Whether you’re doing it for the safety of your family, or you’re just plain curious about an ex; online background checks can be a very useful tool. There are a dozen reasons to run one, and the best background check companies can get your answers in minutes.
So what is a background check, how much does it cost, and which are the best background check sites to go with for fast, convenient, and of course, confidential results? There are lots of options from high end to really cheap background check services, and you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth without getting ripped off. So, dig in to find out everything you want to know.
Here are our best background check services, updated for 2022
The star ratings are based on the overall rating of each brand. Some reviews are provided via third party suppliers. We encourage you to write a review of your experiences with these brands.
BeenVerified has been a trusted name in the world of background check companies for over a decade. In that time, it’s helped more than 1 million customers find and verify information for their individual purposes. BeenVerified allows you to do a number of searches, including people searches, reverse phone lookup, criminal records, reverse address lookup, email search, and public records search.
It scours millions of data points to find compelling data that is relevant to your search criteria, whether that’s social media profiles, photographs, or assets that need to be uncovered. BeenVerified has even been used as a safety precaution for clients, running background search on themselves to see what important information comes up. Whatever your reasons, BeenVerified is a solid background search solution for getting the answers you need quickly.
CheckPeople is a background check site that focuses most of its attention on criminal records, including arrests, prosecutions, and mugshots. You’ll also receive other important information like current and prior addresses, immediate and distant relatives, and marriage and divorce records. If you are trying to figure out if someone is who they say they are, you can browse through possible aliases and alternate social media accounts taken out under various names.
CheckPeople offers reasonable monthly rates, and you can run unlimited people searches for a low price. What’s more, every search done through CheckPeople is completely confidential. Nobody can see who you’re searching for, and the person you run a background check on will never find out.
TruthFinder is a basic public records search engine. It allows you to find a whole slew of information on people from birth and death records, to possible relatives and relationships. Anyone can use the service to find information about potential dates, possible roomies, or long lost relatives you’re trying to rebuild a relationship with. TruthFinder packs a lot of info into its reports, including assets, business affiliations, trademarks, bankruptcies, weapons permits, professional licenses, and more.
TruthFinder is easy to use for searching for social media profiles, contact information, and other public records. The site can be a valuable tool if you’re trying to get information on a new romantic partner, online seller, or family member you’ve lost contact with. TruthFinder is also useful if you want to check if your child’s school teacher, softball coach, or new neighbor is on a sex offender registry.
Wondering what your favorite celeb does in their free time? Need to find info about a hot date you’re interested in? Or maybe you want to know if the new friend your son brought home comes from a stable family. Whatever your reasons, Instant Checkmate is available to get you the answers you need. With extensive public records access, Instant Checkmate delivers loads of information within minutes. And with affordable plans, you can run multiple checks without worrying.
Instant Checkmate pulls data from official public records, court documents, police records, government databases, and online sources like social media accounts, and more. You’re getting solid information from real sources. And what’s more, Instant Checkmate donates to a variety of charities and non-profits as a way of giving back to the community.
Intelius is one of the most popular public data background check engines available today. It’s used for everything from identity protection, to criminal records scanning, Intelius is a secure, reliable, and thorough way to get information you need fast.
With Intelius, you can do basic background checks, people searches, and reverse phone or address lookups. For example, this is helpful if you are being harassed by an anonymous prank caller. Intelius also offers in-depth reports that include full names and aliases, age and date of birth, employment and education records, social networks, and much more. With Intelius Premium Plus membership, customers can run unlimited background checks for one flat fee.
PeopleFinders is one of the oldest background check companies around today. In business for more than 20 years, PeopleFinders has more than 10 billion public records to search through. When you’re looking for information, and it feels like there’s no stone left unturned. You can get background checks, people searches, criminal reports, or even use a reverse lookup for phone numbers as well as email addresses.
