Your personal life isn’t exactly a business but there is one practice that’s common for all employers that you should really consider adopting. This is the process of using background check services to look into the background of every individual that “applies” to be a part of your inner circle. Anyone can dominate a job interview process just like they can completely charm you on a first date or even just a first impression at the grocery store. While first impressions certainly are lasting, the true character of a person may not even be realized until you have invested a lot of time and care into them.
In fact, you can keep a very easy-going relationship with a new individual for an extended period. What really helps you understand who you’re dealing with is when conflict arises. Conflict is a natural part of life but if you don’t know what the conflict management style is of the person you’re dealing with, you may be setting yourself up for ultimate disappointment—or something worse. Sometimes, the people you would never even suspect of having criminal records have a scary past. Knowing if the person you’re allowing into your circle has committed any violent acts is one of those pieces of information that when known upfront can help you make way better decisions.
A top quality background check service like the ones we highlight below can help you access those court records and criminal records to give you a sneak peek into the secrets that a new friend or acquaintance or even business associate may not want you to be privy to. While some people are like open books and share about their past openly, others may resent even the thought of a background check being performed on them. The best background check services prioritize your confidentiality so that if you are dealing with someone who is potentially dangerous, you can find out everything you need to know, take action to preserve your safety, and they will be none the wiser.
3 Best Background Check Services
- Truthfinder – Editor’s Choice: Best Background Check
- Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
- Spokeo – Honorable Mention
Reviews of the Best Background Check Services
1. Truthfinder – Best Background Check
- Search using just a name
- Uncover criminal records
- Search social profiles
- Mobile app available
How Does It Work?
Truthfinder is a background check service that works by revealing a wealth of information on nearly anyone in the United States. You start with a simple search using the first name, last name, city, and state of the person you’re inquiring about. Once you’ve entered those simple pieces of information, a background check will then help you verify that Truthfinder has uncovered the correct person. Here, you’ll see the first name, middle name, last name, age, date of birth, any known aliases, and any possible photographs.
Next, you will be able to see that person’s job and education history so, if for some reason, there are no related photos and you’re still not quite sure about that report, you’ll be able to create more connections with their previous jobs and previous schools. The next part of the report reveals any possible relatives. Here, you’ll be able to view a separate report on that possible relative to get even more information and create a broader picture.
Immediately after possible relatives, you’ll be privy to any possible associates. This includes anyone from business partners to roommates or friends. Truthfinder is extremely clever because it is also able to uncover possible relationships. This is a fun feature to try when you pull a report on yourself to see how Truthfinders can access your own personal details to create a report that uncovers familiar names.
You’ll also see any related links! What this means is if that person has been in any news stories, Wikipedia pages, or if they have created any personal websites with their information on it, you’ll gain access to those links as well. This could be a blog or a business website, and these links will also include access to any related social media profiles. You’ll get their contact information, including their phone number and any active email addresses along with their location history and possible neighbors.
You’ll also be privy to any criminal records which include the offense description, location where the crime occurred, and even the case number. All criminal history reports include sex offender information and any registered sex offenders currently residing near the subject’s primary address. You’ll also learn about any assets they own, including property and vehicles.
Why Choose Truthfinder?
We select Truthfinder as the best background check company because they have been helping Americans since 2015. They offer the simplest way to look up public records online and provide the most comprehensive report you can find through one of these background check sites. Their background checks scan hundreds of millions of available public records in only a couple of minutes. They deliver employment history, social network data, asset information, possible relationships, and those pieces of information that you wouldn’t even have thought to inquire about. It’s a search much deeper than Google and it’s extremely reliable. Although they only offer subscriptions, we love that they make the cancellation process super simple. Instead of having to call the member care department, you can always just cancel your Truthfinder membership online with a few simple clicks.
Customers have different background check companies to choose from, but they keep coming back to Truthfinder because it’s thorough and reliable. A background check from Truthfinder helped a woman in Texas with developing and keeping some peace of mind. She found the service easy to use and it delivered all the information she needed to know. The knowledge she obtained alleviated her concerns and she’s very grateful for the experience.
2. Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
- 100% secure connection
- Search records by state
- Try a quick check without commitment
- Informative, affordable, and easy to obtain
- Individual report purchase is unavailable
How Does It Work?
Instant Checkmate is one of those background check services that specializes in court records and criminal records. You start by entering the name of the person, the last known city and state, and then clicking on the button that says, “search records”. The service helps you find traffic and criminal history along with arrest records throughout the nation. By running one of these background checks, you can help keep your loved ones safe and can also reveal vital information about the people in your inner circle.
You can either start a search the way we described above, or you can navigate through their data by city, state, or ZIP code to check out the crime stats in your area. When you decide to pull a full report, you immediately get the person’s name, location, and age. You’ll be immediately privy to any potential offenses, no matter how minor or severe they might be. You’ll see the date that the charges were filed, the disposition date, and the offense date.
In some cases, you may pull several background checks for people with the same name. Use those identifying pieces of information to narrow down your search so that you can pull the correct report. Once ready, you’ll start uncovering everything from traffic infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies, all the way through to social media profile data, relatives and relationships, and financial information.
As the background check report starts getting compiled, Instant Checkmate will alert you if there have been any criminal or traffic records found. You watch as a little green progress bar appears across the screen while Instant Checkmate scours through different records, including popular social media websites along with some dating websites. You’ll be prompted to uncover court records or criminal records for people who are possibly related to the original subject just before Instant Checkmate delivers a final report.
Why Choose Instant Checkmate?
With Instant Checkmate, you can get a sneak peek into any possible court records or criminal records completely free. You can discover a list of any possible reports and see some of these important pieces of information upfront before you decide to follow through with a full background check purchase. Instant Checkmate pulls information from a variety of different places that contain official public records. This includes police records, government data, and other public data sources. The reports are super easy to navigate, and Instant Checkmate always prioritizes your confidentiality. When you’re ready to cancel your subscription, simply use any one of the available methods including email, phone, or the website.
When it comes to uncovering criminal records, you need to have a reliable service. One customer in Pennsylvania was pleasantly surprised by how thorough and informative the results were on his background check. There were some pieces of information that he didn’t even expect but was so happy to uncover. He knows he’ll probably need to pull background checks again in the future and will definitely use this same service again.
3. Spokeo – Honorable Mention
- Features on Forbes
- Search by name, phone, address, or email
- Billions of records
- Industry-leading reports
- Searches are limited to the United States
How Does It Work?
This best background check service works similarly to the other top two services on this list. You start by entering a name, phone number, address, or email, and then Spokeo gets to work for an instant search that scrubs through billions of records including 130 million property records, 6 billion consumer records, 3.9 billion historical records, 600 million court records, 89 million business records, and 120+ social networks. You can access industry-leading reports that reveal contact information, personal details, location history, employment history, wealth data, family and associates, criminal records for an extra fee, and social media accounts.
One of the best features of Spokeo is that your reports stay updated throughout the life of your account. Consider that there are certain records that are being processed in real-time that haven’t yet been updated at the time that you conduct your search. You might think that person is free and clear and there’s nothing for you to worry about, but then within a month or six months or a year, a new record appears and you’re not thinking that you need to run a second background check. Instead of thinking you have a green light with this person, Spokeo keeps you updated. Their data refreshes, which means your background check reports do too.
You can use Spokeo for a variety of situations like when you start getting unwanted calls and text messages or need to look into somebody who is texting your partner or one of your children. You can also do a background check on any online sellers before you decide to meet in person or give your shipping address to them. This is also a great service to help you reconnect with long-lost friends. There are over 329 million people in the US and Spokeo helps you access all the information you need about the ones in your close circle.
Why Choose Spokeo?
