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Intelius vs Background Searcher

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INTELIUS

Intelius is part of the PeopleConnect family of products, which also includes the Classmates brand. Their services include people search, reverse phone lookup, background checks, and identity theft protection services.

Our experience with Intelius was very frustrating. First, when we entered several names, we got an error message and were told to try again later. We did that a number of times and continued to get the same message, so as the error page directed, we called the toll-free number. The automated voice thanked us for calling "Customer Service" - not mentioning Intelius or any other company's name - and connected us to a representative to told us to "try again in one hour". Several hours after our first attempt, we were able to search several names.

But, the pricing we got differed based on the name we entered. One name returned the prices listed at the top of the review: $19.95 to $49.95. Then for a different individual, we were given the options of a $39.95 one-time report, or "Premier Plus". This last offer confused us: "Try Intelius Premier Plus, and if you cancel within the first 7 days and have not yet used a background check voucher you pay only $7.95 . Otherwise, you will receive 1 background check voucher per month and be charged $29.95 each month you remain a member. Each voucher will expire in 30 days, if not used."

When we went to leave the site, we got a pop-up offering a discounted price of $24.95 for a background check, so there may be additional ways to save money if you decide to use Intelius' services.

According to the Intelius site, their background report includes the following:

  • Contact information
  • Relatives
  • State Criminal Check
  • Bankruptcies
  • Liens
  • Judgments
  • Aliases
  • Lawsuits
  • Marriage & Divorce records

But, unlike many services we tried, there was no way to see if the record we would be buying was a match with the person we were searching for. We entered the name, city, and state, which took us directly to a "buy report" page; Intelius' competitors usually show details like previous addresses, likely relatives, and even estimated age to help customers determine if the person is a match.

We like that Intelius has a long track record within the industry, and their "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau is a good indicator of attention to detail and to customer service. Unfortunately, this reputation wasn't enough to overcome the less-than-impressive experience we had with using the service, especially compared with other background checks currently on the market. We think most customers will get better results using one of the other services in our review.

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BACKGROUND SEARCHER

Background Searcher is very different from the other services in our review: rather than providing a comprehensive report based on a name you enter, their service is geared more towards a do-it-yourself approach.

For a one-time fee of $19.95, you gain access to a long list of links provided by Background Searcher. These links include resources for the following:

  • Child Support Lookup
  • Prisoner Records
  • Genealogy Resources (obituaries, birth/marriage/death records, and so on)
  • DMV Records
  • Criminal Files/Indictments
  • Skip Tracing
  • Court Records

Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that those links will turn up details on the person you're investigating - and there's no promise that you won't have to pay additional fees to the resources found in those links. For example, if you find a birth certificate record, you will likely have to pay a fee to the government office holding that record in order to get a copy (in addition to proving that you have the right to access such documents).

On a positive note, Background Searcher did enjoy an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review. However, given that most of the testimonials are for people who used the service to find long-lost family members, we were left wondering if those same individuals would have found their relatives much faster with all of the ancestry/genealogy services currently available today. And, if you're trying to check out a prospective partner or a neighbor, you're going to have to do a lot of legwork if you use Background Searcher to dig around.

Chances are, you can spend the same amount of money - and much less time - using one of the higher-ranked background checks in our review.

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Best Background Checks

To help you find the Best Background Checks, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Intelius and Background Searcher.

What is the best background check service? Is your new girlfriend as trustworthy as she seems? Does your neighbor have a criminal record? These are just a few of the types of questions that motivate people to want to run a background check. Background checks have been a regular part of life for many years: employers run them prior to bringing on a new hire, especially in certain fields such as education and law enforcement.

Colleges and universities search social media profiles and work history before awarding scholarships or even granting admission to applicants. Families looking to adopt or be foster parents are checked to make sure there is no history of abuse or neglect.

Much of the information available to employers, universities, and government agencies is also available to you through services offering background checks. Maiden names and aliases, cities of residence, even criminal and legal history are just a few of the types of information people can find when using these services.

You should be aware that, no matter which service you use, the results rendered are only as accurate as the public records databases which they use. The accuracy of this information is one of the factors that differentates the background check providers.

As you decide which background check service best meets your needs, keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Price. What will it cost to access a single report? Is there a free or low-cost trial available? How much does it cost to access unlimited reports for one month?
  • Depth of Information. What kinds of records will you be able to see? Is it information that you could easily find yourself, or will you get access to details that are hard for the average person to find? Does the service also examine social media accounts, or just basic public records?
  • Reputation. Have other customers been able to find what they need while using the service? Does the business have a solid rating with the BBB?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best background check services available today. We hope these reviews help you find what - and who - you're searching for!



