About Instant Checkmate

Billing themselves as “the most popular background check website on the internet,” Instant Checkmate is a popular online data broker that claims to provide useful and detailed information on “just about anyone,” including personal information such as addresses and phone numbers, as well as professional licenses, arrest records, and more.

In order to accomplish this, Instant Checkmate claims to aggregate public records from multiple local, state, and federal databases, and to compile this information into a simple, easy-to-read report that contains more than 30 different data points. As such, Instant Checkmate claims to help you find what you’re looking for and to “help users learn the truth about the people in their lives.”

A screenshot of Instant Checkmate's Facebook AdA screenshot of Instant Checkmate's Facebook Ad

But is this really what you can expect from Instant Checkmate, and is the information contained in their reports worth your hard-earned money? We’ll answer all of your pressing questions in a moment in our review, but let’s first take a look at what you’ll pay to use Instant Checkmate.

Instant Checkmate Pricing & Refund Policy

For their services, Instant Checkmate charges the following:

  • 5-Day Trial Offer: $1
  • 1-Month Membership: $22.86 per month
  • 3-Month Membership: $14.86 per month ($44.58 total)
  • 6-Month Membership: $9.86 per month ($59.16 total)
  • Premium Reports: $19.99 each
  • PDF Fee: $1.99 (one-time fee only)

For each monthly membership plan, Instant Checkmate claims that you’ll be able to order an unlimited number of Standard reports, and will only need to pay for a Premium report (per individual) if you’re looking for additional information. We’ll come back around to this in a moment.

Important note: Other popular people search websites, such as SpyFly, BeenVerified, and Persopo offer prices that are equivalent to (or in some instances, lower than) Instant Checkmate. Because of this, be sure to check all your people search options before making a decision (HighYa is a great place to start!).

According to Instant Checkmate’s Terms, “Refunds are handled on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate goal of complete customer satisfaction.”

Instant Checkmate Phone Number, Contact Information & How to Cancel

With this said, in order to cancel your Instant Checkmate membership or to request a refund, you’ll need to contact customer service at 866-490-5980, email them at webcancellations@instantcheckmate.com, or submit an online form request.

Our Updated Instant Checkmate Review

Since writing our original Instant Checkmate review, nearly 160 HighYa readers have provided feedback about their experience with the company, with common consumer complaints that revolved primarily around the amount and accuracy of information contained in reports, in addition to the cost-to-value ratio of Instant Checkmate reports. In fact, these complaints are so prevalent that they’re precisely what we’ll focus on here.

In order to ensure the accuracy of our Instant Checkmate review, we recently spoke with a representative from the company, who gave us greater insight into their pricing model and what’s contained in their reports, which might help address some of your most common concerns.

Speaking of which, based on our research, here are the top online 2 customer complaints related to Instant Checkmate:

Complaint #1: Information Concerns

By far the most common complaint (here on HighYa as well as elsewhere online) related to information found in Instant Checkmate’s reports. And from this, there were two different parts: 1) the amount and 2) the accuracy.

The Amount of Information Contained in Instant Checkmate’s Reports

First, most Instant Checkmate customer complaints claimed that much of the information contained in their reports can often be found on Whitepages.com for free, or through a quick online search. However, keep in mind that not everything contained in an Instant Checkmate report can be found online (criminal records, as one example), for free or otherwise.

In other words, the company clearly states that they pull information from public records databases, meaning that much of this information is freely available to anyone with the time and motivation to gather it themselves. Instead, Instant Checkmate claims that the value they provide is quickly gathering this information and putting it into an easy-to-read report.

The Accuracy of Instant Checkmate’s Information

According to online customer reviews, the second part of this equation relates to the accuracy of the information contained in Instant Checkmate’s reports.

Taking a look at the company’s website, they state:

“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the information we provide as accurate and up-to-date as possible, so you know you can trust our data.”

“Our Standard Reports use two separate data sources that we cross reference to ensure accuracy.”