PeopleFinders has a cool feature that lets you look up people based on their genealogical history. So, you get their relatives along with any info about the specific person you’re searching for. This is incredible if you are researching a possible relative you’ve never met. What’s more, PeopleFinders offers single report pricing, something that most other background check sites do not do.
US Search is a PeopleData-driven background check search engine. Even if you haven’t used this popular service before, you might recognize the name since it’s been featured on prominent news channels, including The Wall Street Journal and 60 Minutes. It’s a fast and efficient way to get acess to criminal records such as sex offender records, felonies, and misdemeanors.
With this background check site, you can search local databases, state registries, or even full nationwide database searches, depending on what you need to find out. US Search also offers the most search options possible gathering specific types of information. You can run a people search, a reverse phone lookup, an email search, a social network search, a property records search, and a criminal records search, as well as a complete background check.
Whether you need to take control of your own online presence or want to know more information about a questionable party in your life, ID True makes it simple to get the details you need quickly and painlessly. You can run a completely anonymous search on anyone in the United States confidentially and without anyone ever knowing. You’ll unearth lots of interesting information with these reports, including hidden social media accounts, criminal records and arrests, sex offender status, and any known business associates.
ID True will deliver results in under a minute, something that most other background check companies can’t come close to offering. You’ll be able to run a manual search, sort results by last name, or launch a full background check on that person of interest. ID True even has a welcome offer for new members that gives you the first month for almost a quarter of the regular price. It’s well worth the trial to see what ID True is all about.
There are many ways you can use PeopleLooker. If you’re trying to search for an old friend or a relative you’ve lost touch with, need to get information on a potential love interest, or want to get some background details on a potential roommate, PeopleLooker is a great place to look.
What’s more, many people use PeopleLooker to get information on things that aren’t necessarily people. For example, if you’re looking into a property, you can get more information, such as the number of owners, who lived there previously, and who most recently sold the property.
PeopleLooker offers reliable and up-to-date information, so the records included in your report are accurate and complete.
PeopleWhiz is a background screening company that offers subscription plans and individual background checks.
With access to over 67 billion public records, PeopleWhiz’s propriety screening technology allows it to generate background reports in minutes. It offers affordable monthly subscription plans and criminal history checks to users through its simple-to-use search tool. Customer service is available 24/7 to assist users with generating reports and answering questions.
One of the best background check sites is Truthfinder. It searches all public records and corners of the internet, doing the work for you to find hidden information on the person you’re trying to profile.
BeenVerified is a great site for criminal background checks. Their reports use public criminal records, arrest records, and cross-state criminal histories to paint a picture. You can also get insights on the person you’re profiling with details connected to properties, aliases, accounts, and more. And, you can run a search on yourself to see your file or clean up any inconsistencies.
To get the full picture on a potential employee, TruthFinder is a useful resource for conducting a background check. Not only do they provide deep people searches, but they also scan the deep web and social media profiles. The reports give information on assets, affiliations, trademarks, bankruptcies, gun permits, licenses, and more
A general background checker that we recommend is Intelius. If you need a basic background check but have limited information, like a phone number or a name, Intelius will have you covered with a quick and secure report. It’s an especially useful tool if you need to run big batches of checks, with unlimited checks costing a flat fee.
An online background check service meticulously scours all corners of the web to gather information about the person you’re searching for. Most of the records the services have access to are records you could theoretically find yourself, but it would take you weeks, if not months to get the info you need. Background check services can flip through millions of files and produce a detailed report for you in under five minutes.
Online background checks go beyond just criminal records – they can dig up credit history, employment history, financial records, and other information that shows the life someone has lived and also confirm their identity.
Top10.com’s reviews on background check sites are based on objective facts. We do our research via the background check provider’s site, trusted 3rd party sites, customer reviews, and use of the product through free trials, or through paid use in some cases.
Reviewers will try the signup process, make customer service queries to check response times and perform any other possible function within the review period.
