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US Search vs Intelius

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US SEARCH

US Search is an alternate business name of Intelius, another service in our review: they are both owned by parent company PeopleConnect and share a listing with the Better Business Bureau.

Surprisingly, we found the search experience on US Search to be easier to use than the Intelius interface. When we entered our name and city/state, we did get a display of information that helped us confirm that the record matched the person we were looking for, including aliases, relatives, and address history. On that page, it said that a background check report would include these items:

  • Full Name
  • Age
  • Recent Address
  • Address History
  • Phone Numbers
  • Aliases
  • Maiden Name
  • Relatives
  • Associates
  • Properties
  • Home Value
  • Email Address
  • Social Network Search
  • Criminal Records
  • Lawsuits
  • Misdemeanors/Felonies

Here's where we got lost: when we clicked on the button to get our report, it said that when you buy a basic background check report through US Search for $19.95, it includes the following:

  • Full Name
  • Age
  • Current Address
  • Phone Numbers
  • Address History
  • Enhanced Relatives
  • Associates Plus
  • State Criminal Search

For an additional $5, you can access a nationwide (43-state) criminal search as well.

You may notice that several things that were described on the first list (such as email address, home value, and social network search) are not listed in the two options on the "add to cart" page. As it turns out, you'll have to add the social network search for an extra $12.95 if you opt for a single background check.

As you can see, US Search's pricing isn't very clear. The regular prices for the basic and nationwide criminal search were $19.95 and $24.95, respectively, but there was a 25% discount offered with a trial of their OmniSearch product. According to the site, OmniSearch does give you those missing items (social network, address history, and so forth) for a monthly fee of $19.95. You'll get a 2-day trial if you opt for the 25% discounted price on the background check report described earlier.

We appreciate the enhanced search results offered by US Search, compared with Intelius, and the fact that both companies have an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau is a plus. But, US Search's confusing pricing and expensive add-ons make them less attractive than many of the other services we considered.

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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 received 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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Best Background Checks

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

Warning: You may not use these services or the information they provide to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance.

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, letting people to get a better idea of those individuals they interact with. 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 this information 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

Daters are doing it. Neighbors are doing it. Even someone you know may be doing it.

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

With 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. 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 you're not 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.

It's 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.

 



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