The best people search sites are designed to help you find information quickly and easily, no matter whether you're trying to locate a distant relative or simply trying to get in touch with a long-lost friend. These useful sites can be used to access addresses, social media accounts, websites and even phone numbers – and you can often do this without having to spend a dime.
You might be wondering why you should use a people search site rather than do your own research. Well, these specialist sites can actually access information that would otherwise be tricky (and expensive) to source. Not only will you be able to find publicly available information, but you'll also be able to find company protected information too.
However, this ease of access does come with restrictions. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that you cannot use the best people search sites for hiring someone, lending money, leasing property or any other professionally related decision. However, if you're looking for criminal records, then you would likely be better off using one of the best background check services (opens in new tab) instead anyway. Equally, if you're looking for relatives, then you might find the best genealogy sites (opens in new tab) to be more useful instead.
However, if you're looking to find personal information quickly, then these people search sites should help do the trick. We've looked closely at the best-selling sites and compared them in terms of price, accuracy and ease of use to help you find the best people search site for your needs.
How we tested the best people search sites
Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
We want to provide the most accurate reviews possible of all products, including the best people search sites. When we tested each of the services below, we searched for three different subjects. The names of these subjects ranged from very common to fairly uncommon so that we could put each service through its paces.
Once we received the results, we had each subject confirm that the details that each service provided were accurate so that we could validate the quality of the reports. The details we considered included addresses, phone numbers, marriages and divorces, assets, criminal histories and relatives. All this was checked to make sure it was current as well as accurate.
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One of the biggest strengths of Intelius is in the design of its reports, which is displayed in a web-like design. While this might not initially sound like a groundbreaking innovation, we actually found being able to map out the connections between your subject and their acquaintances, work history and previous addresses was really helpful. It made interpreting the report much easier, as we were able to see connections that we might have otherwise overlooked.
However, while the layout of Intelius' report was commendable, we did find some slight inaccuracies within it. The service scored a B+ for its accuracy overall, but it's worth noting that this was pretty much in line with most of the other services we've reviewed. Essentially, if you're looking for complete accuracy, you might struggle to find a service that provides that.
In terms of its pricing, we found Intelius' structure a little tricky to understand. While the site used to offer individual reports, it no longer seems to offer that option. This means that the price is quite a bit higher than it used to be, as the monthly subscription begins at around $25. We feel users could benefit from a clearer breakdown of its prices, which are quite well hidden at the moment.
- Read our Intelius review (opens in new tab)
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If you're looking for a people search site that delivers accuracy, then Instant Checkmate is likely to be the best contender. Our tests showed that this service provided the most accurate information – and even included details that other services left out, such as marriage and divorce records. We also liked that it flagged potential criminal records rather than including the information indiscriminately. This is particularly useful if you're searching yourself, as this means that you can flag the inaccurate criminal information in order to get it removed from the report.
The reports we purchased included current and correct phone numbers, email addresses, relatives and associates and current and former addresses going back 15 years. By most people's standards, this amount of accurate information will more than suffice.
We also found that the reports themselves were well designed, with information laid out in a chronological timeline. This means that users can easily view the person's history in a clear and linear progression. While this may not be quite as innovative as Intelius' spider web-design, it still very much served its purpose. We also found that the left-panel menu made it easy to navigate the report's different sections easily without having to scroll endlessly.
While there are many benefits to using Instant Checkmate, we do think that the service is a little on the expensive side. You can't buy individual reports, so you have to pay for a monthly subscription, starting at $35.12 per month (or $28.09 per month if you commit to a three month period.) Plus, if you want to download your reports, you'll need to spend an extra $3.99 as an add-on to your subscription.
- Read our Instant Checkmate review (opens in new tab)
We like TruthFinder because it's accurate. While it's not the easiest to use, nor does it have the broadest range of search options, what it does provide is some of the most accurate and complete basic info reports of all People Search services. It's slightly more expensive than some other People Search engines, but you do get what you pay for when it comes to actually getting the information that you need.
What you also get is the opportunity to search for yourself, which is handy for cleaning up your online presence if you're worried it's inaccurate, or you don't want people to get in touch with you. TruthFinder's biggest strengths lie in its reporting of social media accounts, criminal records, and job histories, so it's ideal for things like checking out the new nanny or finding a good tutor for your kids.
