PAID POST BY ORIGINATED MEDIA
Privacy in the digital age means keeping your personal information secure, enabling you to live a safer, more relaxed life. But with social media, AI image generation, and VPNs allowing people in your life to hide their true identities, using the best background check site is necessary to ensure you’re not taking the wrong risks with your personal safety.
Running a background check as a private citizen is a great way to protect yourself from fraud, theft, and abuse. It can also help you stay informed when meeting new people and check up on those already in your life. Fortunately, many background check services are available to suit any budget and personal preference. From basic to comprehensive packages, each service offers unique features that allow you to know exactly who you’re dealing with.
Unfortunately, though, not all online background check services are created equal.
To ensure you get the most comprehensive, up-to-date results, read our guide to the best background check site options. With it, you’ll learn which sites are the best, how to make the most of a search, and how to stay legally compliant in the process.
4 Best Background Check Site Options
- Truthfinder– Overall Best Background Check Site
- Instant Checkmate – Highly-Rated Customer Service
- Intelius – Multiple Add-On Features
- Spokeo – Extensive Collection of Historical Records
In-Depth Reviews of the Best Background Check Sites
1. Truthfinder – Overall Best Background Check Site
- Millions of monthly users
- Learn about yourself or someone else
- User-friendly search process
- Multiple subscription options
- No live chat support
Why We Chose This Background Check Site
Overall, Truthfinder represents the best way to conduct comprehensive background checks on a potential online date, someone new in your life, and even yourself. It has one of the most user-friendly search processes, a large selection of features, and millions of monthly users that prove its worth. And with its hassle-free subscription options, you’ll always be able to learn more about anyone with a few simple clicks.
Truthfinder Background Check Services Features & Benefits
Truthfinder offers you fast access to billions of public records that can shed light on someone’s past. You can learn everything from arrest history to bankruptcy filings and even check your own background for accuracy.
The process requires a name & location (city/state) to begin, providing detailed insight into the search process millions of records are scoured for potential matches. This process can take a few minutes, but it is important to stay close to your computer screen as prompts may appear, requiring additional data.
A sample report of potential matches is generated, and once the correct person is found, you can view basic information. This info includes a state location, verification about possible relatives, and other pertinent data.
You’ll need to subscribe to Truthfinder’s membership plan for a more detailed look. These plans offer you the most comprehensive insight into someone’s background, allowing you to gain access to a wide range of public data records from criminal records to education.
The subscription also gives you access to the Truthfinder app so that you can run and review background checks on the go. From that old classmate who crossed your mind to the new social media friend request you received, Truthfinder always makes it easy to stay safe and informed.
Truthfinder Background Check Specs
- Records Available: Federal, State, County, and Public Records
- Time to Search: 3 to 7+ minutes
- Report Viewing Methods: Online, PDF (extra)
- Payment Options: Subscription service (monthly or bi-monthly)
- Add-On Services: Dark web monitoring
2. Instant Checkmate – Highly-Rated Customer Service
- A+ BBB rating
- Searches billions of public records
- Helpful customer service team
- Educational background check resources
- Search time may take longer than others on this list
Why We Chose This Background Check Site
Instant Checkmate has over 2 billion public records in its database, making it an excellent option for comprehensive background checks. With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and customer service always available to assist you with your search, this site offers reliable access to the information you need quickly and easily.
Instant Checkmate Background Check Services Features & Benefits
Commitment to customer service is one benefit that sets Instant Checkmate apart from other background check sites. Besides offering detailed background reports, this site also provides educational resources to help you understand the importance of conducting a thorough check and how to interpret the results.
Users just starting with the background check site need only enter the first or last name of the wanted person and a state of residence. From there, Instant Checkmate begins a thorough and comprehensive search of billions of records to find a match.
The initial report process is fast since the site can accurately narrow down potential matches and provide basic info to confirm the identity of who you need to research. From there, subscribing to Instant Checkmate’s service will allow you to dive deep into a person’s background for more information.
Millions of people find the background check report’s comprehensive coverage of criminal history, previous addresses, known aliases, property records, social media profiles, and more extremely helpful in gauging the character of someone they plan to interact with.
Additionally, these reports have been known to help people minimize and stop identity theft as a self-search full report provides detailed insight into what information is out there on you and what others may be accessing.
Instant Checkmate Background Check Services Specs
- Records Available: Billions of public records
- Time to Search: 10+ minutes
- Report Viewing Methods: Desktop or mobile app
- Payment Options: Subscription service (annual or quarterly)
- Add-On Services: PDF downloading, identity monitoring
3. Intelius – Multiple Add-On Features
- Background check & identity protection add-ons
- 24/7 Help Center
- Multiple search parameters
- Easy-to-read reports
- No trial period with subscription options
Why We Chose This Background Check Site
Intelius is an excellent option for anyone seeking an extensive background check. The site offers multiple search parameters, including name, address, and phone number searches. Intelius also provides several add-on features that can provide additional insight, such as identity protection services and social media monitoring.