The Popularity of Background Checks

Employers are doing it. Daters are doing it. Even the government is doing it.

So what is the "it" we're referring to here? Background checks.

With 69 percent of all employers admitting they now conduct background checks on all employees, and the top three online dating websites making background checks a requirement for using their service, the popularity of conducting such searches continues to grow. Even the government is considering tighter background checks for the purchase of firearms as part of a broader package on gun safety.

Not even social media is exempt from the long-reaching arm of the background check. While a person can make their social media accounts private, and be cautious of what they post about themselves, what they cannot control is what other people post about them. Embarrassing photos from last summer's pool party - where you were holding a beer in each hand as you belly-flopped into the pool - easily can surface on someone else's website or social media account. So even if you think you're being discreet, there is always the chance that someone else is not.

We already know that conducting background checks is becoming popular in the public and private sectors. But what kind of information frequently is sought out during a background check?

  • Basic Background Check. These kinds of background checks are comprehensive and thorough, revealing such information as a person's date of birth, any marriages/divorces and even if they've ever claimed bankruptcy. It also can include a criminal history, which details any criminal convictions.
  • Criminal Background Check. Sometimes an employer or private person isn't interested in learning about every place someone has lived in their lifetime - or whether they've been married four times in 15 years. Sometimes, the only information that is being sought is a criminal conviction history, which can be obtained through a criminal background check. These checks can be conducted through a number of third-party agencies, which charge from $15 to $40 for their services. Any criminal convictions, including jail time served, will be included in the report.
  • Credit Report Check. Second only in popularity to a criminal background check, 21 percent of employers are now conducting credit report checks on potential employees. Unlike a background check - which can be conducted without a person's knowledge or consent - employers and others are required by law to seek an individual's permission prior to conducting a credit report check.

While some agencies will insist they can conduct thorough background checks with only a person's name, reputable agencies also will require a valid social security number as well. Using a social security number, in conjunction with a person's full name (first, middle and last), helps eliminate the margin of error in confusing two people with a similar name.

As with credit reports, it is important to understand that sometimes background checks contain inaccurate and misleading information. This can be incredibly frustrating for someone who may be confused with another person of a similar name who has committed a crime. Just as ordering an annual credit report to check for errors is a good idea; it is advisable to occasionally conduct a background check on yourself for the same purposes.

 



Background Checks In The News

New Haven police continue probe into alleged falsifying of background checks

NEW HAVEN-- A background check scandal in the New Haven police department has let the Chief "beyond disheartened." Two now former officers, Leah Russo and Kristian Ramirez, resigned last week when it was learned they had falsified background checks of ...

Published:  Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:54:00 GMT



Two Former New Haven Officers Face Possible Criminal Charges For Falsified Background Checks

Police officials said more than 17 background reports were falsified by former officers Leah Russo and Kristian Ramirez. The two were partners in conducting background investigations for incoming police candidates. The issue was brought to light by a ...

Published:  Fri, 22 Jun 2018 07:21:00 GMT



More CPS sexual abuse fallout, background checks and pay gaps

We're (usually) Cassie Burke and Adeshina Emmanuel, and we round up Chicago public education news every week. Cassie is on vacation, but fortunately our summer intern Elaine Chen is here to help. Please send any tips, story ideas, or general shoutouts ...

Published:  Fri, 22 Jun 2018 02:50:00 GMT



New Haven police discuss falsified background checks

The New Haven Police Department revealed a bit more on Thursday about police academy falsified background checks. The department discussed the findings of an internal investigation. Chief Anthony Campbell called what happened a betrayal of trust.

Published:  Thu, 21 Jun 2018 05:14:00 GMT



Liverpool 'Run Background Checks' as They Step Up Interest in England International Goalkeeper

Liverpool are taking their interest in Nick Pope seriously and a move for the Burnley goalkeeper looks increasingly likely as the Reds are reportedly running "background checks" on the 26-year-old. That's according to the Mirror, which claims that ...

Published:  Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:03:00 GMT



White House Agency Reorg Plan Touches Cyber, Service, Background Checks

While the White House's proposal to reorganize the functions of many Federal agencies made the biggest headlines today with major steps like the proposed merger of the Departments of Education and Labor, the lengthy proposal document released today also ...

Published:  Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:24:00 GMT



Attorney General Fox responds to Missoula suit over background checks for gun sales

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed against him by the city of Missoula earlier this year over universal background checks for gun purchases. In April the city of Missoula sued Fox, challenging the validity of a ...

Published:  Tue, 19 Jun 2018 05:00:00 GMT




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