It’s been ages since you spoke to Sherry from spin class and that friend you used to go on hikes with? Whatever happened to them? Throughout your life, you come in contact with people from all different walks of life and as your lives evolve, you may each head in different directions. But there comes a day when you sit back on your couch with your favorite book in hand and your mind wanders. What if there was a way that you could reconnect with these people and see how they’re doing? Would you be able to continue the friendship? These are questions that cross everyone’s minds. And while social media has allowed people to connect and reconnect over the years, not everyone is easily searchable. Some people lead very private lives and even if you do find a social media profile, it’s possible it hasn’t been used in years.
You may wonder what other options you have. Today, you don’t have to rely on search engines to try and track somebody down. Now, you can use background check services that serve as a portal into all public records, social media profiles, and every other nook and cranny of the net. In this article, we recommend the top four services where you can get all the details you need. Plus, we answer some of your frequently asked questions, so you know exactly what to expect.
Top 4 Background Check Services
- TruthFinder – Best Background Check Service Overall
- Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
- PeopleFinders – Honorable Mention
How Did We Choose These 4 Services?
When you’re investigating someone, accurate information is of the utmost importance. To select the best background check services, we considered the following:
- User Friendliness
If you’ve ever visited a website and wondered how to navigate it, they’re doing it wrong. The websites we selected are easy to use with a search bar perfectly located right at the top of the page so you can get your search started instantly.
- Customer Service
Inevitably, with a background check service, you may encounter a snag in the process, or you may just have a question that you can’t find an answer to online. Top-notch customer service teams are a requisite for us to include background check companies in our best background check services list.
Whether background check companies have been in business for decades or they’re newer, their reputation is everything. We looked into customer reviews, testimonials, and industry expert analyses to verify that background check companies listed are well-respected and follow through with their mission to deliver high quality services and support.
The best background check service is forthright about what you can and can’t use a background check for (generally, personal use not for searches like employment background checks). They mind the stipulations in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Reviews of the Best Background Check Services
1. TruthFinder – Best Background Check Service Overall
- Multiply ways to search
- Includes social media data
- Quick turnaround
- Search deeper than Google
- Information limited to the United States
Background Check Services
TruthFinder online background checks also include criminal and arrest records. You can run a background check by name or use their phone number search feature to enter any US phone number and learn more about the person that has called you. When you run a background check by name, you can pull full background checks on family members, friends, exes, roommates, business associates, and even your neighbors. If you receive an unusual call, you can quickly look up the phone number to learn the person’s name, any other people associated with that phone number, and any possible email addresses associated with that phone number as well. With a simple search, you can also uncover any social media profiles related to that number and any other possible links to give you an idea of who is trying to get in touch with you.
Why Choose TruthFinder
TruthFinder makes it to the top of this list because they have over 60,000 5-star reviews based on ratings from verified TruthFinder reports. People love all the information they can uncover using TruthFinder. This includes information like social media data, photos, police records, criminal records, arrests, and even civil judgments. There’s a wealth of information available through TruthFinder and it’s an easy to use website. They’ve been featured in publications like the Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and CNET. They’re available Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM PST and you can also find a long list of topics in their help section online.
You can purchase a standard membership with TruthFinder that offers unlimited background checks, and you can also choose to buy a membership for either one or two months. The exact pricing depends on which membership package you buy. With unlimited background checks as a part of the membership, you can take advantage and set up a list of all the people you’re interested in learning more about and pull all the background checks you want – including a background check on yourself! Once you have all the information you need, it’s easy to cancel your TruthFinder membership. Simply hop online to cancel or give their member care center a call and cancel by phone. As soon as you have processed your cancellation, you receive an email confirmation within the hour. TruthFinder is all about making it easy for you to sign up, get what you need, and cancel if you need to.
Background Check Format
When you pull a background check from TruthFinder, the first part of your standard report includes a quick section of personal information – this is where you can confirm the person’s name, date of birth, and any known aliases. Next, you’ll see a grid of possible photos. If the person you’re searching for has a common name, the possible photos help you confirm that’s the right person. The third section gets into job history, the fourth section moves into education history, and the fifth section lists any other possible relatives. Here, you can view any possible relative’s report at no additional cost. After possible relatives, you’ll get a list of related links. This section can include dating profiles, social media profiles, business profiles, and any other information about that person found online. The later parts of the report include contact information, location history, criminal records, and sex offender information.
