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Best Background Check Services for 2022: Where to Perform Background Checks Online

What information you seek, and how it will be used, will help determine the best background service for your needs.
What information you seek, and how it will be used, will help determine the best background service for your needs. [ stock ]
Published Dec. 16, 2021

Choosing a background check company can be really troubling. With so many services that can access billions of disparate records, which one is right for the information you need?

Here we’ve summarized and reviewed the best background check services in the US, helping you to see the strengths and weaknesses of each company.

With these reputable background check sites, you can keep yourself, your family, or your business safe by uncovering in-depth reports on anyone involved with the things you love.

1. Truthfinder - Best Background Check Service Overall

Pros

  • Wide variety of searches
  • Dark web scan
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating
  • Toll-free call support

Cons

  • No free trial

Pricing: $28.05/mo (1 month recurring) | $23.28/mo (Power Users - Billed at $46.56 every two months)

With around 9.5 million sessions every month, Truthfinder sits amongst the most popular background check services, boasting access to hundreds of millions of public records and social network databases.

With people search, you’ll get unlimited searches and possible background reports to verify a date or look up anyone and find their criminal history, arrest records, court records, birth information, educational records, marriage and divorce records, possible relatives, and more.

Better yet, you can use this feature to find lost connections, like old friends.

Worried about where your personal information might have ended up? The deep web scan lets you know if cybercriminals are using your information for illegal transactions on the dark web.

Here’s where it gets interesting, with just a phone number - the reverse phone lookup feature will give you a detailed profile of that mysterious caller.

However, Truthfinder is limited to the US, but on the upside, you’re backed with private search functions, so chances are no one will be alerted when you look them up.

2. Intelius - Best Background Check Service for Single Reports

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Anonymous searching
  • Quick & easy to use
  • Single report plans are available

Cons

  • Customer support could be better

Pricing: 1 month - $24.86 / 2-month plan - $42.25 charged bi-monthly

Since 2003, Intelius has been the hub of unlimited searches and fast detailed background check reports at affordable prices, with access to over 20 billion public records!

To get started, you can look up a relative, friend, neighbor, or even yourself just by typing in a name on the people search to find their criminal records, and much more.

Another great feature?

You can do a reverse phone lookup or direct people search, but if you don’t have someone’s name or number, a reverse address search lets you do an identity verification just with their address.

Customer service seems to be slower than other background check sites, but overall, customer reviews are generally positive.

The seasoning on top of it all is anonymous searches that let you do stress-free searches without worrying about the person finding out you snooped on them. Gather data on people privately and securely.

3. Instant Checkmate - Best Background Check Service for Finding Criminal Records

Pros

  • Wide criminal database access
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Toll-free call support
  • Privacy features

Cons

  • Slower report loading

Pricing: 1 month - $35.12 / 3-month plan - $28.09/month ($84.28 billed at checkout)

Instant Checkmate is the hub of criminal records, and they boast over 7.1 million monthly US users.

With the regular people search, you can keep safe by looking up a date, neighbor, or possible roommate and find their social media profiles, arrest records, weapon permits, sex offender mugshots, traffic offenses, and even sexual offenses.

Also, why not reconnect with old friends/classmates while at it? By finding their possible phone numbers and locations.

Skeptical about that late-night call your spouse receives? With Instant Checkmate, you can do a reverse phone lookup and unmask the caller and clear any doubts you might have.

However, Instant Checkmate reports might take longer to load, but if you get past that, you’d be greatly impressed with the unlimited reports on the monthly subscription.

4. Spokeo - Best Background Check Service for Reverse Phone Lookups

Pros

  • Wide range of records
  • Alerts on report updates
  • Great customer support
  • Secure payment methods

Cons

  • Criminal reports could be better

Pricing: 1 month - $19.95 / 3-month plan - $14.95/month

With access to over 12 billion records, Spokeo background check bills itself in always providing an easy-to-understand, accurate background check at affordable plans. And the fact that they’ve been featured in Forbes should give you extra confidence.

