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The 5 Best Background Check Services in 2019

Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#1 BeenVerified Background Check

BeenVerified is an online background check that specializes in compiling public record reports for their users. Some highlights of this service include:

  • More than four different search options available
  • Mobile app
  • Over 100,000 loyal customers
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#2 Truthfinder Background Check

Truthfinder is a popular online background check service that searches through billions of public records to generate a comprehensive report. Highlights include:

  • Dark web scan
  • Informative blog to answer all questions
  • Over five types of searches
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#3 Instant Checkmate Background Check

Instant Checkmate is a public records search engine that specializes in producing instant background checks. Highlights of this service include:

  • Convenient mobile app
  • Unlimited searches
  • Simple, comprehensive reports
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#4 PeopleLooker Background Check

PeopleLooker is an affordable, easy-to-use background check service that delivers results in minutes. It offers:

  • Affordable monthly prices
  • Comprehensive, fast results
  • Unlimited searches during your subscription period
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4/5 Rating

#5 CheckPeople Background Check

CheckPeople is a background check website that specializes in compiling criminal history, arrest records and other personal information. Highlights of this service include:

  • Ability to search over one billion public records
  • Access to all public, criminal and arrest records in three easy steps
  • Easy-to-understand format
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For most people, background checks are only thought of when it comes to applying for a new job or screening a prospective employee. While these types of background checks are common, we’re not here to talk about that kind of process. We’re here to talk about the best background checks or searching for information about someone in your life for various reasons. We’ve researched the top 5 background check options to create background check reviews. We hope that these will help you find the best background check service for your needs.

Chances are you’ve probably thought of or had to request a background check before. It could have been you requesting one of someone else or someone requesting one on you. The truth is, there are several reasons to request a background check that gives you peace of mind and gives you useful information on the people around you. Contrary to what many may think, running a background check is a pretty common process that can be very useful.

What Is a Background Check?

Essentially, a background check is a routine process that compiles the criminal, work and/or financial history of a person. Background checks can be requested by anyone who wants to find out information on another person. These are usually done by third-party companies that conduct the search by compiling all of the information for you.

There are many different types of background checks and many different reasons to request one. Perhaps you’re trying to look into the criminal history of someone else. In any case, finding the right company to pull information for you is a key part of the background check process.

Here are the top 5 background check services if you’re looking to run a report.

Best for Deep Web Scans: Truthfinder

truthfinder logo

Truthfinder is a top background check service website that works extra hard to find out information for you by going above and beyond. In addition to the millions of records that they search through like court records, criminal and arrest records and registered sex offender’s lists, Truthfinder also has a specialty in dark web scans and social media searches.

What’s a deep web scan? The deep web scan searches through the darkest parts of the web, which typically reveals a lot of telling information. You’ll want to know if someone in your life is involved in something that could pose a possible threat. A deep web scan will give you better peace of mind when it comes to the people in your life. If you’re looking to dig a little deeper, Truthfinder is just for you. Truthfinder has great background check reviews from multiple sources, which is one of the reasons it’s on our top 5 background check services list.

Truthfinder Pros

  • Deep web searches: You can do a specialized deep web search on anyone you’re looking for at no additional cost.
  • Mobile app: If you prefer to use a phone or tablet, you can use the Truthfinder mobile app instead of the website.
  • User-friendly website: The website is easy to use and straightforward.

Truthfinder Cons

  • Extra charges: If you want a premium report that includes the highest level of information such as foreclosures and bankruptcies and sex offender registries, you’ll have to pay extra.
  • Long waits: The results may take a bit longer to find according to some Truthfinder background check reviews.
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Best User Experience: BeenVerified

beenverified logo

The next of our top 5 background check services, BeenVerified aims to gather all of the information available on the internet, compile it and put it together for you. They provide all of the standard information that is available in a background check, including criminal records, arrest records and social media information. Where BeenVerified really shines is with their all-star user experience.

From the actual website user-interface to the unique features they offer, BeenVerified makes sure you get all of the information you need in the most painless way possible. While a lot of background check services have flashy websites with distracting ads or popups to get you to subscribe or buy more things, BeenVerified takes a different approach. Their search engine is simple and straightforward. Simply enter in the name or a piece of information you’re looking for. In addition to their user-friendly website, you also have the option to run reports while you’re on the go with their free mobile app. This user-friendliness gets BeenVerified great background check reviews.

