If you need to dig up information on someone fast, consider using a background check service.
You would be surprised how easy it is to uncover an impressive amount of unknown information on the person – such as criminal records, court records, secret social media accounts, previous phone numbers, address history, arrest records, and much more.
There are several online tools and services that conduct these background checks. You simply need the person’s full name or phone number and the background check service will do the rest.
For this article, we have tested and reviewed the best background check sites. See them below:
Site: Been Verified > Free Trial Now
Best For: background check service overall
Site: Truthfinder > Free Trial Now
Best For: best for criminal background checks
Site: GoodHire > Free Trial Now
Best For: best background check service for employers
Site: Intelius > Free Trial Now
Best For: best reverse phone lookup feature
Site: Spokeo.com > Free Trial Now
Best For: best for a background check on family or friends
Been Verified provides an easy-to-use service that allows you to search for someone by using a name, residential address, phone number, email address, and even a social media handle.
The background check site will then present you with a list of potential matches. You can then download a report on any one of those individuals and discover things like their contact information, date of birth, criminal records, and more.
- Mobile app available for Android and iOS devices
- Impressive court runner service
- A monthly subscription that includes unlimited background reports
- No option to purchase a one-time background check
Truthfinder is a quality background check service that offers helpful features beyond a basic background check – including dark web self-monitoring tools, a reverse phone lookup feature, sex offender registry status, and more.
This site offers unlimited searches and has impressive search capabilities, covering both public and private databases for a detailed report and accurate background check.
- Searches through both private and public records
- Impressive criminal background check tools
- Free dark web monitoring with a subscription
- Membership fees are expensive
- No free trial is available
GoodHire is a great spot to run an employee background check. This service will search for it all – including criminal records, credit checks, drug screening, and the person’s employment history.
When looking into things like employment verification, however, it’s important to abide by the laws. GoodHire does a good job to explain what the information cannot be used for, from a legal perspective.
This background check service can be used by anyone – from small businesses to large corporations to nonprofit organizations – and remain FCRA-compliant.
- User-friendly website
- Responsive customer support
- Great for employment and tenant screening
- FCRA-compliant in their practices
- You cannot get a single background check
Intelius is an excellent choice if you need to get a reverse phone lookup.
While this site provides similar information to other background check sites, Intelius specializes in reverse phone lookups and reverse email lookups. This is a great option if you need to locate long-lost friends and family members.
The Intelius background checks are also pretty impressive, providing information regarding a person’s criminal history, financial background, educational history, discreet social media accounts, credit checks, etc.
- Easy-to-use user interface and great for beginners
- Both subscription and single-report options are available
- Identity theft protection is available
- Expensive background checks
Spokeo.com isn’t as well known as some of the other background check sites on this list, but it’s just as good.
The site has plenty of features and services, including standard background checks, reverse email lookups, social media searches, dark web monitoring, and more.
You can search for an individual by name, phone number, residential address, or email. Every search is confidential and could provide valuable information on friends and family members, acquaintances, possible roommates, old classmates, etc.
- Basic services are free
- Good for locating a lost connection
- Some inaccurate information reported
Instant CheckMate is one of the most well-trusted and widely-used background check sites in the biz.
This easy-to-use service will deliver a detailed report containing important data like criminal records, social media profiles, photos and videos, contact information, court records, tenant screening, credit history, and much more.
The only downside to Instant CheckMate is the waiting period. The site can be quite slow when producing background checks, with several unnecessary warnings popping up constantly.
Not only can that be frustrating, but it can also be misleading. For instance, there may be a flashing pop-up claiming the individual has a criminal record when they don’t.
Other than that minor negative, the user experience is quite positive and the information given is typically accurate.
- Extensive public record search
- Mobile app available
- Several people search options
- Misleading advertisements
- Long background check report loading times
Peoplefinders.com is the ideal choice if you need a single background check report, instead of multiple background checks. The site has great offers for stand-alone search options that can be conducted without a monthly membership plan.
There’s also a three-day trial person for less than $1. While it’s not a free trial offer, it’s still a pretty good deal. From there, you can decide whether you want to commit to the entire package.
Unfortunately, the trial period is quite limiting, with no option to pull criminal records. Beyond that, the site does not check for social media profiles and cannot compile a background check for someone outside of the U.S.
- Affordable 3-day trial period
- No membership needed for a background check report
- Information provided is limited and lacks social media
- Not available outside the U.S.
Universalbackground.com – also known as Universal Background Screening – is one of the leading background check sites on the internet.
It’s accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and provides extremely transparent services.
Not only can you use this site for background checks and reverse phone lookups, but you can use it to run health and drugs tests as well. Candidates can even sign an e-consent form directly on the site.
The prices for all services, including the background checks, can be easily found on the company’s website. This is rare in the background check online community.
- Drug screenings available
- Search templates are customizable
- Not built for personal background checks
Sterling is a global leader in the background check industry. It’s mainly used for employee background checks, helping employers avoid the guesswork when it comes to hiring new talent.
Both small businesses and large corporations can use this service to request credit reports, social security number traces, criminal records, civil court records, and other important information needed during the hiring process.
Overall, Sterling background checks are extremely comprehensive, helping various employers bypass the tedious work applicable during the hiring process.
- Thorough background checks
- Trusted by companies worldwide
- No mobile app
Best Background Check Sites FAQs
What does a background check include?
A basic background check should include the following information:
- Criminal records and criminal history
- Email address/ phone number
- Social media accounts
- Possible friends and family members
- Employment history
- Identity verification
- Any other important public record information
Where does the information for background check reports come from?
Background check reports draw from public records – such as court records, criminal records, social media, and even information found on the dark web.
For example, if you make your email address or date of the birth public on Facebook or another social media network, the background screening will find it and include it in the report.
Essentially, any information that is available within the public sphere will hopefully show up in these background reports.
Public record information is often buried on the internet, but these dedicated services can sort through vast amounts of information and find it quickly.
This is especially important with a criminal background check – for obvious reasons.
What are the best background check services?
The best background check services will provide you with a detailed report on the person.
Whether you’re questioning someone’s motives or want to reconnect with old friends, a background check service will pull all public records available on the internet to compile a sufficient report.
Other benefits of the best background check services include:
- Responsive customer support
- Free trial period available
- Friendly user interface
- Unlimited background reports with a monthly subscription
- Fair Credit Reporting Act approved
- Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners
- A+ rated platform with the Better Business Bureau
How long do background checks take?
A background check conducted by a private investigator can take upwards of 30 days. When using online background check services, however, it can take as little as 10 minutes to complete.
How far back do background checks go?
This all depends on the public records that were digitally uploaded and are now available across various internet databases.
Still, you can rest assured, knowing the best background check services will scour the internet to find every detail on the searched person.
Background Check Services Conclusion
Online background check services and tools make running a background check on an individual quite simple. You can unlock criminal records, secret social media profiles, court records, arrest records, and more.
It’s important to use a transparent background check service, like Truthfinder and Instant CheckMate, that provides accurate information and detailed reports.
The background check sites listed above are all great places to get started. Good luck – we hope you find what you’re looking for!
The news and editorial staffs of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.