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Whether you're looking for an old romantic interest, trying to get information about a new neighbor or customer, or hoping to find your childhood best friend, today's digital world has many tools you can use to track people down.
Of course, not all People Search resources are the same. Some rely on databases that are easily used for free by the average person, while the best services scour the internet - using public records information, social media platforms, and even criminal and legal reports - to determine as much as possible about the person you're seeking.
Thursday, January 20th
If you're looking for someone - or even if you want to see what other people see about YOU when running a People Search - you'll want to make PeopleFinders your first stop. Over the last 20 years, this service has helped numerous clients to find long-lost friends and family, reconnect with old romantic partners, and even secure their own personal identity. With search options that include background checks, public records, and more, PeopleFinders is your one-stop-shop when it comes to finding someone.
Starting the People Search process is easy. PeopleFinders first asks you to enter a name and, if possible, the city or state of the person you're looking for. Almost instantly you'll get a list of records that the service calculates might be a match for the person you're looking for. When we ran our searches, we got accurate results right away.
Next, you'll click to run your report. This begins a scan for records regarding that individual. PeopleFinders searches through more than 700 million records across multiple databases, including both local and national, to return detailed information in your report.
Once the scan is complete, you'll have the option to buy a one-time report for $29.95, an unlimited one-month plan for $19.95, or a three-month unlimited plan for $12.95 per month. PeopleFinders will also sometimes run specials - for example, in our case, we got pop-up box offering a 5-day trial for $2.95 and a full one-search report for $1. We encourage you to take advantage of that offer if it comes up; you can then try the service and make sure it gives you the People Search results you need.
Once the people search report is complete, you'll see a variety of information that includes:
In addition to searches to find someone, PeopleFinders has a number of other searches available to you in order to discover even more detailed information. For example, you can run a Background Check on someone, get Criminal Records on anyone, and search through Public Records to find still more information. What can you expect to see from these reports?
Just like any other People Search, your results through PeopleFinders are based on databases with public records and many other sources - so the accuracy of what you get may vary. While most customers using this service are happy with the usefulness and precision of their search results, we also found some complaints that the paid reports weren't as helpful as users were expecting.
PeopleFinders enjoys an extremely solid reputation within the industry, as demonstrated by their flawless "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau. They're part of the Confi-Check Inc. brand family, along with sister brands MyRelatives and AreTheyReallySingle.
PeopleFinders takes a comprehensive approach to helping you find who you're looking for. In addition to finding them in the first place, you can also discover a wealth of information about them. With a 20+ year history and and a stellar reputation, PeopleFinders earns our highest rating for the best People Search service available today.
Spokeo has surprisingly accurate preliminary information when it comes to People Search results. We entered both an email address and a mobile number, and each search correctly matched with the person we were searching for. We were able to see the current location of the phone: an impressive feat, given that it was an out-of-state number. Also, the email gave us the person's Facebook account and her full name, both accurately.
When doing a People Search by name, we had to do a little more digging to get to the right match for our target person - but, once again, Spokeo had the right match. There was one piece of incorrect information that we could find (a related person who wasn't actually connected), but everything else was spot on.
You can take advantage of a 7-day Spokeo membership trial at no cost, though you may have to purchase one of their one-time reports to access that free trial (for example, the $0.95 report for one phone number).
Otherwise, what will you spend to use Spokeo, and what will you get for it? That's where things start to get a little murky. Their FAQ says that you have to go through the purchase process in order to select what features your plan will have. Why not just tell prospective customers upfront?
In digging around, we found that you'll get ample information in the basic monthly subscription, from addresses to social media accounts. But, two things are worth noting, because they're a big departure from similar services: you have to pay an extra fee if you also want searches of court records or historical records (such as birth records, marriage records, or death records), and you do not get unlimited searches in your monthly plan. Again, Spokeo says you have to get to the purchase page in order to see how many searches you get; customer reviews indicate that it's about 100/month on most plans.
In our searches, Spokeoreturned extremely accurate information. They hold an "A+" rating at the Better Business Bureau. But, we don't think most customers will appreciate having to give up their credit card information in order to find out how much they'll spend in the long run. If you're intrigued by what you find in a preliminary People Search using this provider, it might be worth paying for the one-time report to see what else you can find. Just don't forget to cancel before your free trial ends, if you want to avoid any monthly membership fees.
US Search is one service offered by PeopleConnect, which also owns the Intelius People Search platform. All three companies share the same listing with the BBB, where they enjoyed an "A" rating at the time of our review.
We reviewed both the US Search and Intelius services, expecting them to be practically the same - given that they're owned by the same parent company. But, we were surprised to find the interface was much simpler to use with US Search. After entering the person we were looking for, along with their last known city and state, we got a results list that helped us confirm that the records they located were a match for our target. This included any known aliases, his address history, and several people calculated to be his relatives. If we wanted to access a full People Search report, we would be able to get details such as:
But, things got more complicated at this point. After we clicked to get our full report for $19.95, it told us that a basic search would include only these items:
If we wanted a nationwide criminal search (that only included 43 states), we would have to pay an extra $5.
