Updated on May 22, 2023.
The internet allows us to accomplish a lot of things that once were only fantasy. Perhaps one of the biggest boons of the internet is our ability to connect with one another, learn about things and, in many cases, learn about one another.
With today’s online background check sites you are able to track down lost acquaintances, look up that online date before you commit to a late night meet up, or even make sure that couple whose home your kids are staying at this weekend is safe. There are endless possibilities for why one would want to use a background check service, however finding a quality one with so many options is easier said than done.
To help you out, we have put together this list of the best background check services currently available online. We will give you basic reviews of each of our picks for best background check sites, as well as some more info into how background check companies operate and what you want to consider when using these services.
Best Background Check Services
- Truthfinder: Best Overall Service
- Instant Checkmate: Best Service for Large Numbers of Searches
- Spokeo: Best for Locating Lost Family and Friends
Reviews of the Best Background Check Services
1. Truthfinder: Best Overall Service
- Great service that makes it easy to get a ton of info
- Robust search that does not require much to dig deep
- Easy to operate user interface
- Top-notch customer service team
The first on our list for best background check services is Truthfinder. Truthfinder has been in business for over eight years and has since become the easiest and most efficient way to get a detailed report using public records. This background check service efficiently scans through millions of reports, including criminal records and social media network data, to create a detailed report. As long as you have a name, email address or phone number, Truthfinder can give you the info you need.
What Sets this Company Apart From the Rest?
Unlike a lot of other lower-quality background check sites, Truthfinder doesn’t give you the same basic results that you would get with some time and effort spent on Google. Instead, this is actually a premier service able to give you info you otherwise would be unable to find. As Truthfinder describes it, they know where to look in the dark web or “deep” web.
If available, you will be able to get information like criminal records and criminal history, court records, social media profiles, property records, employment history, and much more. There are even tools like the reverse phone lookup so you can quickly find out who has been calling.
All of this information is offered in an easy-to-read and easy to understand report. This is why Truthfinder regularly scores five stars in the thousands of reviews you can find being offered regarding them online. And in the years they have been providing background check services, Truthfinder regularly maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
What are Customers Saying About This Company?
Positive reviews of Truthfinder tend to focus on the accuracy of results and how quickly they can obtain detailed reports. Many customers appreciate the ability to get a complete picture using just this best background check site instead of having to search multiple sources manually. Customers also find the user-friendly report format helpful and appreciate how easy it is to search for people.
2. Instant Checkmate: Best Service for Large Numbers of Searches
- Comprehensive reports with loads of information
- Unlimited searches with subscription plans.
- Low monthly rates for subscriptions
- Easy-to-use search engine
* Not as robust without some good core info to start.
Instant Checkmate is designed to be a premier service for learning about neighbors, friends, coworkers, and even yourself. It provides extensive and detailed background checks on individuals to let you know exactly who they are, their history, and any possible connections you may have with them quickly. Its reports are comprehensive featuring information about past residences, criminal records, aliases, and more.
With the subscription service and unlimited searches, you are able to find out more about a person than you ever thought possible. This is also great if you need to make regular searches for any reason.
What Sets this Company Apart From the Rest?
Instant Checkmate is a great public records search service because it provides a wide range of information in a simple and easy-to-use format that helps you save time and money, especially if you have many searches to make.
This background check company aggregates data from thousands of databases and gives you access to public records such as birth records, criminal records, marriage/divorce records, property records, contact information, and more. The interface is easy to use and the search results are fast.
They also offer an inexpensive paid subscription option which will give you even further access to their database with unlimited searches. With this site, you can perform comprehensive background checks on anyone quickly and easily. All in all, it’s one of the best background check services for those who need accurate public information instantly and regularly.
What are Customers Saying About This Company?
Instant Checkmate has a great reputation among customers, with tens of thousands of 5-star reviews being extremely positive. Customers praise the service for its comprehensive and accurate results, fast search speeds, and easy-to-use interface.
Many people have found it to be an invaluable resource for background checks on new neighbors and potential romantic interests – especially the criminal records searches. The cost is also reasonable compared to other services of this type, plus the subscriptions allow you to save money in the long run if you run searches often. In short, Instant Checkmate is a reliable and trustworthy source for public records searches that are sure to yield up-to-date, accurate results.
Overall, we definitely recommend Instant Checkmate’s background check service because of its wide range of information, ease of use, and accuracy of results at an affordable price.
