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Wednesday, March 22nd
When you use Spokeo, you'll get access to more than 12 billion records across thousands of databases. In business since 2006, this background search provider conducts a half-million people searches each day, including not-for-profit organizations and adoption search helpers in their quest for connections.
Searching takes a little more work
In comparison with other background check platforms, Spokeo's process takes a few extra steps to complete. The service lets you start your search with a name, email or residence address, or a phone number - off to a traditional start. But, when you search by name, there's no place to enter a state: Spokeo makes you go to a second page where you select a state with results matches for that name, and then browse all of them at once or refine them by a particular city. Those results may be grouped within a metro area: one background check candidate we researched was from the Orlando area, and her records were found by clicking on that city and then looking for her listing among the suburbs shown there.
Results are on the money
Fortunately, once we narrowed it down with all of those clicks, we were pleased to see that Spokeo had located the right people - and that so much detail was included to confirm those correct matches, more so than most of Spokeo's competitors. We were able to see street names, all but the last four digits in the phone numbers, and so forth.
How much does it cost?
What you'll spend to access Spokeo reports depends on how much info you need. A single name report can be accessed for $1.95. Or, you can pay $0.95 for that same report and also get a 7-day trial to check out the results when looking up other individuals. You'll need to cancel your Spokeo account before that week is up; otherwise, you'll automatically be subscribed to their $24.95/month plan. You should be aware that the entry-level Spokeo membership doesn't include all of the available records - particularly the ones that are most sought after when running a background check (court proceedings, property history, arrest records). That's an extra $14 per month, on top of the $24.95.
Up to 150 background checks per month
If you're not paying attention, you might overlook the fact that you don't get unlimited background checks here. Assuming you're subscribing to the higher plan, you'll only get 150 searches each month (or just 100 if you prefer the basic tier of service). If you're a law enforcement officer or need to use Spokeo for your business, reach out to their customer service team to get pricing information for high-volume plans.
Want some help?
Spokeo includes a "search concierge" service with every membership. If you need some assistance tracking down the right individual for your background search or you're not even sure where to start, use Spokeo's live chat, email or toll-free number to ask for help - at no extra cost.
Spokeo gets both an "A" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, always a good sign. You'll see quite a few complaints filed there, but reading through them it becomes clear that people didn't read the details of what they were signing up for when paying for a trial membership. That's one of the easiest pieces of information to find during the Spokeo signup process, not hidden in any way - and it's no reflection on the accuracy of the background check results you can get here.
Solid service for background checks
Spokeo delivers decent results for background checks. It's not the cheapest platform out there, but we like having an option to get in-depth information with one monthly price (instead of paying for a "premium" report every time we need one). This should absolutely be a service you consider if you plan on running multiple background checks every month.
You're already well aware of the fact that you can find out lots about people with a simple Google search, but what if you need to know more? There are plenty of reasons to pay for a background check, from vetting your newest love interest to making sure a childcare provider doesn't have a criminal past.
These paid platforms can access records that won't show up in a traditional search - and they save you time by pulling together information from thousands of databases into one place. When you run a background check, most services will give you two tiers of pricing: basic and "premium" . What's the difference? A basic search typically renders results showing a person's known aliases (like maiden names) and relatives, address history, phone number, email addresses, and possibly social media accounts.
To get to the kinds of records you've probably got in mind, like criminal and court proceedings, you'll have to upgrade to the premium service. That may be included as an add-on to a monthly subscription cost or as a one-off fee each time you conduct a search.
As you consider whether or not to conduct a background check, it's important to understand that some uses are strictly prohibited - and every service will require you to acknowledge those limitations at some point during the process (usually with an "I accept" or "I agree" checkbox). Identified as FCRA (short for Fair Credit Reporting Act), this regulation means that you can't use a background check service to influence decisions on employment, tenant applications, insurance, and several other scenarios. There are a small number of services that offer FCRA compliant searches, but expect to pay accordingly.
No matter which background check service you ultimately select, there's one good reason to visit more than one site: to protect your privacy by requesting that your own records be removed from their listings. Look for a link at the bottom of the site that says "Opt Out" or "Do Not Sell My Information" . From there, you'll either conduct a search for your own records (at no cost) or provide the URL you got when you looked up your own profile previously. Once you click the link sent in a confirmation email, it can take several business days for your info to be deleted (though we've seen it happen almost instantly as well).
With so many platforms offering background checks, which one is right for you? Keep in mind these criteria as you make your decision:
To help you get all of the information you need. TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular background search providers available today. Are you ready to find out more about your neighbor, date, or coworker? Choose one of our highest-ranked services and see what you discover!
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