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Instant Checkmate Review 2020

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In today’s world, virtually all the information a person could want is at their fingertips. Whether it’s social media, online shopping, or everyday research, people have access to more information than ever. With that said, it’s become easier than ever to search for and access information about individuals in our lives. Whether innocently searching for a long-lost relative or old classmate or more seriously looking into the demographics (including registered sex offenders) in a new neighborhood, background checking services exist to help find that information in as much detail as possible.

This article will be a review of one of the longest players in the online background checking and people searching industry, Instant Checkmate. The company has been around since 2010 and has constantly adapted its services and features to keep up with changes in the space, allowing it to rise as an industry-leading service when it comes to features, usability, price, and depth of information available. This Instant Checkmate review will touch on some of those points and go into more detail as to what the service offers, who its for, and its various pros and cons according to its users.

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Check Out our Top Ranked Site of 2020 in our BeenVerified Review


Our Instant Checkmate Review

Disclosure: To keep our content free to you, the reader, we earn a commission from our partner Instant Checkmate and some of our other partners featured on this page.

What Is Instant Checkmate?

Instant Checkmate is one of the oldest and most trusted background check and people searching services online. The site gathers and aggregates into an easily digestible report all the information about a person available in public records. Information like email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, social media accounts, criminal records and possible relatives can all be used as search parameters, when known, to find out even more information about a subject, or otherwise uncovered in a search with limited information from the start.

Instant Checkmate comprehensively collects reports on thousands of publicly available arrest records, phone numbers, addresses, demographic information, census data, and more. This data is compiled from federal, state, and local government regulated bodies and organizations. With such a diverse array of information from all around the country, Instant Checkmate prides itself on helping thousands of Americans find information on the people in their lives including neighbors, nearby sex offenders, estranged family members, new friends, old friends, classmates, social media contacts, and even celebrities.

Why Should Someone Use Instant Checkmate?

As the name implies, Instant Checkmate is intended for somewhat personalized searches on a person an individual already has some degree of familiarity with. However, that’s not all inclusive and the service can be used to search for background information on pretty much anyone. For detailed reports and information, users must register for an account to proceed, otherwise only a person’s name is needed to find out if there is in fact a report available on them. Transactions are protected through Norton Security, so neither the searcher or person being searched needs to worry about their private information being shared. Users of Instant Checkmate can look forward to a detailed and refined search process and report layout.

Is There An InstantCheckmate Free Trial?

As is true with most other background checking services, Instant Checkmate does not offer a free trial. It is free to enter information about a person to ensure there is a comprehensive report available about them. But because it takes money to compile information from thousands of publicly available public records, pay its employees, and keep the software and servers up to date, there’s no way for a company like Instant Checkmate to operate or profit from a completely free service.

With that said, Instant Checkmate provides a 5-day trial offer for only $1. Features and search quantities are limited for the 5-day trial, but it’s something many competitor background checking services don’t offer at all. With the $1 offer, users can access Instant Checkmate and view as many background reports as they want with no additional fees per report. From there, the user will be billed for whatever monthly option they agreed to. 

If you’re interested in a $1 background report from Instant Checkmate, then click here!

Pricing/Plans for Instant Checkmate:

Pricing Table for Instant Checkmate

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Instant Checkmate has a variety of tiered-pricing options to fit various needs. There is no ability to compile a single report and users most instead opt for one of the company’s subscription options including a:

💵 1-Month Membership: $34.78 per month

💵 3-Month Membership: $27.82 per month

💵 Premium Reports: $19.99 each

💵 PDF Fee: $2.99 (one-time fee only)

Subscribers to Instant Checkmate’s Standard Background Report service allow for an unlimited number of standard reports about on a single person or variety of people during the subscription period. Once a user pays for and runs a report, the option is presented for them to purchase the more in-depth premium report for the one time fee of $19.99, or opt for the cheaper $2.99 PDF, something many users love for its easy to read layout and ease of access.

As is, a one-month unlimited subscription for the Standard Report option is $34.78. At checkout, buyers are also given the option to purchase a 90-day unlimited search subscription for $83.47, or $27.82 per month. Depending on the membership option selected at the initial checkout, Instant Checkmate is transparent about the fact that users will be charged a recurring fee equal to the amount of the initial option chosen. Despite many complaints through the BBB and other review sites, this disclaimer is made clear throughout the checkout process.