Intelius Background Check Services Features & Benefits
The Intelius background check services boasts access to over 4 billion records, providing comprehensive coverage of birth and death records, marriage and divorce information, criminal history, previous addresses, aliases, sex offender status, and more.
For those just wondering about a quick background check, Intelius offers an instant search option that searches for basic information such as location or known aliases. These initial reports can help people quickly narrow down matches and confirm the identity of who they need to research.
Subscribing to Intelius’s services allows you to dive deeper into someone’s background for more detailed information, such as current & previous addresses, property records, bankruptcies & liens, and other publicly available data.
Report accuracy is highly rated, with millions of customers blown away by the comprehensive coverage of Intelius’s reports. Available in an online or downloadable PDF format, the reports are easy to interpret and understand and organized conveniently for quick review.
But it isn’t just other people that Intelius can help you research. With the identity protection and social media monitoring add-on features, Intelius provides an extra layer of security for those looking to guard their online presence & protect their personal data.
With easy options to opt your personal information out of certain records as well, Intelius also helps you protect your privacy and gain greater control over who can access your info.
Intelius Background Check Services Specs
- Records Available: Over 4 billion public records
- Time to Search: 5-15 minutes
- Report Viewing Methods: Online or downloadable PDF
- Payment Options: Subscription service (once or twice a month)
- Add-On Services: Identity protection, social media monitoring.
4. Spokeo – Extensive Collection of Historical Records
- Perfect for family tree research
- Fully compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Billions of consumer & public records
- Easy-to-use search features
- The call center is not open 24 hours a day
Why We Chose This Background Check Site
Spokeo is a particularly ideal background check service for anyone seeking to learn more about their family tree. By searching through billions of consumer and public data records, Spokeo provides detailed information on a person’s background, including marriage and divorce records, criminal history, military service, and education records.
Spokeo Background Check Services Features & Benefits
Spokeo’s background check service is one of the most extensive on the market. Not only does Spokeo provide access to billions of consumer and public records, but it also offers detailed family tree research that can help you trace your family’s history.
Search features are incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to search by name, address, email, and phone. Once the process is started, interactive, proprietary AI software will help you find the exact records you need.
The initial results can be pretty shocking for many who use Spokeo, with some discovering surprising relatives and family connections they had no idea about. With monthly or quarterly subscriptions, users can access unlimited searches and reports detailing criminal history, court records, contact information, and more.
One of the most important features of Spokeo is its compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This ensures that any report generated from Spokeo’s services is accurate, up-to-date, and reliable. It also protects the searcher and searches from worrying about the legalities of conducting a background check.
Furthermore, with regular updates to the database, you can rest easy knowing that your searches will always be comprehensive and accurate. And, if you ever feel like the subscription isn’t worth your money, you can cancel hassle-free online or by calling the Spokeo Customer Support Team.
Spokeo Background Check Services Specs
- Records Available: Billions of historical, consumer, and public records
- Time to Search: 5-15+ minutes
- Report Viewing Methods: Online or downloadable PDF
- Payment Options: Subscription (monthly or quarterly)
- Add-on Services: None
How We Made This List Of The Best Background Check Sites
Our team started by examining what records are available, how long it takes to search through them, and the available report viewing methods. We also looked at the payment options (monthly/quarterly/yearly) and any add-on services that could be beneficial.
To distinguish between a reputable background check company and a not-so-reputable one, we looked at their years in business, their customer reviews, and any awards or accolades they may have earned.
By doing this research, we were able to determine that the four background check services above offer comprehensive search features, up-to-date databases, and high levels of accuracy so you can get the information you need quickly, accurately, and safely.
What is a Background Check?
Background checks are comprehensive reports that can provide a detailed look at someone’s history. They include all kinds of information from public databases, third-party sources, and other freely accessible databases.
Some background checks are free and provide basic information; others are paid and detail more extensive information.
Online background checks run by consumers don’t require the same compliance adherence as those conducted by employers, landlords, and government entities, but the information can also not be used to make decisions about someone’s suitability for a job or other important roles.
What Does a Background Check Show?
There are many types of background check services online, all offering different features and usability requirements depending on your needs.
Criminal background checks
These checks are used to investigate an individual’s publicly available criminal records. They can include felonies, misdemeanors, and any other offenses that have been charged in the past.