BeenVerified Pros

  • Court runners: If you need information that may not be online, you can hire a court runner to physically retrieve information for you.
  • Free mobile app: In addition to the website, there is a free mobile app available to use for searches on the go.
  • Update notifications: Whenever any information on a person has changed or updated, BeenVerified will notify you through your account so you can stay in the know.

BeenVerified Cons

  • Fees for court runners: If you do need a court runner, this comes at an additional cost.
  • Inaccurate information: There have been reports in some BeenVerified background check reviews of inaccurate information, but this can be easily changed by contacting BeenVerified.
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Best for Unlimited Searches: PeopleLooker

peoplelooker review logo image

Most background check services offer several different types of monthly plans. If you’re someone who routinely runs reports then it may be in your best interest to choose a company that has unlimited searches in their plans. Unlimited searches are only offered on some background check service websites, and sometimes this comes at a pricey cost. That’s why many background check reviews love this option.

PeopleLooker specializes in monthly plans that let you search to your heart’s desire. If you plan on using this service and getting your monthly searches in, then PeopleLooker is the best choice out of our top 5 background check services for you. The best part? You’re not overwhelmed with different ads and popups trying to sell you something. People Looker’s interface is straight to the point and easy to use.

PeopleLooker Pros

  • Affordable plans: Out of all of the background check services out there, People Looker offers some of the most affordable plans.
  • Limited ads: Some background check reviews complain about ads. However, you don’t need to worry about being bombarded with ads every time you click with this one of our top 5 background check services. People Looker is mostly ad-free.
  • Unlimited searches: People Looker offers unlimited searches in their monthly plans, which means you get the most bang for your buck.

PeopleLooker Cons

  • Limited searches: There aren’t as many types of searches that you can do on People Looker, so if you’re looking for a specific, finicky type of searches, check to see if this is available on the site.
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Best Premium Reports: Instant Checkmate

instant checkmate

The next of our top 5 background check services, Instant Checkmate’s name is fitting because this company works to get you the information you’re seeking as fast as possible. The background check service site has been working to compile public records since 2010 and boasts a wide variety of features. In addition to your standard background check report features, there are a few extra perks that make Instant Checkmate stand out.

The site offers a special Premium report that digs deeper and gets you a higher level of information. At an additional cost, you can opt to run a Premium report and find out information on things like tax liens, weapons permits, property ownership and other records that aren’t typically available in a simple background check. These features are a great option to verify that someone is who they say they are. Instant Checkmate should be the go-to choice for someone looking for a greater span of information. Instant Checkmate is also very flexible when it comes to choosing a plan or type of search to run. Like our other top 5 background check services, Instant Checkmate gets great background check reviews.

Instant Checkmate Pros

  • Flexible options: Instant checkmate has several plans available that offer users a lot of flexibility. There are three different types of reports available to run, also offering flexibility for the customer. Many Instant Checkmate background check reviews mention how convenient it is to be able to pick the best option for your needs.
  • People directory: If you’re looking up a specific person, you can search through the people directory.

Instant Checkmate Cons

  • Premium fees: The premium report is available, but if you have a monthly subscription it is billed separately. Premium reports aren’t included in the monthly plan.
  • Slow speeds: Some Instant Checkmate background check reviews reported that the site can be a bit slow when compiling all of the data.
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Best Overall Detailed Reports: Check People

check people

When it comes to consolidating information from several sources online, you’d be surprised how hard it is to do it well. After testing out all of the different services and selecting our top 5 background check options, we’ve found that CheckPeople is one of the best services that compiles everything in an easy to use and accurate way. If you’re looking up the criminal history of your new neighbor, tracking down a phone number that’s been calling you or even verifying personal information, Check People wins in this category.

Overall, with CheckPeople you’re getting extremely detailed reports that allow you to search as many times as you want. You aren’t limited in the types of searches you can do either, there is every type of search that you can think of available. That makes this service a winner in many CheckPeople background check reviews.