Instant Checkmate’s Premium Reports are far more detailed and offer more in-depth features with data pulled from a deeper database of records. Premium Reports are offered on top of the Standard Report subscription for a one-time fee of $19.99 in case the desired information is not unveiled after going through the initial standard option. Options for payment for all reports and transactions within Instant Checkmate require a credit or debit card, but PayPal is also offered as a payment option. Recurring billing uses whatever card or payment option was used at checkout unless otherwise brought to the attention of the company.


For lower priced alternatives check out our reviews of Peoplelooker and Beenverified.


Where Does the Information Come From in Each Report?

Personal Timeline on Instant Checkmate

Like most people-searching services, Instant Checkmate operates by aggregating publicly available US records–documents previously filed by local, state, federal, and government agencies. Though it is free to enter the name of search subject to find out if a detailed report is available for them, Instant Checkmate offers users two report options depending on how much information is desired about that subject.

The Standard Report option provides the subscriber with detailed background information about the subject in question. Again, this is publicly-available information that the subscriber would otherwise have to physically compile through government agencies or otherwise sift through dozens of online searches outside of a background checking service.

Included in a standard report, if available, are the following details:

✔ First and last name

✔ Date of birth

✔ Phone numbers

✔ Current and last known address

✔ Other persons living at current address

✔ Possible relatives

✔ Arrest records

✔ Census data

✔ Traffic records

✔ Satellite imagery of property

✔ DUI arrests

FAA/DEA licenses

✔ Sex offenders nearby

Premium reports include all of the information included in the standard report, in addition to more specific records like:

▪ Civil Judgments

▪ Corporate Affiliations

▪ Watercraft Owned

▪ UCC Filings

▪ Properties Owned

▪ Voter Registration

▪ Old Phone Numbers

▪ Email Addresses

▪ Tax Liens

▪ Professional Licenses

▪ Hunting/Fishing Permits

▪ Weapons Permits

Instant Checkmate also offers an Email Report option. This report can contain a person’s name, address history, related persons, social media profiles, additional email addresses, and professional networking information. A subscription to Instant Checkmate’s Email Reports allows you to obtain unlimited Email Reports about email addresses during your subscription period. Essentially, the Email Report option is just another way to view the data pulled in a given report outside of the website’s user interface, PDF, or mobile app options.

Instant Checkmate Features:

Standard Report Features for Background Check Services offered on InstantCheckmate.com Personal Background Report

Instant Checkmate compiles reports from millions of public records including information provided by state and local governments to gather detailed reports on everyone from the neighbor next door to Hollywood celebrities. For a very fair competitive rate within the industry, Instant Checkmate allows its members to make informed decisions about the people in their lives. As part of its service, Instant Checkmate offers:

Unlimited Background Reports:

Instant Checkmate offers its members the ability to pull as many Standard Reports as needed within their subscription period. Look up your coworkers, friends, family members, and even favorite celebrities.


People Search

People Search Results in California

Pull a standard backgrounds report by searching for someone’s first and last name, last-known location, and age. If all of their information isn’t available, users can simply enter what they know and then narrow down your search.

Reverse Phone LookupInstantCheckmate Reverse Phone Search Results

Who’s calling? Instant Checkmate’s phone search feature makes it easy to find contact details about almost any phone number’s owner. Users are also able to transition straight into standard background report through any phone lookup.

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Email Search

Reverse Email Search on Instant Checkmate

When searching for a person’s email address, users can uncover their real name, phone number, location history, and more. Uncovering the truth behind an email address is especially useful for online dating.

Location Search

Location Search on InstantCheckmate

Enter any address to view demographic data, FBI crime statistics, possible residents, census information, and even local hot spots. This feature can be a lifesaver when moving somewhere new or trying to learn more about a prospective neighborhood.

Social Media

Instant Checkmate maintains a healthy social media presence and creates a lot of content for its users. The company has over 180,000 likes on Facebook in addition to its presence on Twitter, Google + and Twitter. The various handles put out content daily regarding current events pertaining to the background checking industry, blog posts, infographics, news about the company, and more featured content. Additionally, Instant Checkmate’s social media platforms are designed to keep users up to date on safety tips regarding using social media, online dating, and neighborhood crime prevention.


Among the features of Instant Checkmate is the opportunity to view, download, and print a detailed PDF of background report findings. Note that PDF downloads are an additional (one-time) fee of $2.99.

Instant Checkmate Mobile App

InstantCheckmate Mobile App

As part of its ongoing process of staying current and adding new offerings to its customer base, Instant Checkmate launched a mobile app in 2017 that offers virtually all of the features available on the web platform. The app is free and is essentially a “lite” version of the website. From the palm of one’s hand and the convenience of being anywhere, users have access to reports full of information on a person’s first and last name, known address(s), phone numbers, email contact info, possible relatives, nearby sex offenders, and other information depending on the data accessible within the database.

