’ claim to fame, and their most frequently used service: a powerful search tool used for gathering detailed information on any person in the United States. 

How it works

Just type in a person’s name, along with their approximate location, and Intelius searches literally billions of records to deliver a detailed report on the individual.

What info does it return?

An Intelius people search report may include the following information:

  • Full name
  • Known aliases
  • Age and date of birth
  • Address history
  • Phone numbers 
  • Education history
  • Employment history
  • Possible relatives (along with contact information)
  • Social media accounts
  • Financial information

Background Check

A more in-depth look into a person’s history that goes beyond the standard people search.

How it works

Similar to the people search but much more detailed, an Intelius background check combs the database of public records to return an in-depth, full background check containing a person’s legal and personal history. 

What info does it return?

An Intelius background check will return all of the information that you’ll find with a standard people search, along with a closer examination of the person’s legal history and criminal record, including:

  • Arrest records
  • Warrants
  • Misdemeanor and felony convictions
  • Marriage and divorce history
  • Liens and bankruptcies 
  • Birth record
  • Death record
  • Court records
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Additional features

A number of additional tools complement Intelius’ primary background search functions. Here are a few:

  • Public records search – Search for public records in a person’s name
  • Reverse address lookup – Learn detailed information about a property, including physical details and ownership history
  • Reverse phone lookup – Search an unrecognized phone number for details about the caller
  • Identity protect – Identity theft protection, credit card protection, and public records monitoring ($19.95 monthly)
  • Phone directory – Search a directory of United States phone numbers 
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Intelius Pricing

As with other background-check companies, you won’t find a convenient “pricing” tab anywhere on Intelius’ website. Instead, you’ll have to commit to a search first, and then  wait ten minutes as the service combs through its database and asks a slew of questions aimed at limiting results. When the report is finally ready, you’ll be presented with subscription options. 

When we ran a people search, these are the monthly subscription options Intelius gave us:

  • 1 month of unlimited reports – $22.86
  • 2 months of unlimited reports – $38.86 ($19.43 a month)
  • Premier Plus Membership – $29.95 ($14.95 for the first month)

Compared to competitors like BeenVerified and Instant Checkmate, Intelius’ service offers relatively low prices, just beware of their “Full Access Trial Membership” offer for $1.99. Many negative customer reviews state, after agreeing to the trial period, their subscription was auto-renewed for full price without their knowledge. However, in most cases, Intelius gave them a full refund after they lodged a complaint. 

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Customer Support

Intelius operates a customer support phone line that’s open from Monday – Friday, 7 am – 5 pm PST, as well as a dedicated customer support email address where customers can send their questions and concerns. 

Pros and Cons


  • Delivers the most accurate, up-to-date background reports in the industry
  • The website features an attractive layout
  • A subscription is more affordable than those of many competitors
  • Offers a mobile app for Android and iOS with most of the same features as the website


  • Difficult to find pricing information
  • Deceptive trial offer
  • Many services advertised as unique seem to perform a similar function

Bottom Line

Although Intelius searches won’t return 100% accurate information (no background check services do), they are among the best in the industry, producing compelling, comprehensive reports on anyone whose name you type into the search prompt. The company’s high-quality service–together with its fair prices and BBB accreditation–make it the top choice for those in the market for a background check service. 

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