There’s a ton of customer feedback on TruthFinder online. For example, Jim C. found a friend that he lost contact with over 30 years ago – he celebrated with an ecstatic “Yeeehaaa!” Another customer, Joy, found her childhood friend and family with her first try. Many other customers also share their happy reuniting stories that allowed them to continue long lost friendships after decades of no contact. The excitement sprinkled throughout TruthFinder’s reviews is contagious and inspiring, telling of all that’s possible when you take a leap of faith to learn more about someone you’ve lost touch with.
2. Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
- Unlimited searches
- Data scoured from specialized sources
- 128-bit encrypted connection
- Exceptional member care
- Unable to purchase individual background checks
Background Check Services
Instant Checkmate has background check services that focus primarily on police records, civil judgments, criminal records, and criminal history. You can perform a criminal background check on this website instantly. For example, if you suspect that someone who has recently entered your life might have a criminal history, you can hop onto this website to perform a public arrest records search. The results you get tell you if that person has any felonies or misdemeanors or offenses, and it can even tell you details of minor infractions, like speeding tickets. You’ll get instant results about a person, which means you’ll know right away if they have ever been arrested, if they have ever been charged with a crime, if they are a felon, a former inmate, or a sex offender.
Why Choose Instant Checkmate
Instant Checkmate is not just a total lifesaver, but it’s also a way to get instant access to important records that can protect you and any of your loved ones. Traditionally, to gain access to public records, you would have to visit the local county clerk and submit a written request for the documents you’re looking for. If you wanted to look into somebody’s past outside of the state you live in, you would probably have to travel all the way to that state and appear in person just to request those records. Today, you can hop onto the Instant Checkmate website and run a search from the comfort of your own home with immediate results that don’t take a lot of time, that save you from the frustration of dealing with court records, and that give you the answers you need instantly with an easy to read background check report.
With an Instant Checkmate membership, you can find out who in your social and professional circles has criminal records and who doesn’t. You start by entering the first and last name of the person you’re looking for along with the state they currently live in. Instant Checkmate gets to work processing your first report and then prompts you to create your Instant Checkmate account. Once you create your username and password, you are able to sign up for a membership. You can select a monthly membership or a quarterly membership, which provide you with extra savings. They do also have a five day trial that allows you to learn more about their service and get a glimpse of what a background check report looks like with them. Whenever you’re ready to cancel your membership, they make it super easy. Just visit their online cancellation page or email them for a prompt response. If you feel like you need to speak with someone right away, simply call their member care team and you’ll be taken care of.
Background Check Format
Instant Checkmate background check reports are extremely easy to navigate. Immediately you’ll see whether the person has been convicted and if they have, you’ll see what their charges and offenses are. You’ll also see the source of the records along with their first name, their last name, their middle initial, and their date of birth. You’ll know exactly which state they were convicted in and then the report moves into any previously owned properties. You’ll be able to access other pieces of personal information like any aliases and even their astrological sign. Possible photos will be included in the report along with their contact information, the line type, and the carrier they use. Any known email addresses are also provided, and you’ll see a map with their location history. Nearby sex offenders are also highlighted along with their criminal records and a variety of other information like their voter registration, their tax liens, and any foreclosures.
Customers note that Instant Checkmate does exactly what it advertises. It helps you uncover information that would otherwise be difficult to obtain on your own. It was used by Ryan in Vancouver to uncover information about a home inspector who attempted to mislead him. Equipped with the information he needed; he was able to rectify the situation right away. Another customer in Los Angeles shares that she was feeling extremely unsafe with a variety of different scammers who were attempting to contact her. She was able to weed out true creditors from scammers to clean up her financial history.
3. PeopleFinders – Honorable Mention
- Multiple ways to search
- Hassle-free navigation
- Comprehensive background checks
- 43 billion public records
- Cancellation requires a phone call to customer support
Background Check Services
With PeopleFinders, you can use a name, phone number, an email, or a property address to begin your search. You’ll be able to find people you’re looking for very quickly using their hassle free people search engine along with their database of over 40 billion reported public records in the United States. The primary objective on this website is to make your search for people easy and painless. You can catch up with old classmates or reconnect with loved ones you lost touch with by driving as deep as you need to uncover information that connects you to them.
Why Choose PeopleFinders
PeopleFinders is a great service to use if you’re looking to reconnect with someone you lost contact with in your past. They have an intuitive website interface that makes it easy for you to just quickly pop in the information you have and click on the search button to get started. You can dig deep to obtain contact information, past addresses, phone numbers, and even criminal records to understand more about the person you’re trying to find. If you’re curious about reconnecting with someone, this is a great service to use.
