TopTenREVIEWS - Silver Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

Intelius is a major people searching and investigation service, and it provides some of the best background checks and criminal history reports in the industry. It is our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award winner. This leading service returns your results quickly and is easy to use. Its offerings include privacy services and internet-reputation services that help you ensure that the data other people can find about you is accurate. Furthermore, this service offers a range of pricing options and comprehensive information about what its reports include.

One of the features that makes Intelius so valuable, and so popular, is the extent and accuracy of its results. Like other search services, this site browses government databases for public information. It also uses proprietary and commercial databases, so it has access to the kind of information you might provide if you drop a card in a free car drawing somewhere. This means you can often find data such as private cell phone numbers and email addresses. Competing services can rarely find this information.

Despite its many positive features, Intelius isn't without its troubles. These include some inaccurate results in background checks, alleged privacy violations and customer service issues. This site has also seen widespread criticism, and legal action, regarding its subscription services.

Searches and Reports
Compare
9.3/10
US Search
Intelius
BeenVerified
PeopleFinders
KnowX
PeopleSmart
BackgroundReport
Instant Checkmate
PeopleWise
Background Checks
9.8
9.3
8.8
8.5
8.5
5.5
5.5
5
3.3
6.3

There are so many ways to find and investigate people with Intelius that you can be confident that you will find the information you need. Starting on the homepage, you can start searching even if all the information you have is a last name. You can also search by full name and middle initial, phone and email address, city or state of residence, date of birth, and social networking screen name. You can't search with a complete street address.

Furthermore, you can't search by maiden names with this service because many states don't make marriage and divorce information public. A recent change to Intelius policy also means that you can't find income estimates. This data had been approximated based on the average income of households in the subject's neighborhood, according to an Intelius representative.

Your initial search will bring up a free preview that includes a list of names and, if available, ages, cities of residence and possible relatives. This makes it easy to rule out irrelevant results. When you've found the person you're looking for, you can proceed easily to checkout. To order reports beyond the basic background checks, people searches and criminal histories, navigate to the bottom of the webpage and click the All Products & Services link, where you will find 13 options. Alternatively, you can select a report type as you check out.

Intelius doesn't offer as many report types as most of its competitors do, but its offerings are extensive enough to help you find almost any record imaginable. For example, you can look up phone numbers, property ownership information, email addresses, death records and run sex offender checks. You can also find IP addresses and social networking profiles associated with your subject, and you can run employment history checks. If you are a business client, you can search for commercial records, driving records and credit checks.

Competing services offer reports such complete due-diligence checks for potential company executives, business partners or brokers, but most consumers won't need these services. Another service some competitors offer is search help from licensed private investigators. However, you can ask Intelius to send a person to any county courthouse to get public records that aren't available online. This means you can find criminal and civil case details, among other things.

Intelius is primarily for consumers trying to find old friends, relatives and business partners. You can order your reports one at a time or by signing up for a membership. Intelius also offers services for business such as hospitals, debt collection agencies and skip-tracing organizations through its Talentwise affiliation. These records are certified for use under the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), but consumer searches are not and can't be used for credit checks, among other things. Findings usable under FCRA are more accurate than consumer searches because you can verify social security numbers and other identifying information in your reports, but you must have proper legal reasons for requesting these searches, and you will likely need permission from your subject.

Information Quality
Compare
9.8/10
US Search
Intelius
BeenVerified
PeopleFinders
KnowX
PeopleSmart
BackgroundReport
Instant Checkmate
PeopleWise
Background Checks
10
9.8
9.8
9.3
5
8.1
10
8.8
9.5
5

The Intelius website is one of the most professional and easy-to-use people search sites on the market. You can start searching right from the homepage, and you won't be bogged down by confusing options or detailed explanations that you don't need. Nevertheless, basic information about what each report type provides is readily accessible. Furthermore, instant turnaround on your reports makes this site a pleasure to use.

This people search engine offers some of the best background checks and people search options we found, but it isn't without its problems. Intelius has a bad reputation with some consumers for signing up users for memberships and charging them monthly without their permission. It has also come under fire for its privacy policy, which requires you to fax or mail proof of your identity in order to have commercial and proprietary records about you removed from search results. You can't have your government records removed from the site. This requirement is far more difficult to use than opt-out procedures in competing services are.

Another problem with Intelius concerns its Identity Protect Service. It is valuable because it offers protection tools such as an instant credit report, social security number monitoring, ID theft insurance and a credit card offer opt-out. However, this membership was the subject of legal action in Washington state in 2010 for signing up consumers without their express consent and knowledge. The Superior Court in that state required Intelius to change its practices, and the issue has since been resolved.

Intelius sponsors Friendster, Switchboard.com, the DateCheck app that includes a sleaze detector, and the search engine Spock. Other affiliates include WebLoyalty, Inc., Vertrue, Inc. and Affinion, among several others.

Ease of Use
Compare
9.3/10
US Search
Intelius
BeenVerified
PeopleFinders
KnowX
PeopleSmart
BackgroundReport
Instant Checkmate
PeopleWise
Background Checks
10
9.3
8.3
8.3
5
8
2.5
2.5
7.5
5

Information you find using online background check services and people search services is only valuable as long as it's accurate. Therefore, we tested each search service we reviewed against information we know to be correct. We found Intelius to have some of the best and most-comprehensive contact information available. This service found cell phone numbers and business email addresses that we didn't find with any other service. Some of these records, while mostly correct, included outdated and incorrect information.

If you're looking for all the information that could possibly be related to your subject, Intelius offers the best background checks you'll find. The tradeoff is that its reports carry a risk of finding civil, criminal and property ownership records that aren't relevant. For example, we found incorrect bankruptcies, liens and civil judgments on each background report we ordered. Fortunately, you can avoid making bad decisions based on these records because each line item shows the exact name of the person in whose name the record is held, sometimes including street addresses and middle initials. That lets you rule out irrelevant results, but we still recommend double-checking the results of any background checks you order online.

Help & Support
Compare
8.8/10
US Search
Intelius
BeenVerified
PeopleFinders
KnowX
PeopleSmart
BackgroundReport
Instant Checkmate
PeopleWise
Background Checks
8.8
8.8
9.5
7.8
8
7.5
9.5
7.5
2.5
5

The Intelius website is easy to use, even for computer novices, but if you can't find the answers you need, there is a handful of resources available to you. First, we suggest visiting the FAQs page. It is useful for answering basic questions, although it's relatively short. You can also turn to the Intelius blog or to email and phone support. Unfortunately, our requests sent through the online email system went unreturned for several days. When we called customer service with questions, the call was answered by a call center representative who did not have access to corporate offices.

Intelius Summary:
9.3/10

Intelius is one of the most popular people search and background check services on the market, and for good reason. It offers many reports and makes searching easy. Furthermore, its range of prices and identity-protection services add value. We highly recommend this service for consumers and business alike.

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Intelius

Pros
This site makes it quick and easy to get some of the best background checks on the market.

Cons
You can search by email address and phone number, but results aren't comprehensive and aren't always available.

The Verdict
: 9.32/10

This site is ideal for background checks and finding criminal records and people online.