For the rest of the information, we check out what the brand says about its own product offering, taking into any complaints or compliments, ratings from independent agencies like the BBB, and trusted journalistic publications.
We compared these key features when looking at background check services:
Ease of use
When choosing a background check company, first ask yourself what kind of check you really need and for what purpose. If you need a criminal histories background check, then a company that specialized in reverse phone lookups may not work. See if the company’s reports include personalized results and if they are experts in your field (like transportation, education, or the military).
Make sure that the background check company is legal and accredited. A legit company will also be responsive when it comes to customer service. Since the company may handle sensitive data, find out the security standards and if the information provided is encrypted. One of the most important factors to look for in a background check company is how safely and easily it will be to access and download the report.
There are more types of background checks than you may think. Recognizing the differences can help with ordering correctly and better understanding the results.
Level 1: Identity verification (Name, addresses, phone numbers, DOB, SSN, etc.)
Level 2: Criminal background checks (via the local police or federal authorities)
Level 3: Credit history and score checks
Level 4: Motor vehicle record
Level 5: Educational and professional background checks
Level 6: Fingerprint checks
Level 7: Verify legal work status in the US
There are several layers of background checks you can run from very basic information to really detailed criminal background checks.
Usually, the depth you go into with your reporting will depend on why you are doing the background check. For example, if you are just trying to spy on an ex-boyfriend, you might not dig as deeply as if, say, you were doing a background check for employment at a high-level security firm.
The most common types of background checks companies run today include:
Social Security number trace
Social media scans
Most will contain general information about the person, including phone numbers and addresses associated with the person along with age and date of birth. It will also contain more detailed information, such as criminal and arrest records, employment history, and education. A few more items that can be included in a background check are:
And more, depending on the background check company and policies you’re working with.
Background check information comes from different sources, depending on the type of report you ordered. There is no single source for criminal background checks. The national criminal database is composed of records from:
State court support agencies
State sex offender registries
Federal security agencies’ court records
Database searches like reverse phone lookups, use public records and phone books to generate reports. This information can be outdated or wrong at times. The most accurate background checks, and often more affordable background checks, are made on the state or law enforcement level.
With the permission of the person in question, companies considering applicants for employment or a loan often carry out checks to cover all their bases and make sure the person won’t be a liability for the company.
In addition to employment background checks, on a more personal level, many are using background checks to screen potential childcare professionals. Before trusting someone with their children, many choose to screen potential babysitters or nannies. Some landlords may also opt to do a consensual rental background check on potential renters.
When considering using a background check, it’s important to take into consideration the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is a federal law that regulates the collection of consumers’ credit information and access to their credit reports. Employment decisions, rental screening and credit-based decisions cannot legally be made using a background check service that isn’t FCRA compliant.
Inaccurate reports not only stand in the way of you meeting your needs, but they can also set you up for expensive liabilities. The best background check services will have a reputation for accuracy and professionalism that will help you make an informed decision.
It’s good to cast a wide net, but not all background checks are the same. You may want to be more specific and focus on employment history or financial records, and you need a company that can really narrow down the results to what you’re looking for. A top background check service will have different levels of background screenings so that you’re always getting the information you need for your situation.
You’re not a private detective, and you shouldn’t need any professional or tech know-how to navigate a background check site. The best background check websites should be easy-to-use and provide information in a format that is simple and clear. The best services provide you with the easiest method possible and the fastest turnaround time.
Top background checks will have a strong customer support team that knows the ins and outs of the field, and will be able to answer whatever questions you may have. If for some reason your search keeps running into walls; they should be able to tell you why. Furthermore, record search companies should be focused on getting the best results for their customers, and not trying to upsell searches that may not be relevant to what you need.
A paid search is a great way to find the information that you need but may not be able to find on your own. With most paid companies, the information will be collected and sent to you in a format that is easy to read and well organized.