While the information can’t be used to make decisions about eligibility for employment, loans, or leasing, it can provide a detailed look at the person’s criminal history so that you can be aware when interacting (or not interacting) with them.
Property ownership background checks
Met someone on social media who says they own this house here and that house there? Why not see if they are telling the truth with a background check designed to verify public property records? By checking the property records, you can verify if they own these properties and determine if the person is trustworthy and worth your time and energy.
Remember that you can’t use the property record address information from a background check service to harass, steal, or otherwise violate someone’s rights. But, the data can be extremely useful for a consumer who just wants to get some information.
Social media background checks
Catfishing has become an all-too-common problem on the internet. A social media background check helps you verify if someone’s social media profile and online presence is real or fake. This includes their friends, photos, posts, comments, etc., all of which can be used to help determine if a person is telling you the truth about who they are.
Like property and address records obtained from a background check service, the social media info obtained from background checks on any individual can’t be used to harass, stalk, or otherwise violate someone’s online privacy rights. But it can be very helpful for gaining peace of mind before entering into relationships with people online or accepting follower requests from people you don’t know.
Consumer background checks
These background checks gather information about an individual from public data records and other sources, such as marriage and divorce records, bankruptcies, liens, and judgments. This type of background check can be used on yourself or someone you want to know more about.
Remember that most consumer background checks can’t be used to make decisions about someone’s suitability for a job or other important roles since they lack the stringent compliance adherence of employer-sanctioned background checks.
Historical background checks
These checks are used to research an individual’s past for things like genealogical research, researching a family tree, and identifying historical figures. This type of background check is useful for digging up information that may have been lost over time by examining public records from the past. It can also be very helpful in tracking down long-lost relatives.
Like any information gleaned from the best background check services, historical info has its limits when it comes to using it. While often useful, the information may contain gaps due to poor record keeping, lack of digitalization, or legal restrictions due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you need more information outside of what a legitimate online background check service can provide, consider submitting a Freedom of Information Act request.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
Traditional background checks run by legally approved agents from a consumer reporting agency hired by employers, lenders, and landlords can take a few days to several weeks to be completed. Online background check services, however, tend to deliver reports much more quickly – often within minutes of your request.
This is because online services can tap into public records databases that have been digitized and are updated with new information regularly. This means you can get the information you need quickly and easily, with minimal effort on your part.
Many of the best background check sites listed above use proprietary AI technology that expedites the search process while enhancing the scope of information that can be found. For example, many background check search algorithms factor in deep and dark web searches to seek out any info hiding in obscure corners of the internet.
It is important to note that a background check may take longer if you don’t have much information, lack additional details that would help narrow down potential matches, or are searching for someone who doesn’t live on the grid. That said, there are still many ways to get the information you need as quickly as possible, thanks to the interactive prompts shown throughout the background check search process.
Additionally, while the best background check sites offer detailed results in minutes, you may need to check back frequently to read updated reports. These sites update their databases regularly, ensuring that generated reports are always up-to-date. This means it could take a little time to get a comprehensive picture of unfolding events related to the person in question.
What to Look for in the Best Background Check Sites
While we’ve pointed out the top-rated sites based on several vital factors and criteria, there’s more to finding the best background check service. Take a look at tips from people who used these services before to ensure you have no problem getting the details you need.
Look for sites that are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act
It may seem silly to think that a site would let you use its service without being legally compliant, but the truth is that many do not. Therefore, you should always look for background check sites fully adhering to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This means they don’t report private information related to credit scores, employment history for eligibility decisions, or criminal records sealed by the court.
Compliance with the FCRA also ensures you don’t accidentally use a background check site for illegal purposes or aren’t acting on behalf of a consumer reporting agency . At every step of the background check process, the best background check site will have you acknowledge that you understand the laws and won’t use their service for anything illegal.
Pick a background check service with a user-friendly interface
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to track down a lost loved one or former coworker only to get lost in the website’s navigation menus. The best background check site is designed with convenience in mind, giving you a simple platform that allows you to search for background information without any stress or hassle.
Look for services that offer multiple kinds of searches and allow you to customize your search parameters as much as possible. This ensures you can find it quickly and easily, no matter what information you need.
A user-friendly interface extends to the checkout and payment process as well. After your purchase, you should be able to access the information you need without any unexpected steps or delays.
Choose a background check service with an app
If you spend a lot of time away from a desktop, subscribing to a background check site that offers an app through the Apple or Google Play store may be a good idea. These apps allow you to search for background information on the go, giving you access to the same details as a desktop user.
By downloading one of these apps, you can track down old friends as they pop into your mind, get notifications when reports are updated, and enjoy the full benefits of a background check service without being tied to your laptop all day.
