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Those types of background checks are done by consumer reporting agencies, which are different services. The services we reviewed all pull records from public databases and other public sources like social media accounts. Some variability is natural, so to account for that we ordered reports for multiple people so that we could assess discrepancies and include them in our ranking.
To test these services, we purchased, people searches for three different people, including one of our reviewers.
Our search targets had names that ranged from very common to fairly uncommon, which let us see how well the search element of these services worked. For each report we purchased, we had the subjects verify the information to ensure it was as accurate as possible. We looked at email and phone numbers, addresses, assets, marriages, divorces, relatives and criminal history information in each report. We also checked to see if the information was current.
We found that most of these services did a good job with addresses, relatives and criminal history information. There was a greater variation in results when it came to finding email addresses and phone numbers, especially cell phone numbers. The information did vary depending on how much our subjects shared on their social media profile. Many people search services are adopting a subscription model. These usually provide unlimited searches, though some operate on a credit model.
We like services that give you the option to buy individual reports, since you may only be interested in information about a single person. The pricing we included is the non-promotional price. Many services offer promotional pricing that discounts reports if you sign up for a trial during checkout.
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The single reports are usually sparse, containing only address and contact information. An expanded report increase in cost but they contain all the information the people search company can provide. When using a people search, we found that the more information you can provide about the person the easier it is to find them. This extra information can be as simple as adding middle names, cities, states or ages to the people finder to reduce the search time.
Most services have filters that let you narrow your results. For this information you would need to conduct a background check not a people search. We spoke to Shawn Siegal from BeenVerified to learn more about how these services are used. According to Mr. Siegal, people search services are used is to reconnect with a lost friend, family member or professional acquaintance. They can also be useful for checking out blind dates or potential business partners.
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Running a search on yourself is another way to use these services. This is a good opportunity to see what information someone else can see about you. Most services also offer a way to flag information as inaccurate, which helps the service tighten its data matching and provide anyone looking for you with the right information. Of course, you can learn a lot about a person from their social media accounts. We asked Mr. Siegal how people search services differ from social media.
He told us a people search report can give you a clearer view of someone, while social media accounts present a filtered version of a person. A Pew Research Center survey found that about 46 percent of those who use people search services are trying to reconnect with old friends, estranged family members, lost business associates or former flames. But after finding the contact information on someone from your past, you need a careful approach if you want the best chance of success.
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The friends you make while serving in the military can be some of the deepest relationships in your life. All the information people search services collect and sell is public information. They simply make it easier to find by doing all the detective work for you, by using web-scraping software and through the purchase of data in bulk from companies like Facebook.
If you want to find a person on your own for free, put your detective-cap on and start doing some internet sleuthing. Unfortunately, searches can be unproductive, especially if the person has a common name. However, there are ways to filter out the noise. First, add keywords to the name in the search bar. It helps to think like a witness describing a criminal to police — any identifying information can help. This provides advanced tools you can use to filter out a lot of information from the search. You can limit the results by language, specific websites, how and where the search terms appear on a page, and the published period of the websites.
This shifts the search results from website text to images. If you find the person, you can follow the image to the website by clicking on the image. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with 2.
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