Spokeo vs. Intelius: Which Is Better for Background Checks?

November 24, 2023

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These days, doing your due diligence on people is easier than ever thanks to online background check services. With just a few clicks, you can access a wealth of public records on virtually anyone.

Two of the most popular background check sites are Spokeo and Intelius. But which one should you choose?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Spokeo and Intelius head-to-head so you can decide which platform is right for your needs.

We’ll also cover some key factors to weigh when using any background check site. Let’s dive in!

How Do Spokeo and Intelius Work?

Spokeo and Intelius are both people search and background check websites. Their databases pull billions of public records from sources like phone books, social networks, marketing lists, court documents, and more.

Using an individual’s name, current or past addresses, phone number, or email, these sites can uncover a wealth of intel like:

  • Age and date of birth
  • Current and previous home addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Aliases and maiden names
  • Relatives and associates
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • Criminal records
  • Bankruptcies, liens, judgments
  • Social media profiles
  • Photos
  • Employers

Much of this data comes from marketing databases. For instance, when you sign up for a store loyalty card, you share personal information that the store may sell. Data brokers then aggregate and resell this info.

Spokeo and Intelius also compile social media data by scraping sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Some of this may be set to “private” on the actual platforms.

So in seconds, these services can pull together a detailed profile on virtually anyone. This can be helpful for:

  • Personal safety – Checking out an online date, caretaker, or other acquaintance
  • Tenant screening – Avoiding risky renters with background checks
  • Competitive research – Researching key employees at a rival company
  • Reconnecting – Finding long lost friends or family members

However, it’s critical to use background check sites ethically and legally. Their terms of service prohibit unlawful use of personal data.

Now let’s see how Spokeo and Intelius stack up.

Types of Records

One of the biggest factors in choosing a background check service is understanding what types of records each provides.

Spokeo categorizes its searches as “people search” and “background check.”

A Spokeo people search includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Current & past addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Relatives & associates
  • Social media profiles
Spokeo Search Options

With Spokeo’s background check, you also get:

  • Criminal records
  • Bankruptcies, liens, judgments
  • Marital status
  • Divorce records
  • Other court records

Intelius offers similar options:

Intelius people search:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Current & past addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Relatives & associates
Intelius

Intelius background check adds:

  • Criminal & court records
  • Bankruptcies, liens, judgments
  • Marriage & divorce records

So in terms of record types, Spokeo and Intelius are quite similar. The key differences:

  • Employment info – Intelius provides current and past employer names. Spokeo does not.
  • Photos – Spokeo typically includes photos. Intelius does not.
  • Social media – Spokeo compiles profiles from major social networks. Intelius focuses solely on records from data brokers and public sources.

Below is a comparison chart:

Record TypeSpokeoIntelius
Name
Age
Address History
Phone Numbers
Relatives & Associates
Criminal Records
Court Records
Bankruptcies & Judgments
Marriage & Divorce Records
Employers
Social Media Profiles
Photos

While the core records are similar, think about what specifically you want to learn about your search subject. This can help steer you toward the service that will best fit your needs.

Accuracy and Reliability

When using any background check service, accuracy is critical. You want to feel confident you’re getting factual information.

Unfortunately, no background check site is 100% accurate 100% of the time. These services rely heavily on public marketing databases, which can contain errors or outdated information.

However, Spokeo and Intelius take steps to boost accuracy:

  • Comparing data from multiple sources to identify discrepancies
  • Using algorithms and manual reviews to connect related records to the right individual
  • Allowing people to opt-out of their databases per FCRA regulations
  • Providing mechanisms to correct any inaccurate information

In side-by-side testing, both platforms returned accurate age, address history, and relative information on our test searches. From online customer reviews, Spokeo seems to have a slight edge in accuracy. But your individual results can vary.

We recommend verifying any questionable information through additional sources when using Spokeo, Intelius, or any similar site.

Ease of Use

Conducting efficient searches is key with these online tools. You don’t want to fumble around trying to figure out the interface.

Spokeo

Spokeo earns top marks for its clean, simple website design. Their homepage explains how it works and lays out pricing clearly.

To run a search, just enter the name and state. Select filters like age range if you have additional details.

Spokeo returns initial results like addresses, relative names, etc. in seconds. You can then purchase a full report by clicking “Unlock Profile.”

Spokeo Unlock Profile

The report is well-formatted in sections, making it easy to find what you need. Spokeo also offers Android and iOS apps with similar flows.

Intelius

Intelius also keeps its interface straightforward. Enter a name, city, and state on their simple homepage to start a search.

It takes a few more clicks to reach your report compared to Spokeo. You’ll need to enter some additional filters like age range and confirm your email.

Intelius then displays a preview with age, addresses, and family members. Click “View Report” to purchase the full background check.

Intelius View Report

The final report has a clean layout but can take more scrolling to view all sections. Intelius also offers Android and iOS apps.

For most users, Spokeo comes out slightly ahead in ease of use thanks to its faster results. But both platforms are relatively user-friendly.

Pricing and Features

Let’s break down what it costs to use Spokeo and Intelius.