Learn more about Instant Checkmate
3. Spokeo: Best for Locating Lost Family and Friends
- Very fast and easy to use search service
- Great company with many beneficial endeavors
- Features to help with searches for lost family
* Results can be limited if the person has used aliases or false names in the past
Spokeo is a “people intelligence service” that focuses on helping you find and connect with friends, classmates, family and coworkers. Spokeo puts great effort into philanthropic ventures and provides an easy way to search for anyone’s public records through a simple search engine format.
This best background check site is also very fast in giving results which makes it great if you need quick answers to background checks. The reports you receive are also extremely detailed and include information such as contact information, criminal records, property records, financial data, social media profiles, educational background, and more. You can even use their reverse phone lookup feature to find out who is calling or texting you.
What Sets this Company Apart From the Rest?
One big thing that sets Spokeo apart from other background check sites is its philanthropic efforts. Spokeo helps certain nonprofits who can benefit from using their search platform. They also offer scholarships and other ways to give back to their community.
Some of these efforts include helping adoptees and birth families find one another. They believe everyone deserves a chance to be connected to their family, regardless of the circumstance. They focus on helping people find and connect with friends, family, classmates, and coworkers. It’s great for those looking for someone in particular or to reconnect with old acquaintances.
We highly recommend Spokeo for background checks. It’s fast, accurate, and has a great selection of information available to users. The philanthropic efforts are also admirable, making it stand out even more as a great choice to use as a resource.
What are Customers Saying About This Company?
Customers generally have a positive experience with Spokeo’s background check services. Many appreciate how quickly they can get results and the accuracy of the reports provided by the service. People also like that it offers access to such a wide range of public records in an easy-to-read format. The cost is also reasonable compared to other background check sites.
How We Picked the Best Background Check Sites?
Making a list of the best background check sites required us to filter through a ton of services in order to find the very best. Basically we had to make a certain set of criteria that would help us quickly sort through a lot of noise. To do this, we focused on the most important aspects of background check services such as accuracy, availability of data sources, pricing models and customer support.
Next, we had to look at specific features that would help each type of user in different ways. For example, for people looking for personal background checks, we looked at features like access to national databases, ability to search multiple states/countries and turnaround time.
Finally, we had to look at the overall user experience of each background check service. We asked questions such as how easy is the interface to use? Is pricing clearly laid out or are there hidden fees?
How fast is customer support in responding to queries?
We took all of this into account and came up with our list of the best background check sites. All the services we selected have a proven track record for accuracy, good customer service and fair pricing.
What is a Background Check and What Shows Up On It?
Background checks are comprehensive reviews of an individual’s history, which may include employment verification, criminal records and criminal history, education, and credit history. Depending on the type of background checks performed, reports can reveal important details about a person’s past that might not have been easily obtainable otherwise.
Companies that provide the best background check service will provide information from public databases that include some or all of the following:
- Employment history – Previous job titles/positions held and length of employment at each position.
- Criminal records – Any offenses committed or charges filed against the individual in question that together form an accurate picture of a person’s criminal history.
- Education – Schools attended and degrees obtained.
- Credit history – Financial history including repayment status of bills, bankruptcies, and debt.
- Civil court records – Litigation, judgments, and liens.
- Professional licenses – Licenses held in any professional field by the individual.
- Social media profiles – Any public postings or information available on social media profiles.
- Weapon permits – Authorization to carry weapons or own firearms.
- Driving records – Traffic violations, DUI or DWI charges, and points accumulated on a driver’s license.
- Drug testing – Results of drug tests given by employers or other entities.
- Medical records – Mental health history and physical limitations that may affect the individual’s suitability for certain jobs.
- Personal references – Information provided by personal contacts who can vouch for the individual in question.
It is important to remember that a background check, including criminal background checks, may only be as thorough as the organization conducting it allows. For example, some only run basic background checks while others may go into much more details. It is also important to know what information can legally be requested (and what purpose it’s used for) in order to ensure compliance with applicable laws.
How Do I Do a Background Check?
How you run a background check will greatly depend on which of the best background check service companies you choose to use. Some background check sites only give you limited information and, in turn, the process for running them is much faster – but more limited. More extensive background checks will need more information and may require a few more steps in order to be properly conducted.
For example, a background check site like Truthfinder will require you to give them some key bit of information such as a name, phone number, address, etc. The background check company will then be able to run a search using this information in order to create background check reports for you.
