Best Background Check Services in 2023: Protect Yourself With These 3 Reliable Options
Are you tired of being in the dark about the people you interact with? With identity theft on the rise, verifying the identities of those around us is more important than ever. From potential roommates to job applicants to business associates, background check services have become a lifesaver in ensuring we have all the information we need to make informed decisions.
But with so many options out there, it can be tough to know which one is worth your time and money. That's why we've done the hard work for you, handpicking the 3 best background check services based on their legitimacy, unique features and affordability.
We'll take you on a tour of each service, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. And we promise to keep things transparent, giving you an in-depth look into our methodology and reasoning behind each pick.
So sit back, relax and get ready to feel confident in your choices with our guide to the best background check services in 2023.
3 Best Background Check Services in 2023
- Most Comprehensive Background Check Service: TruthFinder
- Unlimited Background Check Reports: Instant Checkmate
- Best Service for Businesses: Spokeo
1. Most Comprehensive Background Check Service: TruthFinder
Why We Like TruthFinder
Many background check sites claim to be doing deep research but just use Google search programs to find the most surface-level, publicly available information that anyone could look up.
TruthFinder breaks that industry standard by not just relying on basic search engines but by actually performing background checks that review criminal public records, an assortment of other public records and even searches the deep web.
What makes TruthFinder the best background check service is the level of detail found in their reports. If you are a paid member of TruthFinder, you can type in a person’s name and see their aliases, education, employment history, criminal record, whether or not they are a sex offender, email addresses, social media accounts and so much more.
TruthFinder gives you the information in seconds that would take several trips to the courthouse and hours of searching if you tried to find it on your own.
Their information is also kept up-to-date. Some background check sites provide similar levels of customizability and detail as TruthFinder, but they might not be as current as TruthFinder. As long as the public records have been updated, TruthFinder will reveal them.
There is transparency in TruthFinder as well. They are honest on their website about what they can and can’t do. Since they are not compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, TruthFinder cannot be used as a hiring tool.
However, there are a number of things they can be used for. TruthFinder helps reveal people that are possibly associated with or related to anyone you search, helping to reveal connections between people. This can be useful for finding relatives and friends you may have grown apart from.
Since TruthFinder also scours the dark web for information, you can use their background checks to see if your own information has ended up on the dark web, which is commonly a sign that someone is using your information for fraudulent means.
TruthFinder is simple to use, has great customer service accessible by phone, and even has a reverse phone lookup tool. Since TruthFinder is a paid service, there are also no ads on the website, so you don’t have to worry about this background check site selling your data.
- Provides an unlimited, versatile background check that finds all kinds of difficult-to-obtain information
- Multiple tools besides the background check, like the reverse phone lookup
- The person you are performing the background check on will not be notified
- TruthFinder has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
- Can only find information on people living in the United States
What Customers Are Saying
Customers who use TruthFinder’s background check services rave about versatility and accuracy. People who have used TruthFinder praise not only the accuracy of the data but the wealth of information that the background check provides.
Some customers have used TruthFinder to find lost friends and family, while others have praised it for providing useful access to a person's criminal records and sex offender histories of individuals they were thinking about associating with.
A good customer service team is another hallmark of the best background check companies listed here. TruthFinder's assistance has been rated highly for being helpful and available, and some customers have even found the reverse phone lookup tool to be a great tool in combating and blocking scam calls.
- TruthFinder requires either a monthly or bi-monthly subscription model, with the bi-monthly model having a discounted rate.
- Users can cancel their membership at any time. If a membership is canceled, users can access TruthFinder's unlimited background checks until the end of their billing cycle. Refunds are not offered for canceled memberships.
- TruthFinder is largely accurate, but the more you can tell TruthFinder about the person you are searching for, the more likely you are to get results.
- TruthFinder protects its users' data with 256-bit encryption, ensuring that all background checks remain anonymous.
2. Unlimited Background Check Reports: Instant Checkmate
Why We Like Instant Checkmate
In today’s world, social media allows people to pretend to be whatever they want to be. While this can be great for one’s own fantasies, the reality is that we can’t always be sure if what people are presenting themselves to be is who they are.
For this reason, when deciding who to associate with and allow into the inner circle of your life, you may want to be doing some background check searches on their social media history or criminal records.
If you plan on doing this a lot, you’re going to want access to unlimited background checks. This is where Instant Checkmate becomes one of the best background check services and a valuable tool in your arsenal for staying informed and protected.
Instant Checkmate is a subscription-based background check service that focuses heavily on criminal records, including having a specific section for inmate searches.
Whether you are trying to establish how trustworthy a person is, trying to find information on someone you have lost touch with, or are simply looking to see how much of your own information is public, Instant Checkmate can provide you with a background check that will give you far more info than a standard search engine — and at much faster speeds too.