With someone’s name, phone number, email, or physical address you can find their phone numbers, social media accounts, location/address history, criminal records, property records, and more.

This is quite a sport when trying to verify a date, locate old friends or identify the person behind harassing calls and texts.

Unfortunately, you might find some of the criminal reports a little limited.

But on the bright side, it doesn’t have to end with a background check report, Spokeo sends you alerts whenever there’s an update on your search reports. You’ll always be in the know if new information comes to light.

5. Publicseek - Top Background Check for Social Media Reports

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Daily database updates
  • Mobile app available

Cons

  • Not for employee checks

Pricing: 1 day trial - $1.00 / 1 month - $26.87 / 2 months - $46.96

Trying to find out if you can trust someone, or trying to look for old friends? With Public Seek’s access to over 10 billion records, you have a great shot at that.

With just a name, phone number, home address, or email, you can scan info on criminal records, sex offender registry, education history, and more on that date or acquaintance of yours.

There’s also a mobile app so you can perform searches on the go and receive updates on previous reports. With the Publicseek app, you get that convenience and stay up to date.

Note that Publicseek is not for employee screening, since it’s not Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) or Consumer Reporting Agency accredited.

To cap it off; with just $1, you can test the waters with a 1-day trial.

6. Infotracer - Best Background Check Company for Targeted Searches

Pros

  • $2.95, 5-day trial
  • Facial recognition search available
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Limited criminal reports

Pricing: 1-time reports - $19.95 / 1 month - $19.95

InfoTracer prides itself in providing you with narrowed-down searches and only relevant information on reports from over 5 billion records.

The facial recognition search stands out here. With anyone’s photo, you can run a search and find their possible criminal information, political affiliations, civil records, and even professional licenses.

Also, you can do a VIN check with a car’s license plate to find car and driver history details. This could prove quite helpful in case you’re caught up in a car accident.

$19.95 to purchase single reports might be pricey for your budget, so you might want to go with the monthly subscription if you plan to run multiple reports in the near future.

7. BeenVerified - Top Background Check Site for Driver Records

Pros

  • Great vehicle search
  • Wide search options

Cons

  • Automatic renewal subscription

Pricing: 1 month - $26.89 / 3 months - $52.44

With over 10 years of experience, Been Verified offers regular search and reverse phone, email, and address searches to do a quick check on an acquaintance or old friend.

However, their ace card lies with the vehicle VIN search, which is quite helpful if you want to make a motor vehicle investment and you’d like to know how many times the car was traded before it got to you.

Unfortunately, some reports might take a while to load. But on the positive side, you get unlimited background checks on paid memberships.

8. US Search - 25-Year-Old Service 

Pros

  • $2.45 one-time people search report
  • Reputable

Cons

  • Limited reports

Pricing: One-time people report - $2.45 / Full background report - $39.95 / $19.86 - monthly subscription

For over 25 years, US Search has been helping people reconnect with old friends and loved ones with billions of public records.

You can find someone’s birth information, death records, criminal details, property, divorce, marriage records, and more. However, US Search’s legal reports might not be the best compared to more popular competitors.

Still, if you want to do a regular search on someone, this is a great option.

9. Backgroundchecks.com – Best Background Check Site for Small Businesses

Pros

  • FCRA approved
  • Custom plans available

Cons

  • Relatively pricey

Pricing: From $29.95 - $64.95

Backgroundchecks.com is the bridge to a safe and trustworthy working environment, with a National Association of Professional Background Screeners accreditation and exhaustive financial and employment verification, with access to vast criminal databases.

Although you might find the one-time reports a bit pricey, you can contact the support team to work out a custom plan for your business, with discounts on volume orders. It all depends on what you’re looking for in a background check service.

10. Infomart - FCRA Approved Background Check

Pros

  • FCRA approved
  • Reputable

Cons

  • No free trial

Pricing: Varies with the size of business and number of employees

InfoMart has 30 years of experience in professional employee screening in a wide range of industries. You can find detailed criminal reports, credit reports, previous employment reports, sex offense reports, and more!

