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Tuesday, May 17th
When a background check platform starts out by warning us that we might find "shocking" and "embarrassing" information about our friends and family, it's a red flag - and Truthfinder waves it. However, the process of running reports with this service is surprisingly straightforward and our results were accurate, with no teases of scandalous information needed to get our attention.
Use name, phone number, or email to search
Truthfinder gives you the opportunity to run a background check using a name/city/state or phone number as your starting point. Don't forget to check the box if you're running a report on yourself to see what comes up. As the search runs, the platform gives you a number of prompts to answer clarifying questions: possible relative matches, an age range, and any other details you may have. In our case, the search process took about three minutes, and we were correctly matched with the report for the individual in question.
But wait - there are more questions
You might think that, from that point, you could simply purchase the report. Nope! When you select the individual whose background check you want to see, you'll be asked further questions... over the span of about 20 minutes (*sigh*). You'll get even more hints of scandal, from government watch list possibilities to warnings that results may include "very graphic" information of a "sensitive" nature - even if the person you're searching for is about as sketchy as Big Bird.
Discounts may pop up
When you finally get to the end of the search process, your first impression will be that you've only got two choices to access the report: pay $28.05 for a month of unlimited searches or get double the subscription length for $46.56. Each one will renew automatically until you cancel. And yet, as we went to other browser tabs and let the Truthfinder page just sit for awhile, we got two pop-up offers: first, one that gave us a full-access, 5-day trial membership with premium reports (the level of detail you usually want from a background check, and not just the basics) for $1 and renewing at $29.89/month. Next, we were given the option to purchase a single report for $29.95 and avoid the whole monthly plan aspect.
Despite having an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, Truthfinder doesn't have a stellar record of customer satisfaction, Complaints range from inaccurate information when people run a background check on themselves (to verify the legitimacy of the results) to big hassles trying to cancel accounts and get refunds. Many users feel tricked by the difference between a basic search and "premium" reports, and understandably so: there's nothing on the Truthfinder site that spells it out, but we suspect that it's a per-report fee for the more in-depth information usually provided in a background check.
Room for improvement
Truthfinder isn't the absolute worst of the worst among background check platforms. Our experience returned surprisingly accurate results, and we appreciated having a five-day access period for just $1. However, in the end you're probably going to pay more here than other sites charge, and you could be blindsided by expensive per-report fees that add up when you're running searches for multiple people. Try one of our higher-rated options before committing to using Truthfinder.
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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