Category Archives for "Public Records Reviews"
34 Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary 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 2.42 (26 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

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 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. 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

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 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

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. Final Thoughts

Though 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 2.88 (49 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. 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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CheckPeople Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/features

Summary 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 3.05 (111 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

When I looked into this background check company, I was pleased to find that the team who put together 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. 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

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 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

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 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 3.15 (27 votes)

Instant Checkmate: Overview

Instant Checkmate ( 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

BeenVerified 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 search websites have transitioned from entertaining curiosities into extremely effective tools for looking up almost all kinds of information. Leading the pack is BeenVerified (, a New York company founded in 2007 by Ross Cohen and Josh Levy.

Through its existence, BeenVerified has become one of the top background search 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 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 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 month and year of birth
  • Current address
  • Address history
  • Phone numbers
  • Possible relatives
  • Email addresses
  • Criminal history information
  • Sex offender information
  • Court 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 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 (

Pros and Cons


  • People search returns detailed, comprehensive reports
  • Membership offers a wide array of features
  • Straightforward pricing model
  • Relatively transparent for a background search 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 searches 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 search, 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.

User Rating 2.44 (54 votes)
Sending 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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Spokeo Review, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features


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.



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


  • 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:

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.

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).


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.

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!”

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 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, 2021

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features


PeopleSmart is a prospecting tool that gives users the ability to find leads and business contacts using a variety of criteria. The website is as easy to use as any search engine. Users simply select attributes of the people they’d like to reach and receive a list of potential matches.

User Rating 0 (0 votes)


  • Easy-to-use site
  • Millions of professional contacts in just about every industry
  • All search results are returned in an organized fashion
  • Professional contact data is aggregated from a variety of reputable sources
  • Information is scored and ranked by data confidence levels
  • Users have the ability to save retrieved contacts and access them at any time
  • Users can monitor a record for changes and receive updates when they occur
  • The user dashboard is a centralized location for information


  • Searches will likely return multiple records, which can be tough to sift through
  • Background check services are not available
  • The site won’t return any criminal records or criminal court records or other highly personal data


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

What is PeopleSmart?

PeopleSmart is a prospecting tool that gives users the ability to find leads and business contacts using a variety of criteria. The website is as easy to use as any search engine. Users simply select attributes of the people they’d like to reach and receive a list of potential matches.

More specifically, users can conduct:

  • Name
  • Company
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Seniority
  • Industry
  • Email address
  • Reverse phone number
  • LinkedIn and social media profiles

What is PeopleSmart used for? 

PeopleSmart is also a great tool to use for professional reasons. Some people use the platform to: 

  • Find new potential customers to sell to
  • Get in touch with potential candidates to recruit for open job opportunities
  • Find current or former colleagues to network with
  • Extend sales reach by looking up professional contacts you’ve met 
  • Enhance customer records by filling in missing pieces of information
  • Learn more about prospects
  • Understand customers and their motivations to buy

What other features are available to PeopleSmart users?

PeopleSmart users can search for prospects in many different ways. A person can enter a name, company, job title or level, location, or any combination of these. They can also search by phone number, email address, or social media username. When you subscribe to PeopleSmart, you’ll also get access to additional features like:

My contacts

With a subscription, you can keep track of the contacts you retrieve. All of your contacts can be found on the dashboard in the “My Contacts” section. By clicking a report, you can review the profile again and even download a PDF or export it for your own records. Contacts can be removed from the list too, by using the Edit list tool


A subscription provides the ability to monitor changes for up to 10 contacts. A user will receive an email notification if any monitored record is updated or changed. The feature is easy to activate. Simply click a button that says “Get notified of updates.” All contact, phone, email, or social profile reports can be monitored.

Account information

The dashboard has easy-to-find account information. It provides your member ID, email, order history, and allows you to update your account information. 

24-hour support

PeopleSmart provides 24-hour customer support via email or the website. They also have a phone support line that’s open 7 days a week from 6:00 AM – 11:30 PM ET.

What shouldn’t PeopleSmart be used for? 

PeopleSmart shouldn’t be used to conduct a background check or obtain a background report on someone. It doesn’t provide criminal records, court records, or highly sensitive personal information. It cannot be used to determine a person’s eligibility for employment or make any kind of financial decision relating to an individual, or any other purpose that would require compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

How accurate is the information provided by PeopleSmart?

PeopleSmart aggregates data from multiple public records sources, which are updated continuously to support their customers’ prospecting efforts.

 When a user accesses a contact report, the data is ranked by PeopleSmart using data confidence scoring. Simply put, the best matches are on the top with other “high confidence” records listed next. The system will rank and label the best match data points with “BestMatch” for each type of information, like phone numbers and email addresses. Additional indicators like “Higher Confidence” are provided as additional guidance for users.

What is the pricing for PeopleSmart?

PeopleSmart is an affordable tool to use, especially for business users. All plans have access to the same features but differ in the number of contact report credits provided. All plans also come with a 7-day trial that costs just $1. After the 7 day trial, the pricing starts from $49/month for 50 contact report credits.

The company also offers customized plan options for users who need to access even more contacts per month.

Do people know that users are searching for them?

Whether a user is looking for a potential client they met at a networking event or they’re just looking to update their contact database, all searches are confidential. The person you’re looking for will not be notified of the search, and it is not possible for the subject of a search to know that anybody is looking them up.

Can I search for people who live abroad?

All of the records on PeopleSmart are for the United States only. 

What if I search for my own records and don’t want the information to be public? 

PeopleSmart respects your privacy. If someone searches their records and finds incorrect information or simply doesn’t want their information to be available on the site, they can opt-out. To do so, you can read about the opt-out process or send an email to for any additional support questions.

Is a free people finder better than a paid one?

There are some platforms that are free of charge and others that charge for the information. Which one is better? It all depends on what you need it for. If you’re simply looking for a lost friend’s phone number, this one-time need is probably best suited for a free search. If you want to find more in-depth information that’s packaged in an organized fashion, and plan to use the platform with some consistency, a paid site is the way to go. 

To effectively find information for your business, you’re better off using a professional paid site that’s reliable and provides up-to-date information. It’s unlikely that a free site would be able to deliver quality results.

Do all people finders source their information from the same place?

Most sites that provide information about others do so by way of public records. However, some sites pull data from multiple sources to enhance accuracy. Most sites will explain how their data is found, curated, and presented to users. It’s a good idea to research this information before paying any membership fees.

Are there alternative ways to find information on people without paying for it? 

The short answer is yes, but it’s time-consuming and often less accurate. To find business contact info without the help of a paid platform, you would need to do a lot of searching online and compile your own data set.

You’d likely start with a simple Google search, followed by searching social media channels. You can sift through public records, visit the county clerk to conduct a search, and call old colleagues and associates to try to piece together the information you need.

Obviously, this can be a huge time commitment. Or, you can use a contact search tool like PeopleSmart to access the information quickly and easily.