However, ordering a few employee screenings might be on the expensive side as compared to ordering mass screenings. But if you can look past that, you’re going to get a qualified workforce.

Quick Guide to Types of Background Checks

Why Do People Run Background Checks?

People run background for a lot of reasons, here are the most popular reasons;

  1. To verify people met on online dating
  2. To make sure a new roommate is trustworthy
  3. To ensure their kids are safe around a new neighbor
  4. To find old friends and classmates
  5. To see what comes up on their own background checks
  6. To find out if a spouse/partner is cheating

There are many different reasons you might want to check up on someone, though you must act within the confines of US law throughout the process.

What Information Can a Background Check Uncover?

Criminal Records

Most if not all background check providers uncover criminal records and can shed light on incarceration history, court cases, arrests, convictions, misdemeanors, and much more.

Education History

Background checks can uncover the schools someone went to, the period they spent in those schools, academic awards, club memberships, and much more.

Employment History

More so when done by a potential employer, background checks can uncover roles held, job period, former employer contact details, and professional awards, among others.

Personal Information

Checks can come up with names, possible aliases, possible relatives, names, and former/current addresses, to mention a few.

How Long Do Background Checks Take?

Background checks can be instant, especially for basic searches. Still, some checks can take up to 1-2 weeks if there’s a need for exhaustive and detailed reports, more so in professional settings.

Can I Check My Own Background?

You can check your own background by putting in your name, address, phone number, email or even physical address on the regular people search engine and get information on personal background checks.

Sites like TruthFinder are a great way to run a background check on yourself.

Why Do Businesses Do Background Checks on New Employees?

Most businesses do background checks on employees to verify employee information (e.g. employment history and qualifications) and see if they are trustworthy and qualified enough to hold the positions they have been hired for.

It should be noted that Truthfinder, Instant Checkmate, US Search, and Intelius CANNOT be used for employee screening legally.

What Is the Best Criminal Background Checks Website?

Instant Checkmate is the best criminal check website, with access to an in-depth state and federal criminal database to give detailed arrests, convictions, traffic reports, and much more.

What Is the Best Background Check Provider for Public Records?

From our research, Truthfinder seems to be the best website for public records. This background checking service hosts thorough reports on licenses, political affiliations, court records, general statistics, Institution financial records, and more.

What Causes a Red Flag on a Background Check?

A couple of factors can cause a red flag on a background check, the most common ones are:

Criminal History

There’s a red flag when a criminal record comes up on a check, especially when it wasn’t initially disclosed on the job application as required. It might even be grounds for disqualification.

Employment Gaps

Another red flag is significant periods of unemployment, whether intentional or not. They might imply that a candidate is flakey and can’t commit to long-term employment.

Professional Discrepancies

When the information stated on the job application doesn’t check with the professional records of your past jobs, it could imply that the application has been exaggerated in an attempt to land a job role or housing.

Educational Discrepancies

Sometimes people overstate their academic records to meet the requirements of a potential job. When education verification records prove otherwise, the affected person might come off as untrustworthy.

What Is Better - Spokeo or BeenVerified?

Spokeo checks a wide variety of available records to give detailed, accurate results and even offers updates on past reports at affordable prices. Still, BeenVerified also has access to in-depth vehicle records and impressive reverse lookups.

However, Spokeo’s affordable prices just give it the edge over BeenVerified.

Final Verdict on Background Check Companies

There shouldn’t be limits to keeping yourself, your family members, or even your business safe. These background check services are here to give you that peace of mind.

In our opinion, Truthfinder has the best all-around features; with access to possibly the widest public records and social networks database for extensive background checks.

Still, Intelius and Instant Checkmate are also top-notch background check sites if you’re looking for impressive education/social media records and affordable background checks, respectively.

Note that background check services that are yet to be approved by Fair Credit Reporting Act aren’t advised to be used for tenant screening, credit checks, and employment background checks.

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