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The Top 6 Best Background Check Services of 2022

Sacramento Bee logo Sacramento Bee 8/6/2022 Noah Zelvis, The Sacramento Bee

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The joy of learning about a new person in your life can’t be overstated. Understanding someone’s loves and hates, joys and sorrows, and triumphs and failures can be exhilarating. However, there are times when you need to know more about a person sooner rather than later. That’s where the best background check services come into play.

After careful review, we believe that TruthFinder is the best background check company on the market today, due to its broad range of checks and screenings, fast loading of background check reports, and high degree of accuracy.

Our second choice is Intelius for the checks and screenings it offers and its high praise from customers for its accuracy.

The Best Background Check Services

1. TruthFinder — Best Overall

Pros:

  • Unlimited reports included in membership
  • Dark web search included with membership
  • Android and iOS apps available
  • Up-to-date reverse phone lookup
  • Features self-monitoring options

Cons:

  • No single search option
  • Extra fee to download reports
  • U.S.-based searches only

TruthFinder features unlimited monthly reports included in your membership. Also included is a dark web search for every background check you do. The handy mobile apps for iOS and Android help you manage background checks on the go.

The company offers up-to-date reverse phone lookups and features self-monitoring options so you can see what a background check on you would reveal.

However, there’s no single-search option; either you pay for a month’s membership or you try your luck on a different site. There’s a fee if you want to download your reports in PDF format. Background check searches are confined to residents of the U.S. only.

Checks and Screenings Available: 5/5

TruthFinder offers a plethora of information from age and aliases to vehicles owned and weapons permits. More than 40 different types of data are provided, including Amazon wish lists, social media profiles, hunting licenses, and concealed carry permits.

Accuracy: 5/5

Many customer reviews speak to the accuracy of the results they received from using TruthFinder’s background checks. For example, Jim F. gave a four-star review on Sitejabber, saying “Truthfinder.com was not only fast, but it was also accurate! No stone was left unturned.”

Turnaround Time: 5/5

Reports can be generated in just two to three minutes, giving you fast access to the information you need. This is the third-fastest turnaround time on our list.

Cost: 4/5

TruthFinder costs $28.05 per month if you pay for one month at a time and $23.28 per month if you purchase two months at a time.

Customer Service: 4/5

Customer service is available by phone at 800-699-8081 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. You can also get support via email at help@truthfinder.com.

Overall Score: 4.9/5

>> Conduct a background check with TruthFinder

2. Intelius — Best for Phone Number Lookups

Pros:

  • Social network access
  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Identity theft prevention with membership

Cons:

  • Customers report problems canceling
  • Screens with artificial loading times
  • Pricing not available up front

Intelius provides access to social networks as part of its background checks. It also features a reverse phone lookup. If you’re concerned with identity theft, you can have your information monitored when you sign up for a membership.

Unfortunately, customers have reported trouble canceling their service. Intelius uses screens with artificial loading times to draw out the time you spend on its site, likely to draw you into a “sunk costs” situation where you’ve already spent so much time waiting, that you might as well keep waiting. Pricing isn’t available until you’ve waited through all those screens.

Checks and Screenings Available: 4/5

Intelius offers reverse phone lookup, people search, background check, public records search, criminal records search, and reverse address lookup.

Accuracy: 5/5

Many customers say that the reports from Intelius are more accurate than many competitors. For example, Fred of Bunnlevel, NC, reviewed Intelius on Consumer Affairs, saying, “Accurate, very reliable, and my search found the person I was looking for just like “magic!”

Turnaround Time: 3/5

Intelius’ fake loading pages take more than five minutes to return any information. That’s the third-slowest turnaround time out of these companies.

Cost: 4/5

If you pay for one month at a time, membership is $24.86. Paying for two months drops the monthly rate to $21.13.

Customer Service: 3/5

Customer service is available by phone at 888-245-1655 from 10 a.m. to eight p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Thursday. You can also reach out via email at support@mailer.intelius.com.

Overall Score: 4.75

>> Try out Intelius here

3. Instant Checkmate — Best for Social Media Results

Pros:

  • Highly accurate
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • Easy to use service
  • In-depth reporting

Cons:

  • Multiple fake loading screens
  • No option for individual reports
  • Pricing is hidden

Customers report that Instant Checkmate’s searches are more accurate than many competitors. The mobile app is user-friendly and the search service is easy to use. Instant Checkmate’s reports go into great detail.

On the flip side, the site uses multiple fake loading screens to draw out the time you spend waiting for your report. There’s no option for individual reports, only monthly membership. The price of membership is hidden at the end of the loading screens.

Checks and Screenings Available: 4/5

Background checks may include civil judgments, tax liens, professional licenses, hunting and fishing permits, voter registration, and weapons licenses.

Accuracy: 5/5

Customers have reported that Instant Checkmate is more accurate than other background check services they’ve tried. For example, Cynthia of Pflugerville, TX, said, “So far the services have been very accurate and informative especially as a Single Woman constantly being hit on by Men from other countries on Social media!”

