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Overall Score – 4/10
As one of the longest running services of its kind, Intelius.com is a comprehensive people lookup and background checking service designed to help its users live in the know. Though it’s been around since 2003 and had longer than most of its competitors to keep up with changes in the market and technology, the Intelius platform remains a bit outdated. Where intelius.com differs from many of its competitors is that it does not offer a free pricing model. While its essentially free to sign up to use the service and create an account, even individual reports will require a payment.
The service offers most, if not all, of the search options a user comes to expect from a people searching/background checking company. The homepage offers a search box to “Find People” based on first name, middle initial, last name, and city/state parameters. It also offers a reverse phone lookup search option. This is all advertised to serve its users by reconnecting them with long-lost family members, completing a contacts list, or verifying a past address.
Large variety of search options
Access to 20 billion records
Unlimited 24-hour and monthly search options
Confusing pricing options
Difficult to opt out of automatic monthly pricing
Low chance of erroneous charge refund
Intelius does not offer any free reporting options in the sense that a search won’t uncover any detailed information on a subject. Entering a name or phone number will bring up a list of possible matches that include the person’s age, previous city cities he/she has lived in, places of employment, places of study, and relatives, but these may or may not bring up entirely accurate results. If the user doing the search doesn’t know specific details or enters a common name, the search could bring up an exhaustive list of potential matches that’s difficult to narrow down. To actually get that person’s DOB, phone number, and current address, the user must pay $0.95 for the basic search results.
From there, more detailed search options are available to uncover extra details about the search subject. For $6.95, the user will uncover the results from the basic search result, plus results on the subject’s social media networks and email addresses. An Intelius background check report includes the information uncovered from the “People Plus Search” results in addition to a criminal check, liens, bankruptcies, judgements, lawsuits, marriages, and divorces.
As far as memberships, Intelius has a few options, though choosing one can be confusing. The website advertises an option for a 24-hour unlimited basic searches at a cost of $19.95. However, they also advertise a monthly, unlimited membership service for the same price ($19.95), though at the time of this writing it was offered at a 50% discount. They also have an option for a seven day risk-free trial for identity protection services with access to credit score inquiries, resolution experts, and potential identity theft alerts and monitoring. After the trial, this service also costs $19.95/month.
Ease of Use
As mentioned, Intelius has a straightforward albeit outdated website interface. From the homepage, the user can choose a subtab for the Intelius people search, email lookup, social network search, and property records search. Background checks, criminal records, identity protection, and the Intelius premier option each have their own tabs. Again, it can be very confusing to the average user as to which option, package tier, and pricing they should choose and opt for. At the bottom of the page, Intelius has “help” and “about our reports” links that both take you to the same page that also have a confusing layout and relatively few answers to help an overwhelmed user.
The intelius.com landing page has two search boxes for people search and reverse phone number lookup. Under the “people search” heading, users can also choose an email lookup by entering a subjects first and last name and known city/state. There is also an option for social network search also by first and last name and know city/state for purposes of reconnecting with family members, monitoring children’s social media profiles, or learning more about a stranger online. The property records search includes information on property sales history, previous owners, and local residents, intended to give insights onto a home’s worth and the demographic of people who previously lived there or live nearby.
According the intelius.com, a background check report can “provide a plethora of information about a person” that includes criminal, marital, divorce, lawsuit, bankruptcy, property record, and people search results (among others), when available. Similarly, a criminal records search uses the same subject search parameters to locate information about a subjects potential felonies, misdemeanor, DUIs, offense types and dates, case numbers and outcomes, and other information intended to screen potential dates or new neighbors. Still, the criminal report searches are segmented into categories for criminal check, public records, criminal court records, and civil court records.
All in all, there are arguably too many options for the average user when it comes to getting basic personal information about a prospective search subject. Furthermore, the fact that the term “where available” is used multiple times on the Intelius platform gives the user uncertainty as to whether or not paying for a search will actually yield results.
Aside from its convoluted background checking options, Intelius doesn’t provide a lot of extra services or perks to its users. It does have a downloadable Google Play and Apple App Store app for using its services via mobile, but one could speculate that those options would be limited compared to the web portal. They do have a social media presence, with over 34,000 likes on Facebook, that contains links to up to date information and links to the Intelius blog.
Intelius, owned by parent company People Connect and registered in Seattle, WA, has less than stellar reviews across a variety of a third party review sites. They are registered with the Better Business Bureau and maintain an A rating. However, 389 complaints have been filed in the past three years and some of those are as recent of the month of this writing. The majority of these complaints (201) are problems with the product or service, followed by billing/collections issues (121), and advertising/sales (63). As is the case with many other background checking services, most of the complaints for Intelius are from customers who do not read or understand the terms of services that state users will be automatically upgraded to monthly memberships and their associated costs if they do not opt out in time. Other complaints are simply users dissatisfied with the results of their search, which will always be a gamble with online background checking services regardless of cost.
Despite being one of the longest running background checking services on the internet, Intelius has garnered a relatively poor reputation. Granted, they’ve been in business longer than other services allowing more time for reviews across the spectrum to be published, its difficult to find any evidence of overwhelmingly positive customer reviews online. In addition to difficulty navigating the cite, Intelius has a poor record of intervening with dissatisfied customers, issuing refunds, and customer service in general. Since all of the information provided is derived from public records, there are plenty of other methods and services for people to find information about others.Visit Intelius
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.
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