Partner Content

Best Background Check Services: Work, Personal, Civil & Criminal History Reports

By Green Living

In this modern day world, you are constantly having to trust strangers; from the delivery driver who brings you a hot meal to the nurse at the hospital when you need urgent care – even to your house cleaner or pool cleaner. Every time you leave the house in your car, you trust all the other strangers on the road not to hit your car recklessly. You trust that they will follow traffic signals correctly, and you trust them to stay in line when you have your family in the car along with you. At every turn, you’re having to trust a new stranger.

Access to background check services should be a part of your regular safety measures. Not only do they keep you safe, but it also makes sure that your family and friends are safe. Whether it’s a new person that you or someone else met on a dating site, somebody who’s going to be working inside your home, or just a new co-worker who feels a bit off, background checks allow you to peek into a person’s history, including their criminal history record and civil court records. Having someone’s identity history summary puts you in a better position to make well informed decisions about who you let into your life. We have found the five best background check services that offer thorough checks online, and share them with you in this article. Each service boasts great customer service, fast results, and a completely discreet inquiry that can’t be traced back to you.

Background Check Service Finalists

  1. Truthfinder – Editor’s Choice
  2. Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
  3. Peoplefinders – Honorable Mention
  4. Spokeo – Enterprise Capabilities
  5. Been Verified – Vehicle Histories

How did we choose the best background check services?

Having a reliable and trustworthy background check process is vitally important – especially when you have limited time. When we began our search for the best background check services online, we decided to grade all services based on the criteria below:

  • One of the primary factors that we deem important is discretion. We expect a good background check service to prioritize your privacy, so that the people you run background checks on never know that you’re inquiring about them. Especially when you’re dealing with a stranger, you don’t know what they’re capable of. Being able to run a background check at any time, for any person, completely confidentially, are the top  reasons we chose these 5 as our best background check services. 
  • Another factor we looked at is the price point of each background check service. Not only are our picks for best background check sites incredibly thorough, bringing in pieces of information from across a person’s identity, but they’re also very affordable. Having access to background checks shouldn’t be reserved for employers only; rather, you should have access to vet the people in your life.
  • Another factor we considered is variety. Some of these background checks can be ordered as a single report and some services allow you to subscribe, so that you have access to unlimited background checks. We wanted to provide you with flexible options, so that you can decide on the best background check companies for your needs.
  • We also tried out these background check services ourselves. We wanted to have a customer experience from the moment we visited the website until the report was completed. The reports are thorough, provide more information than we even expected, and are completed in no time! 

Background Check Sites: Full Analysis & Breakdown

1. Truthfinder – Editor’s Choice


  • Immediate access to millions of public records
  • Look up any phone number to get contact information
  • Provides arrest history and sex offender information
  • Easily search with just a first and last name 


  • Membership is required for unlimited access 

TruthFinder doesn’t cut corners when looking into someone’s past. They even use an advanced algorithm that presents possible relationships of the person you’re looking into. This is especially helpful if you just started dating someone and you suspect they’re not being completely forthright about their relationship status. Background checks come with anything available on the internet, including arrest and criminal records, Wikipedia pages, social media accounts, personal websites, and even blogs. When you request a background check from this service, you get all of the contact information for that individual, their address history, and any possible neighbors they may have had or currently have. Along with all of this identity history summary information, you also get their criminal history record, a list of their assets, and even sex offender information.

TruthFinder accesses the deep web, where information about a person is kept stored away. You can buy background checks for the cost of your morning coffee and you don’t really need a lot of information to start. You can just use the name, phone number, or email of the person that you’re curious about and TruthFinder does the rest. If you are receiving unusual calls from different phone numbers, you can use Truth Finder‘s reverse phone look up to get the identity of the person who is trying to reach you. Aside from getting their full name, with their detailed reports, you can also find out about their social media profiles and their education and employment history. When photographs are available, they are included in the background check report.