For first time customers, you can sign up for a premium membership with an introductory offer that cuts your monthly cost down significantly. If you are no longer requiring the background check service, you can cancel your membership online, by email, or by phone. Their aim is to help you get the information you need and if/when you decide you no longer require the membership, cancellation is an easy process.
Background Check Format
PeopleFinders provides you with a comprehensive background check that starts with a personal summary of the person you’re investigating. This includes any known aliases, their date of birth, their age, and address history. You do have different membership levels to select from when you sign up, so the information you see is dependent on the type of membership you select. However, other data you can expect to see on background check reports includes criminal record, including misdemeanors and felonies, any infections and foreclosures, bankruptcies, liens and judgments, and family members and associates.
Samantha T. is a customer who learned a tough lesson after dating someone for 10 months and then finding out that they had a criminal history. Now, she regularly uses PeopleFinders to make sure that the person she’s seeing and bringing into her personal life doesn’t have any kind of criminal record. Another customer, James, located 445 members of his Vietnam Veterans group and continues to use this service to reconnect with other members.
4. Spokeo – Rising Star
- Easy to understand background checks
- Industry leading data sources
- Enterprise version available
- Track phone numbers
- Criminal records available for an extra fee
Background Check Services
Spokeo has been featured in several popular publications including Forbes and The New York Times. Upon accessing their website, you’re immediately prompted to enter a name, phone number, address, or email. Click the “search now” button to get started and Spokeo accesses billions of records instantly, including historical records, court records, business records, and over 120 social networks. Their industry leading reports contain several pieces of information, including contact information, address history, family and associates, and even wealth data. You can access criminal records for an additional fee aside from the basic report or membership fee.
Why Choose Spokeo
Spokeo is a great go-to because you get updates on the background checks you purchase for the lifetime of your Spokeo account. Safe, for instance, that you’re looking for a specific piece of recent information that you are privy to but that is not yet showing up on records. When you pull the report, you may be initially dissatisfied. However, public records are constantly being updated and Spokeo will keep track of that person’s report to notify you when that update has been made. You won’t have to do anything other than pull that original report and you will gain access to any changes to that person’s records via your Spokeo account.
Spokeo allows you to purchase single background checks and you can access them indefinitely. This is one of the reasons this service is highly favored. They also offer memberships that allow you to use their service throughout the month with a single fee. Although a single report may be beneficial depending on your needs, ultimately, a membership allows you to dig deeper. For example, if you’re looking at the first report you pull and you find an address of interest, clicking it requires a second report generation for another list of details related to that address.
Background Check Format
Spokeo background checks are outlined very similarly to the other services we’ve highlighted on this list; however, you get a quick blurb or summary at the very top of your background check report with Spokeo. If a photo is available, you’ll see a photo along with the person’s name, their current age, and personal information highlighted in sentence format. You’ll also see an immediate overview that tells you how many pieces of information were discovered based on the different categories available. The report is comprehensive, and you can expect to learn contact information, locations, social information, personal information, family, wealth, and work information as well. If you do purchase any criminal records, you also see court records too.
Customers love the background check service because it’s easy to use and provides them with exactly what they need. However, some customers warn you that you should carefully read the fine print so that when you request either a trial or a single background check service, you are not consenting to regular membership billing. Simply cancel before your next billing date, and you won’t encounter this issue.
What Is a Background Check?
A background check is a report that details a person’s public records. It’s comprehensive, meaning that it provides a wide variety of different information pulled from different sources. It could be from a university they attended to a courthouse where they stood across from a judge to any social media profiles they have created over the last couple of decades. Most people don’t know that a publicly available background check can consist of so much information. With a background check, you can also uncover professional licenses, bankruptcies, financial assets, and even liens. It’s a deep dive into a person’s history, from their personal life to their professional life and even to their family life and it abides by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which means it’s not to be used for employment background checks, screening tenants, or workers.
What Shows Up on a Background Check?
Depending on the background check service you select, you can expect to receive a variety of background check information from different sources. Below we list some of the main categories that are included in background checks:
Identifying information is the personal information of the person you’re looking for, including their first name, middle name, and last name. Because names can be duplicated across many different families, it’s important you also gather the age, date of birth, and any possible photographs of the person you’re looking into to confirm that it’s the right background check. If you think that the person may be using a different name, you should also be able to check out any known aliases to help you verify that the background check you are looking at is for the correct person.
