Do you want to make sure that your date is who they say they are? Or maybe you want to find out whether a for-sale property is selling at a low rate for a reason? There are billions of public records available with answers to many similar questions, but if you're working by yourself, the research process can be exhaustive.
Background check services provide this information for a fee. They will search through available public, historical, court, and online records. Different services have different search tools, reports, databases, and available information.
Two common choices of service are BeenVerified and Spokeo. They have a number of similar services, but the search tools and compiled reports do have some differences. I've taken a look at each to help you understand which will provide the information you want.
Overview of BeenVerified and Spokeo
Unique BeenVerified Features
Unique Spokeo Features
Types of Search
Both services let you search by names, telephone numbers, addresses, and emails.
BeenVerified has a VIN lookup tool. By searching a VIN, you get a report including:
There's also the court runner service for non-digitized data.
Spokeo lacks the VIN tool or court runner services. It depends on a "branching" type of search pattern - getting more detailed information about items in your first initial search.
BeenVerified offers all the same search tools as Spokeo, with the addition of a VIN search and court runner services.
When you search for a person with BeenVerified, you'll be given a comprehensive report that's broken down into multiple separate pages.
The first page is the Personal Overview page. This tells you the name, age, current town of residence, and current physical address. It also provides the basic educational background, current email address, and current phone number. Basic aliases are also included.
At the right of this overview is a list of the more detailed report pages. The number of results is displayed beside each topic. Some might not have any records. This gives you a quick birds-eye glance regarding debt, property ownership, social media presence, address history, criminal history, and other information.
The pages in a report include:
This is a very comprehensive amount of information organized into an easy-to-navigate format. If you want further information about any of the included pieces, you can follow the trails with a monthly subscription. But even a single search can answer most questions you have about a person.
When you search for a person on Spokeo, the report will include any information that's been found regarding any of the following:
You can access this information with a one-off search. If you have an unlimited search subscription, this report will give you further jumping-off points. You can use the information on an initial report in the following ways:
The BeenVerified report provides a wealth of information about people in an organized, easy-to-read format. You can learn a lot at a glance, and there are detailed pages in multiple specific categories to give further insight. Spokeo's reports are similarly comprehensive, but not broken down quite as neatly.
BeenVerified compiles public records from a wide variety of different sources. These include not only legal documents, but also publicly available information from different companies and websites.
The database is made up of information pulled from sources including:
Unfortunately, the service makes it difficult to find an exact list of how information is compiled.
If you need information that hasn't been put on the internet, there's a court runner service. Court runners go to physical court buildings to gather on-paper information that hasn't been digitized.
Spokeo is more transparent about the sources for its database. The service searches billions of public records spanning a wide variety of institutions.
Some of the data sources include:
The social media database is one of the most comprehensive in the industry. Rather than searching just the largest networks, Spokeo goes through more than 120 networking sites to see if there are any attached profiles.
Spokeo appears to have a larger database of information, especially where social media networking is concerned. In addition, the company is more transparent regarding the sources for their data.
Pros and Cons of BeenVerified
Pros and Cons of Spokeo
Final Thoughts: Which Is Better?
Both of these lookup services have very similar structuring and pricing. They both allow you unlimited searches of public records on a monthly subscription basis, along with one-off search pricing. They also both have many of the same search features. The best one for you depends on what information you want.
Spokeo uses the largest database of public information. In addition to the records currently on file at varying offices and courts throughout the US, the system also looks through 3.9 billion historical records and over 120 social networks.
Meanwhile, BeenVerified has more specific search and reporting options. You can do a search specifically to find someone's state or national criminal history. You can also look up a vehicle's VIN number and find the information attached. There are even court runner services for on-paper information that hasn't yet been digitized.