Furthermore, with the app, you can easily track who you’ve looked up. The app will remember each search you make and store its results in a separate folder so that all of the information you need is readily available when you require it.
Choose a background check site with a hassle-free cancellation policy
Chances are that you’ll love running background checks so much on people in and out of your life that you’ll never want to cancel the membership to get unlimited reports. But, if you need a breather or are switching to another service, you need to look for a background check site that makes it easy to cancel the membership with no questions asked.
This usually means having an online page where you can simply click a button and leave – no waiting on hold or talking to customer support reps. Most sites will also offer refunds if you cancel the plan before it renews, allowing you to get the most out of your subscription fee.
In addition, it’s probably best to choose a site where this and other payment info, such as auto-billing pricing changes and add-ons, are clearly laid out. This ensures that you know exactly what you’re getting into and how much it will cost you from the moment you make your account.
Who Can I Look Up With the Best Background Check Services?
While potential employees, renters, and borrowers are off the list of people you can look up, many people still fall into the category of “publicly searchable”.
Trying to find people so you can organize a reunion? Can’t stop thinking about the one that got away in high school? Consider running a background check to find out what’s become of them.
Do you ever wonder what happened to that colleague who left your old job? With a background check, you can gain insight into their current career and other pursuits.
Whether you met on social media or through a dating app, using background check sites to investigate your online date’s background can help you make sure they’re the real deal before you meet in person.
Friend of a friend
Don’t trust your friend’s new friend? Find out if it’s even worth mentioning with a background check. This way, you can be a great friend without risking the bonds of your friendship.
Being a good neighbor means having an open dialogue and understanding the people around you. With a background check, you can get more information about who lives close by and if there are any red flags to be aware of.
You always make an excellent candidate for a background check. Making a habit of checking your own report will help you know what information is publicly available, who may be impersonating you, and what kind of digital footprints you’ve left.
Background Check vs. a Reverse Phone Lookup
Background check sites often offer multiple services in addition to running checks. One of these services is a reverse phone lookup, which can be helpful if you’re trying to trace an unfamiliar number or learn more about an unknown caller.
Reverse phone lookups work exactly as it sounds; you input a phone number, and the service provides details about the owner, such as their name, address, and other contact information.
In contrast, a background check provides more comprehensive information about the person in question – including their criminal records history, marriage and divorce records, bankruptcies, and more. It can also be used to verify the identity of someone you may meet online or keep an eye on potential dates.
The bottom line? If you want to discover more about an unknown caller, then a reverse phone lookup should do the trick. But if you need to find comprehensive details about someone’s identity and background, then a background check is your best bet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much are the best background check sites?
Cost varies depending on the site, but a fairly priced bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly subscription is usually to be expected. Remember that with each of the best background check sites, you often get unlimited access to searches and reports, guaranteeing you get the most bang for your buck.
2. Do all background check sites offer identity theft protection?
No, not all background check sites provide identity theft protection. Therefore, it’s important to research the company and read the fine print before signing up for an account. Additionally, be aware that identity Protection Services and Dark Web Monitoring are two different services and the latter may not be comprehensive enough for full protection.
3. Are online background check services reliable?
Yes, the best background check sites are reliable as long as you choose a reputable service with positive customer reviews and a proven track record of success. Additionally, it’s important to remember that these services regularly update their social media and criminal records database, so you may need to check back often for the most up-to-date information.
4. Can background check services show juvenile criminal records?
The best background check sites offer detailed info on publicly available information gathered from federal, state, and county court records. Depending on the state where a juvenile offense was committed, it may or may not appear on criminal background checks. However, some states limit access to these records for minors due to privacy laws, so it’s best to verify with your local jurisdiction before relying too heavily on any particular source.
5. What if I can’t find the person I’m looking for?
If you cannot find the person you’re searching for, it may be due to a misspelling or outdated information. It’s also possible that the individual’s social media or criminal records were not collected by the background check service, or they have unlisted contact information. Remember that the best background check sites update regularly, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time, be sure to check back later.
Better Peace of Mind with the Best Background Check Services
Trusting the world around you starts with knowing the people in it. The best background check sites are reliable sources for comprehensive information on criminal records, marriage & divorce records, bankruptcies, sex offender registries, and more. With these services at your disposal, you can have peace of mind and feel secure in the world around you.
No matter who you need to investigate, using any of the best background check services above ensures you have the most accurate and up-to-date information. With a few clicks, you can be well on your way to uncovering the truth about someone’s past.
Summary of the Best Background Check Sites
This article has been supplied by Originated Media, a paid advertiser. The editorial staff of Chicago magazine had no role in this post’s preparation.