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Instant Checkmate Review

Thursday, October 6th

2022 People Search Provider Reviews

Instant Checkmate Review 2.5 Star Rating

Instant Checkmate

2.5 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • In business for over 10 years
  • Search by name, reverse phone, criminal records or inmate name

Instant Checkmate lets you search for people by name and location or through a reverse phone lookup. This service is one of the only ones we spotted that also includes criminal records and inmate search right at the top of the site. Be sure to check the "this is me" box if the records you're looking for are your own.

Clarify for more accuracy

As you run Instant Checkmate's people search, watch out for pop-ups that clarify certain details. For example, we were asked if our target is an only child and whether or not he had ever lived in specific cities in the state we entered. We got 96 matches for that person, so Instant Checkmate prompted us to go a little further with an approximate age, any known city of residence, and a middle initial.

Process takes too long

Even when the right person's records come up, the search process drags on even longer. All told, it takes nearly 20 minutes - checking boxes that come up, entering your name and email address, and so forth - before you get to the stage where you can purchase a report with the results. You'll pay $35.12 for a month of unlimited reports of $84.28 for three months of access, both of which renew automatically until you cancel your account. Wait around on the site for a little while, and you'll probably get a pop-up offer of a five-day trial of Instant Checkmate for just $1. Wait even longer and you'll be able to pay a one-time fee of $29.95 for a single report.

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Look out for extra fees

As with many people search platforms, Instant Checkmate has a standard report that may include a person's address history, relatives, arrest records, social media profiles, and so on - but to get details found on tax liens, voter registrations, civil judgments and other categories of public records, you'll have to pay an extra $19.99 for a premium report. That's not disclosed anywhere during the main people search process: we had to go into Instant Checkmate's FAQs to find that out.

Costs

  • $35.12 for one month
  • $84.28 for three months
  • 5-day trial for $1
  • Access a single report for $29.95
  • Upgrade to a Premium report for $19.99

Remove your records here, they disappear elsewhere

You may notice a lot of similarities between Instant Checkmate and Truthfinder, another service we evaluated. Makes sense, given that they're owned by the same parent company. Our first indicator that there's crossover between the two platforms was when we submitted a request to remove our own records from one site - and then we no longer showed up in the search results on the other (we think that's a feature and not a bug, by the way).

Mixed feedback from site users

With respect to reputation, both services fare the same: an "A+" and accreditation from the BBB but with mixed feedback from site users. While some people feel that the service offers a good value, others report missing or inaccurate information. We also found a few people who discovered that "unlimited" reports really aren't: when they tried to put the platform to the test by looking up dozens of people, their accounts got flagged for violating the terms of use.

Try the higher-rated services first

We give Instant Checkmate some points for returning accurate matches with the people we searched for, and for having multiple options for accessing them (membership, 5-day trial, single report). On the other hand, there's no need for the platform to make users spend 20+ minutes checking boxes while the search runs, and we're less than thrilled with some of the reviews we read. This isn't a bad option for people search, but it's not our favorite either. Try the higher-ranked platforms first and save Instant Checkmate as a backup plan.

Which People Search Platform Offers the Most Accurate Results?

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.

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People Search Provider FAQ

The breadth and depth of these services vary, but you can expect to find everything from basic address and phone number information to social media accounts and even criminal convictions. Your search results will depend on the service you select.
It's true that some services use public records databases to return details you might find on your own. But, if you want the most comprehensive reports possible in the least amount of time, it's worth it to let a people search platform do the work for you.
You can typically pay for a single report, a month of access, or an ongoing membership. Single reports tend to cost around $30, a month of access for around $20, or a month-to-month subscription for around $12.
A people search can only be as specific and accurate as the search terms provided. If you search for "Jason White" in New York City, you'll probably come up with thousands of matches. But, add on a date of birth, last known address, or email address and you're more likely to narrow down the results to the right person. However, one of the biggest complaints from users of many people search platforms is that the information isn't always up-to-date.
No. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restricts such information from being used for those purposes. It also can't be used to determine eligibility for insurance coverage or creditworthiness. Stick to searching for your high school sweetheart or your new neighbors and you'll be fine.
Searching for your own information is a great way to test out a people search service! After all, you'll know if the results returned are accurate. But, that does raise the question: do you want people to be able to find you? You may be able to ask a service to remove your information, but you'll have to dig around in the fine print to find the process required to do so. And, for information coming from public records databases (such as home sales and property tax rolls), there might not be a way to keep that private.
Yes, most of them provide the information they advertise: background checks, contact information, and so forth. For extra reassurance before you sign up for a people search service, be sure to check out their Better Business Bureau listing. There, you'll see how the BBB rates the company, any complaints that have been registered, and if there are any alerts regarding the business.
You don't have to sign a contract to use a people search platform, so just cancel your membership. Unfortunately, most services don't offer any satisfaction guarantee or refunds on fees you've already paid.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Preliminary Results. Try searching for your own report and see how it goes. How quickly did the service return the right information (if at all)? Did you get enough details to confirm the accuracy?
  • Value. All people search services come with a cost. What will you get for what you pay? Is it worth it?
  • Customer Service. Can you get help if you need it? Some people search platforms include assistance with conducting searches, above and beyond the usual support for billing issues.
  • Reputation. What do people say about their experience using the people search platform, besides complaining about monthly charges they missed in the sign-up process? Does the company have a good rating from the Better Business Bureau, at the very least?

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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