Free Background Check Methods To Find Criminal Records Online[2021]


Running a background check might seem like a daunting task; however, checking someone’s background can give you better insight into who you are dealing with. Whether you are checking on a potential date, or just checking yourself up, a background check helps.

Background checks are nothing new. They have been a common way to research someone for years. You may even be curious about what your background check might turn up. It is also a fantastic way to monitor what private information is available about you.

Your privacy is paramount. Many people are looking for ways to avoid or detect any information leaks that may have occurred, which may compromise your identity or ruin a decent credit score.

So how can you do a free background check online? Numerous free online background check ways allow you to background check on someone or you wish to monitor. Let’s take a look at the best free and not-so-free options for running background checks.

How To Perform a Free Background Check?

Most of the sites that we have mentioned in our “Best of” section require some sort of monthly subscription to use. But what about genuinely free sites? If you are searching for the best truly free background check sites, here is a complete “buyer’s guide” to help you on your way.

There are several methods to run a background check for free, but each takes a bit of time and patience. If that doesn’t sound like you, you might want to look at some of the paid services mentioned above. Here are the different methods available to obtain background checks for no cost to you:

Manual Methods

Here are some manual methods that will allow you to run a background check for free:

  • Google

That’s right, and if you are searching for a completely free background check option, Google can be your friend if you know what to search for. “Googling” someone has been an easy and go-to method for finding information and researching people since its inception. The trusty search engine contains an index of most of the information you will be able to find on the internet, which can be highly useful if you are looking for specific information.

If you wish to search for a person, but you only have their name, your google search will come back with a million different results, which can be unhelpful. In order to find the information you want, you will need some additional background information to narrow down the results.

If you wish to use Google properly for a background check, you might need to spend a bit of time to get it right. When you search for something, the results might seem endless, and filtering through them by yourself will take too much time.

To get the best results from Google, you can try the following method:

  1. First, begin with putting their name and the state of the subject you are searching for in the Google search engine box.
  2. Next, try using Google images to search for them if you know what the person looks like.
  3. Google has a handy feature known as “Google News” that you can check to see if the person you are searching for has ever been the subject of a news article.
  4. Lastly, don’t forget to check Google Videos. There may be some footage of your subject that could be linked to them or their activities.
  • Social Media

In the age of social media, it seems like most people have some sort of profile that could give you some information that you are looking for. Social media is an excellent way for people to communicate and express themselves, and many people reveal a lot about themselves on these platforms. You can find a great deal of personal information about a person if you can locate their personal profiles.

Here are a few places you can start searching on social media:

  • Their Facebook profile (a great place for information)
  • Their Twitter history
  • Their Instagram photos
  • Their employment profile on LinkedIn
  • Any personal content they post on TikTok
  • Pinterest is an excellent place to find hobbies and interests.
  • Snapchat helps locate their contact information.

If you happen to go the social media route, keep in mind that many people are protective of this information (for a good reason) and may make their content private. If this is the case, their profile will only be limited to people they know. The social media method is most helpful if you actually see the person and are friends with them on social media already.

  • Public Court Records 

A great place to find someone’s records is to check the county clerk of records website. In order to do this, however, you will need to know at least the location or address of the person you are searching for.

If you do not know where this person lives, you may have difficulty getting results through this method. The court records will only show the information from government records that person has from the city or state they lived in.

If you are looking for the person’s court records on their past addresses, you will have to create a separate search for each individual address, then make a compilation yourself. One final thing to consider is that public court records often do not provide a great deal of information in the first place. Even if you find the person, you might be displeased with the search results.

  • State or Local Prison Records

In addition to court records & documents, you might have some luck in searching through the state or local prison records. If you are searching for criminal history, you can check using the “corrections inmate” tag on a google search. In order to do this, you must know the official website of the prison; then, you will be able to enter that person’s information in order to find out if they have ever had a criminal record.

The information that is available to the public from the prison system is quite limited, and they are only able to show data for that specific state. If the person has lived in different states before, you will have to search in each of those states individually. Using this method could be time-consuming but rewarding if you know this information about the person.

  • Credit Reports

It is impossible to access the credit report of another person legally. However, if one of the reasons you are requesting a background check is to check your own identity for fraud, you will be able to check with several credit bureaus and request a report for yourself.