Background checks give you the lowdown on anybody you need more information about. Even though you can’t use one of these background checks as part of an employment screening per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can run background checks on anybody you let into your house. This could be new friends, a new babysitter or house cleaner, or even new neighbors if you’ve just moved to a new city! With the convenience of online shopping, sometimes you may find a used product and need to meet up with the seller. Aside from taking other safety measures, like meeting in a public place during the day, you can also run a quick background check to make sure they have no criminal records or something else unsavory so you’re not putting yourself in any danger by communicating with them.

One of the best features of TruthFinder is that you can subscribe to a monthly membership. With their membership, you have immediate access to unlimited background checks. Now you don’t have to wonder about your kids’ football coach or the neighbor across the street – you can learn all about them with a few clicks. You can even learn more about potential business partners, to be sure they’re trustworthy and that they are who they say they are.

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2. Instant Checkmate – Highly Secure


  • Fast access to police records and criminal history record
  • Unlimited search feature 
  • Top-rated member care 
  • Secure, encrypted protection protects your privacy 


  • Membership cancellation requires you call their customer service team

Rated with an A+ by the Better Business Bureau, Instant Checkmate allows you to enjoy unlimited background checks that include civil judgments and police criminal records from law enforcement agencies. You can immediately find out if the person in question has any arrest records or court documents available to the public. You’ll get insight into their location history, any known aliases, and their age. People lie about their age all the time and if you’re dating someone new, for example, pulling a background check to find out what their real age is could help you decide if they’re somebody you want to keep seeing. Little lies can turn into big lies and being able to stop somebody who’s being inauthentic from getting closer to you is a great perk that Instant Checkmate offers.

When you pull someone’s identity history summary and you realize that they have a sketchy past, the relief you feel knowing that you’re dodging a bullet is worth so much more than the cost you pay to pull a background check report. Especially if somebody has a violent past, keeping them far away from you and your family is super important. If you are moving to a new city, it’s always great to get the lay of the land and do a little research on who your neighbors are. Having this information at your fingertips empowers you to make the best decisions, like perhaps keeping your kids away from a specific area of the neighborhood. The fact is, there are former inmates and felons with long criminal records likely living somewhere near your vicinity. It’s better to know where they’re located and what their identity history summary is than to think everything‘s just fine, when it might not be.

Aside from giving you access to unlimited searches; you can also rest easy knowing that your information is completely protected. They use a 128 bit encrypted connection and double it up further with verified Norton protection. The person that you’re looking into will be none the wiser – but you will be. If any questions come up during your background check search, you can connect with Instant Checkmate’s customer care. They’re available Monday through Friday to help you troubleshoot any issues, answer all of your questions, and overall make your experience with their background check service one you won’t soon forget.  

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3. Peoplefinders – Ideal for Single Reports 


  • Instant access for single reports
  • Look up information with just a name or phone number
  • Learn about a person’s financial history
  • Membership not required


  • Memberships can’t be cancelled online 

PeopleFinders is great when you need a little insight into a potential business partner or associate. This is because they provide financial histories, like bankruptcy and foreclosure information. These are helpful parts of a person’s past to know when you are entering into a business relationship or any other relationship that involves money. Knowing a person’s employment history and how they have handled their finances in the past can help you make the best decision that protects you and your assets. Even if you’re not looking into a potential business partner, you could be getting weird texts and calls at different times throughout the night – or it could be your significant other who suddenly has a slew of messages from an unrecognized phone number. Instead of letting the doubt play out inside your mind and drive you crazy, get the answers you need within just a couple of seconds when you use People Finders for your background checks.

Their reverse phone look-up pulls the contact details of the person trying to get in touch with you but who never answers you when you return the call. Could it be a stalker? Could it just be a lonely grandma who has the wrong phone number? You have to know. If someone is stalking you, what else are they capable of? And how close have they already gotten? Use this best background check service to find out if you’re receiving unsolicited calls and if you have any doubt about somebody in your inner circle. The results are immediate, meaning you won’t have to experience the anxiety of not knowing while waiting for a report to come through.

They help you with reverse phone lookup and background checks, even when you don’t have a whole lot of information about the person you’re curious about. If all you have is a phone number or a first and last name, that’s all you need. You can even use an address or an email. They take what you give them and give you a full background check report right back. Ultimately, it’s their access to over 42 billion reported public records and their intelligent algorithms that serve as your automatic detectives. No more waiting around and wondering if you really know the people around you.

