One of the veterans in this space, US Search (opens in new tab) is a simple yet effective people search finder (opens in new tab) and background check tool (opens in new tab) providing info since 1993. The service, a private company based in Culver City, California enables you to search for anyone using just a name, phone number, or address.
- Want to try US Search? Check out the website here (opens in new tab)
US Search reports often have erroneous information, so they cannot be used for official purposes like employment or credit checks (ie; not FCRA compliant). However, the platform is still useful for reconnecting with an old friend or investigating a new acquaintance’s history.
In our US Search review, we’ll help you decide whether this people finder is worth the money.
Plans and pricing
US Search is somewhat opaque with their pricing, not being upfront with a cost, or an option to contact them for a custom price quote. Lacking a pricing page, it makes it difficult to figure out how much the company charges. After a test search, we were only able to find a single plan, which offers unlimited reports for $19.86 per month, with the auto-renewal plan (it requires a phone call to cancel). There was no option to purchase just a single report. Payment gets made via a choice of PayPal or a major credit card.
There is no free trial, but we were offered a special trial offer of $1.99 for 5 days, with unlimited lookups.
US Search is a useful but relatively low-quality tool for pulling information from public records. All of the databases that US Search uses are publicly available. The main advantage of this service is that it compiles several different records into a single report.
You can search people by name, phone number, address, or email address, and US Search will turn up a large list of search results to help you find the exact person for whom you are looking. Unlike some other people search tools, US Search doesn’t put up a paywall to initiate the search, but any results requires a payment. You’ll be able to see the list of people found so you can find the right person, and you only pay to access the full report for an individual.
The reports contain basic information like the names of family members, past addresses, properties owned, and any criminal records. Helpfully, they also offer any known phone numbers, email addresses, and social media handles so that you can get in touch with the person you’re searching for. That makes US Search particularly useful for reconnecting with an old friend or long-lost relative.
The problem with US Search is that its information is often only partially correct. When searching ourselves, for example, we found that most reports contained inaccurate information about family members and past addresses mixed in with correct information. In part because of these inaccuracies, US Search doesn’t comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. So, reports generated by this tool cannot be used for screening job or rental applicants.
On top of that, US Search reports are often incomplete. While they promise social media information and property records, this data was often missing from the reports we looked at. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know which data fields are present in a report before signing up for a paid subscription to view it.
At least the searches are faster than some other services taking only a minute or two. Also, we did not have a pile of popups to click through like some others do to delay the results. We also note the option to do an “Information Optout” to remove your own personal information from the US Search database.
Interface and in use
The US Search interface is simple, if not exactly streamlined. When you navigate to the site, you’re presented with options to search for someone by name, phone number, or address. There are multiple tabs for People Search, Criminal Records, Background Check, and more. However, these tabs don’t actually change the search parameters available to you or the content of the reports you’re presented with. Along the way, US Search asks for a full name, and an email address. Only the name you searched for (which you presumably already knew), a city, and an age are given prior to payment.
The reports are presented in a single web page, which typically means that they are difficult to navigate and require a lot of scrolling. This isn’t a huge deal, but it would be nice if the reports were delivered as PDFs with tables of content or if the US Search website offered tabs for navigating through the information. US Search doesn’t offer a mobile app, and unfortunately its reports have the same extended vertical layout when viewing them on a smartphone screen.
We would characterize the interface as easy to use for a novice, but overly simplistic for more advanced users.
US Search doesn’t offer much in the way of support. There is not even a dedicated support page, a FAQ, nor a support portal. We also did not find a chat option, or a community forum.
You can get in touch with the company by a direct email address or a toll free phone number (between 10 am and 8 pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday to Friday, closed some holidays), but don’t expect a lot of help. The company’s representatives mostly deal with billing and account issues, and cannot assist you in finding someone using the software.
US Search uses 256-bit encryption to keep your search results and account information secure. However, there aren’t any security measures in place, like two-factor authentication (2FA (opens in new tab)), to protect your account from misuse.
We also thought it was telling that US Search simply requires you to check a box saying that you won’t abuse its reports by stalking or harassing someone. The company doesn’t do anything to verify the identity of people using its service, but then again this is common practice and its competitors don’t vet their users either prior to providing the info.
For the money, we think there are better people search services than US Search. Instant Checkmate, (opens in new tab) for example, charges a more expensive $34.78 per month, but the information you get is of higher quality, and far more likely to be accurate. The service also includes more comprehensive information that includes bankruptcies and weapons permits, which can be useful, such as if you’re searching for someone in your neighborhood.
If you need to run a background check for employment, you’ll need a service that’s compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). GoodHire (opens in new tab), which starts at $29.99 per search, is a good, albeit more expensive, option.
US Search is an affordable tool for running an unlimited number of people searches each month, making it a value option. However, this service often delivers incomplete or inaccurate reports. When you can’t be sure that the information you’re getting is correct, it dramatically reduces the value of US Search’s reports. We would recommend opting for a more accurate people search tool, even if it costs a bit more.
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