The government-mandated annual check is only available for free, once each year. If you wish to request an additional report later in the year, you will need to pay the required fees. Other credit bureaus will provide identity verification as well.

Are These Free Background Checks Legit & Effective? 

Many sites offer the best background check for free, but it is essential to check the site to make sure the information can be trusted. You can perform a background check by yourself by combing through someone’s social account and public record. However, much of this information will be hidden, even if you know the person.

Several background check sites offer a free check option, but you might find that the information is less than accurate and only pulls from publicly available information. You may even come across outdated contact information.

If you want to perform background checks on yourself or someone you know personally, bear in mind that it takes a lot of time, research, and know-how to succeed.

Are Background Checks Legal? 

If you are looking to do a background check, you might be wondering if it is even legal to perform. In fact, there is a specific law that pertains to performing a background check known as the Fair Credit Report Act. This law requires that you utilize an officially licensed Consumer Reporting Agency in order to procure a credit report.

These official Consumer Reporting Agencies are responsible for collecting, providing, and curating accurate information about consumers while adhering to the legal procedures set in place to protect privacy. Additionally, the Fair Credit Report Act makes sure consumers are protected and treated fairly.

Some Cheap Background Check Services & Sites:

  1. Truthfinder – Best For Criminal Records & Editor’s Pick
  2. Intelius – Best For Quick Checks 
  3. Instant Checkmate – Best For Social Media Checks

#1. Truthfinder – Best For Criminal Records

Brand Overview

If you have searched the web for background checks, you may well know that Truthfinder is one of the most widely used background check services today. This service has glowing recommendations from publications such as CNet and the Huffington Post. The service also has nearly 60,000 positive ratings and reviews from its customers.

The Truthfinder service offers a robust background check with some of the most accurate information available, including updated contact information. You can also perform scans of the dark web, which allows you to monitor leaked or stolen data.


  • By far, one of the most accurate background check services available today.
  • Provides up-to-date and accurate contact information.
  • If you pay the monthly fee, you can perform an unlimited amount of checks.
  • The site is available on mobile platforms as well.
  • There are many filters and background search options.
  • Tells you how to read and understand the information they find for you.


  • Their premium membership requires a monthly fee.
  • They use dramatic advertising to scare users into upgrading.
  • Does not allow for a single search.

The Best Thing About Truthfinder

This service is excellent for those looking to perform multiple background checks each month, such as employers. For a small monthly fee, you can complete an unlimited amount of reviews.

The one thing that really sets Truthfinder apart is that they provide the most up-to-date and recent contact information we have seen. This service is perfect if you are looking for a specific person but can’t find them on a search engine. They also offer a complete and detailed report using the person’s records.


Since it is a paid service, it does come with numerous features such as multiple modifications and search options to use when you need to filter your searches. It also offers an unlimited amount of services each month with this monthly fee.

In addition to the up-to-date information, I will also check the subject for any aliases they may use or relationships they may have. This tool is excellent if you are screening a potential date. Overall, there are many features to make the subscription fee worthwhile.

User Friendliness

If you ever have any issues using the service, Truthfinder includes a toll-free number you can call at any time. The service itself is also relatively user-friendly, and we had no problems using their service. You will be able to search with ease without ever having used a background service before.

Users also have the option to modify their search results to fit their needs. All of the returned information can be compiled into one easy to decipher page. You can also download a PDF version of the result; however, they charge an additional $2 for that service.

⇒ Click Here to Visit the Official Website of Truthfinder

#2. Intelius – Best For Quick Background Checks


Brand Overview

Intelius is a widely used background checker since it lets you look up anyone at all. The service also enables you to find out if the person has a criminal record. One of the tool’s best features is that it lets you use a reverse lookup function to find the owner of a number that called you.

Intelius operates with complete anonymity and uses over 20 billion public and private records to find the information you are searching for. You will also be able to filter the specific information you are in search of. A widely used function of Intelius is the ability to check for property data and find your personal information.


  • With a monthly fee, you can perform an unlimited number of searches.
  • You can use an encrypted connection to keep your search safe and anonymous.
  • They will never notify the person you are searching for.
  • They have access to over 20 billion public records.
  • You can search using any information, including name, phone number, or address.
  • The information provided is detailed and robust.