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4. Spokeo – Enterprise Capabilities


  • Highly reputable service
  • Basic reports available
  • Memberships available
  • Over 130 million property records


  • Criminal records background check available for an additional cost

Know more with one of the most reputable background check services available online. With Spokeo, you can start your background check as soon as you visit their website, using the information you have. It could just be a name, an email address, or a physical address and Spokeo gets to work. They’re connected to 130 million property records, 600 million court records, 89 million business records, and well over 100 different social networks. This is an especially fun feature that lets you peek into the past of friends, new love interests, and even family. You probably have some photos floating around the internet from the times when social networks like MySpace were popular. Not everyone has scrubbed their online history, so you could very well find some hidden gems.

Pull your own background check report too! You can easily see what information about you is available online and you can work toward correcting any information that is being reported inaccurately. Not only do you have access to information about anyone whose name you enter, but you can also get a glimpse of what it’s like if somebody runs a background check on you. You’ll get a report right away and all of the information you need will be compiled into a neat and easy to read report. You’ll immediately have the person’s contact information along with all their personal details, including their address history and even their wealth data. Wealth data is a great way to get a snapshot of a person’s finances – the people around you who have been less than honest about their financial history won’t stand a chance when you access their background check and see the truth.

Not only does Spokeo provide you with all the information available at the time you run the report, but they also keep that report updated. So long as you keep your account with Spokeo active, you have live background check reports available to you through the life of your account. This means that the data on the person you’ve inquired about keeps refreshing. If something new happens,like an arrest takes place, you’ll be able to check their reports without having to run separate background checks!

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5. Been Verified – Vehicle Histories


  • Unlimited vehicle history searches
  • Discreet, always protecting your privacy
  • Over 1 million satisfied customers
  • Multiple products to choose from


  • Depending on the product, search times may vary

Been Verified has helped over 1 million people get information about a person’s identity history summary, including their property history and even vehicle information. When you use their service, you have access to unlimited searches to help you understand who you’re doing business with and who you’re trusting to be around you and your family. Combining seven products into one service, Been Verified provides comprehensive background checks that include reverse phone lookup, username search, email look-up, and you can even find unclaimed money.

Keep yourself informed with unlimited access that protects your privacy. Get curious and pull your own background check – you may even enjoy a happy surprise when you find unclaimed money for yourself! It’s a comprehensive service that offers plenty of value. Been Verified works hard to maintain their great reputation, constantly working toward improving the accuracy of the data they provide users. They’ve been offering the service for over a decade, which means they know what they’re doing.

Spend a little time on their website to learn more about how to protect yourself, how to stop those annoying sales calls, and how to keep your payment information safe online. Their aim is to help you make well-informed decisions, not just with the people you engage with, but also with the services you use. If you’re buying a used car, Been Verified is the ideal service for you. This is because they pull vehicle information that includes salvage records, accident records, recalls, and everything else you need to make sure you’re making a good investment. Unfortunately, people lie about the state of the car they are selling and without having access to a car history report, you could get swindled. It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.

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What does a background check show?

Background checks provide you with more information than you would even think to inquire about. The best part is that you can run background checks with only a single piece of information, like a name or a phone number. What makes background check services so incredible is how easily they access information on different public record databases and compile it neatly and swiftly for you within minutes. Some of the simpler information that you’ll get upfront from most background check companies is contact information, including a full name, phone numbers, and address history. You’ll also get any email address associated with the person whose information you entered.

That’s definitely not all you get when you purchase background checks. Some of the best background check services we listed above offer extra information, like a car history report and criminal records. Each service is slightly different but still comprehensive. You can expect to learn about a person’s history on social media, which often comes with tons of photographs that detail their past 10 to 20 years online. You’re likely to uncover photos that they didn’t even know were floating through the internet-you may even come across information that shocks you! Many times, however, you receive confirmation that the person who you think you know is actually who they say they are. It’s important that you run background checks with an open mind, understanding that every person has a history, and also understanding that some of the information that comes through may be graphic and difficult to process – especially if you’ve already developed feelings of fondness for the person in question.