For a fee, comparable to the fee charged on the Instant Checkmate website, users can upgrade reports to view additional details featured in the “Premium Report” options like voter registration, criminal records, and corporate affiliations. The Instant Checkmate app is available for free for both iPhone and in the Google play store.


Most people searching and background checking services today are confidential in nature. Still, it’s always important to check and ensure the service is backed by Norton security and other encryption features. Otherwise, depending on what device is being used to a search, it’s easy to fall victim to malware, viruses, and privacy invasion.

The latter is perhaps the most crucial. When using a people searching or background checking service, always undergo due diligence that privacy is secured. The most basic assurance that the website is secure is whether or not it uses HTTPS versus an unsecured HTTP domain. As is the case with Instant Checkmate, the website is secured with a 128-bit encryption, the industry standard, meaning the host server and the user’s individual browser is secure against hackers and data thieves.

The same is true for any website where payment is taken. Whenever using a credit card to make a purchase online, check to make sure the URL prefix features an “S” for security. All web browsers should feature a “lock” icon at the beginning of the search bar that reads “secure” and clicking it will reveal details about the security the site undergoes.

Instant Checkmate is fully-protected by the world’s leading anti-virus system, Norton Antivirus by Symantec. Whenever the Norton shield logo is displayed on a website, the device being used is completely safe and secure.

With these protections in place, users can rest assured that any search they undertake are completely confidential. The person being searched is not alerted in any way and will have no way of knowing that a search has been performed on them or that data has been reported in any way.


How to Search ANYONE:

The Instant Checkmate website is incredibly straightforward, intuitive, and user-friendly and allows for users to instantly begin the search process upon landing on the homepage. Additionally, there are how-to videos on topics including creating an account, logging into an account, cancelling an account, changing a password, removing one’s information, and background searching anyone.

The top of the homepage features a search bar that prompts a user to enter a person’s first and last name, age, and known city. As Instant Checkmate begins undergoing its search, it will prompt the user to answer questions to enhance the process along the way.

It will prompt the user to answer if they know previously known addresses, possible relatives, possible age range, and a few other clarifying questions to ensure the search brings up information about the correct person. After a few minutes of searching the basic free search will come back with a confirmation of the person’s first and last name (and middle name, if available), last known city, and a handful of possible known relatives.

A large box under the person’s name will assure the user that the person will not be notified that they are being searched. Additionally, a pop-up will appear with an offer for full trial membership for $1 that lasts 5-days before a recurring charge begins. Otherwise, the user needs to decide which pricing model they are opting to pay for to undergo the more detailed search.

That same search result page will reveal a quick FAQ that answers the following questions:


⁉ Why isn’t this report free?

⁉ How is my report delivered?

⁉ Why shouldn’t I buy a single report?

⁉ What comes in my report?

⁉ Where do your criminal records come from?



Does it Work for Reverse Phone Lookup? :

This is a common question and search we get and should breakdown how to reverse phone search as well on the platform

Instant Checkmate does offer users the option to instantly uncover identity information around unknown phone calls. To use the reverse phone lookup feature, users simply enter the phone number in question and the service will automatically scan its databases to reveal available information about the caller.

The details revealed by a reverse phone lookup vary on a case-by-case basis. When available, users can uncover the mystery caller’s full name, phone service provider, address, DOB, location, and more. Once a first and last name have been revealed, Instant Checkmate makes it easier for the user to dive deeper into pulling a comprehensive background check on the caller.

For our full guide to reverse phone search, read our guide here.

Customer Support:

Customer Support for Instant Checkmate

The Instant Checkmate member care team is based in the United States and offers 24/7 assistance. InstantCheckmate.help is also a valuable resource that answers common questions with helpful videos and expert insight. The “Help” page also offers a summary of the FAQs, social proof in the form of customer testimonials, featured media appearances, press info, and more. There are featured articles on commonly addressed topics such as how to cancel your account, change your password, how to login to your account, and how to background search someone.

The quality of Instant Checkmate’s customer support features and team are only part of what separates it from much of its competition. Between the website’s thorough FAQ page and around the clock customer service access, the company takes all measures to answer questions from users and prospective users. Whether its an issue with billing, troubleshooting with the website, or a deeper dive into a search, users can connect with a live representative 24-hours a day in any time zone.

