Normal search engines aren’t great people finders: they can tell you if someone has a website or a public profile, but they’re not so good at telling you where they are, what they’re up to or who they live with. If you’re trying to trace a long-lost pal or estranged relative or just want to be sure that someone new in your life is who they claim to be, a people search finder is a much better option.
As you’ll see from our pick of people finder websites, there are big differences between different services. Some can tell you about someone’s employment but not their education, some include social media and others can also tell you about a person’s business interests and assets.
Keep reading as we distil the very best people search engines out there.
- Read more: Our guide to the best background check services
1. US Search
Easy, effective and affordable
US Search may be the best all-round option for most. Prices start at less than $3 for a basic report detailing address history and relatives, rising to over $10 for a one-state criminal record check.
If you want a full report including social media details and marriage records that’s up towards the $40-mark, but be aware that marriage data is only currently available for 11 US states. It’s not the best service in any particular category, but as an overall package it’s good value for money.
Great value on a comprehensive service
PeopleFinders wins big on affordability and accuracy. At around just $25 per month, it’s significantly cheaper than most of its rivals. It doesn’t cover social media data but it’s good on the essential people finder information, and its reporting is clear and easy to follow.
See how people are connected
Every people finder service presents information in its own way, but we really like the way Intelius does it. The service displays people in a spidery graph that makes it really easy to see how the different people in a report are connected. The underlying data’s good too, and it includes educational history – a handy extra data point if you’re trying to track someone down or check their resume.
At around the $50 per report it’s quite expensive, but there’s a monthly subscription for regular users that could work out cheaper in the long run.
4. Instant Checkmate
Good, affordable and accurate
Instant Checkmate appears to search every conceivable register - it can even tell you whether registered sex offenders live nearby. It features a very comprehensive set of reports covering criminal history, marriage and assets, although the site design places heavy emphasis on what seems like a never-ending procession of slow progress bars and lurid warnings about the content you might uncover. A bit of a put off, but we can see why it would urge caution.
Subscriptions are generally less than $40 for a month with a three months option that can save you money if you know you'll need Instant Checkmate for an extended period. There’s no single report option and downloads cost extra.
Great for employment history
If other lines of enquiry have drawn a blank, somebody’s employment history can help you track them down – and it’s useful to search for your own work history if you’re updating your resume and you’re a little hazy on the dates. BeenVerified is particularly good at uncovering people’s work history, although the downside is that property or business asset data is an optional, paid-for extra.
Subscriptions are around $25 per month and BeenVerified is another service that saves you money when you extend that to a three month subscription. There’s no single-report option, however.