Employment History and Education
With background checks, you can also expect to get a list of their previous jobs, including their previous employers. Along with their employment history, you can also see a history of schools they have attended, including any community colleges or universities.
Background checks also include a list of possible relatives. Usually, you’ll see full names, ages, and locations listed for each relative. This can help deepen your search, as you work to understand the people around the person you are investigating. Some background check sites let you search related people at no extra cost. With other background check sites, you may have an unlimited feature with a monthly membership.
Background checks also include any likely associates. This could be anyone from a business partner to a friend or acquaintance, and even roommates. It is possible some relatives may be included in the section; however, this is usually due to the person you are investigating sharing the same address.
Possible relationships may also be uncovered in background checks. The top background check services we highlight in this article use advanced algorithms, which allow them to find possible relationships based on public records.
If you’re investigating someone you’d like to reconnect with, the contact information section on the background check report can be the most helpful detail included. Here, you are provided with contact details, including their phone number, whether it’s a landline or a cell phone, and their carrier’s location. You can also discover email addresses and the dates that those email addresses became valid.
Social Media and Other Content
Social media profiles are a gold mine when it comes to discovering someone’s personality and interests. Background checks include any links to social media profiles and any photos associated with those profiles as well. Additionally, you can discover other content like a personal blog, Wikipedia page, any personal websites, and even news stories relating to the person in question.
Location and Property History
Background checks include location history, which basically provides you with a list of any recent addresses and previous addresses. These background checks may also include the location type, whether it’s a house or an apartment, the census data associated with that location, any local demographic data, and any popular shops and restaurants in the area.
Background checks can also help you get to know a neighborhood. If you are running a background check on yourself, for example, you can learn a lot more about your neighbors and learn if they have any criminal records, if there is any sex offender information you should look out for, or any other pertinent information you need to know about where you live. The same goes for any person you might be investigating; you can look into their possible neighbors to learn more about the community in which they live.
Criminal Records and Criminal History
Background checks often incorporate criminal records and any criminal history associated with the person you are investigating. This could include personal details, including the person’s full name and the location of their crime and arrest. Additionally, you will be privy to the offense date, the type of charge or charges, the case number, and the name of the court in the court records.
Sex Offender Information
Nearly all background checks include sex offender information. Here, you can discover if there is a sex offender in the nearby vicinity of the person’s current address. Similarly, you can pull a report for yourself to discover if there are any sex offenders in your own neighborhood.
Financial History and Assets
You can also learn about a person’s financial history when you pull background checks. Not every report contains this information, so if you are primarily interested in learning more about a person’s financial history, make sure that the service you choose includes this information in the background check report. Assets would include any currently owned properties, the total value of the property, and any mortgages. Additionally, assets incorporate vehicles owned, including the make, model, and vehicle identification (VIN) number.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
Just a few minutes! The best background check services deliver information in what seems like the blink of an eye. This is because they use intelligent algorithms that get you connected with billions of public records and that neatly organize the information in a background check report for your review.
How Far Back Does a Background Check Go?
Results vary not only by person but also by the background check site that you select. While one background check site may go back as far as 40 years, another background check site may only go back up to 15 years. Whatever information is available on the web, a background check site is sure to find it.
Do You Get Locked into a Contract?
The best background check services are flexible in their offerings. Some may offer single reports for a one time cost without a subscription or membership required. Other services may require a membership, but you’ll find that these are priced fairly and that there is no commitment to stay on for more than you need. For example, if you need a couple of different background checks, you can sign up for membership, pay the monthly fee, and then cancel the next month. This flexibility is enticing for new customers because you’re not paying for something that you don’t need. Simply sign up for the service when you need it and discontinue it if you no longer require it. However, memberships are extremely affordable and convenient and keeping your membership active can be helpful in keeping you up-to-date with every new person you encounter. If you just moved to a new area, if your children are making new friends, or if you are dating online, keeping that membership active can not only empower you, but it can also keep you safe.
You can learn about a person’s location history, about their neighbors, about their jobs, about the schools they went to, and so much more. If you’re looking to reconnect with someone, this is the best recourse to take. And if you just need to look into someone because you’re not sure about their motives, same thing. These services serve a multitude of purposes and can help you rekindle a relationship and can also protect you from potential predators. There’s no reason not to use one of the best background check services available.
You know how a solid list of the best background check services available online today. Keep in mind that each of these services requests that you abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and only use them for your personal inquiries. These tools are made available to help you vet those in your social circle, to protect you from scammers and predators, and to help you connect with people from your past.