The best background check service companies can very quickly use one piece of information, like a phone number, to find a name which they can then tie to other services, like a social media account as well as public records, to in turn gather more information which can then be used to find even more info in place like the deep web or dark web. The best background check services do all of this for you very quickly with only tiny bits of info to start.
Let’s take a look at some basic steps suggested by many background check site professionals.
Step 1: Gather the Best Information That You Can
The first step to getting successful background checks is to obtain certain essential information about the person you are interested in that you know is accurate. This can be a name, age, birthday, places they have lived, etc. These smaller details can help narrow large searches and will allow more information to be found more quickly.
For example, if someone has a common name then you will want backup info, like an address, so that you can be sure you are getting information on the correct person.
Start by writing down as much information as you can about the person you want to look up. Social media can be a good place to go to get essential details that can assist a detailed search.
Try and gather as much information as possible for your background checks, just make sure to be mindful of your local laws. The best background check services can get quite a bit from only a little info.
Using a service that offers unlimited searches or unlimited background checks can be helpful if you are new or aren’t very good with these types of searches.
The best background check sites can give you a whole lot of information, even if all you have is an email address. If someone has a name linked to the email address in any of the relevant databases, it is possible you may be able to generate a report.
Step 2: Verify You Have the Right Person
At the beginning stages of the search, typically after you enter a name for example, background check sites will return some basic search results, which may list several reports. You will want to verify the information you do have with the background check site’s report and make sure that this is the correct person. This is important if the background check site has follow-on or advanced services for background checks as you do not want to pay for a deep search through all of someone’s employment history, property records and court records if it is not the right person.
This is another reason why many services have options for unlimited searches and unlimited background checks, as you may need to look up multiple people if you only have a little bit of information to go on.
If, for example, you only have a phone number, you may get reports on every person who has ever owned that number, which could be several – and you may need to get information on each one. This same problem can arise when all you have to go on is an address and property records.
Step 3: Understanding the Report
The best background check sites will be able to provide you with a plethora of information including names, birthdates, contact information, info on relatives, criminal records, and many other public records. You want to be sure you have a clear understanding of the information you are looking at. In some cases, a person may have opted out of being able to be looked up by certain services, in that case the information received may be much more limited.
Why Would I Use a Background Check Service?
While there are laws that restrict how and why you can use background check sites (for example, information from online background checks cannot be used to screen tenants or possible employees), there are still a ton of reasons why your average everyday person may want to run online background checks. The following are just a handful of examples.
Reconnecting With Lost Friends
It can be near impossible to track down those old friends when it is years, likely decades later. With a good background check service, you can generate a list of likely candidates from even the most obscure pieces of information.
With unlimited searches, it becomes easy to narrow down and locate those lost friends and flames. This is often your best option for finding lost friends, especially if they are not the type to use social media.
Making Sure Your Neighborhood is Safe
There are many reasons why you will want to know who is living in your neighborhood and who is operating the local carpool. Even if you have the smallest suspicions, when your kids are running around playing with little supervision, you want to know if they are safe.
By running a background check, including criminal background checks, on people you share carpools with, fences with, or who own the houses your kids are going on playdates to, you can rest easy at night knowing that you are around people you can trust.
Reconnecting With Estranged Family Members
Lost touch with a loved one? Background check sites can help you to reconnect with estranged family members. With the right background check service, you can easily find people from your past, even if they have changed their names or moved locations. This allows for a chance to reconnect with loved ones and bridge any gaps that may have formed in the meantime. No other service can provide you with the same level of detail and accuracy that a background check can.
This is becoming especially important today because many other traditional social circles and methods of staying in touch are going away because of social media. However, the older generation does not have the same access or desire to be on social media as the younger generation. This makes background checks a great option to bridge that divide and connect with those you lost touch with decades ago.
Research Future Dates
In the world of online dating, running a background check before you decide to meet up with a stranger may not be such a bad idea. By running a background check on somebody you have never met before, you can find out if they are who they say they are and verify any information that they may have given you. Running a criminal background check can definitely help to ensure your safety when going into the world of online dating.
When you think about it, it is almost crazy to meet up with a stranger after a few texts and a couple of photos. By running a background check, you can verify that the person is genuine and verify whether anything they told you was true.