See anything missing? We did: many of the things in the initial list, like social network search and email addresses, aren't included in that "full report". If you want extras like those, it'll cost you an additional $12.95.
Compared with other People Search providers, US Search is very unclear with their pricing. As we've described, their basic/nationwide search costs up to $24.95 for a one-time report. However, there's a third option: OmniSearch. According to US Search, this is a monthly subscription service for their People Search platform, which adds all of those "missing" services for a fee of $19.95/month.
Compared with Intelius, US Search is more comprehensive, and we appreciate that both brands have a good track record with the BBB. However, when looking at higher-ranked services in our review, US Search's convoluted pricing structure and less thorough results make them a less appealing option when deciding which People Search provider to use.
Intelius has been on the market for many years. As part of the PeopleConnect brand family, they share an "A" rating at the Better Business Bureau with sister companies US Search and Classmates. At Intelius, you'll find services such as background checks, people search, identity theft protection, and reverse phone lookup.
You may have a frustrating experience when trying to use the Intelius site for your People Search. When we first tried to enter a name to search, the site gave us error messages after several tries. As directed by the site, we then called Intelius' toll-free number to get help. It wasn't very reassuring to get an automated response that thanked us for getting in touch with "Customer Service" - no mention of a company name or any other identifying details. We were then connected to a representative who said we should try again in at least an hour. A few hours after we first tried to use the People Search, we were finally able to enter a few names.
But, our experience still didn't improve. As we searched for different people, we got different pricing options. Some names gave us the options listed at the top of our review: $19.95 to $49.95. But, when we searched for other people, we were given the choice between a $39.95 one-time report, or we could opt into the "Premier Plus" plan. That latter option was even more confusing: "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."
Finally, when we clicked to exit the site, we received a last pop-up offer of $24.95 for a single People Search. If you wind up using Intelius for your own search, keep an eye out for extra savings that may come up on your screen too.
Intelius says that you can expect these details in your People Search results:
However, in contrast with their competitors, Intelius doesn't offer you the chance to determine if the People Search report you're buying is an accurate match. When we put in the name and city/state of our search target, we were taken right to the "buy report" screen. We weren't comfortable with spending the money in the hopes that Intelius had found the right person; imagine if you were looking for a common name like "Emma Brown" and had no way of knowing if your report had found an 80-year-old widow or a 20-something college grad?
Intelius has enjoyed a long-term history within the People Search industry. But, this established reputation isn't sufficient to compete with other providers, especially when trying to decide if the search has actually found the right person before investing your money. We think you'll probably have a more satisfying - and affordable - experience with a more robust People Search provider, and we encourage you to consider one of the higher-ranked services in our review.
For a while, Net Detective was the internet's premier People Search. Is that still the case? We definitely don't think so. Despite offering a satisfaction guarantee and "billions of records" in their databases, this service ranks last among People Search providers we surveyed.
Why? Net Detective's search capabilities are next to useless. When we typed in our own phone number - a landline, even, not a mobile number - we got "0 preliminary results". To top it off, there were a bunch of coding errors and warnings displayed at the top of the page.
When searching for a person, we could only enter the name and state. There was no way to further refine the information, so we got a very long list of results - none of which seemed to match any of the people we wanted to search for.
Entering a target email address was no better. We let the "Please wait" screen sit for several minutes; we never got any results, but once again the top of the screen was filled with code warnings.
With such lackluster performance, who would pay for a one-time report or a monthly membership? These are priced at anywhere from $9.95 to $29.95, but when you click on "Add to Cart", you get taken to a URL that isn't secure.
On Net Detective's contact page, you'll only find an online form: no phone number, no direct email address, no physical location. In fact, every indication leads us to believe that this People Search provider may not be in business. User reviews from over a year ago say that they paid for lifetime access and can no longer access the service.
There's nothing positive to be said about Net Detective's People Search service. Any other provider in our review would give you more than this company.
There are a few caveats to using People Search providers. First, any service you choose will probably require you to confirm that you won't use any information you find to screen tenants, hire or fire employees, or to determine a consumer's credit or insurance coverage. These are all requirements based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Also, the majority of the databases used to return search results are developed by computers that search the internet for records. In other words, there's not much human oversight to make sure that records are current, matched to the right person (especially with common names), or 100% accurate. For that reason, you should take any results you get from a People Search service as a helpful suggestion or possibility, not a guarantee of someone's location or contact information.
While considering the different People Search providers, here are several criteria to keep in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best People Search services available today. We hope these reviews help you find the person you';re looking for, quickly and affordably!
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