You can also look into a person’s criminal history, including any arrest records, court records, or court documents to get the skinny on their interactions with the law. So long as the information is made available through public records, any one of the best background check services we listed above can immediately put that information onto your screen in a detailed report. Also learn about a person’s financial history, including any bankruptcies or foreclosures that they may be trying to hide. Financial information is helpful, not just for business partners, but also for couples. Using quality background check companies to find out about your partner’s financial history means you can make better financial decisions together for your future, especially if you plan to purchase a home or car together. Knowing what you’re getting yourself into is the best way that you can protect yourself and plan accordingly.

Finally, look up information about a person’s vehicle history. What if that person you just met online shows up in a Rolls-Royce to meet you for a date? Naturally, you’ll assume they are pretty well off financially. But what if that car isn’t even theirs? Now you’re on a date with a liar. Save yourself the frustration of dealing with someone who is dishonest and get all the information you need upfront. Same goes for property details. You can see if the person you’re talking to has their name on the deed of the house they’re so happy to show off. Learn about their professional and education history, to see if they’ve lied about the kind of college they went to. Sometimes, people go to community colleges and prefer to lie about another, well-known university instead of admitting they got their education in their hometown. Lies could be as simple as those, but they could also be complete scam artists who are looking to get something out of you – usually that means money. Save yourself the headaches and arm yourself with the best background checks, so you show up feeling confident and aware in the world.

According to RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization, 93% of juvenile victims knew their perpetrator. It’s a startling statistic but it’s necessary to know these pieces of information, so that you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need on any person who comes close to your family. The Fair Credit Reporting Act doesn’t allow you to use these types of background checks as an employment background check, but you can use them for personal purposes to get a full picture of who you’re dealing with at any given time.

How long does a background check take?

You can have background checks run within just a couple of seconds after you enter the information you have. Most of the information you need will be provided to you in a full background check report within just a few minutes, but there will be occasions when the information you’re inquiring about may take up to a few business days to complete. 

This extra time should be allotted for deeper dives into a person’s history, but you can expect the majority of the information you need to be made available to you right away. You’ll notice that the information received answers your questions and provides you with a full picture that’s enough for you to make a decision about your relationship with the person you’re inquiring about. You’ll be able to pull background checks with criminal records from authorized criminal justice agencies and law enforcement agencies – all with the click of a button.

On the occasions when the background checks take longer than a few minutes, that information will be more like the cherry on top of what you already know. This identity history summary will provide you with additional details, like civil court records and personal details, including possible relationships.

Where was the data collected? 

Background checks are pulled from a wide variety of different sources. Although having a central database might be the most convenient option, the fact is that there are millions of different sources that information could be pulled from. What makes the best background check services listed above so valuable is that they have created algorithms that permit them to search millions of locations online, even in the deep web, and highlight anything related to the person you’re searching for. 

It’s almost like using a search engine that takes a few keywords that you type into it and provides you with a long list of search results. However, instead of you trying to do all the research yourself, algorithms work to find the information quickly and deliver it in a neat background check report that you can download or print to review, all without the hassle of trying to take a deep internet dive all by yourself.

Will the person know about the background check?

The background check process is discreet. These background check services aren’t the same as an employment background check, which requires the written and explicit consent of the applicant. Federal and state laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, prohibit you from using these background checks as part of any kind of employment screening, but you will obtain the identity history summary of any person you want to learn more about. 

When you use a background check service we list above, you get to operate underneath an umbrella of discretion. You don’t need the permission of the person that you’re looking into, and you don’t need to reveal that you are the one running the search. This is part of what makes a great background check service – having your personal data protected!


If there are dishonest people hanging around your social and networking circles, you’ll know right away when you look into their backgrounds – beyond what they’re willing to show. Everybody has a set of secrets, some more shocking than others. With a full background report from a quality background check service, you’re armed against people who are hiding a shady past and who may have criminal records. Make running background check reports a regular part of your life so that you avoid pitfalls with those just looking to take advantage of you. They may be able to lie to your face, but they can’t run from their past.