Spokeo Pricing

Spokeo offers both single reports and monthly subscription plans.

One-time reports

  • Name Report (People Search): $0.95
  • Background Check Report: $12.95

Monthly plans

  • Basic (100 searches per month): $19.95/month
  • Professional (500 searches per month): $69.95/month
Spokeo Pricing Monthly Plans
Spokeo Pricing Professional

Court records are an extra $2.95 each. Customers can cancel subscriptions anytime.

Intelius Pricing

Intelius requires a monthly membership:

  • People Search: $24.86/month
  • People Search (Bi-Monthly): $21.13/month
Intelius Pricing

You can also pay $2 more per month for identity monitoring through Intelius. Members can cancel at any time.

For most users, Intelius provides better value if you want unlimited searches. But Spokeo is cheaper for a one-off report.

Spokeo also lets you download reports as PDFs at no extra charge, while Intelius charges $3.99 per download.

Intelius Downloadable Report Files

For proprietary tools, Intelius offers more robust identity protection. Spokeo has unique features like email address searches to uncover social media accounts.

Privacy Policies

Reputable background check sites should disclose how they collect, use, and protect sensitive personal data. This builds trust with users.

Spokeo and Intelius both publish detailed privacy policies describing:

  • What data they gather
  • Where they get it
  • How it’s shared
  • Options to access or delete your information

Key elements:

  • Opt-out process – People can request removal from their databases. This limits what shows up in searches.
  • Data security – Encryption, access controls, compliance audits, and other protections.
  • External audits – Ensuring consistency with laws like FCRA and CCPA.

Between the two, Intelius seems to offer more robust privacy tools like opting out of data sharing. Spokeo focuses more on data access rights.

But both platforms take privacy seriously. Be sure to read their policies fully before conducting any searches.

Spokeo vs. Intelius: Key Pros and Cons

SiteProsCons
Spokeo● Very affordable single reports
● Faster, easier searches
● More accurate overall
● Includes social media & photos
● No employer info
● Must pay extra for court records
● Monthly plans are pricey
Intelius● Lower monthly unlimited pricing
● Includes employers
● More robust privacy controls
● Slower & clunkier interface
● No social media or photos
● Less accurate in some reviews

To recap, Spokeo’s strengths are low one-time pricing, super simple site, and broad social media results. Intelius has better value for high-volume searches and provides employer data.

6 Key Factors When Using Background Checks

While services like Spokeo and Intelius are convenient, it’s wise to educate yourself on some important considerations around background checks:

⭐️Not 100% comprehensive – There can be errors, omissions, or reporting gaps in these databases. Verify any uncertain findings.

⭐️Not 100% up-to-date – Public records can take time to reach databases. Some info like addresses may be out of date.

⭐️Take context into account – Don’t jump to conclusions based on records like arrests or bankruptcies without understanding circumstances.

⭐️Avoid abusive use – Stalking or harassment using personal data can bring criminal penalties. Respect privacy.

⭐️Monitor your own record – Search yourself periodically to identify any unknown accounts or incorrect data.

⭐️Consult professionals for sensitive cases – For adoptions, litigation or pre-employment checks, consider hiring a specialized investigator.

The Bottom Line

Here’s the verdict after our in-depth Spokeo vs. Intelius comparison:

For one-time searches or occasional use, Spokeo is our top pick thanks to lower single report pricing, faster searches, and comprehensive results. The simple interface also appeals to casual users who just want quick background info on someone.

For professional or high-volume background checks, Intelius pulls ahead. The unlimited monthly plans offer better value, and employer data provides useful insights for many business purposes.

But there’s no universally “best” background check site. Look at the key factors like records offered, accuracy, ease of use, and pricing to decide which platform best suits your specific needs. And educate yourself on best practices before conducting online background checks.

FAQs About Spokeo and Intelius

Are these sites legit?

Yes, Spokeo and Intelius are legitimate background check services with millions of users. They compile data from legal public sources and private databases. However, you should still verify any questionable information independently.

Can I run background checks without paying?

You can access very limited information like name, age, past addresses without paying on both sites. But full background reports require purchasing single reports or subscribing. This ensures profitable business models so they can maintain large databases. Many sites also require payments to avoid illegal use cases.

What if I find an error on my background check?

Both Spokeo and Intelius provide mechanisms to correct any inaccurate personal information in their systems. Look for options like “Dispute This Report” on your results page.

Are there any free background check sites?

Some sites like TruthFinder claim to offer free background checks but make you enter credit card information. Others give very limited data before requiring payment. Unfortunately there are no services that offer truly full, free background checks. But pricing on sites like Spokeo is pretty reasonable for one-off reports.

The FCRA regulates background check companies. This limits using this data for things like employment screening, credit applications, and insurance eligibility. You cannot falsely represent yourself to unlawfully access private records either. In general, focus on using these sites for educational purposes and personal safety.

Conduct Smarter Background Checks

We hope this comprehensive Spokeo vs. Intelius comparison helps you select the ideal platform for your background check needs. Just remember accuracy isn’t guaranteed, and avoid using these tools unlawfully or unethically. With the right approach, they can provide useful insights to make more informed decisions in business and life.