About Instant Checkmate

By HighYa Research Team
Updated on: Jun 9, 2019

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.”

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 and 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 Experience and Review of Instant Checkmate

Since writing our original Instant Checkmate review, around 527 HighYa readers have provided feedback about their experience with the company giving it an overall rating of 3.5 stars.

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

Common compliments included the ease of use and useful information.

However, some common consumer complaints revolved primarily around the amount and accuracy of the 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, as well as how these data aggregators work in general, 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:

What Customers Are Saying About Instant Checkmate’s Information

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.

What Customers Are Saying About the Cost and Content

Next, there are numerous online consumer reviews 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 and 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 provide additional insight, here is some information taken directly from Instant Checkmate’s registration page:

Instant Checkmate’s registration pageMany online consumers have stated 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.

Removing Your Personal Information from Instant Checkmate

The company's website is rather transparent on the steps needed to take in order to remove your personal information from the website. To do so, you'll need to search for yourself using your name on the website.

Once the results associated with your name are displayed, you will have the option to remove each record. That will be followed by a confirmation email sent your inbox which you'll have to agree to in order to finalize the removal initiation process.

The process of removing your personal data may take up to 48 hours after submission, according to the website.

It's important to note, however, that removing your data from Instant Checkmate simply removes it from their database but not from the general public database as they (and other third-party background check tools) collect from local, state, federal, and independent sources

In other words, your information will still be accessible by other third-party background checkers and aggregators. In that case, you will need to learn of each other company's unique process (if possible) on how to remove your information.

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 based on our experience in using the Instant Checkmate site, you have to browse through the disclosures and disclaimers through the links located at the footer.

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.

The good thing in our experience testing Instant Checkmate is that it really does do a good job compiling everything.

If Instant Checkmate does not provide everything that you would expect in a report, it's ultimately due to the fact that certain information is simply not available in particular county offices associated with particular incidents of the individual.

So whether it's Instant Checkmate or other similar services, some things are out of their reach.

It just so happens that certain information is sealed and not available for public display. In instances like this, services such as Instant Checkmate or other similar sites cannot retrieve it.

Most likely, to our understanding, a court order/subpoena would be required to obtain such classified information. We can't blame Instant Checkmate for that.

We certainly wouldn't want to say that the company intentionally and deceitfully did that. Although, each customer is entitled to their own opinion.

In addition, you save a substantial amount of time using Instant Checkmate to compile reports should there be a lot of information available versus having to perform a manual via Search Engine searches, contacting different services and courts, obtaining information from other third parties, etc.

Think of it this way: you have a grocery shopping list that contains chicken, milk, vegetables and some fruit. Imagine you have to go to four different markets all 5 miles apart from each other for each of the food groups. Pretty time consuming, right?

Now, for an additional convenience fee, wouldn't it be easier to just go to one nice big supermarket that contains everything you need? Get the picture? That's how we perceive Instant Checkmate.

In conclusion, 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.

Ultimately we think Instant Checkmate is a decent tool for the money, just as long as the consumer is educated that these people search websites work based on public information availability, as that would create realistic expectations.

Due to the brilliant design and marketing of Instant Checkmate, however, we can certainly understand why certain consumers get a bit frustrated.

Lastly, we think it's positive that the company allows for you to opt-out of their database so that your personal information isn't accessible by others searching for you on Instant Checkmate.

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

Read 535 Instant Checkmate Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 3.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 268 4 star: 55 3 star: 24 2 star: 19 1 star:  169
Bottom Line: 62% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 535
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  • This company is actively collecting reviews from its customers. All reviews submitted are subject to moderation and approval to ensure they meet our Review Guidelines.
  • 33 out 35 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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  • 24 out 25 people found this review helpful

    Got Spam?

    • Jul 15, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    As a sort of joke, I wanted to look up someone. Whitepages was being a jerk and begging for money I don't have, so I tried Instant Checkmate. I never signed up for a paid plan, since I'm broke, but I did unfortunately gave them my email.

    That was a bad move.

    Since I did, every day after I've been getting spam emails from God knows where, about vVagra and "my secret message".

    Don't pay for this website. Don't bother even using it. Maybe check for others.

    And DO NOT give it your email. They probably sell it.