Spokeo has an award-winning customer service team based out of the United States. Their service is intuitive and easy to use but sometimes you might have questions pop up. Knowing that you have a customer service team that’s not just passionate about the product but that knows how to deliver exemplary service, makes for a much more positive customer experience. Spokeo operates on the premise that the more transparency you have, the more trust can be fostered in personal relationships.
Customers use this background check site for different reasons but one woman in Florida decided that she could use Spokeo after buying a defective item off Craigslist. She tried calling back the seller, but they kept avoiding her phone calls. She turned to this background check service with just their phone number and was able to locate them to get her money back.
How Did We Decide on Our Top Background Check Sites
To highlight the best background check services in this article, we did quite a bit of research. Every once in a while, you might get an ad for a supposed free background check service, but a lot of these companies are just out there trying to scam people like you who are genuinely curious about their social circle.
They are simply trying to get your information and the information of anyone else you are looking into so that they can then sell it to different companies. They can’t give you any useful information because they don’t have the advanced algorithms required to search through billions of records and then compile it all into a single, neat report. Below are the factors we considered when putting this list of the top three best background check services together.
Much like you, we always gravitate toward customer reviews. Getting the inside scoop from somebody who has already gone through the process is so much more helpful than trying to figure it out on our own. It’s like getting a recommendation from a friend. They’ve already vetted the service, they have had a thorough customer experience, and they’re ready to recommend it to you. It takes away a lot of the guesswork and a lot of the uncertainty when somebody else has already vouched for the service. Plus, we get to dig a little bit deeper than the service description by obtaining personal stories of how these background check companies have impacted their lives in a positive way.
Ease of Use
In today’s modern world, everything is as simple as the click of a button. We have become accustomed and spoiled with the ease of use of most services. That’s why we wanted to make sure that you can access the best background check site, enter a few pieces of information, and obtain a complete, detailed report that answers all of your questions. All of this can happen within just a few minutes which is such a huge convenience, especially if you are needing that information within a specific period of time. Each of these websites is super easy to use and all you need is either a name, email address, phone number, or physical address to get started. Use whatever you have and watch how the magical algorithms scour the net for all public records and deliver a complete report in record time.
You know how we mentioned that some companies are just out there scamming people? Well, we wanted to only recommend background check companies that have a longstanding reputation and are well respected in the industry. These companies always have a disclaimer about the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they offer unlimited background checks with a subscription, and they help you gain access to critical pieces of information like court records and criminal records. These aren’t fly-by-night companies just looking to make a quick buck; rather, they are invested in their process and in their customer base to ensure that you always have access to background check sites you can trust.
It’s easy to go lured in by the word “free” but anything that’s really quality is worth paying for. We’re not saying that you should be paying an astronomical amount just to run a background check. However, these sites offer affordable trials, affordable subscriptions, and unlimited background checks. When you consider what you’re paying to obtain all of these invaluable pieces of information, you can see that it’s worth it. This is especially true if the background checks uncover something that helps you better protect yourself and your loved ones. You cannot put a price on safety.
The last thing we looked at is confidentiality practices. Let’s consider a worst-case scenario. Say you’ve met someone, but you suspect they may have a sketchy past and you need to find out if they are who they say they are. When you hop online to search for their information, you don’t want them to know that you already have a one-up on them. This process should always be completely confidential so that you can uncover those criminal records and make any arrangements needed to keep yourself and your family safe. Whether that’s notifying your local police department, pulling your kids out of a specific after-school class, or even pulling yourself out of a gym class where that person is frequently seen. There are so many different scenarios to consider and when it comes to keeping you safe, confidentiality is a major priority.
What to Consider When Searching for Quality Background Check Service
In the section above, we covered the factors that we considered when compiling this list of the best background check services. If you’re conducting your own search, keep all of those factors in mind as well. It’ll help you weed out companies that just aren’t up to par. Below, we cover a couple of other pieces of information that you should consider when searching for the best background check services.
