People Search and Background Checks

Updated 02-09-2015

Need to find out about a prospective client, tenant, employee, or boss? A people search and background check service can help you find out a wealth of information on virtually anyone in the United States. In most cases, you don't need much to start with, just name and state of residency. We've put the top companies to the test to help you find the best people search and background check company for your needs.

People Search and Background Checks

Services: Our Ratings: Bottom Line:
Intelius Rating:stars
The most comprehensive service in terms of depth and accuracy, though results could be more focused
IntegraScan Rating:stars
Fairly comprehensive, includes federal and state criminal searches, though the latter is limited to certain jurisdictions
US Search Rating:stars
Good price and easy to read, detailed info on bankruptcies, but not as good with criminal check
Spokeo Rating:stars
Personalized people search helps users reconnect, but lacks the complexity to do much else; charges hidden fees for anything more than a basic name search
PeopleSmart Rating:stars
Fun, attractive user interface; good for basic info, less accurate for background checks
MyLife Rating:stars
Who's Searching for You product is unique and useful, but People Search falls short
PeopleFinders Rating:stars
Good price for check with nationwide criminal search, but it missed many things in our tests

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People Search
& Background

Find people and check backgrounds

The people search and background check services we reviewed can help you find essential details on the people you're interested in. These services search out and aggregate disparate public record sources providing you with address histories, property reports, criminal convictions, bankruptcies, known aliases, sex offender status, tax liens, marriage and divorce records, and even known associates. Many of these services offer additional services including reverse phone number, social profile, and business searches.

How we tested these people search and background check services

We found two individuals to act as our background check subjects. We then asked them to verify the returned information. We were interested both in how much information was returned, and how accurate it was. The results were surprisingly varied. In determining the accuracy of the background searches we had the advantage of being able to check the answers. Since most researchers won't have that advantage, we suggest purchasing two background checks from different companies and comparing the results. This is particularly true if your subject has a rather common name.

Free people search vs. paid

A lot of companies advertise free people search and background checks, but the truth is they just return basic information you could find in a phone book, and then try to charge you for advanced data. We've chosen to focus on paid services so you can be sure you're getting what you need. A free people search and background check lookup will not get your criminal records, bankruptcy histories, or detailed address reports.

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Advertiser Disclosure: is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most but not all of the companies whose products and services we review. For credit cards, we review cards from all of the top 10 US issuers by purchase volume (according to Issue 1035 of The Nilson Report, Feb 2014) excluding issuers that require additional accounts to be a cardholder and private label issuers. We may also review cards from other issuers in select cases. We do not review all products in a given category. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.