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There are hundreds of sites out there that promise to connect you with long-lost relatives, childhood friends, former classmates and coworkers - or to help you look into the background of someone on your radar. Most of these services utilize the same public records databases to deliver results.
So, what makes one people search platform different from the next? None of them guarantee the accuracy of their results - after all, databases can have incorrect information. But, the best services give you enough of a preview before you pay for a report that you can determine for yourself if you've found the right individual. They also may include a trial period of a few days to a week, letting you conduct multiple searches to see if you'll get what you need from their results.
Thursday, February 9th
PeopleFinders continues to be our platform of choice for doing any kind of people search. You've got two plan options - basic phone and address or comprehensive background - and they both come with an inexpensive trial, with monthly pricing under $30 if you choose to subscribe. Over a thousand users have given this people search service a five-star rating, and we think you will too. PeopleFinders earns our first-place ranking.
InfoTracer is a people search platform you can rely on to provide accurate information, a low-cost 7-day trial, and excellent, round-the-clock customer service. Their reps will even help you conduct your research if you like. Users have great things to say about InfoTracer and we highly recommend you give the service a try the next time you need to run a people search.
Spokeo's people search might take you a few extra steps at the outset, but it'll be worth it. This platform offers much more info upfront than most of the competition, and they don't charge an arm and a leg for a single report or a 7-day trial. You're limited to just 100 searches a month (or 150 with an upgraded Court and Historical Records membership), but that's enough for most users outside of businesses and law enforcement. Spokeo is one of our preferred options for most types of people search.
When choosing among the four sister services of US Search, Intelius, Truthfinder and Instant Checkmate, US Search is almost always going to be the best route: it's the only one under $20/month, and you can still get a 5-day trial for just $1.99. You won't be able to preview much information before buying a report, but you'll get the same access as the other three platforms. US Search comes up short of earning a strong recommendation overall; however, it's pretty low-risk if you want to give it a go.
Intelius has a lot in common with three other services we evaluated - US Search, Instant Checkmate, and Truthfinder - because they're all owned by the same company. You'll find a few slight differences here, most notably in the pricing, but the user experience is almost exactly the same. Once again, this PeopleConnect-owned platform comes in as "just average" : you may or may not find what you're looking for, but trust the service's "A+' from the BBB to reassure you that it's good enough to try.
Truthfinder gives you several options for getting reports on people you're interested in: pay a one-time fee for a single set of results, get a 5-day trial of unlimited reports for $1, or choose a 1- or 2-month subscription. We found this people search platform to be more accurate than most and were pleased to see that it offers enough of a preview to make sure you've got the right person before paying for access. Truthfinder gets its fair share of complaints too: some people have found inaccurate results in their own reports, and there can be some hinky issues with billing here. Consider using Truthfinder if you don't get what you need from a higher-ranked service.
Instant Checkmate is a sister site to Truthfinder, so you'll see a lot of similarities between the two people search services. Expect to spend at least 20 minutes as your search runs - while you stay on the site checking the boxes that pop up. We found fairly accurate results here, but some users complain that information is missing or inaccurate. It's a good idea to take advantage of the five-day trial for $1 before committing to a long-term subscription here.
PeopleWhiz is one of the more expensive people search platforms we evaluated, with extra "premium search" fees disclosed after the fact and on top of your monthly subscription costs. This service has a decent-enough reputation, and thousands of people have given it a perfect five-star rating, but you may still want to see what PeopleWhiz's competition can do for you first.
PeopleLooker says that their customer service is what makes them stand out among people search services. We beg to differ: many users have had a terrible time getting a refund and only got a response once they'd filed a formal complaint with the BBB. There's also no low-cost trial offered here, and you won't have any idea if PeopleLooker has correctly matched the person you're searching for until after you pay for a monthly or quarterly membership. This isn't the worst people search platform, but it's far from the best.
CheckPeople will reel you in with a surprisingly accurate first search, whether you enter a name and city/state or a reverse phone number. 10+ minutes later, after it processes numerous parts of your report, you'll be asked to pay $4.99 to see it and get a three-day trial with unlimited searches. Unless you cancel in that timeframe, you'll automatically be subscribed for $29.16/month. Worth it? No way. Users found fraudulent information attached to their own profile, got charges that weren't clearly explained, and had an almost impossible time getting CheckPeople support on the line to cancel their accounts. This people search provider is not worth your time or money.
Those trials typically convert to a monthly membership unless you cancel first. As you might guess, some people search providers make that cancellation more difficult than others - or they make it less likely you'll realize that you're opting into a monthly plan with your trial. Be sure to read the fine print.
Another thing to watch out for is the difference between a basic people search and a comprehensive one. What you'll get with almost every platform's initial search is just the basics of phone, address, known relatives and email addresses. More detailed information like criminal records and property ownership will almost always require an upgraded plan, either as a one-off fee for each report you want to run in-depth or as an extra monthly fee.
If you're concerned about having your own personal information available to other people conducting searches, you've got one good reason to visit every people search site, even the lowest-ranked ones: removing your own data from their records. You'll usually find that function at the bottom of the site, worded as "Opt-Out" or "Do Not Sell My Information" . Typically, you'll either enter your information and perform a basic search (no paid membership required), then click on your matching profile to request that it be removed. Finally, expect to get a confirmation email; after you've clicked on the link in it, your info should be removed within 48 hours (though, in our experience, some sites had our results gone almost immediately).
When you're trying to choose among people search providers, they all start to look the same. Confused? Don't worry! You can use these criteria to decide which one to use:
To help you find out more about virtually anyone, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular people search providers available today. We're confident that this information will make it possible to track down a long-lost relative, learn more about your prospective love interest, or see what your high school classmates are up to!
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