Note: The Instant Checkmate representative we spoke with also confirmed that they crosscheck their information with other databases.

With this said, it’s important to note that there’s a fine line between crosschecking information with a second database, and verifying the accuracy of said information. Why? Because if both databases have incorrect information (an address, for example), this “crosscheck” is simply verifying that one database matches another—not that the information is necessarily accurate.

With this said, crosschecking databases is an industry-wide best practice, and Instant Checkmate appears to be following the standard. So if the information Instant Checkmate pulls from these databases isn’t correct, it would also be incorrect for any other people search companies who accessed the same databases.

Complaint #2: Report Cost & Content

Next, there are numerous online consumer complaints that reference confusion about:

How Much You’ll Need to Pay

If you browse through the primary sections of the Instant Checkmate website, you’ll notice that you won’t be readily presented with any pricing information—other than learning that a Premium report costs $19.99—until you actually run a person’s name through the system. And considering that the Instant Checkmate website takes approximately 5 minutes to “load” (based on several test runs we completed) all the information about an individual (some online reviewers have claimed that this information should realistically be available in seconds), some might consider this a pretty big hassle.

Instant Checkmate also includes pricing information in their Terms of Use, which can be accessed from their website’s footer. Outside of sitting through the lengthy report ordering process, this means each visitor to the Instant Checkmate website will be required to expend a lot of extra effort looking for basic pricing information. And in our opinion, this may not provide the best user experience—but the information is technically there.

Even then, several customers have complained that it’s not made clear you’ll be up-charged (above and beyond the $20 monthly membership) for Premium reports, or that $1 trials automatically roll over to a monthly subscription, although we found this information to be fairly straightforward.

Important note: Keep in mind that although the verbiage on the Instant Checkmate website might lead you to believe otherwise, there is no guarantee that if you order a Premium report you’ll receive much more information, beyond what’s in the Standard report. However, regardless of what you do (or don’t) find, you’ll still be charged $20 (see next section for additional details). With this said, if the Premium report doesn’t end up containing much more information than a Standard report, it’s probably going to be very subjective as to whether or not you’ll find the additional $20 worthwhile.

When customers upgraded to a Premium report and felt they didn’t get their money’s worth, some claimed to have received a partial refund, while others claimed they weren’t successful at all, so it appears that Instant Checkmate’s customer service really does adhere to their “case-by-base” policy.

The Tangible Difference between Standard & Premium Reports

In other words, despite reading through the entire Instant Checkmate website, you might still be fuzzy about exactly what you’ll get for your money, as well when you’ll need to order a Premium report. And from our perspective, we can see where customers are coming from.

To help clear up any confusion, here is some information taken directly from Instant Checkmate’s registration page:

Instant Checkmate’s registration pageMany online consumers have complained that Instant Checkmate doesn’t clearly differentiate between what’s contained in the Standard (or “full”) and Premium reports. However, the above 2 examples taken from the company’s Registration page should help clear things up.

So here’s the skinny: Based on our conversation with the company, Instant Checkmate reports contain the following:

  • Standard Reports (also referenced as “full” in some areas of the website) – First and last name, date of birth, phone numbers, current and last known addresses, persons living at the same address, census data, satellite imagery of properties, possible relatives, spouses, and marriage/divorce records, arrest and conviction records, traffic records, DUI arrests, FAA licenses, DEA licenses, and/or nearby sex offenders. You can click here for a sample report.
  • Premium Reports – All of the above, in addition to civil judgments, corporate affiliations, watercraft owned, UCC filings, properties owned, voter registration, old phone numbers and/or email addresses, tax liens, Florida accidents, professional licenses, hunting/fishing/weapons permits, foreclosures, date a SSN was issued, aircraft owned, neighbors, and/or business associates.

Important note: As we mentioned above, keep in mind that just because you have the ability to order a Premium report for an individual (and pay the associated $19.99), this doesn’t mean that Instant Checkmate will turn up much more information than what’s contained in the Standard report.

