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US Search Review—Basic Background Checks with Some Limitations

Are you checking out potential neighbors before putting an offer on a house, trying to track down old college roommates, or diving into online dating?

A background check service can help satisfy your curiosity whether you’re concerned about safety or just trying to find an old friend.

US Search is one of many background check companies out there, but is it the one you should use? Read our review to find out what US Search does well, how it could improve, and whether or not it’s right for you.

US Search Summary

US Search is easy to use and doesn’t require a membership. It loses some points because when we ran tests it didn’t turn up basic contact information that other background check services found. US Search is also less transparent than other companies about how information can be legally used.

Overall rating

2.63/ 5

User experience:

Price & value:

Transparency:

Accuracy:

Pros

  • Lets you run searches without a membership
  • Includes lots of details in reports
  • Allows you to print reports for free

Cons

  • Falls short on transparency
  • Leaves contact info out of basic reports
  • Doesn’t offer a mobile app
  • Lacks trial option
  • Has a negative customer service reputation

What we like about US Search background check service

US Search doesn’t make you sign up for a membership to run a background check. That might seem like a small thing, but it’s pretty unique; most other background check companies require a membership before you can get a background report.

You can also print copies of US Search background check reports for free. Most other services charge a few dollars to print out the report for future reference.

How could US Search improve?

While US Search might be the right option for customers who don’t like memberships, it isn’t one of our top recommendations. US Search falls behind the competition in a few specific areas.

Reports lack essential information

We ran background checks on the same people through multiple services to compare the results. US Search had helpful information about property ownership, education, and employment history, but it didn’t turn up any contact information (phone number or email). Almost every other service we used found recent, accurate contact information.

US Search also falls short when it comes to relatives and associates. For example, on one search it turned up only two associates, neither of whom were actually connected to the person we looked up. BeenVerified, by comparison, found over 100 associates and relatives, and most of them were real connections.

Website falls short on transparency

There are lots of rules about how you can and cannot use information obtained through a background check; other background check companies take care to explain exactly how you can and cannot use the information you find, but US Search has only a small explanation in fine print. We think US Search could be more helpful by providing customers with specific examples of how information can be legally used.

Company has a shaky reputation

Almost all of the customer reviews we found online were negative. While online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, such overwhelming negativity is a red flag.

US Search customer reviews: more critical than most

As mentioned above, user reviews for US Search are overwhelmingly negative. When we checked, Consumer Affairs had only one five-star review of the background check company, and aside from that every rating was two stars or below.

Positive reviews

“I had used USSEARCH once in the past and I was unhappy… they had NOTHING on the person I asked about. I called and they credited my credit card back and at my request my account there was deleted. Sat I wanted to try again… I knew the nightmare stories about recurring monthly charges. I was extra careful not to click on anything that would cause that issue. I placed the order and I got the material and a bill for $39.95. Immediately I started getting concerned about those recurring charges. I called them today. I have to confess they were professional and assured me that $39.95 was a ONE TIME fee and there would not be any recurring charges… BINGO! Case closed.” – Gilbert, February 2018, Consumer Affairs

Negative reviews

“The search I received was for the wrong person. They couldn’t find the right person even though they are in the white pages. The customer service rep was clueless. Terrible company and a huge waste of money. I did better in 10 minutes on my cell phone.” – Douglas, December 2017, Consumer Affairs

“Total ripoff. Paid for background checks and results I received were for totally different people than requested. One was for a 43 year old… got results for his 86 year old father. Then next for female and got her son. I called to cancel and made complaint. I did not ask for refund, just wanted them to know I felt ripped off. Their customer service was rude and snippy. Guess they are used to complaints.” – Becky, April 2015, Consumer Affairs

A note about using background check services

It is fine to use a background check service to track down old friends, check out a blind date, or make sure you feel comfortable sending your kids to play at the neighbor’s house.

It is illegal to use a background check service to screen tenants, make hiring or firing decisions, or determine someone’s eligibility for a loan. If you need to do one of those things, you have to use a consumer reporting agency that follows the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Our recommendation

US Search might be right for you if you are looking for a service that doesn’t require a membership, but in most cases we suggest choosing a different company like BeenVerified, Truthfinder, or Instant Checkmate because you’ll get a better deal and you’re more likely to find the information you need. For more help choosing a company, check out our post about the best background check services.

Do you have any experience with US Search? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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