Intelius claims to be an accurate and fast people search that is updated daily, and to have fulfilled over 20 million orders to date.
Instead of being required to visit various government agency websites and submit dozens of document requests, Intelius claims to gather 20 billion public records annually, assign them to about 225 million unique people, and display this information in convenient reports.
But how easy is Intelius to use? Let’s take a look.
How Does Intelius Claim to Work?
First, you’ll need to start by entering the first name and last names of the person you’re looking for, as well as the city and/or state in which the person lives, and then pressing the Search button. Alternately, you can perform a reverse phone lookup in the field directly underneath.
Next, the results of your search will be displayed. In a best case scenario, you’ll see the person’s age, cities they’ve lived in, companies they’ve worked at, colleges/universities they’ve attended, as well as a list of related individuals. Finally, a green checkmark will appear if the person’s DOB, phone, or address are included in the report.
If you click on the orange “Get the Report On” arrow, you’ll be presented with three different report options:
- People Search Report – Includes full name, address, age & DOB, aliases, phone number, relatives, and address history.
- People Search Plus Report – Includes everything in the basic package, in addition to social network and email search.
- Background Report – Features everything found in the Plus report, in addition to a property report, criminal check, bankruptcies and liens, aliases, lawsuits, neighbors, and marriage and divorce records.
Seems fairly straightforward, right? But does Intelius’s ease of use necessarily provide you with a good value for your hard-earned money? Consider the following:
Where Does Intelius Obtain Their Information From?
Intelius obtains all of their information from public records, which are simply defined as “documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential.” However, while this information is technically available to anyone who requests it, in most instances, you would be required to visit each individual government agency, depending on the type of information you were looking for (e.g. address, marriage information, criminal records, etc.).
Instead, people search companies like Intelius claim to save you time and hassle by compiling all the information for you into a quick, easy-to-read report.
Is There Anything That Inteiius Can’t Be Used For?
According to Intelius’s Terms & Conditions, the company is not a consumer reporting agency as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). As such, you can’t use the information contained in an Intelius Report to determine an individual’s eligibility for credit, employment, or for any other business transaction (including leasing an apartment).
However, when compared to many other people search companies, Intelius does offer a employee screening services by partnering with TalentWise.
Are There Other People Search Options?
When it comes to searching for someone online, there are a wide variety of choices from which to choose, although each one claims to provide their customers with some kind of advantage. In this case of Intelius, it’s this:
“To get these records for the person you're searching for, you'd have to contact a variety of government agencies and request copies. To get this info, you'd have to obtain millions of records and then sort through them to find the ones that belong to the person you're searching for. To build a database like ours, you'd have to hire a team of data scientists and have them spend ten years inventing better ways to sort billions of records, fill in the blanks, and connect the dots.”
And while there’s no way to verify the above claims, it’s important that you check out (pun intended) all your people search and background check options, including sites like Instant Checkmate, SpyFly, and BeenVerified. Granted, most of these companies have similar reputations among customers, which is what we’ll talk about next.
Are Customers Happy with Their Intelius Reports?
Overall, based solely on online customer reviews, it appears that Intelius has a very poor reputation.
On ConsumerAffairs, 65 customers provided their feedback for Intelius, and gave the company an average rating of 1 star. Common complaints cited incorrect/incomplete information contained in reports, difficulty cancelling trials and monthly subscriptions, and rude customer service.
35 TrustPilot readers provided feedback on their experiences with Intelius, and gave it an average rating of 2.5 stars, with common complaints mirroring those noted above. Similarly, 28 Yelp reviewers gave Intelius an average 1-star rating, with most of the same complaints.
From a company perspective, Intelius is based out of Bellevue, WA and holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, despite 444 closed complaints (as of 3/16/15). As you might have guessed, nearly all of the same Intelius complaints noted elsewhere online were also prevalent on the BBB’s website.
Intelius Pricing & Refund Policy
Intelius’s report options are priced as follows:
- People Search Report: $3.95 ($0.95 for Premier Plus*)
- People Search Plus Report: $9.95 ($6.95 for Premier Plus)
- Background Report: $49.95 ($39.95 for Premier Plus)
*Intelius’s Premier Plus program will cost you $29.95 per month in membership fees, for which you’ll receive 1 monthly Background report. However, any additional reports ordered will be priced as shown above.
You can also try out Intelius through their 7-day trial for $7.95. Upon expiration of your trial, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Intelius’s Premier Plus program, which means you’ll continue being billed $29.95 per month until you call to cancel.
According to the Intelius Terms & Conditions, all purchases are final, and no refunds are available.
However, in order to cancel your trial or your Premier Plus membership, you’ll need to contact customer service at (888) 445-2727.
Is Intelius a Good Way to Find People?
Chopping to the Point: Whether you’re thinking about choosing Intelius or any other people search company, because the information contained in their reports is publicly available, you might want to try searching for it through you favorite searching engine before paying for a report. This is especially relevant if you’re looking for basic information such as an address or phone number.
If you do choose to order a report through Intelius though, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on recurring charges, especially if you decided to sign up through one of their free trials. And you might be taking a shot in the dark when ordering an Intelius report, because regardless of the limited information one of their reports may contain, no refunds are available.
First of all, they only have a PO box in the US. This is a company out of India! The information you get can be obtained for free. I attempted to cancel our subscription, however, calling India made this a frustrating and time-consuming task. Don't waste your time. I will watch carefully in the future to ensure that the companies I work with are only companies in the USA.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
5 out 5 people found this review helpful
Intelius people search
Although this service does provide some useful information, much of it is inaccurate, so prepare to go through a stack of phone numbers to find what you're looking for (if you can find it at all).
Most offensive is their marketing scheme for pricing. They say you can do a basic search for under $1 but then come in heavy on the $19.95 a month subscription. And of course, if you pay for a year, they'll discount that. By NOW you're tired of reading through their advertising!
I ordered the one-time basic service, which you must then cancel within the next seven days or you'll be charged the monthly subscription fee (and it could get worse). But, I canceled right after I completed my single search.
They gave me a confirmation number and included the date on the confirmation, so I felt safe. I checked my bank account and saw the one-time charge.
A week later, another charge appeared for $7.95, and I called them immediately, feeling confident that since I had my confirmation number, I'd get that charge reversed. NOT! The Eastern Indian accent on the phone spoke to me in broken English to tell me that even though I canceled right away, I'm still charged another $7.95 for the service because they give me access for seven days. And then if I canceled, they charge me for that week, and I won't see any more charges. She "claims" that this is on the site, but if it is, it's vague and you're so involved in avoiding all of their other pitfalls that it's near impossible to notice.
I'll still be waiting to see if they charge me again. For now, lesson learned and I won't use them again.
I'd advise that for ANY of these services (to include Carfax and other places where they really want you to buy subscriptions and not just pay a one-time service fee), that you buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card and use that so they don't have external access to your bank account.
In my opinion, they're hoping you don't notice a fee that's charged a week later and is under $10, and they don't get any complaints. I would look for a service that's more straight forward also.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend