Intelius Reviews: Background Search or Scam?

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Intelius phone app on Samsung phoneWondering who is calling you from unknown numbers? Worried about the new consultant your company is considering for hire? Or maybe you are interviewing nannies to babysit your kids but not sure if they’re telling the whole truth? Using the power of the internet, Intelius makes it possible to access a treasure trove of information online. Here is our review of this leading site in the online background check space including features, pricing, pros, cons and more.

Intelius logoVisit Intelius Website

What Is Intelius?

Intelius, USSearch and their sister website Classmates, are all part of the larger Seattle-based company called People Connect, Inc. Their website indicates that the “companies were brought together to revolutionize an industry that’s filled with dark corners and reactive strategy.” They claim that by using the combined resources of all three sites, they can “shine a light into those dark corners and be the digital identity company that empowers consumers.” Leveraging Classmates gives the company a large volume of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) which it can then use to fill its database on Intelius and vice versa. Regardless of the reasons for their success, it’s all working, because they have quickly become a leader in the people search and background check space.

How Do Intelius Searches Work?

Upon visiting the site, you have the option to run a people search or reverse phone number lookup. After inputting the information, you are taken to a page which shows some details about the person being queried. From there, any further information requires paying for one of the reports. Beyond that, users can also run an email lookup, social network search (requiring First/Last Name and City), property records inquiry (requiring address), or a criminal records search. Just keep in mind that while some of these reports provide the information requested at a reduced price, you may find it more cost effective to just pay for the full report and thus get all of the information you need (more on pricing below).

Review Overview

Customer Service & Support
Pricing
Data/Intelligence
User-Friendly

4.00/5.00

Pricing is what cost this service some major points in our book. More simplicity and less “nickel and dime” add-ons would have allowed for a higher rating in that category.

Key Features

  • Wide variety of search options
  • Use to look up potential employees
  • Employment data available
  • Mobile app gives you unlimited access to billions of public records on the go (and can screen incoming phone calls)
  • Report accessible for 45 Days

Pros

Cons

  • Accurate contact information (addresses, phone & email)
  • Accurate relatives
  • Accurate criminal history
  • Good civil judgment information, including bankruptcy
  • Pricing model is confusing and feels a bit like they are tricking customers
  • Report has too many ads
  • Report still offers even more paid add-ons
  • Our customer service experience was okay but nothing outstanding

Intelius Pricing

You can pay full price for the search of your choice or get an Intelius Premier Plus membership and pay a discounted fee for your first search and all additional future searches.

  • Intelius People Search: $0.95* (full name, age & DOB, addresses, phone number, relatives, employment and education)
  • Intelius People Search Plus: $6.95* (everything in People Search + social networks, and email addresses)
  • Intelius Background Check: $39.95* (everything in People Search Plus + criminal check, liens, bankruptcies, judgments, lawsuits, marriage & divorce)
  • Intelius Premiere Plus: $29.95/month (1 background check voucher per month and unlimited premiere searches as you wish each month. Reports can include name, age, aliases, address history, phone numbers, email addresses and relatives.
  • Mobile apps available: Download Intelius App for iOS or Google Play
  • View all options

*With the discounted introductory pricing, you have 7 days to cancel the membership but will still be charged $7.95 (if not then you pay $29.95).

We should note that all background check company’s pricing tends to be rather confusing. This is not exclusive to Intelius. The pricing model becomes even more complicated because even after you run the search (and pay), the report itself is riddled with offers to add-on more services. Make sure you read the fine print before you checkout to double check you know what you’re getting.

While there are numerous complains floating around online, Intelius has worked with the Better Business Bureau to improve the language on its website to clearly disclose all terms to consumers and has updated its purchase page to require consumers to opt-in to this program as well as create a username and password.

What Do Customers Think of Intelius?

Positive Intelius Reviews

Can check address and phone numbers any time of day. Don’t have to disturb individual in case you misplace an address already given to you. – Debbie, Consumer Affairs 7/8/2016

It told me what no one else would. Meaning it really works! Excellent product but proceed with caution and make sure that you really want to know what you are looking for!! – Jamesetta, Facebook 12/28/2013

Negative Intelius Reviews

The preview of what you’re getting before you pay is not the same as what you’re paying for. My preview was the correct person, the report I received was, however, not the same person. Can’t get a refund because their policy is “all sales final”. Now I have to pay someone else to get the correct person’s information.Stefanie, Trustpilot 2/26/15

Basically I was surprised at how “scammy” this whole thing felt. Quite unprofessional and I will be watching my credit card carefully in the next statement(s). – Andrew, Yelp 7/15/2015

Our Personal Experience With Intelius

The results themselves were very accurate for what we expected from a consumer grade background check company. However, the pricing model with constant offers to “add this and add that” made it feel like a bit of trickery. It wasn’t fine print, but a more upfront tiered pricing solution would give customers the data they want without feeling like the dealership that just sold them a car with no floor mats.

Video: Intelius Mobile App

Watch this quick video to see how their mobile App works for getting background info on the go.

More Background on Background Checks

Visit Intelius Website

Intelius provides very accurate information for an online search company. At the end of the day, companies such as Intelius give the consumer the power of information like never before, and while it may not be as accurate or as thorough as a private investigator, the convenience and ease make it an attractive option (just make sure you know what you’re paying for and don’t get caught in their sales trap). Learn more about how background checks work and read reviews from other companies in our background check comparison article.

What are you looking to find out with a background check?

Greg is a North America Security Manager for a large agriculture company where, among other responsibilities, he leads and manages their Global Threat Intelligence Program. In that role he leverages various 3rd Party tools and open source intelligence techniques for protection of their assets, people, products and information. He also serves as the lead for information security for the region, driving awareness and training campaigns and also managing the Data Leakage Program (DLP). Additionally, he owns and operates Sentinel Consulting Group, a security consulting, private investigations and executive protection company serving clients throughout North Carolina.

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