So you’ve gone down the rabbit hole, and now you’re wondering how much a background check costs. With all the services out there you can run a cheap background check for roughly $10. The actual price you pay for your report will depend on how much information you want in the report, how many reports or checks you plan on running, and how frequently you want to use the service.
For example, if you’re doing this for business (i.e., a background check for employment purposes), the best background check companies will usually offer monthly plans to make continuous checks more affordable. Good companies like BeenVerified offer single month memberships for as little as $26.89 and 3-month memberships for just $17.48 a month for unlimited reports and more.
But even if you want to just run a single check, you can find affordable options. One-off checks are available for approximately $20 a piece. And considering most people don’t even know how to do a background check for themselves, a service that can pull all that information for you in minutes is well worth the few bucks you’ll pay.
The type of report you want will also determine the price. For example, a county criminal record could cost you just $5, a state criminal background check will cost you roughly $13-$20, and a more advanced national criminal package could run you over $70. And of course, prices will vary from one background check site to the next. Here’s a list of some common checks that are run and their prices:
Depending on what type of information, how often you want to run a background check, how many different people you want to run background checks on, etc. it may be worthwhile for you to pay for a monthly membership because it will work out to be cheaper for you at the end of the day.
The short answer: not really. Free background checks are usually never 100% free, and the information you get isn’t the most reliable of background check apps and sites. You see, free background checks scan all public records for matching data. Some look through the deep web while others link phone numbers or emails to social media accounts and magazine subscriptions.
There are many free background check sites that will make you register before seeing a report on the person you want to know more information about. It’s not guaranteed that this data aggregation will be accurate. Other sites that advertise themselves as free are only free to search but downloading the report or accessing more details will cost money.
Legitimate background checks get information from places public records can’t reach. Though they may cost money, paid reports provide extensive and downloadable reports.
Searching the internet yourself may work for people you already know a bit about, but it may not work as well for a potential date, for example. If you really want to get an extensive and well-organized report, you’re going to need to use a paid background check service. When you consider costs, you may find it’s not as expensive as you thought.
Paid background searches can help you find out about any skeletons that a new neighbor may be hiding, and they can also help you find out if there’s anything about you that can potentially be unearthed and used against you.
A word of caution, though – the Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits the use of background checks for employment decisions or tenant screening unless you inform them beforehand, and they agree in writing. Most paid background check companies state this on their websites.
It’s a mixed bag when it comes to background check delivery times. The time it takes to complete a background check can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Fast background checks provide downloadable reports that you can analyze right away. If you need to order an identity history summary report from the local police department, it can take a week. Things get a bit more complicated if you need fingerprints analyzed by federal authorities due to slow processing times.
A failed background check can happen for a variety of reasons, from a criminal history or bad credit score. Those looking you up can find red flags on social media like risky posts. You can also fail a background check if you provide fake information. If you served in the army, a dishonorable discharge can seem like a negative on relevant screenings.
If you’re worried about passing a background check, you can always run one on yourself. This way, you will be ready to bring up any questionable information with the profiler and have an honest discussion about your past. It’s worth saying that a failed background check won’t always end in the worst case scenario.
Though it seems shady to run a background check on your date, it’s actually a great idea. Doing so can prevent catfishing and other shady situations. According to the FBI,over 20,000 people lost about $1 billion in romance scams just in 2021 alone.
By running a background check on the person you’re dating, you can find out their criminal history through the local police or on the federal level. A background check will also uncover if they are on any sex offender registry. Background checks scan all corners of the web and come up with interesting information, including social media profiles, to give you a clearer picture of the person you’re interested in.
Background checks have been a staple in most screening processes for job or visa applications, especially in the United States.
The industry has gone through some serious changes in the past five years. More than two years ago, background checks were common practice. During the pandemic, the industry experienced a great decline, especially with millions of people resigning from their jobs or becoming unemployed. As the pandemic began to settle down, the industry bounced back with amazing growth expected earnings of $4 billion in 2022.