- Deep web scanning
- Quality reports
- Mobile app
- Five-day trial
- Slow search
- No single-purchase reports
In the business of background check services it’s common to encounter similar features and shared benefits between the different companies. However, TruthFinder and Instant CheckMate are almost copies of each other since, as it turns out, the two California-based companies are both founded by Kristian Kibak and Joey Rocco – which at least explains the shared assets. And so it begs the question, are there any differences and, if so, is one better than the other? It stands to reason that since TruthFinder has been in the business for longer it should have more experience. And the accumulated knowledge absolutely shows, as the service is polished, transparent and feature rich. The ability to initiate a deep web scan is especially noteworthy, which also comes free for full-fledged members.
When it comes to spicing up the core service, background check services either flaunt a mobile app or create an alluring feature like tracking changes in the report. TruthFinder nails the former but its second trick is an even bigger surprise, granting the ability to scan the dark web to ensure your identity isn’t secretly compromised. The search algorithm monitors thousands of data points, looking for personal information – email address, phone numbers, credit card details, bank account numbers or any other credentials – that could be posted on hidden forums. With the help of this dark web search you might get a step ahead of credit card frauds or identity thieves.
As for the smartphone app, it’s downloadable for iOS and Android systems. The menu system has been overhauled to fit the small screen and reports are color coded so that the information stands out. Whether or not smartphones are cut out for reading background reports is debatable but the undoubted edge you’ll gain from using the app is the caller identify function, that will run a brief check every time an unknown number calls to help learn who’s on the other end.
TruthFinder categorizes the collected information into distinct sections for easy readability. The report starts with personal information such as name, age, phone number, known aliases, and carrier and will even mention the person’s zodiac sign. After this is the subject’s location history, which is interesting since many other background check services often pair this information with the other personal details.
TruthFinder, on the other hand, uses several maps – including satellite pictures and Google’s street view – to pinpoint the places where the target has lived, hence the need for a separate section. The system even shows whether there are any known sex offenders in the area, which is invaluable info if you are looking for new property.
Next come the arrest records that tackle any possible crimes committed by the subject in great detail, detailing the charges as well as the grade and the disposition of the offense. TruthFinder also looks up the target’s name in a criminal database to see if the person has had a shady past, a feature that can be of great use if the new neighbor is acting suspiciously. In cases where there are bankruptcies and liens available, they are featured here too.
The next section digs deep into the murky waters of social media sites. Again, TruthFinder does a great job of organizing the information, especially since it highlights the subject’s latest posts and tweets if a corresponding account has been found. The report continues by listing any potential relatives and showing marriage or divorce certificates, and while browsing the connected associates it’s possible to expand the menu to initiate a new search on them. Finally, the report concludes with the details on the target’s various licenses.
Users have two choices when it comes to actually firing up a search. Newcomers have access to the people search, where only the full name of their subject is necessary, with the possible addition of the state of residence for further refining of the results. Alternatively the other option is to look someone up via a phone number. Searches based on physical or email addresses seem to be missing but in fact these are actually reserved for full-fledged members. The deep web search is also permanently featured on the main page, but in this case the scanner is available only after providing your email address.
Ease of Use
One slight issue with the search engine of TruthFinder is its slow speed. It takes at least five minutes from entering your first keywords before you’ll actually be able to read the report. The delay is perhaps tolerable if you only have a couple of names to research, but checking the background of a dozen or more people will end up being rather time consuming. Luckily after you’ve received a report on someone, re-opening it only takes a heartbeat.
Navigating in the report is a pleasant experience due to the user-friendly nature of the menu. Major categories can be jumped between with ease, while the information is organized in a comprehensive manner. TruthFinder relies on drop-down menus, sliders and expressive icons to keep things compact but understandable.
TruthFinder warns users that the service should be used for looking up neighbors, friends, online dates and checking someone’s criminal background, but that the reports are ill-suited for screening future employees or determining the subject’s eligibility for insurance.
The reason behind this warning is that the data is collected from various public records that are digitalized and therefore has a chance for the information in the original source to be incomplete, faulty or just not available – so it’s recommended to take the reports with a grain of salt. It’s also a possibility that the subject has previously removed their details from TruthFinder’s database. Nevertheless, the results always mirror the data of these public records and the service provider is unable to change them.
Security & Privacy
The service is well aware of how important security is when dealing with people’s private data, proven by the industry-standard 128-bit encryption protecting the information that you provide, such as email address, username and credit card number. Furthermore, TruthFinder promises not to log personal data on their servers – delegating the task to a PCI-certified partner – ensuring that your information won’t be compromised should a hacker attack take place.
Of course, not everyone will be happy to see their name appear in a search list, and so luckily hiding your own report is very easy. Opting out is done by completing an online form, calling the customer support or contacting the helpdesk via email. The first one is probably the fastest method as all you need to do is visit the designated opt-out page, use the search bar to find your report and verify your identity. Following the request the team will hide your information within 48 hours.
TruthFinder utilizes a rather simple but most importantly customer-friendly pricing model in which there is only one membership plan to unlock all of the available features upon subscription. At its core the service costs $27.78 per month but deciding to stick with the service for three months instead reduces the price to $23.02 per month. It’s true that some background check services offer cheaper subscription fees but TruthFinder at least provides much more value for your money, especially since you won’t be charged extra for premium content after committing yourself to a subscription.
As for purchasing a single report instead of paying for a whole month’s worth of access, this option isn’t strictly available even though the site does provide a sizable alternative. By stalling a bit on the checkout page the system will ask whether you wish to activate the trial instead, which costs only $1 and gives unlimited access to the reports for five days. All you have to do is cancel in time to read your report for the miniscule fee.
The company has earned a stellar A+ from the Better Business Bureau for its extended efforts for good relationships with customers. If you have a question or discovered an issue that needs an immediate fix, then the staff is available online via email or by calling them during business hours, on both weekdays and weekends. There is no online chat at the moment, though. The FAQ is also a good source of knowledge but you probably won’t need it as the site is very transparent and informative, explaining the pros and cons of the different search types right below the search fields themselves.
TruthFinder is an industry-leading force when it comes to background checking. The service offers quality data collecting coupled with a compelling presentation and multiple ways to conduct a search. The information collected covers all of the aspects you could expect from a public record aggregate site, but TruthFinder tops this up with the added ability to scan the dark web for compromised data related to you. The ease of use for both the web and the app versions is top-notch, not to mention that the site is very generous with explanations and guides even though the help team is available all week long. The only negative aspect encountered is the dreadfully slow speed for finding information and creating a report.
The pricing strategy is a monthly subscription , with members receiving access to all content without any further paywalls – which can be common in this industry. The prices are affordable considering the service quality, plus there is a backdoor to enjoying an unlimited amount of reports for only $1 by making the most out of the five-day trial. If you are looking for a reliable background check service, then TruthFinder will certainly be a good deal.