  • You need a monthly subscription to use this service.
  • You can only reach customer service during business hours.

The Best Thing About Intelius

One of the most significant advantages of using Intelius is its secure and encrypted connection while performing a search. You will never have to sacrifice your privacy when you are conducting a background check, and the website will never notify the person you are searching for.

You can also search by phone number, name, or address while using a secure 256-bit connection. They always take their customer’s privacy seriously.


You have the option to find a background check using a phone number, name, or address and receive a complete and detailed report, personal details, records. You can also check for property records for any contact you want.

When you sign up for the paid subscription, you will get access to an unlimited amount of background checks each month. You can also use an encrypted and secured connection, which is excellent for protecting privacy.

User Friendliness

The website is straightforward and easy to understand; however, it does take a few minutes to compile your report entirely. The company takes their user’s privacy seriously and never informs subjects you have run a background check. Lastly, users can rest assured using their safe encrypted connection.

⇒ Click Here to Visit the Official Website of Intelius

#3. Instant Checkmate – Best For Checking Social Media

Brand Overview

Instant Checkmate is a fantastic tool if you are specifically interested in someone’s arrest or criminal record. This background check service specialized in running information on criminal, arrest records, and government records.

This service also uses a fully encrypted connection to provide you with the utmost privacy. Additionally, they will provide you with photos and social media links for any subject and background checks that you search for. This company is a one-stop shop for all your background check needs.


  • This service is specializing in checking arrest records and criminal background check records.
  • You can easily find background search & records and run background checks with one click.
  • The connection is encrypted for optimal privacy.
  • They offer additional information such as financial data and ethnicity.
  • With a monthly subscription, you can perform unlimited checks.


  • This service is less accurate than the others mentioned.
  • There are not many search filters or options.

The Best Thing About Instant Checkmate

The best overall feature of Instant Checkmate is that it is the best at searching for arrests and criminal records and background checks. This tool also lists all public information and government records for the subject.


Instant Checkmate has a few features worth mentioning. The fact that they specialize in finding criminal and arrest records is excellent if you are looking for criminal history. Additionally, all of their findings are compiled into one place.

Instant Checkmate also utilizes encryption methods that keep your browsing and searching safe and confidential background checks. Lastly, this website has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

User Friendliness

The Instant checkmate is relatively easy to use and gives customers a friendly feel. They also have a customer support team that can be reached at any time, toll-free. When you run a search, all the results are clear and easy to understand.

⇒ Click Here to Visit the Official Website of Instant Checkmate

#4. US Search – Best Reverse Email Checks

Brand Overview

US Search is excellent if you are looking for a service without a lot of complicated bells and whistles. This service provides background checks with the public records, property records, and criminal records. You can even find your subject by using their email address.

Not many background check services offer a search by the subject’s email address. Additionally, US Search background check service will allow you to find the subject’s social accounts and recent contact information.


  • You can perform background checks using only an email address.
  • You have access to the public, criminal, and property records.
  • US Search will also link you to the social media networks for anyone you search for.
  • You will have access to recent and up-to-date contact information. .


  • The website isn’t strictly modern. It cannot be very clear to navigate for some users.
  • After you request a background check, there is not much information on what to do with the results.

The Best Thing About US Search

One positive thing about US Search is that the service allows you to perform your background checks using nothing but the subject’s email address. This is an excellent service for someone who does not know a lot of personal information about their subject.

US Search also has several additional features beyond the background check services. They can also find property records, public records, and criminal records for the subject. US Search background check service will also give users the latest and most up-to-date contact information, as well as a possible location for the subject or background checks you are searching.


As mentioned, US Search has multiple services that go just beyond a simple background check. They allow you to search through the property records, criminal records, and even public records of the person you are looking for. Additionally, they will locate the social media account of the person as well.

If you only have limited information on the subject, this service is for you. US Search allows you to run a complete check using nothing but the person’s email address. This is a feature that we have not seen in any of the other services so far.

User Friendliness

The website itself lacks essential user-friendliness. It is rather challenging to navigate and is not friendly to first-time checkers. However, they do have a friendly customer service line to call if you ever have any questions about the service. Another friendly feature is the ability to read all of the search result information in one place without requiring any other search tool.

