Google, Bing and other search engines can perform powerful online searches, but they won't find everything. In particular, if you try to find a friend, family member or former coworker, a standard internet search sometimes turns up nothing useful. When that happens, you might have to comb through thousands of public records, some of which may not be free, to find the person. And if the trail goes cold, you may give up the search in frustration. Fortunately, for a low price, people-search services do all the work for you by going through thousands of records and documents.
In only a few days, these services can deliver loads of information about the people you're trying to find. The best people-search services locate someone with only a name search and give you results in seconds. Most of the services use data from public documents or other public information, but some will also look into certain private documents.
To use these services, you can pay one fee for a single search or sign up for a monthly subscription to search for people as many times as you need.
We compared the best people finders and found the most effective services are US Search, Intelius and Spokeo. Below, we explain what to look for in these services. If you want useful search tips to make the most out of these services, read our articles about people search services.
The best people-search services help you find the right data about the people you’re looking for, and they help you make sense of the information. We rate each service based on its search tools and the accuracy and comprehensiveness of its reports. The best services give you enough information to identify the person you're looking for, along with a current address and phone number. Finally, the people search engine you use should have good customer support and an easy-to-use website that includes detailed information about the services available.
We used the following criteria to compare services.
The reports carry the most weight in our reviews. We tested for accuracy, ease of use, and amount and relevance of available information. To gauge accuracy, we used a test subject for whom we had completely accurate information. We used that same test subject for every search site, and we marked a service down if it offered false or incomplete information. In addition, we graded the clarity of the reports, because all the data in the world means nothing if you can't read it. Finally, we looked at the type of information provided in the reports. Complete reports include aliases, address history, relatives and social networking information, among other details.
To use one of these services to track a person, you first have to navigate the service's search tools. The best people finders use simple and intuitive tools that make your search easy. For example, if you do not know where a person lives, the address finder should let you search by name and age. In our reviews, we evaluate how precise and accessible each service's search tools are.
Help & Support
The best people-search sites make it easy to find help and customer service if you run into trouble. FAQs pages can offer helpful information. Good email, phone and live chat support also prove useful for solving problems. Customer support representatives should be knowledgeable and quick to respond.
We also note if the services require you to create an account before you can see search results, if they save your personal information or send you ads, and if they are involved in any pending or recent legal action.
People-search services can help you locate individuals and stay connected when basic searches turn up blank. The best services make finding people easy and quick, and they provide accurate and comprehensive information.
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