Turnaround Time: 3/5

It takes 10 minutes of waiting through loading screens to get to sign up for a membership so you can view your report. This is the longest waiting time out of the companies on our list.

Cost: 3.5/5

If you pay for one month, the cost is $36.95. When you pay for two months at a time, you pay $29.55 for each month.

Customer Service: 4/5

Customer service is available by phone at 800-222-8985 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. You can also get support via email at help@instantcheckmate.com.

Overall Score: 4.6

>> Check out Instant Checkmate’s background check service

4. Spokeo — Best for Reverse Email Lookups

Pros:

  • Free basic features
  • Lets you remove your data
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Site updated regularly

Cons:

  • Customer complaints of inaccuracy
  • Customer complaints of little information available
  • No unlimited search plans

Spokeo gives you access to basic information free of charge. It allows you to remove your data from its listings. The user interface is simple to navigate, and the site is regularly updated.

On the other hand, there have been numerous complaints from customers that results are inaccurate or that little information is available. There’s no option for a membership that would allow unlimited searches.

Checks and Screenings Available: 3/5

Spokeo uses billions of records, including property, history, social media, business, and consumer information, to return results that give you contact information, personal details, location history, wealth data, family and associates, criminal records, and social media accounts.

Accuracy: 3/5

There have been numerous customer complaints that the data returned is inaccurate. For example, Buddy R. reviewed the company on Sitejabber and said, “placing misleading information makes you one step from a scammer.”

Turnaround Time: 5/5

Results for the basic search take less than a minute to be generated. This is tied for the second-fastest turnaround time among all the companies we’ve listed.

Cost: 5/5

The full name report is only $0.95, a discount from the normal $1.95.

Customer Service: 5/5

Customer service is available by phone at 888-271-9562, from eight a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time, seven days a week. You can also reach out via email at customercare@spokeo.com.

Overall Score: 4.5

>> See if Spokeo is the right fit for you

5. PeopleFinders — Best Customer Service

Pros:

  • Single search option
  • Monthly membership available
  • Outstanding mobile apps
  • Superb customer service

Cons:

  • Large cancellation fee
  • U.S. searches only
  • No social media data
  • Limited support options

PeopleFinders offers both a single search option and a monthly membership. Its mobile apps are among the best in the industry. Customers give the company rave reviews for its customer service.

On the downside, there’s a hefty cancellation fee if you want out of your membership early. It only allows for U.S.-based searches. There’s no social media lookup, and there are limited support options.

Checks and Screenings Available: 3/5

The basic search results give you limited data, including name, address, previous addresses, age, email address, and phone number. The background search adds things such as bankruptcies, criminal charges, neighbors, and professional information.

Accuracy: 5/5

Customers and reviewers alike give PeopleFinders two thumbs up for its accuracy. For example, Keisha of Winterset, IA, said, reviewing the site on Consumer Affairs, “The information was accurate and truthful. I would recommend it to a friend for sure.”

Turnaround Time: 5/5

It takes less than a minute for PeopleFinders to generate your report. This is tied for the second-fastest turnaround time out of all six companies reviewed here.

Cost: 4.5/5

Single searches cost between $0.95 and $9.95. Membership costs $29.95 per month.

Customer Service: 4/5

Customer service is available by phone at 800-718-8997 from 10 a.m. to nine p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can also reach out via the contact form on the website.

Overall Score: 4.4

>> Conduct a background check with PeopleFinders

6. BeenVerified — Best for Non-Digitized Searches

Pros:

  • Court runner searches non-digitized data
  • Apps for Android and iOS
  • Many data starting points
  • Discount when paying for three months

Cons:

  • No single searches
  • Pricing not transparent
  • Not as detailed as competitors

BeenVerified is unique in offering its court runner service, where someone goes and looks up records that haven’t made it online yet. There are mobile apps for both Android and iOS. You can start your search with a variety of data points. You get a discount when you prepay for three months.

However, the site doesn’t allow single searches; membership is required. Pricing isn’t available until after you sit through all the “loading” screens. Customers complain that the reports aren’t as detailed as they can get from competitors.

Checks and Screenings Available: 3.5/5

BeenVerified offers background reports, contact information, phone lookups, email lookups, address lookups, criminal records, faster searching in seconds, and seven ways to search and discover with its memberships.

Accuracy: 3/5

BeenVerified is not known for its accuracy. For example, customers have found email addresses attributed to them that they never had.

Autumn M. reviewed the company on Sitejabber and said, “I checked myself out and most of it was completely wrong or some made-up mess. I don’t know who they get their data from, but I’ve lived at the same address for the last 22 years and not where they say I’ve lived. Not to mention the email addresses listed were completely wrong except for 1.”

Turnaround Time: 4/5

It takes about six minutes to get your search results. This is the second-slowest turnaround time that any of these companies give you.