The website is incredibly simple to use, so getting your background check started is fast and easy. Instant Checkmate also offers a mobile app that is as simple to understand as it is accurate.
For users on the go, Instant Checkmate's mobile app can give you access to an unlimited number of background checks and reverse phone lookups from the convenience of your smartphone.
Instant Checkmate also provides a reverse phone number lookup, which can be great for getting information on scams and robocalls. They provide all this while being highly reviewed, accredited with an A+ by the Better Business Bureau, and providing consistent customer service.
Note that Instant Checkmate is not certified with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, so it cannot be used to hire or deny access to a potential renter.
- Fast results on a user-friendly platform
- Criminal records are checked on the national, state and local levels with full access to the entire sex offender registry
- Completely anonymous — anyone you run a background check on will not be notified that you have searched for them
- Multiple positive user reviews and an A+ rating with the BBB
- Provides unlimited searches once you have signed up for your monthly or bi-monthly subscription
- Instant Checkmate is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, and it only allows users to pay a monthly subscription without providing a pay-per-report option
What Customers Are Saying
Several customers have praised Instant Checkmate after using its background check service to find missing relatives and friends. In fact, a common thread among people who have used Instant Checkmate’s background check is commanding them for reconnecting with all kinds of relations.
Many customers are actually shocked by the results they have found, about others and themselves, showing that Instant Checkmate provides some of the best background check services that go beyond the basic public databases. Criminal records information is one of the most commonly brought up pieces of information in reviews.
Customers are also pleased with the ease of the website, noting that canceling was easy and revealing that Instant Checkmate is as transparent as they are user-friendly.
- Instant Checkmate offers unlimited searches with their subscription.
- They have a monthly and 3-month subscription plan for an unlimited number of background checks.
- Prices are lower for longer subscription plans.
- Members can cancel at any time and will continue to have access to background checks until the end of their billing cycle.
- Refunds can be processed on a case-by-case basis if members call the Customer Care department.
- Instant Checkmate uses 128-bit SSL encryption in order to protect the privacy of its users.
Learn more about Instant Checkmate
3. Best Service for Businesses: Spokeo
Why We Like Spokeo
Finding lost friends or seeing if your neighbor has a criminal record is great, but what about applications for businesses? There are a number of reasons why you would run a background check on clients, from verifying the aliases of companies to checking on the status of a vendor’s license.
Spokeo offers what the other background check services offer, checking criminal records, claiming to connect people to lost friends and relatives, and being useful at stopping scams and robocalls, but they take it one step further by also advertising their usefulness in assessing potential client information.
You might be asking if this means Spokeo is certified with the FCRA, which they are not, but we aren’t talking about employees or hiring. When a person goes into business with another individual, company, or vendor, it is important to get information like what they used to be called or if their licenses are up to date.
Spokeo can assist with all of this and even pulls wealth data, which can be useful in assessing whether an investor has the capital that they claim to have for example.
Spokeo's background checks are noted for being incredibly easy to use and even provide some of the information from the search for free. While this information can be pretty basic, this still allows you to assess the validity of the information before paying for background check services.
Spokeo is also one of the faster background check engines, providing results in a few minutes, and is cheaper than most of its competitors.
Whether you are trying to reconnect with lost leads for your business, figuring out who in your social circle has criminal records, or want to know if the people you are attempting to do business with are really who they say they are, Spokeo provides diversity as well as quality in their background check services.
- While providing the usual benefits of connecting with lost relationships, finding criminal records, and being able to find and block scam callers, Spokeo also offers a plethora of background check services that can assist business owners
- Spokeo’s subscription fees are lower than the industry standard
- Results come back very quickly, generally in just a matter of minutes
- Was given an A rating by the Better Business Bureau
- Provides unlimited PDF downloads from over 12 billion records
- Only searches databases in the United States
What Customers Are Saying
Customers love the wealth data tool, noting that they have difficulty finding information on what an individual makes or what assets they own on other background check sites.
Some customers who have tried other background check services have found that Spokeo gets them the results faster. Some consumers have noted that Spokeo is one of the best background check sites because of the information it offers for getting client leads to help grow their businesses.
- Spokeo offers a one-month and 3-month membership to have access to unlimited reports.
- They allow their members to cancel at any time while still having access to unlimited background checks until the end of the billing cycle.
- Membership packages cannot be refunded.
- Spokeo keeps members' data safe and secure with its 128-bit SSL encryption.
How We Made This List
We want our readers to be able to know, as objectively as possible, which of these websites provides the best background check services. While the results will vary from person to person based on individual needs, we assessed which background check service is the best by creating a 4-step criterion to gather our data.
Extensive Review of the Background Check Sites
Our team combed the various websites so that we had a complete list of all the services offered. To properly assess a background check site, we had to first know what that site offered in detail.
We cross-referenced the offerings with outer background check sites to see which services were unique and which were industry standards.