⇒ Click Here to Visit the Official Website of US Search

#5. People Finders – Best Choice For Basic Checks

Brand Overview

If you are looking to dig deep into your subject’s background but do not have much time to wait around for the results, People Finders might just be the tool you are searching for. This service specializes in searching a database of over 45 billion records within just a matter of seconds.

Additionally, they offer more than just a standard background check. People Finders can provide data from public records, as well as a reverse lookup service. They can search from well over 6000 record sources and provide criminal records in addition to personal information.


  • The background check service boasts one of the fastest records search engines, searching the database in mere seconds.
  • People Finders has access to over 43 billion records from various United States sources.
  • It provinces public records, reverse phone lookups, and background checks.
  • They also offer a single-report, three-day trial so you can test out their background check services.
  • The check tool has access to over 6000 data sources.


  • This service does not offer any encrypted connections to protect your privacy during a search.
  • There are not many options when it comes to search filters and management.

The Best Thing About PeopleFinders

The greatest thing that we noticed about the PeopleFinders service was the speed of their background searches. When we performed an investigation, the entire report came back in a matter of seconds. Most other background checking services can take minutes to compile, yet this service made a full report in a fraction of that time.

PeopleFinders also has access to 6000 data sources as well as 43 billion United States records. The background checking tool provides lots of information, including a search of public records, criminal records, and of course, a reverse phone number lookup service.


When you sign up for a monthly subscription, you can perform an unlimited number of searches. Additionally, they offer a generous 1-report, 3-day free trial to test out the waters. If you are looking to do just one report, this is an excellent service for you.

This service searches criminal records as well as public records and even offers a reverse phone lookup service. The record searches draw for 43 billion public records and 6000 data sources that are available in their database. Lastly, they even search for items such as bankruptcies and foreclosures.

User Friendliness

PeopleFinders is an easy-to-use service that can complete a full report with just one click of the button. This service also has an impressive 5,000 positive reviews on its site. If you are a busy person and need your report done in a matter of seconds, this report is perfect for you.

How Did We Make This List of Best Background Check Service? 

To accurately compose our article, we began by laying out all of the background check services that are popular in the current market. Because of the rise in demand for background checks, we had to be very particular to ensure that our list did not include any companies that were not legitimate.

Based on our findings, we began excluding background check online companies that didn’t make the cut until we were left with only the companies that met the highest review standards.

After that, we carved down the list even further until we were left with only ten companies worthy of our recommendations.

It is important to note that there are seemingly hundreds of companies with similar names to those in this report. Be careful when you are searching for a recommended company that you are looking at, the same one that is recommended in this article.

What We Looked For:

When we were trimming down the list of background check companies, several things helped us make the cut. Here are the things we looked for when performing our research:

  • How effective is the company performing their check, and which agencies/sources do they pull information from.
  • Whether or not these sources were reputable or officially licensed.
  • How the company presents itself through advertising, media, etc. If they felt suspicious, they were most likely cut from the list.
  • Whether the company received primarily positive reviews or not, we looked at why they received a significant amount of negative reviews.
  • Whether the company gave details about the legality of running a report and what these reports can be used for.
  • Whether the company was certified to run official reports or whether they pulled from third-party sources.

In carefully examining all of these factors, we present you with our list above.

FAQs Before You Do a Free Background Check 

Q. Which free background check service is the best for me? 

It is impossible to answer this question accurately because it really depends on the reason you are requesting a background check. Free background check services are infrequent, and even PeekYou will give you limited results. If you are looking for a genuinely free check, the only way to do that is manual. Manual searches can be time-consuming and are often unsuccessful. For that reason, many people opt to pay for this service instead.

Q. What is the most user-friendly service? 

Background check websites such as Truthfinder will provide you with all the information you can find online with the click of a button. They also offer unlimited checks for a monthly fee.

Q. What if I need just one background check? 

Background check services such as Instant Checkmate will offer a free trial for a limited time. These trials are suitable for a single background check, which should be able to accommodate your needs. Using a professional tool can save you time, money, and heartache, but most of these sites are not 100% free.

Conclusion: Which Free Background Check Sites Should You Use?

We researched each company by looking at customer reviews on their accuracy, services, and how they performed their background check on someone. We tried to be as thorough as possible and looked at both positive and negative customer feedback seriously. After extensive research, we come to this point that Truthfinder is the best free background check site method to find criminal records online.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here