TLDR: Intelius provides fast and accurate background checks at a low cost, but the pricing structure can be confusing. First-timers should try a seven-day trial for $1.99 (95 cents and five days for phone or email reports only) then buy the Most Popular plan if they need more time. We’ll help you decide if this veteran background check service is right for you.
For our Intelius review, we purchased a one-month Most Popular subscription and used it to conduct more than a dozen background searches by name and address, testing for speed, accuracy and more. You could use Intelius to search for people by name, phone number, address or email. We’ll break down how and when to use this best background check service so you may reconnect with family or friends, find the source of unsolicited phone calls or emails, or simply look up what information is available online for your own name.
Started in 2003, Intelius has 58 employees listed on LinkedIn and is based in Seattle. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The company is owned and operated by PeopleConnect Inc.
Why Should You Use a Background Check Service?
A personal background check site can help put your mind at ease by offering in-depth information into someone’s history. Perhaps you’re constantly being hounded by unknown phone numbers or unsolicited emails. You could do a reverse lookup on the phone number or email address to find out who may be contacting you. With a personal background check service like Intelius, you can also search for friends you may have lost touch with or for family members you’ve never even met.
Intelius can be used to conduct a background search on:
- Best friends
- Family and loved ones
- People you meet online
You don’t even need a name — as we mentioned earlier, you could use a background check site to look up an unknown email address or phone number.
When You Cannot Use A Background Check Service
You cannot use a personal background check service like Intelius to screen a service provider such as a new babysitter. Screening employees or tenants is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which limits when and how professional background checks can be used.
The FCRA will only allow background check services that are labeled Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to be used for any of these purposes:
- Any manner of professional or personal hiring
- Credit checks or establishing loan eligibility
- Investigating service providers or rental tenants
- Reviewing someone’s education or job qualifications
It’s important to note that Intelius is not a CRA. This means that you can’t use the background check service for any of the purposes mentioned above, including job screening for a babysitter or housekeeper. Intelius should only be used for personal reasons.
A standard Most Popular or Powers Users subscription allows you to run unlimited searches and reports by name or address. You’ll need to pay more to search by phone number or email address or if you want identity protection. To download any report as a PDF, you’ll also need to pay a fee. We’ll talk more about extra charges in a minute.
To use Intelius, you can conduct a search for free, but you will be required to pay for full reports. You can pay for the background check service by credit card, debit card or PayPal. Intelius automatically renews your subscription, so you will need to cancel it online or by phone if you don’t want to be billed again.
Which Intelius Subscription is Right for You?
The only difference between the Most Popular and Power Users plans is the discount you receive with the Power Users package. If you know you’ll use Intelius extensively for two months in a row, the Power Users package will save you a few dollars.
Try a free trial before you decide. Just remember to cancel before it runs out or you will be billed. Not only that, you may wind up paying for the Most Popular plan plus fees.
Intelius Free Trials
Intelius offers a few trial options for its services:
Phone reports: If you reverse lookup a phone number from Intelius’ home page, you may see an offer for unlimited phone reports for 95 cents for five days. It’s important to note that if you choose this trial and forget to cancel before it expires, Intelius will increase the auto-renew monthly subscription price for your phone reports to $29.95 a month (roughly the $24.86 Most Popular plan plus the $4.99 fee for phone reports).
Address reports: When you search an address on Intelius’ home page, you may see an offer for an unlimited trial for five days for 95 cents. Cancel before the trial ends or you will be charged $29.78 each month.
Standard reports: If you stay on the payment page for a long time, you may eventually see a pop-up that offers a five-day trial for unlimited reports by name or address for $1.99. If you forget to cancel, Intelius will charge you $29.63 each month.
If you only subscribe to standard reports, you won’t be able to use reverse lookup by phone number or email address. You also won’t be able to download report PDFs. Those features are only available for an extra monthly cost.
Intelius doesn’t offer a dark web monitoring feature, but it does have an identity protection service, also for a fee. The identity protection centers around credit monitoring and offers access to identity theft resolution agents and identity theft coverage (with limitations and exclusions) up to $1 million.
If you add up the cost of a Most Popular plan plus fees, you could pay as much as $57.78 a month, so think carefully about what extras you may or may not need.
What Is Revealed in an Intelius Background Check?
A standard report reveals a person’s birthdate and birthplace, work history, current and previous locations, relatives, and more.
You’ll also see education history, social media accounts, contact information, criminal history and the following:
- Associates and possible relationships
- Business profiles
- Financial information
- Owned assets and properties
- Phone carrier
- Possible neighbors
- Professional licenses
- Sex offender information
- Traffic tickets and accidents
- Vehicle information
With an address report, you’ll discover:
- Business information
- Census data
- County details
- Crime statistics
- Current residents
- Eviction history
- Neighbor information
- Ownership history
- Popular places nearby (food, outdoors, shopping, etc.)
- Sex offender information
- Zip code demographics
Are Intelius Reports Accurate?
In our tests, we found most of the information Intelius reports to be accurate. You may find some discrepancies or outdated information, but Intelius’ reports can typically be trusted. During our testing, we found some inaccuracies with email addresses, employment dates and potential relatives.
How to Use Intelius
You can get started on Intelius’ main background check page and follow these steps:
Step 1: Enter Your First Search
Once you’ve entered your first search, Intelius will show a progress bar and ask you a few questions. You may have to confirm a person’s age range or where they currently live. You may also be asked if the person you’re searching for has committed any crimes.
Your first search will take longer than any other search — typically five to seven minutes, during which time you’ll need to leave the browser tab open on your computer.
Step 2: Enter Payment Information
When the search is completed, you’ll be taken to a payment screen. This page is where you’ll choose your subscription package.
Step 3: Create an Account
After entering your payment information, you will create your account with your email address and a strong password. Once you verify your email address, you can then access your report and subsequent searches will produce faster results.
Your Intelius dashboard keeps a list of all the reports you create. You can unlock email address reports, phone number reports, identity protection and PDF downloads from the home screen. You can also start a new search, access your account settings and contact customer support from the menu bar.
Intelius currently has an average rating among customers who left a review on Trustpilot. The company holds an average 3.5 out of 5 stars based on more than 150 reviews. Intelius complaints include the subscription pricing and missing report information. Praise for Intelius includes its helpful customer service and how the service assisted people in finding lost family members.
For customer service, you can reach Intelius representatives at 888-245-1655 during Pacific Standard Time business hours or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Intelius Review: Should You Use It?
Intelius delivers fast and accurate background checks at a relatively low cost. We found fewer errors than competitors like BeenVerified and a lower base subscription price than background check service TruthFinder. We didn’t like the confusing website and cost structure, but there are ways to try out Intelius’ services for $2 or less. If you opt for a subscription plan plus extras, you will find all of the information on a person’s background in one place.
Prices are accurate as of Sept. 21, 2021.