Intelius Website

Intelius was founded in January 2003. Intelius does have some controversy, but they have some business awards that they’ve won over the last decade. These include recognition from:

  • Inc.
  • Washington CEO
  • C-Net
  • Puget Sound Business Journal.

The company has been recognized for product innovation, community service, business growth and expansion, and industry leadership. Intelius was one of the first companies to allow consumers to remove their information if they didn’t want to be included in a search. They also don’t limit their removal/opt-out package to law enforcement or individuals with sensitive employment situations.

Intelius also has some of the best apps in the industry. A recent new mobile app lets everyone have access to “small data.” The app that is available on most smart devices, helps people find contact information for lost friends, family members or classmates, and stays in line with the FCRA’s policies regarding what data can be easily used.

Intelius has helped a lot of customers during its time in business. Since 2003, Intelius has sold over 50 million reports, reports that are drawn from billions of public records. Intelius is one of the few companies in the industry that described the number of customers that it has helped.

The Good

Intelius offers one of the most transparent platforms for people searches and background checks in the industry. While prices were a little bit tricky to find sometimes, we did like that the terms of services and privacy policy provided information on billing practices, the different subscription levels, and stated that background checks and people searches were different services.

We also liked that Intelius is getting its feet wet in the identity protection market. Individuals who are checking out their individual background check or people search have the option of purchasing identity protection. Intelius will provide up to $1,000,000 in coverage of insurance to protect a person’s identity. Intelius was one of a few companies in the industry that provided clients with identity protection.

Another great feature of Intelius was the opt-out policy. Intelius has an online form that you can fill out that will remove your search information from the database. While your information is not totally “deleted,” it is blocked from the search tool online. If you opt-out of Intelius, clients will not be able to search for you. Intelius also offers a mail-in format for their opt-out service. Typicaly, the service takes 7-14 business days to complete and costs nothing. We appreciated that Intelius made an effort to protect a person’s identity and privacy and also provided a timeframe for removing a person’s information from the search tool.

We also liked the wide variety of service options available with Intelius. Some companies that we reviewed in the industry threw in a background check with their subscription-based service. We liked that if someone was looking for a person’s contact information, they could just pay for a people search subscription or day pass and not worry with all the bells and whistles of a full background check.

There was also a wide array of reverse searches possible. Some companies in the industry only give you the option of searching with a name and location. We found that clients using Intelius could search with just a phone number, an address, or another piece of information that partially identified an individual.

We also liked the customer support options offered by Intelius. We felt that they were truly with the customer all the way in ensuring the best customer support experience possible. With other companies in the industry, we often couldn’t find a phone number or email address and were at the mercy of the online email form. Sometimes, during our review process, Intelius’s competitors would not respond if we used on their online email tool. With Intelius, we were immediately put into contact with a customer support representative who answered our questions about prices, the opt-out policy, and some of the reverse search functions of the website.


The Bad

There was one reverse search tool that troubled us. Intelius gives some users the option of using a reverse SSN lookup. We didn’t ask about this during our phone-in, but overall, we felt that the SSN lookup could be a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. SSN lookup features should be saved for FCRA sanctioned providers, as well as providers of real background checks that can be used for employment. If someone else has access to an individual’s SSN, it is highly likely that they are doing something illegal with it. Intelius should remove their reverse SSN tool from the website’s functionality. In most cases, we weren’t able to find the SSN lookup feature with Intelius’s competitors and this tool raises serious questions about an individual’s personal identity being “leaked out” on the Internet.

Also, we did have some concerns with Intelius’s BBB page. In 2012, the BBB noticed a pattern of customer complaints that regarded billing issues. Some customers would sign up for a one-time purchase without knowing that they were being signed up for a monthly subscription. The monthly fee had its origins in the identity protection services, which was not included in the language on the website. Since then, however, Intelius has worked with the BBB to change the language on its website so that customers are not automatically signed up for a service when they pay for a one-time product. Intelius, however, has a little bit further to go in regards to prices and services that are listed on their website. A few of the “best” people search companies in the industry did provide a table of services. Hire Right, for example, has a search tool that helps customers find the best product for their individual needs.


The Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend Intelius for their people search services. They have some of the best prices in the industry and are one of the few people search companies with an accreditation from the BBB. We would like to see Intelius make its pricing information easier to find, but overall, felt that the volume of complaints with the BBB were not too high. Also, we feel that Intelius does a good job with making the opt-out process easy for individuals who do not want to have their information accessible via a people search company.

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