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

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  • 22 out 23 people found this review helpful

    Automatically billed

    I only wanted it for one month to look up two people. I paid the one month price. At the end of the month they billed me again for a month! I searched and searched before I paid my money to make sure I wasn't signed up for more than one month, I could find nothing saying I would be automatically billed for another month.

    I recommend they state clearly that the customer will be billed automatically no matter what plan they sign up for.

    I sent a message to cancel my subscription and filed a PayPal complaint. They refunded my money.

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

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  • 21 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Waste of money and a hassle to cancel.

    This background check website did not lead to any information about the persons about whom I searched, and it is not possible to cancel the subscription online, so I had to call and do it over the phone. To cancel I had to dig up the last charge on my credit card, and its date, and the first 6 and last 4 numbers on my credit card. Greatly resent how hard they make it to cancel, and do not think legit websites do that.

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

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  • 20 out 22 people found this review helpful

    Rip off!

    • Palm Bay, FL,
    • Aug 14, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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  • 20 out 21 people found this review helpful


    • Fort Myers, FL,
    • Aug 20, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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  • 20 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Ripoff, scam, crooks.

    I was planning to obtain the aggregated data from public records and was willing to pay Instant Checkmate's advertised price.

    When I started the process, the price increased, so I navigated away from their page. Their "sticky banner" popped up offering me a $1 trial for five days for unlimited reports. That was okay, so I clicked it and filled out the form. I ran one report that held a lot of bad information (for someone else with the same name). Another banner said that to get accurate and deeper result (I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact wording), to click here. In all, I wound up with two bogus reports, 80% of which was for the wrong people, and then they tried to charge me over $50.00.

    When my credit card company sent me a message regarding fraud, I asserted that I did not authorize $19.99 and then $29.99 and another $2.99, and they pended the charges. I called Instant Checkmate, and a rude lady told me to let her speak! I did, and she explained she would refund all 2/3 of the charges, and that I was mistaken in thinking I signed up for the $1 for a 5-day trial. She interrupted me whenever I tried to talk, but I finally told her she was wrong. I signed up for $1.00, and that's all I would pay. She kept telling me I was confused, and since they had to pay the state for the records (which was another false statement), they couldn't refund the last $15 or $20 (whatever that amount was). I called her out on it because they don't have to pay for public information. After telling me I was confused and that I never signed up for the $1 trial, I explained I had retired from a law enforcement agency, and knew she was lying.

    After researching this site, BBB, and other boards, it turns out that many, many people go through what I did almost verbatim. Their website keeps changing the dynamic, and you end up getting charged exorbitant amounts for nothing. The information they aggregate (for free) is terrible, and they try to keep a portion of your money when you catch on, giving you some back to calm your anger.

    I've been a programmer for almost 30 years, and will return to the PC I ran this on to capture their pages, meaning I can prove that they manipulate their website through simple forensics. This info will go to friends at the FTC and to the BBB.

    Avoid this company unless you want garbage at a premium price.

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

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  • 20 out 20 people found this review helpful


    • Feb 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is another dumb site. "Oh, it's free, almost there, just a little more info, your email, first name, please you're so close..."

    Oh, it's free to start your search, not get your search. Everybody I know has a fake email account. Nobody trusts any sites like these anymore. They're spam boats waiting to waste your time and spam you. So dumb.

    I would rate this less if possible. It lies from the get go, and I would not trust the information. Once you pay, it can tell you anything. All they want is your money. These sites have got have to realize that there is no business in trying to take advantage of people. There is zero trust on the internet because of garbage like this site.

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

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  • 19 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Faulty, inaccurate details

    • Lincoln, Neb.,
    • Feb 26, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    Yet another email that floods spam folders, trying to scare you into a subscription. The name alone sounds generic and they nickel and dime you for EVERYTHING. Info is outdated, recycled, or faulty and Instant Checkmate does all it can to bill as much money off customers as possible with inferior services. If it pops up in the spam folder, it's a good bet it rhymes with spam. Don't be suckered into a subscription thinking you'll find up-to-date info, everything I ever found on there (if anything at all), was ancient history. Instant Checkmate is a shady, crooked business.

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

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  • 19 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Privacy Policy

    • New York, NY,
    • Aug 12, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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:


    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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  • 18 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Billing scam

    • Los Angeles,
    • Oct 6, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    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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