Credible Media Sources
We researched heavily into what other reliable media sources had to say, such as TechRadar and the Better Business Bureau, to make sure that, within the industry, these background check sites were receiving high praise from our peers.
Real Consumer Reports
Using reviews on sites like TrustPilot, BBB, Google, and various social media websites, we assessed what real customers were saying about each background check company included in our list.
Some background check sites may be highly rated by the BBB but have terrible user reviews, so we made sure to assess what actual customers were saying.
We used these background check services to search ourselves so we could see how accurate the results were. We also went through the cancellation process of each service to ensure that ending a membership is as simple as starting one.
Choosing the Best Background Check Service: What Makes a Good Background Check Site?
Now that you understand our methods, let’s break down what makes a background check site reliable and trustworthy. Some background check scams are just phishing campaigns to gain data from users, either to steal their identity or sell their data to the highest bidder.
For these reasons, we’ve compiled a list of things to look out for when searching for the best background check service.
- Do they have customer service that is easy to get in touch with? The best background check sites have customer service with consistent hours that you can easily get in touch with. If a company does not want you to call them or does not tell you how you can speak to an actual person, you should be wary.
- What services do they advertise? Unless they are certified by the FCRA, they cannot claim to help you with hiring employees, denying renters, or denying lines of credit. The best background check sites will be upfront about this.
What do their reports cover? It's important to know what kind of information you'll get in your report. You want to make sure that the site you choose covers the specific information you're looking for.
Some background checks offer a more in-depth look into a person's background, including criminal history, social media activity, employment history, and more. Others may just give you a basic rundown of public records, like previous addresses and phone numbers.
- Are they accurate? It can be helpful to search yourself first on a background check site to ensure that the information being provided is detailed and accurate. Search for someone or something you know before spending time with people on whom you have limited information.
- What are they rated on the Better Business Bureau? The BBB can be a great tool in establishing the legitimacy of a background check company. Keep in mind, though, that the rating of a company on the BBB is really only revealing that they aren’t a scam company and will provide the service requested. A high rating does not inherently guarantee quality.
- What are customers saying? Check the reviews. What common issues are people having with the company? Have people found their results accurate? How has a background check helped actual customers? The best background check sites have a wealth of positive reviews, high accuracy in results, and stories of successful background checks that helped actual customers.
What type of results will background checks show me?
Background checks will generally reveal a person’s name, aliases, locations lived in, criminal records, sex offender registry, employment status, social media information, emails, and just about anything in the public record.
Some background check sites will also reveal things like a person’s wealth, but this can vary from company to company.
How do I get the most out of my background check?
The more information you can provide, the more extra information you will get. If the person you are trying to search for has a common name, include information like nicknames, phone numbers, known addresses, etc.
If you know the names of relatives, this can also help with the lookup. Make sure to double-check your results with all information you already know so you can ensure you are looking up the right person.
Can I run a background check on myself?
Running a background check on yourself can be extremely useful in today's world where social media and online presence play a big role in our personal and professional lives. Checking your own criminal history, employment history, and even your social media accounts can give you a better picture of what information is publicly available about you.
By regularly monitoring your own background checks, you can keep an eye out for any inaccuracies or potentially damaging information that could harm your reputation or opportunities.
You may also find out if there's anything on your social media that could be perceived negatively by others and take the necessary steps to address it.
Should I use free background checks?
Free background checks may not be fully reliable for two main reasons: one, background checks are sometimes used by scammers to steal identities. These background checks are common bait for victims.
Two, free background checks are typically not as comprehensive as their paid counterparts. They may only reveal a limited amount of information about a person, such as their name and address.
If you're looking for a more in-depth look at someone's background, including their criminal history or basic employment history, and social media details, you'll need to look beyond free background check services. You get what you pay for, so when something is free, you tend to get nothing.
Are background checks legal?
Background check companies are just compiling information in public records, so background checks are 100% legal. However, background checks that are not FCRA-certified can only be for personal use and cannot be used to disqualify individuals from being hired, renting, or receiving lines of credit.
How long do background checks take?
Most background checks are ready in a matter of minutes. Times may vary depending on the company, with some background check services being faster than others.
Determining which company will provide you with the best background check depends on your personal needs. All of the websites reviewed in this article can be useful for uncovering criminal records or assisting in finding lost relatives, friends, or even clients.
Most companies will also provide some kind of reverse phone lookup. From there, it really comes down to factors like price, package deals, and what specific information you might want. For example, TruthFinder provides dark web searches, Instant Checkmate has a convenient mobile app, and Spokeo has databases catered towards businesses and client acquisition.
A background check can provide you with a lot of information you might need when deciding who to associate with, who to do business with, and even just finding out how much information about you is public. Knowledge is power, and a good background check can be a great tool for unleashing the truth, one background check at a time!