Curious about an old high school friend, new neighbor, or potential date? You might be able to hunt down a few pictures on social media or dig up some basic info with a Google search, but if you really want to get the details, you may need to run a background check. Professional background check services can find some surprising public records.
A background check makes it easier to track down the contact information for your old college roommate or find out if that cute dude from Tinder is who he says he is. A background report can answer lots of questions (or raise new ones), but first you need to find the right service.
Don’t worry. We can help.
We researched popular background check companies and tested them out ourselves to find out which ones were best. You’ve got lots of options—keep reading to find the best background check service for your needs.
- Best for one-time reports: Instant Checkmate
- Best for up-to-date contact information: TruthFinder
- Best for multiple reports: Been Verified
FAQ about background check services
Can I just do a Google search instead?
Background search companies get their information from public databases and records, so in theory, you could track down a lot of the same info by yourself. So, why pay someone else?
To save time and get more information.
A background check company can quickly get hard-to-find information and condense it all into one convenient report. It might be easy for you to find someone’s LinkedIn profile, but it would take a lot more work to find information about property ownership and criminal activity.
Instead of spending weeks tracking down details, you can spend a few minutes typing in a name and a city and let the pros do the work for you. That way you can make sure you feel comfortable before you send your kid to a friend’s house or pick up furniture from a Craigslist stranger.
What information is included in an online background check?
Background reports vary dramatically from one company to the next, and all of them rely on public records, so even the best services won’t be perfectly accurate. Some of the services we tested included up-to-date contact information, property ownership details, and criminal background info, while others didn’t even have a correct phone number.
Can I use this information to hire people or screen potential tenants?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Trade Commission enforce laws that are in place to prevent employment discrimination. It is illegal to use the information found in a normal background check to make employment decisions (hiring, firing, promotions, etc.), screen tenants, or determine someone’s eligibility for credit or insurance.