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Thursday, October 6th
Spokeo organizes over 12 billion records from thousands of sources, providing answers to over 500,000 people searches daily. In operation since 2006, this platform goes beyond satisfying simple curiosity and also helps nonprofits and adoption "search angels" to make much-needed connections.
Takes a few extra steps
You can people search on Spokeo with a name, email or physical address, or phone number. But, since there's no way to specify even a state of residence when you search by name, the process here takes a few more steps than on Spokeo's rivals' platforms. You'll be taken to a list of states with people matching the name you entered; from there, you choose the state you think is a match and then you can browse the results or clarify further by city. We noticed that those results were sometimes grouped under a metro area: one of the people we searched for lived in a suburb of Orlando, and we had to click on Orlando to finally find the record because the actual town wasn't in the results list.
However, once we got there, we were extremely impressed with how much information Spokeo presented that confirmed we had the right individuals. The specifics were blurred out, but we could see street names and cities where they lived, all but the last four digits of their phone numbers, and so on. This people search service is right on the money.
Speaking of money, what will you pay to use Spokeo? You can buy a single name report for just $1.95. That price drops to $0.95 if you'd like a 7-day membership trial, which lets you use the site to research multiple people. At the end of the 7-day trial, your account will convert to a $24.95/month membership plan until you cancel.
Spendy if you want comprehensive reports
We strongly suggest taking advantage of Spokeo's trial to see what kinds of records are included - and which ones require an "add-on purchase" , such as court records and historical records. Spokeo is pretty tight-lipped about what that will cost, requiring you to have a membership first (and only indicating with an easily-overlooked asterisk that not all services are included with a standard plan). We reached out to Spokeo through their online chat and were told that those records are included for an extra $14/month, on top of the $24.95/month plan.
Monthly searches limited to 100-150
Another detail that's often missed is Spokeo's 100 profile view limit with their membership plan. The only place you'll see that is in the "Plan Specifications" link that's tucked away in the "I agree" text just below the payment info. Granted, most people aren't going to be looking up that many individuals in a 30-day timeframe, but it's good to know in case you're planning on doing a lot of research in a short period. There are also options for Law Enforcement and Business use, if either of those are your reason for needing to look up more than 100 people in a month. Our Spokeo rep also told us that your quota limit will go up to 150 if you include the court/historical records add-on with your membership.
Helpful search concierge
On a more positive note, your Spokeo membership includes access to their customer care's "search concierge" . If you're having trouble finding someone, their reps can help you via phone, email, or online chat.
The Better Business Bureau gives Spokeo an "A" rating and accreditation. That's part of why we were so surprised to see hundreds of complaints about this people search service. But, on further inspection, the vast majority of those negative reviews come from people who missed the fine print and felt that they'd been hoodwinked into a monthly subscription when paying for a $1.95 trial. Of all of the details that were hard to find on this site, quite honestly that's not one of them - and isn't related to the quality of the information available here.
Worth considering for your people search
We give Spokeo a higher-than-average rating: it's one of the cheapest ways to get a one-off report, you can take advantage of an affordable week-long trial, and you're not locked into a 3-month plan (or longer) just to get low prices. Like any people search platform, Spokeo has some limitations - but the advantages here greatly outweigh them.
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.
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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