During our call with an Instant Checkmate representative, we ran several different Standard and Premium reports on different individuals, and found that the information they contained was relatively similar. In addition, some of this information wasn’t completely correct, while other (presumably important) information, such as marriages certificates, was missing altogether.

Here are some of the details:

  • The Standard report showed property address and the title “homeowner” only, while the Premium added the loan amount and title company name.
  • The Premium report contained a list of people the individual lived with over the years, but did not contain a list of previous addresses.
  • The Premium report contained information about hunting and fishing licenses.
  • At the bottom of both the Standard and Premium reports Instant Checkmate listed social media information, but this was actually for someone else with the same name.

Based on the walk-through from the Instant Checkmate rep, as well as viewing the information each report contained firsthand, we can definitely draw our own conclusion (and opinion) about the value of Premium reports, and it’s this: From a consumer standpoint, we feel it’s a gamble as to whether or not you’re going to get you money’s worth when ordering a Premium Instant Checkmate report.

As we outlined above though, Instant Checkmate takes each refund request on a case-by-case basis, so if you decide to roll the dice and are dissatisfied, you can always call customer service and roll the dice again by asking for your money back.

Bottom Line: Is Instant Checkmate the Right People Search for You?

Based on the volume of traffic they receive, there’s no doubt that Instant Checkmate is a well-known name within the online background check and people search industries. As such, it stands to reason that their complaint volume might be higher than the competition. After all, the bigger the target, the more “hits” you’ll receive.

However, whether you’re reading them here on HighYa or elsewhere online, it seems that the vast majority of Instant Checkmate’s customer complaints repeatedly tell the same story, which we covered in this review.

And while we’re appreciative that the company took the time to walk us through their Standard and Premium reports—as well as to clarify what each includes—in addition to their easy-to-use interface, we can’t help but wonder why Instant Checkmate doesn’t display this much-needed information in easily accessible areas on their website, without requiring you to dig around or almost complete the ordering process beforehand.

Sure, the information is technically there and everything is disclosed, but you really have to work to find it. We have to wonder: Why did Instant Checkmate consciously decide to format their website this way?

In our opinion, this might go a very long way toward further boosting their online customer reputation and entrenching their top ranking in the industry. Otherwise, it’s reasonable to believe that these misconceptions, which seem easy to clear up, could cause these same complaints to occur again and again.

So, where does this leave us? Ultimately, it comes down to your expectations. If you understand that a good chunk of the information found in Instant Checkmate’s reports can be found elsewhere for free with just a bit of time and effort, you might choose to perform the research on your own.

On the other hand, if you understand that 1) the information you uncover through Instant Checkmate might be limited and/or incorrect, and as a result, 2) you may end up feeling that you didn’t get your money’s worth (especially if you’re looking for more information than was provided in the Standard report), then the time and effort they can potentially save you might be worthwhile.

Now Read: A Guide to Finding the Online Public Records You Need Without Paying a Dime

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453 Customer Reviews for Instant Checkmate

Average Customer Rating: 1.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 1 4 stars: 2 3 stars: 3 2 stars: 21 1 stars: 426
Bottom Line: 1% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 453
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Worst lookup ever

    I know more information than this site was able to provide. Tried to look up criminal history and I know for a fact there was some criminal history that exists and is highly public! Don't use this site. I signed up for premium too so I just spent $55 to get screwed and told that the information wasn't public enough to see. Terrible site and this is coming from a guy who never reviews.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    They sell your email

    So Google put their website as the first result when I searched for a place I can check my driving record. Put my name in, selected where I live, gave them my DISPOSABLE EMAIL.

    Then there're endless progress bars. They are so fake.

    If you need that much time to get information from various sources and compile them for real, dude you should fire your programmer; I can code better and I'm not even a programmer.

    And then after about eternity, they said they've done it and I should pay them. Nope, you are so bad and I can smell it from over the internet.