Questions can be directed by phone to 800-222-8985 or directed via email to [email protected]


What Can You Use a Non-FCRA Background Check For?

Non-FCRA compliant background checks are completely legal and typically used for general information reports for reconnecting with old acquaintances, friends, and family members. Users can also search for information on current and future neighbors, nearby sex offenders, parents of children’s friends, potential dates, social media friends, buyers and sellers from online marketplaces, celebrity info, or themself.

It is strictly prohibited for individuals to use services like Instant Checkmate for any kind of employment reasons, including pre-employment screening, promotions and demotions, or employee termination. The same is true for screening someone like a nanny or landscaper or anyone else who might do work around one’s house to avoid any form of employer-employee prejudice. The same is true for landlords, who legally cannot use Instant Checkmate to terminate a lease or make renting/selling decisions based on the results from a report.

Background checking services are also not intended for the screening of professional service providers such as teachers, coaches, doctors, private tutors and other related categories of workers that may cause the person hiring to defer unwarranted judgement on the individual based on the results.

For more information on the do’s and don’ts of background checking through Instant Checkmate, the FAQ section on the website has more detailed list and makes a clear disclaimer that it is prohibited to use the site for any purpose governed by the FCRA. More information on the Fair Credit Reporting act can be found on Wikipedia



It’s no surprise that Instant Checkmate earns an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Like the majority of complaints with a people searching and background checking service, most users complain about the recurring charges after opting for the $1 free trial. However, Instant Checkmate makes it clear throughout the pages in its website and when undergoing any transaction that a recurring membership will begin after the trial period unless otherwise canceled. This has become an industry standard and most other background checking services and websites receive similar complaints about receiving recurring charges, even though every user is required to check a box before checkout agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Though not the oldest service of its kind, Instant Checkmate has been around since 2010 and has continued to stay current, applied updates to features and technology, and maintained security for its users and their searches. It draws its data and reveals information from a massive database of information on virtually anyone in the United States and uses a powerful algorithm that updates every 24 hours and is capable of delivering millions of background check reports every month.

What was created as a service for running background checks on prospective dates before meeting them in person has continued to grow over the years to become a full-service and comprehensive people searching powerhouse. Subscribing members have access to an unlimited number of background checks every month and a variety of ways to view the data about the people they’re searching. Additionally, Instant Checkmate gives back to a charitable organization related to the background checking industry, Together We Bake. This organization is a comprehensive training and development initiative for women recently released from jail.

As a final note, Instant Checkmate is not an FCRA compliant organization and may not use the service to make decisions regarding consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other parameters that require FCRA compliance. Still, whether searching for information about an upcoming date, looking to rekindle with a high-school sweetheart, or reconnecting with an estranged relative, Instant Checkmate provides thousands of connections every day.

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Instant Checkmate Pros & Cons:


✅ Unlimited search functionality with subscription

✅ Detailed search information within US

✅ Standard and Premium reports available

✅ 5-day trial available for $1

✅ User-friendly and well-organized reports

✅ Database updated every 24-hours

✅ Transactions backed by Norton Security and 128-bit encryption

✅ 24-7 customer support for members


❌ Long search times

❌ Some information out of date or incomplete


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Note: This Background Check service is not FCRA compliant. You may not use this background check service, or the information it provides, to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. This is applicable, but not limited to, a Background Search, Credit Background Check, Criminal Background Check, and/or Driving Record. Instant Checkmate is not a consumer reporting agency and does not, and cannot, provide consumer reports. These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., ("FCRA"), which are incorporated herein by reference.

Here Are Just Some of Our Customer's Reviews:

Believe or not I found friends I lost contact with.

Reviewer : Lori R.

Instant Checkmate gives thorough background checks. Check them out if you need accurate information on anyone.

Reviewer : Fannie M.

Because of this site, I was able to find my son whose father disappeared with him 15 years ago…

Reviewer : Chele C.

I’ve used this site several times and found it to be reliable information.

Reviewer : John R.

I was shocked to see all of my personal info. Including my phone, 3 complete addresses and birth date.

Reviewer : Linda G.

I found it useful when someone I suspected was scamming me.

Reviewer : Karen Z.

I wish I had known about this site before…found persons on here that were hanging around me

Reviewer : Desiree D.

I tried it with my very name, it was too revealing…

Reviewer : Rex O.

I love the site. I found my biological family using Instant Checkmate

Reviewer : Annette F.

THANK YOU, I found out using this service about six month back that a guy I was dating had domestic battery rape of a minor, and much more.

Reviewer : Katie C.
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