Pros / You get a wide variety of data in a background report.
Cons / The reports can be difficult to comb through.
Verdict / PeopleSmart gives you a great amount of data and often does well on accuracy of bankruptcy and criminal information, which makes it a good choice as a background check service.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Most background check companies give you the basics, such as contact information, criminal records and a list of potential relatives or associates of the person you’re investigating. PeopleSmart goes beyond this to include sex offender status, bankruptcies, court judgments, tax liens, information on properties and neighbors, and professional records (such as licenses) on its reports.
All of that data can only be useful if it’s accurate. Through our testing, we found most searches returned accurate information; we also had the opposite experience with a few searches in which none of the information was correct or we couldn’t find people through the service at all.
While PeopleSmart’s records were mostly correct in our testing, they can be initially unclear. For example, the criminal background check for one of our test subjects who has a long and storied history showed nearly 100 records, which is almost three times more crimes than he has actually committed. Once we sifted through the results and discounted the duplicates, we found that PeopleSmart was very close to being 100-percent accurate. A public records search through PeopleSmart also picked up a majority of the civil judgments against one of our test subjects, and nearly half of that person’s relatives.
The best background checks give you several ways to find a person so you can verify the report you purchase is on the right person. PeopleSmart does well in this area. If you’re unsure of which state someone lives in, you can do a nationwide search for him or her. You can also search for someone using criteria such as full name, address, maiden name, birthdate, city, state and possible relatives.
Only seconds after purchasing a report, you will have access to it. There are tabs at the top with categories, such as contact information, criminal and court, bankruptcies and liens, ownerships, and licenses. The background checks are well organized and easy enough to read, but there aren’t any definitions to help you decipher the report. Reports are available through a dashboard on PeopleSmart’s website, where they remain for 30 days after you purchase them.
Although PeopleSmart doesn’t pick up as much information on hard-to-find people as other services, it offers a mostly accurate view of criminal and bankruptcy history on those we investigated. The complete reports offer more data than most, which can help you branch out your investigation if you choose.