PROS / You get a wide variety of data in a background report.
CONS / The reports lack clarity.
VERDICT / PeopleSmart gives you a great amount of data and often does well on accuracy of financial and criminal information, which makes it a good choice as a background check service.
Most background check companies give you the basics of a report, such as contact information, criminal records and a list of potential relatives or associates of the person you’re investigating. PeopleSmart goes beyond this with the amount of information that’s included in its background check reports. You get the basics, but you also get sex offender status, financial information (such as bankruptcies, court judgments and tax liens), information on properties and neighbors, and professional records (such as licenses).
All of that data can only be useful if it’s accurate, though. Through our testing, we found that PeopleSmart’s records were mostly correct, although they can be initially unclear. For example, the criminal background check for one of our test subjects who has a long and storied history showed nearly 100 records, which is almost three times more crimes than he has actually committed. Once we sifted through the results and discounted the duplicates, we found that PeopleSmart was very close to being 100 percent accurate. An online background check also proved to pick up a majority of the civil judgments against one of our test subjects, and nearly half of that person’s relatives. As accurate as those results were, we also had the opposite experience with other searches in which none of the information was correct or we couldn’t find people through the service at all.
The best background check services give you several ways to find a person so you can purchase a report on the right person. PeopleSmart does well in this area. If you’re unsure of which state someone lives in, you can do a nationwide search for him or her. You can also search for someone using criteria such as full name, address, maiden name, birthdate, city, state and possible relatives.
Only seconds after purchasing a report, you will have access to it. There are tabs at the top with categories, such as contact information, criminal and court, bankruptcies and liens, ownerships, and licenses. The reports are well organized and easy enough to read, but there aren’t any definitions to help you decipher the report. They are available through a dashboard on PeopleSmart’s website, where they remain for 30 days after you purchase them.
Although PeopleSmart doesn’t pick up as much information on hard-to-find people as other services, it offers a mostly accurate view of criminal and financial history on those we investigated. The complete reports offer more data than most, which can help you branch out your investigation if you choose.