CheckPeople Pros

  • 5-day trial: If you’re looking to search just once there is an easy 5-day trial available that costs close to nothing.
  • Deep web and social media: CheckPeople offers both social media and deep web searches for their customers.
  • Simple interface: The user interface is fairly simple to use.

CheckPeople Cons

  • Difficult cancelation process: Canceling a subscription is quite tedious. You have to call a number to cancel between certain hours of the day. You cannot cancel online.
  • Slow reports: Some CheckPeople background check reviews claim that the site can take up to five minutes to generate a report, depending on what you’re searching.
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How Do You Run a Background Check?

Background check search

There are three ways to run a background check, and each depends on the purpose. If you are a company looking to hire someone, then you would have to go through an FCRA-accredited agency to retrieve the data with written consent.

Another way to search for information is through a free, online search of public records. This method, although complimentary, is time-consuming and requires a lot of legwork. Most usually opt for a third-party service to compile a comprehensive background check for them.

Third Party Sites

When it comes to using third-party websites like CheckPeople, Truthfinder and our other top 5 background check services, you have to remember that each website is a little bit different. While all websites generally give out the same information, some sites specialize in certain features that set them apart from the rest.

Some sites specialize in one-time reports, and others are good for bulk reports. Some third-party sites specialize in deep web or social media reports, while others put an emphasis on criminal or court records. You can read our full background check reviews to figure out exactly what features would best suit you.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

waiting for a background check

When requesting a background check for anything other than hiring, you can retrieve the information in no more than a few minutes. Most third-party websites can compile a detailed report in no more than five minutes.

What Does a Background Check Show?

What does a background check cover?

Think of a background check as an umbrella term for several records through a person’s history. This could include a multitude of information depending on the person you’re searching. Everyone is different, so everyone’s report will pull up different things. Here are some of the most important aspects you can expect to see in a report.

The collection could include arrest records, sex offender records, driving records and other forms of criminal history when you run a criminal background check. Background check reviews can also show you if the particular service you’re interested in will show you information like social media profiles, deep web searches, personal data and any other public information that will give you insight into the person.

Criminal History

Taking a look into someone’s criminal history may seem like looking through someone’s private information. But almost all criminal records are considered public information and can be found online. Background check services work to search this public information for you and pulls it together in one comprehensive report.

Depending on the types of criminal history, you can see the following records:

  • Felonies
  • Incarceration records
  • Misdemeanors
  • Previous arrests
  • Sex Offenses

Running a routine criminal background check on someone will pull up any relevant information on its site.

Sex Offender Registry

Let’s say you’re moving into a new neighborhood and want to check to see what the demographic is. If you have a family, it’s important to be in the know about your surroundings. It’s always important to verify who you bring around your family, so looking at a sex offender registry is crucial. With all of our top 5 background check services, you can run a sex offender registry search by name or by address.

Employee and Education History

This information may be pertinent depending on the type of background check you’re running. When employers run background checks with your consent, they can pull up your work history as well as your educational history. If you’re not honest about something on your resume, this is where issues can arise.

With background checks that are not FCRA compliant, past work and education information may or may not be available. In this case, one of our top 5 background check services can be used to see if someone is trustworthy about where they’ve worked or studied.

Social Media

An online presence can say a lot about a person. While the topic of searching someone’s social media profiles is controversial at the professional level, it is common to look at social media profiles in a more social setting. Most of the top 5 background check sites have an option to search through social media profiles and deep web searches to find accounts associated with a person (look at background check reviews to make sure that the service you’re looking at offers this option). If you’re looking to get a gauge on someone, their interests and the people in their life, a social media search could be useful.

Additional Public Records

The truth is, the list is endless when it comes to what a background check shows. There are so many kinds of public records out there that could show up that all depend on the individual. In all of the top background check service sites we reviewed, you can also find:

  • Driving records
  • Special licenses that are related to a specific field at the state and federal level.
  • University degrees at the Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. level

Why Would You Run a Background Check?

after a background check

Once you familiarize yourself with the background check process, you will see that it can be a lot more useful than for just employee screening. We typically associate background checks as a part of the process of applying for a new position. However, background checks can be used for much more than just that.

Most people don’t think about the fact that a lot of information is public and available online for anyone to see. The information may require a little digging, but with the help of these top 5 background check services, it’s a lot easier to find these details.