Of course, use your best judgment and don’t rely solely on the results of a background check – but it cannot hurt to get an extra layer of comfort before meeting up with someone for the first time.
Looking Up and Controlling Your Online Reputation
A background check service can help you manage your online reputation by providing you with an understanding of your digital footprint. It can inform you of what the world may be seeing when they type in your name, and if anything appears that you would rather not have out there, it is an opportunity to take back control.
With a background check, you can understand what is out there and take measures to clean up your online reputation.
Weighing a Job Offer
Perhaps one of the most common yet overlooked uses for a background check service is for job seeking. Before accepting a job offer, it’s essential to ensure the company is legit. The best background check sites can provide you with a deep dive into the company’s history, services offered, and customer reviews so that you make sure you are entering a trusted agreement.
These are just a few reasons why you may want to use a background check service. When used properly and within the boundaries of the law, they can be powerful tools to help you stay safe and reconnect with people from your past.
What Can’t I Use a Background Check Service For?
Background check services cannot be used to make decisions regarding employment, housing, or credit. It is illegal to deny someone a job, housing, or credit based on the results of online background checks. Instead, these checks are meant for personal informational purposes only.
For example, you can’t use a service like Instant Checkmate to run employment background checks in order to screen potential new hires. This would be considered a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA.
Additionally, background check sites are not designed to provide medical information about an individual, although some services will search for public records related to medical issues, such as bankruptcies due to unpaid medical bills or criminal convictions stemming from drug-related activity.
You also cannot use these services to screen possible tenants. It is illegal to deny a potential tenant based on the results of reports provided by background check sites that are not defined as consumer reporting agencies.
What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a U.S. law enacted to ensure fairness, accuracy and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies.
The law also gives consumers the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. It is important to note that not all background check companies are subject to this legislation, as it does not apply to employers conducting their own internal pre-employment checks. However, any company that provides consumer reports for employment decision-making purposes must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Additionally, the FCRA includes a provision known as “adverse action notice”, which requires employers to provide applicants with a copy of their background report and a written statement of their rights under the FCRA if they are denied services based on items in the report. This protects applicants from being unfairly discriminated against due to incorrect or incomplete information contained in their background check report.
Remember that the Fair Credit Reporting Act also governs the use of information from online background checks. The best background check sites that are not defined as consumer reporting agencies will have prominent disclaimers explaining how information provided by their background checks can be used.
Overall, understanding your rights under the FCRA can help you ensure that your background check results are accurate, up-to-date, and legally compliant. Knowing your rights before you submit a background report request can also help prevent potential legal issues down the line.
How Do I Know a Background Check Site is Safe?
Make sure that the site you are using has proper security measures in place to protect your data. Look for sites that have multi-factor authentication, encryption, and strong passwords in order to keep unauthorized people out of your private information. Additionally, see if they have policies related to data retention.
Check that the site is secured with HTTPS. HTTPS is a secure protocol that encrypts data sent over the internet. This can help to protect your personal information, such as your name and address, from being stolen or misused. You can check for HTTPS by looking for a padlock icon in the address bar of your browser.
Most of the best background check sites will use something like 256-bit encryption and a verified, approved SSL certificate. You may also want to see how a site stores any card information. You should look for a site that stores information on secure servers or with PCI-certified partners.
Finally, you should make sure the site is reputable by reading customer reviews online. Check out well-rated websites with a good reputation for accuracy and quality of service. This can help ensure that the company behind the background check site is legitimate, trustworthy, and experienced in providing accurate background checks.
You also want to find sites that have a high rating from the Better Business Bureau whenever possible. For example, Truthfinder has an A + from the BBB. This way you can be totally sure that the site you are using is not at risk of exposing your information to hackers nor will it contain any possible viruses.
By taking these steps to verify the safety of a website before using it for background checks, you can protect yourself from identity theft and other forms of fraud. You can also rest assured that you are getting reliable results from a trusted source. Doing your due diligence can give you peace of mind when conducting background checks online.
Are You Ready to Use Background Check Services?
The best background check services offer comprehensive and accurate results, making it easy to make informed decisions and protect yourself. From criminal records to credit reports, these services provide a wealth of valuable information that can be used in a variety of different situations. Whether you are looking for a family or trying to verify the accuracy of someone’s past, these background check sites have the tools and resources to help you get the job done.
All of the options on this list are amongst the very best that can be found online today. They all offer a great deal and are ready for you to use today!