    But then the spam folder of my email EXPLODED. Checked the headers of them. Yep, all of the spams use the DISPOSABLE EMAIL I told them.

    Sure they sell customer emails on the side for some extra cash. Thank goodness I dodged a bullet.

    If you love your life, stay clear of this horrible website.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    First, I tried to charge you an outrageous rate for a subscription. Then I didn't bite what they offered me as a very low rate for a trial.

    Not at all clear that you will only get very basic information for a misleadingly named "full" report. The person's Horoscope? That's ridiculous!

    Finally, the two big problems: No way to positively identify the person, they are just giving you information on people who have similar names.

    You have to pay extra for "premium" information with no way of knowing if you will get anything. I paid for it and got nothing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Rip off

    This is terrible! It gave me an address, phone number, and her kids' names. I HAVE THAT. I found more on my own for free than I got from the report. Although they had more they said but I had to agree to pay an additional money to get it. Rip off. I am going to dispute the charge and glad I paid through PayPal.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Billing scam

    • Los Angeles,
    • Oct 6, 2016

    This site is a scam. They double bill and then deny that they did so. They charged me 66.78 when it should have been 44.58.

    A CRIMINAL scam company. They should run a background check on their own company. Company service rep was a parrot repeating the same thing about that charge.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Scam, they should have criminal charges

    I have tried this service 3 times in the last two years. Every time I go through the lengthy process of PERSONAL information. Then they accept my card info for this first time free offer.

    The report is DECEPTIVE, but hey, we allow companies to continue to operate under deception.

    My phone Galaxy 5 doesn't work with the info required, the LIVE PERSONAL CHAT EXPLAINS.

    They have all my card info, My personal info, etc. with MY HELP and my money which I paid them

    I feel like I've been taken. The BBB should take this business down.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    They charge a lot just to ask you to pay more.

    • MI,
    • Sep 17, 2016

    This site is deceptive and disreputable. It leads one into thinking the information one will see when paying the basic price is worth over $20. Couldn't be further from the truth. The only thing one gets with the $22 charge is a name and some past addresses and some possible family members. If you want REAL data you have to pay even more.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Useless

    The information is largely useless public domain stuff, including pages and pages of sex offenders that lived near where the background individual lived (weird). Charged for an ability to download a PDF. Really? Crooks.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Crooks!

    • Fort Myers, FL,
    • Aug 20, 2016

    I should have done a background check on Instant Checkmate before using them! Everything people are complaining about is true. Undoubtedly, I think this company is based overseas (not that we don't have crooks here as well). There should be some system where credit card companies keep a record of these kinds of places and at least warn their customers before paying. With today's technology, that shouldn't be too difficult.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Rip off!

    • Palm Bay, FL,
    • Aug 14, 2016

    I went to this website to look up one person only, but they charged my card for six months and wouldn't reimburse me. They only give basic information which you can find out for free, and if you need more info, they charge you a lot more. They suck! That was 2 years ago, and now they've changed their policies, but they're still a rip-off!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Privacy Policy

    Prior to being informed that you need to pay to receive results from Instant Checkmate, their search wizard requires users to enter an email address. This information, they say, will be used to help provide you with the most accurate results. When users finally make it to the billing page, Instant Checkmate has already captured your information, regardless of if you choose to proceed with the service.

    At this point, Instant Checkmate will sell or share your personal information and email address, exposing you to their marketing partners, and making you susceptible to spam.

    The best way to prove this is to create a new email address or forwarder and provide it ONLY to them. Following this, you'll start to receive spam from them. Here is an example:

    https://twitter.com/bulcclub/status/761629064050384897

    I recommend that if you choose to use their service, subscribe to Bulc Club (www.bulc.club) or another provider of forwarders (email addresses that simply forward mail to your personal address) and do not provide them with your personal information. Once you begin to receive spam, disable the forwarder and your personal information is still safe. For more information on how to do this, read "Spam Watchdog": http://www.bulc.info/news/2016/05/24/spam-watchdog/

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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