Some Scenarios Where a Background Check Service May Help You

If you’re wondering what would make you search someone’s history online or how a background check would help you, consider reading some background check reviews online. Here are some scenarios of when a background check could be particularly useful to you.

  • Checking yourself: Believe it or not, you may want to run a background check on yourself. You may just be curious or want to see what information is shown. Maybe you’re applying for a job and you want to see what your prospective employees may see. Running a personal background could be useful for you. You could also dispute any information that you find isn’t accurate.
  • Dating and personal relationships: Online dating has skyrocketed, and with that comes its own risks. While we want to trust that everything someone says is true, there are more cases of catfishing or false identities every day. Run a background check on someone who you may have met online to make sure that they are who they say they are. Most of the time, all you need is a name and the city of residence.
  • Finding family and friends– One of the most underrated uses for background check sites is the People Search function. Besides looking into the history of someone for safety reasons, you can also use it find out information on someone you may have lost contact with. Whether it’s a family member or a long lost friend from the past, a background check could potentially connect you to them.
  • Getting childcare: Running a background check on someone who is a potential hire is tricky because of the Federal Credit Report Act regulations. But most families who hire childcare tend to run a quick background check on the potential hire. Parents need to know who their children will be spending a lot of time around, and a round of interviews won’t necessarily give the full picture. For an extra layer of screening, you could run a quick background check on your potential childcare professional to give you peace of mind. Before you run a background check on anyone, however, check the FCRA regulations to see if you’re compliant.
  • Learning about the neighborhood: Maybe you want to run a background check on some new neighbors who moved in. It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the people who are around you and your family. You may also want to run a check on a specific neighborhood. Some background check services allow you to run a screening by using a zip code. You can find out information about crime statistics and other information about an area.

Real Life Cases

Here are some real-life background check reviews of customers who’ve used some of our top 5 background check services picks:

  • “I will strongly recommend the site for people working on class reunions. My 60-year reunion is coming up and I am excited to know that there is now contact with long-lost classmates.” – Gregory on BeenVerified
  • “BeenVerified was an absolute lifesaver for me. I met this gentleman on an online dating service. I would ask him things about his past but he was evasive. So, I joined BeenVerified because I felt uneasy because my questions were not getting answered. When I used BeenVerified to do a background check, I found that he had criminal records in three states. That helped me make a decision not to date him.” Constance on BeenVerified
  • “I couldn’t recommend Instant Checkmate highly enough for background searches. My son was recently assigned a new college roommate he suspected was stealing from him. After looking up his name on your site I found that he had a history of run-ins with the law, including theft. I will definitely be using Instant Checkmate in the future.” Ryan S. on Instant Checkmate

What Do You Need to Know About Background Checks?

what is a background check criminal record laptop

When searching for people on these websites, we must mention that it is illegal to use these sites for certain activities. The FCRA lays out clear do’s and don’ts when it comes to using these sites.

Things Not to Use Background Checks For

  • Credit eligibility: It is illegal to search for someone’s credit score for any reason, but especially for mortgages or other business relations.
  • Employee screening: Any hiring organization must use FCRA-regulated bureaus to screen prospective employees with their written consent.
  • Identity theft: This may seem obvious, but you should be aware that using any service to steal someone’s identity is illegal.
  • Insurance programs: You cannot use these websites to find out if someone is eligible for insurance programs.
  • Invading privacy or stalking people: We hope you know that these websites must be used responsibly. It is never okay to spy on or stalk someone. So, if you are using one of these top 5 background check services to find out information on someone to stalk, blackmail or threaten someone, know that this behavior is illegal.
  • Tenant screening: If you are screening a prospective tenant for a property, federal law prohibits using third-party sites for a background check.

To emphasize, users cannot use ANY of the listed top five background check sites or other third party websites to do anything having to do with employment.

Even if you see individual background check reviews that have broken these rules, stay on the right side of the law in your own searches.

As we mentioned, background checks can be useful tools in certain situations. However, be careful not to break any laws, particularly if you are an employer or you are trying to find out information on a particular person.

If you need to do a background check, learn more about our top 5 picks for background check websites. Read our full background check reviews to see which service is the best for your needs.

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