Intelius background check service review
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Intelius background check service review

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Intelius is widely respected as a platform that boasts a collection of more than 20 billion public records. While there are criticisms about inaccuracies and incomplete data in some reviews, Intelius shines when it comes to providing detailed information about a person's educational achievements. One notable feature of the platform is Intelius Connections, a tool that allows users to explore connections beyond an individual's circle. 

Additionally, Intelius offers service tiers with search and billing options, giving users the flexibility to choose between subscription-based or pay-per-lookup models. The company also provides identity protection services through its Identity Protect subscription, which keeps tabs on records and credit card activity. Notably, Intelius has earned an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. It is recognized as a trusted organization by the Internet Society Online Trust Alliance. Users have the ability to request their data and also have their records removed from the database if they so wish. 

Its website is fairly easy to use with all the necessary tools easily reachable. However, since its relaunch in 2019, there have been some complaints regarding the quality of reports, with concerns raised about missing details. Despite some flaws, Intelius remains one of the best in background checkers on the market. 

Performing a search

You’ll need to sign up for a paid account to access records through Intelius. Unfortunately, doing so is perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of Intelius.

There is the “skip wait now” button that will lead you to the section where you can choose to pay for the People Search membership and choose either a monthly or bi-monthly payment. Other than that, you can access different plans by visiting the pricing section of the website and choosing which plan you want from there. This is not as intuitive as for example, clicking on sign-up button and choosing everything from that section, which has become a sort of a standard with modern websites.  

Once you sign up and agree to some fine print, a search based on federal, state, and county data begins. During the process, you might be asked questions to narrow the probe along the way. Then, near the end of the search process, you’re given one final opportunity to narrow the search further by adding other information such as first, middle, or last name, city, state, and age.

Intelius will finally provide a list of people who might match your criteria on the first results page. Listed are their name, age, and locations where they might have lived. Then, tap the “Open Report” button for additional information. 

As a final step, you’ll need to check a box stating you won’t use the information to “make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance.” That’s the 50-year-old U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act that was initially developed to help individuals resolve inaccuracies in their credit reports. However, in 1996, the act’s scope was expanded to include additional reports about consumers, such as employment background checks. As a result, FCRA Compliance is mandatory for any employer using a third party to conduct background checks.

Intelius search process begins

(Image credit: Future)

Plans and pricing

Intelius offers a lot of variety in terms of pricing, claiming that there is a customization option with its pricing. We would agree, as the People Search membership plan costs $24.86 per month if you opt for monthly payments, for bi-monthly payments, this price drops to $21.13. This plan offers everything that you need to perform a thorough background check. 

If the price is too steep, Intelius offers a great 5-day trial for the Reverse Phone Lookup with People Search membership plan at $0.95, after that, the service will cost $34.95 per month. It offers unlimited phone, person, and address reports. In addition,  there is the Adress Lookup with people search membership with a 7-day trial at $0.95, offering unlimited address and person reports. After the trial period, this plan will cost $34.95 per month. 

If you’re looking for detailed downloadable report files, Intelius offers those at a $3.99 one-time fee. Moreover, the company also offers Intelius Identity Protection services that will cost $9.95 per month to complete the offer.  

No search results are provided until you give Intelius your credit/debit card or PayPal information and make a purchase. 

You have to subscribe to Intelius to see reports as one-time payments aren’t available (Image credit: Intelius)

The results you get and other goodies

Naturally, the results you receive on someone will differ, depending on what Intelius finds. When found, the report can include address records, public records, images, criminal or traffic information, public social profiles, assets, licenses, and more. If you're looking for a lot of data about someone, there is perhaps nothing better than Intelius. In particular, it offers extensive background check capabilities if that's what you're after. 

Additionally, I'd give Intelius high marks for making it easy to contact customer service. There's a phone number and email readily available on the site. This one-two punch is missing with many of Intelius' competitors. 

As noted above, it takes a long time to access a report. With this in mind, Intelius has introduced a fast pass feature. By choosing this option on the front page, you can get past the payment page before you search. It's a slightly quicker process and one I'm thrilled that Intelius offers. And without directly saying so, going this route shows Intelius giving a little more transparency since you see the price upfront. 

Canceling the service and some negatives

Unfortunately, Intelius' confusing pricing extends further than what was mentioned above. It also offers smaller packages, such as reverse phone searches and address lookups. These are priced below $1, which sounds good until you read the fine print. These options come with limited-time trials that automatically upgrade to full membership once the trial ends. 

Yes, Intelius addresses this online before you make a purchase. However, the upgraded price is addressed in tinier print, at best. Be sure to cancel your membership BEFORE the trial ends so you aren't charged the full fee. 

Additionally, although it didn't happen during my research, some Intelius users online claimed Intelius charged them even after canceling the service. Some others have mentioned being overcharged. Neither of these events should occur with a reputable company; hopefully, Intelius has addressed these concerns since those comments have been made. 

Support and customer care

Intelius offers a “Customer Support” section which takes you to a database of knowledge and articles that may help you, a type of an FAQ section. 

However, any more serious issue needs to be addressed directly with Intelius support. Staff members are on hand during the working hours of 7 AM to 5 PM PT, Monday to Friday, so your query should be dealt with quickly. Unfortunately, there are no weekend hours. You can call or email support; other options such as chat, a support portal, or a forum aren't available.

The competition

A downside to the Intelius search service is that you can’t use the product to perform employment background checks. If that’s the reason that you’re looking for a background check service in the first place, consider using People Trail instead. Unlike Intelius, People Trail is an accredited employment screening service.

Another downside of Intelius is that the service requires a monthly membership, and paying for a one-time background search is impossible. A competitor service worth considering that does employ a straightforward pricing scheme is Sterling for those that only need a one-off or occasional search. This subscription model makes Intelius better suited to those needing multiple searches each month.

Final verdict

Intelius is a remarkable platform that could benefit from improvements in various aspects. There have been mixed reviews regarding Intelius background checks, with many highlighting concerns about data accuracy and consistency. While our personal experience with the platform was positive, we acknowledge that these allegations are not unfounded. 

The Better Business Bureau itself holds a favorable opinion of the platform, and we’re confident that you will be content with the reports that you receive from the platform.

We've also highlighted the best employee background check services.



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