It's good for People Search, but if you're doing a more thorough background check and need a wider range of information, something like Intelius is a better bet.
- Read our TruthFinder review (opens in new tab)
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US Search was one of the best performing people search services when it came to accuracy, pricing, interface navigation and report formatting. It’s not the best in any of these categories, but it’s among the best. Previously, the site had an option that let you search for an individual for a one-off fee, but it's now switched to a subscription model that costs $19.86 per month. There are usually introductory offers on this though, which push these prices down to $1.99 for the first 30 days.
While the accuracy of the reports was above average in our test, it wasn’t perfect. We purchased full background reports for our tests, and while this provided more information – criminal records, social media, marriages, divorces, property and business ownership – the accuracy of the reports earned just a B grade in our tests. We found the addresses and property ownership records to be accurate, and finding people wasn’t difficult, even with common names, but the phone numbers and emails were inconsistent.
The layout of the reports is clean and easy to read. The information is divided into sections that you can bounce to from the top of the menu. The reports also included a map showing all the addresses and properties within a geographic context.
- Read our US Search review (opens in new tab)
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PeopleFinders earned our pick for best value because it has the most affordable plans and one of the highest accuracy grades. You have the best chance of getting the right information at the lowest cost. That said, while the subscription isn’t the most affordable option at about $40 per month, you can purchase a single report on a person for less than $2. And since it had the second-best accuracy grade in our tests, you have a good chance of paying for good information.
In our test, each person said their reports were accurate with addresses, relatives, properties and businesses, but there were some inconsistencies with phone numbers and email addresses. In addition, the marriages of each person we bought reports on were not included in the reports. Social media and work history information was also not in the report.
The layout of PeopleFinders’ reports is appealing. It lets you skip to relevant sections using the menu, making it particularly easy to navigate compared to some services. And as with most services, it utilizes filtering tools to help find the person you’re looking for, so the more information you have on the person, the easier it is to narrow your search.
- Read our PeopleFinders review (opens in new tab)
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While you can’t use people search services to make hiring decisions, BeenVerified is the best service for finding someone through their work history. Often, the easiest path to finding and contacting a person is through their work, former work associates and coworkers. In our tests, while it wasn’t as accurate in some areas, the work history and social media information provided by this service was the most accurate and was provided in an easy-to-read report. The information was pulled from LinkedIn and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. So, you can probably find the person you’re looking for on those sites without paying an expensive fee.
BeenVerified did struggle to find marriage and divorce records in our tests, but it provided accurate addresses, including the most recent address. It also provided accurate emails and phone numbers, including mobile numbers most services didn’t provide.
The biggest downside to BeenVerified is the pricing structure. You can’t purchase individual reports; instead you sign up for a $22.86 monthly subscription, making it one of the more costly services... if you're not a regular user.
- Read our BeenVerified review (opens in new tab)
What is the fair credit reporting act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is important as it came into use in 1970 to protect people. It means that unfair use of these services to marginalise people isn't allowed.
The reason is that sometimes a person may be confused. Imagine being refused a job or an apartment rental because you share a name with someone that has a criminal record?
So while these are helpful services – and more accurate than ever these days – there is still too much inaccuracy to make these available for use professionally.
How accurate are these people search sites?
People search sites generally collect their data from local, state or federal databases that are free for public viewing, as well as from social networking sites and public forums. That being said, how accurate the information is will depend on how much you choose to rely on it.
Cross-referencing with other providers, using your own research and having some prior information without relying solely on the info you already have will be a better determiner of accuracy. Also bear in mind the FCRA disallows the use of people search sites for professional purposes, because information may not be 100% accurate.
How can I find a person for free?
You don't have to pay to use these services as there is plenty of personal information already flying about the interwebs. Use dedicated sites like classmates.com (opens in new tab) or head to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find who you're after.
Another useful service is Google which lets you do a reverse image search. Head to images.google.com (opens in new tab) and upload a photo of the person in question. You may get lucky and find information on them right away from just that. Although, more realistically, the process can take time and effort.
How much do the best people search sites cost?
These services generally require a subscription where you pay regularly, in the range of $20 to $35 per month. But with plenty of promotion options at sign-up you'll like find it costs you less.
Some sites offer more services within that, like an expanded report. These are often charged on top of the subscription, so keep that in mind before you sign up.