Cost: 5/5

If you only pay one month at a time, the cost is $26.89 per month. However, if you pay for three months at a time, the monthly rate drops to $17.48.

Customer Service: 5/5

You can reach customer service by phone at 866-885-6480 from six a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time seven days a week. You can also contact the company via email at support@beenverified.com.

Overall Score: 4.3

>> Try out BeenVerified here

How We Arrived at These Rankings

When we looked at the best background check services, we considered four major data points: what checks and screenings are available, how accurate the reports are, how fast the results came in, the price of using the service, and the amount of access to customer service that you can expect. We ranked each metric separately on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest score and five the highest.

We then compared the companies against each other. We arrived at a weighted ranking for each site and have presented the results to you.

FAQs About Background Check Services

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is a search of online databases to get information about a person. You can learn someone’s phone number, address, email address, social media profiles, criminal and traffic violation information, past addresses, neighbors, and relatives. It’s a great way to get a snapshot of somebody’s life.

Why Should I Use a Background Check Service?

You should use a background check any time that someone new comes into your life or when you need to find someone who you’ve been unable to locate. Here are just a few examples:

  • If you’ve lost track of your best friend from elementary school and want to reconnect, a background search can help you find her so you can reach out and catch up.
  • You may be planning a family reunion, but you don’t have contact information for all of your relatives. A background check can help you get back in touch with Great Aunt Margaret and second cousin Scott..
  • Realtors can use background check services to find potential clients. They can input addresses and get names and contact information for homeowners to see if they might be interested in selling their homes. This is especially useful if they see “For Sale by Owner” signs in front yards.
  • If you’re dating and you meet someone online, you may want to do a background check on them for your peace of mind. You don’t want to accidentally date a sex offender or someone who’s been found guilty of domestic violence or another violent crime.
  • You work for a non-profit, and you have a list of past donors, but you don’t have updated contact information for them. A background check can give you more recent addresses and phone numbers so you can reach out and ask for new donations.
  • If you’re a bounty hunter or skip tracer, you can use background checks to help you find the fugitive you’re looking for. Friends, associates, and relatives are often listed in background checks and may know where the person you’re looking for currently is.
  • If you have children and they want to go play at their new friend’s house, you may have concerns about what kind of supervision they’ll have. A quick background check on the other child’s parents can set your mind at ease.
  • Someone new has moved in next door. It could be a case of “there goes the neighborhood” or it might be more like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. A background check will let you know what to expect from your new neighbors.
  • Your child has decided to join the wrestling team. You know nothing about the coach he’ll be spending time with every day after school. If you run a background check on the coach, you’ll feel better about letting your son wrestle.

Why Should I Do a Background Search on Myself?

You should do a background check on yourself to make sure all the information is accurate. You may be able to see if your identity has been stolen if information that’s not actually yours appears in the background search.

You should also make sure the info in the background search is accurate in case anyone may be running a background check on you. Maybe your online Romeo had the same idea you did about keeping safe and wants to make sure you’re not an ax murderer.

Is It Safe To Use a Background Check Service?

The short answer is, yes, it is. Companies that provide background check services use a sophisticated encryption system to hide your data from the prying eyes of the internet. There’s no way for the person you’re searching for to ever know you did a background check on them.

Customer account information, including your name, email address, and credit card information is similarly protected. Background service providers only share your information where it’s necessary, such as when you pay for your membership, or if you’re subject to a subpoena for a legal matter. Most good background check companies promise never to sell your information.

Another way background check services are safe is that they will let you delete your information. That way, if someone tries to run a background check through that company, they won’t find much, if anything, about you.

Where Do Background Check Services Get Their Information?

Background check companies get their info from a variety of sources. They start with public records: data from publicly available documents such as birth certificates, criminal reports, and property ownership.

Next, they will look to secondary sources such as phone directories, online articles or news items, and social media profiles.

Finally, they look at other online sources, including shopping sites such as Amazon, what magazines you subscribe to, your voter registration information, whether you have hunting or fishing licenses, and your professional licenses or associations.

How Do I Pick the Best Background Check Service for me?

To select the best background check service for you, you need to do your homework. Weigh the options carefully. Decide what’s most important to you in a background search company: the checks and screenings that are available, the accuracy of the reports you receive, how long you have to wait to get your report, how much the service costs, the availability of customer service, or other considerations.

Once you’ve thought through all the choices, you may agree with us that TruthFinder is the best background check service. However, we know that’s not the case for everyone in every situation. Whichever background check company you choose, it should be above board and legitimate.

The Best Background Check Services

We’ve reviewed for you the best background check services so you can use this information to find the best company for you. We’re sure you’ll find one on this list that will meet your requirements, provide the checks and screenings you want, be accurate, have a sufficient turnaround time, fit in your budget, and meet your expectations for customer service. You may not always get the results you want, but you’ll get the results you need.

©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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