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

NextAdvisor Blog Headlines

Hilton and Trump Hotel Breaches: What You Need to Know
Oct 5, 2015 - If you thought credit card breaches were limited to restaurants and retail stores, you were unfortunately mistaken. Cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs has written about numerous hotel chain credit card breaches over the past year, including Mandarin Oriental and White Lodging, and he has now added...

Online Dating and Introverts: Tips to Help You Find Your Match
Oct 5, 2015 - Dating takes a certain level of bravery, both online and off. For introverted people, that can make the process a bit more stressful as their personalities naturally encourage them to shy away from situations that remove them from their comfort zone. Online dating is a great way to remedy those d...

3 Ways to Organize Your Family Research
Oct 5, 2015 - Starting and maintaining genealogical research can be an intimidating task, especially when it comes to keeping up with all of your family research, photos and historical records. That's why staying organized is key — you don't want to waste time looking for documents that could be spent on valua...

Classic Book Titles Available for Your Listening Enjoyment
Oct 5, 2015 - You can find an audiobook for just about any niche reader. Whether you're into sci-fi, romance, historical retellings or religious education, you're almost guaranteed to be able to find the right book for your listening pleasure. For those who aren't as keen on the trendy or up-and-coming literat...

4.6 Million Customers Affected in Scottrade Breach: Are You One of Them?
Oct 2, 2015 - October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and it's off to a pretty dismal start. Following the Experian breach announcement yesterday that affected 15 million T-Mobile customers, today retail brokerage Scottrade announced it had discovered a breach in one of its systems. In a press rele...

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.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

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.