Spokeo was started by Stanford graduates Mike Daly, Harrison Tang, Ray Chen and Eric Liang in 2006 in Pasadena, California. More of a people finder than a reliable source of trustworthy or in-depth background checks, Spokeo is more suited to reconnecting you with those you've lost contact with or checking out a potential date.
The company is non-compliant with the Federal Credit Reporting Act so its reports cannot be used for lending, tenant screening or employment purposes.
With regard to this, it should be noted that the company was fined $800,000 recently for selling information to human resources departments for employment screening purposes and must now also submit compliance reports every twenty years to the Federal Trade Commission.
This hit to the company's credibility doesn't seem to have affected its rating with the Better Business Bureau, where it has an A+, but it should be noted that the BBB has 205 negative customer complaints about Spokeo. The company reportedly offered 'credit estimates' and estimated 'wealth level' reports as well as further financial guesstimates, although this has been denied by Spokeo. Concerns have also been raised that including photographs of people's houses could encourage cyberstalking.
The background reports provided by Spokeo tend to be less current and less comprehensive than others reviewed here. In the three subject test, where three reports are purchased and checked by the subjects themselves, Spokeo was found to be deficient in both accuracy and currency. Some addresses and phone numbers were correct but for most it didn't have current email addresses or mobile phone numbers. If you are expecting the usual amount of information including then be aware that Spokeo's basic reports do not contain information on marriage or criminal records reports. To get marriage reports, for example, you would have to pay an extra $4.95. The information then provided was not accurate in the test as married subjects were listed as single.
Spokeo apparently upsells more than most of its rivals, meaning you have to pay more for further information you may require.
A single background report containing information on criminal records, bankruptcies and court judgments on top of the other information can be bought for $49.95, a fairly average price. Subscription is relatively cheap at $13.95 per month, which comes down to $7.95 on a three-month deal and $4.95 for six months. Note, however, that you must pay $2.95 extra per month to gain access to legal and criminal records. Any reports purchased can be downloaded for $1.95.
Spokeo's website is relatively easy to use and offers a couple of search options. Searches can be refined using middle names, city or state to narrow down the search. Despite its high rating from the BBB, Spokeo's somewhat substandard reports, legal problems and upselling should have those aiming for proper background checks wary, although it's ideal for reconnecting people.
|Background Check Price||$49.95|
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