Type of Information Uncovered
Some services are more geared toward scouring criminal records while others provide you with a much more comprehensive report. So, if you are looking to uncover the criminal history of the person you’re looking into, you may want to veer toward a background check site that services those specific needs. On the other hand, if you just want to take a deep dive and gather as much information as possible, you’ll want to choose a service that offers everything from employment history to personal identifying information to possible relationships and relatives all the way through to their social media profiles. Make sure that you’re looking at what the reports will detail so that you select the best background check service for your specific needs.
We have all grown accustomed not just to the convenience of the modern era but also to the turnaround speed of nearly all services. While this may not be super important to you, in some situations, being able to obtain information from background checks in real-time can make a massive difference in your decision-making. For example, say that you have an emergency and have to trust your neighbor to take your kids to school. It seems simple and innocent enough. You live next to each other so why wouldn’t you trust them? However, what if they have had multiple DUIs and don’t even have a valid license? These are all pieces of information that if you knew upfront would help you make different arrangements. This seemingly simple situation could then potentially save your children from getting into a dangerous position. Consider how quickly the services work and how you can make them work for you.
The final consideration when selecting the best background check site is to determine if you want a subscription or if you’d rather have the option to purchase a single report. Keep in mind that when you subscribe, you can always cancel at any time, and you have access to unlimited reports. You might think that you’re only interested in a certain individual but as you get to know a little bit more about their background, more questions pop up in your mind. When you have a subscription, you have the freedom to search for as many people as your heart desires. The more people you meet on a regular basis, the more you can glean value from the public records that background check sites can quickly search through. Say, for example, you are networking because you’re looking to put together a team for a start-up or you are dating online and frequently going out to meet new people—this is when having a subscription to one of these background check sites is super important. You can vet every single person who crosses your path to keep yourself safe.
How Do Background Checks Work?
Background checks work by taking a single piece of information that you provide and then verifying it to ensure that the person you’re inquiring about is the person that they will be delivering a report about. If you enter a common name like John Smith, you will end up with quite a list of possible results that you can then narrow down based on their age, location, and other identifying factors. After this initial verification phase, background checks move into a more complex process. These background check sites have developed advanced algorithms that look through the deepest pockets of public records on the internet and even the dark web to uncover any information relating to the individual that has been made public in some capacity. The final step is the compiling of all of those pieces of information into a neat, easy-to-read report. The process itself is complex and would take you an exorbitant amount of time if you try to replicate it manually but these background check services were developed so that you would have an intuitive and convenient way to access background checks.
What Are Background Checks Used For?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates that these types of background checks may not be used to make hiring, credit, or rental decisions – only for personal use. For example, if you hire a contractor to work inside your home, you can look into their background check, but you can’t make any decisions about hiring them based on the information provided in that report. These background checks differ from typical employment background checks, which can be used to make hiring decisions. Make sure that you review the disclaimer for each of these services which breaks down the dos and don’ts after pulling a background check and being privy to these different pieces of information.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
These background check sites work remarkably fast. You can have a report within just a couple of minutes. There may be some occasions when a certain piece of information might take a little bit longer but that doesn’t happen very frequently. If you want to have a report within the next couple of minutes, just hop online, enter the information you have, sign up for a subscription or purchase a single report, and you will have all you need in the time it takes you to brew some tea.
What background check service is the best?
The best background check service you decide on depends on what type of information is more important to you and whether you’re interested in pulling multiple background checks for a subscription fee or a single background check without a subscription. We encourage you to explore the different service offerings for the background check services highlighted above so you can make the best decision for your specific set of needs.
What is the best background check on people?
The best background check service for people in your social circle is the one that has an advanced algorithm, that compiles all the data in an easily digestible report, and that does so with fast turnaround speeds. Affordability is another factor to consider, as well as how easy the cancellation process is when you’re done using the service.
Background check sites aren’t all the same. Some have a special focus on specific data while others are geared more toward a comprehensive overview of a specific individual. The best background check service for you is the one that works quickly to present you with the information you’re most curious about. First, identify what you’d like to learn, and then select the service that takes that deep dive on your behalf while keeping your information confidential.