Spokeo was founded in 2006 by Mike Daly, Harrison Tang, and Eric Liang, 3 graduates of Stanford University. Initially a social media aggregation platform—a tool you could use to collect all of your social media network profiles and store them in once place—it soon evolved into the people search engine platform we know today.
Spokeo at a Glance
You can try Spokeo for 7 days for a staggeringly low price of $0.95, so taking it out for a spin is really a no-brainer. But if that’s not enough, we’ll give you 2 more reasons: it’s fast, and the monthly subscription fee is super affordable.
The speed at which a background check website turns up results depends on the software that powers the search engine. When you run a search, the engine has to go through millions or even billions of records in order to find a match. Sometimes, this can mean a long and frustrating wait.
Not so with Spokeo. The technology behind the search algorithm is designed to go through billions of bytes of data at record speeds. Unsurprisingly, you can turn up a detailed report in under 5 minutes.
Spokeo’s subscription fees are some of the lowest on the market. You can get it for as low as $19.95 per month when you pay for 6 months upfront. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
Ease of Use
Spokeo stands apart because it is packed with features that no other background check website on the market has been able to offer so far. More specifically, we’re referring to:
Spokeo’s search algorithm, which allows it to sort through data points in real time
Its ability to find information on people located outside the US
The comprehensive list of social media networks it can collect data from
Let’s have a more in-depth look at each of these features in turn.
Real time searches
When you use a background check website to run a search, its search engine typically trawls through a comprehensive database of records in order to compile information about your subject for your report. The information is collected from publicly available federal, state, local, and (in some cases) commercially available records.
However, there’s a twist. The background check website doesn’t access these records in real time. It accesses copies of the records that are saved on company servers. This allows the records to be accessed as quickly as possible, so you won’t have to wait too long to get your report.
The downside to this method is that the database has to be updated as frequently as possible in order for the information to stay up to date. If you run a search before the database is updated, the information in your report may be incomplete, out of date, or downright inaccurate.
Spokeo’s technology does away with this problem altogether. Instead of compiling the information by tapping into its own database, it goes through records in real time by accessing its data points’ online databases. As a result, you can rest assured that the information in your report is always as up to date as it gets.
Comprehensive social media network data
When Spokeo started out in 2006, it was a social media aggregator. In other words, it was built in such a way that it could collect all of your different social media profiles and gather them together in one place for easy, more manageable access.
While Spokeo has evolved and changed considerably since its early days, this legacy lives on in its unparalleled social media search functionality.
When you run a Spokeo search, the engine will trawl trawl through over 65 social media networking sites: from Facebook, Twitter, and the other usual suspects to lesser known sites. In fact, it’s safe to say that Spokeo can identify any type of online profile and compile that information for you into one easy-to-follow report. And, if you’re looking for even more powerful and targeted results, you can straight up run a search using a social media network username. No other background check website can currently run this type of search.
When you use Spokeo to make a search, it’ll also attempt to find any online profile that might match the subject of your search. Because of this, you can turn up information on any person who has an online presence. This is ideal if you want to look for a person that has left the United States and settled down elsewhere.
Is Spokeo Safe and Reliable?
The issue of whether Spokeo and other background check sites are legitimate is a bit of a misnomer. What Spokeo claims to do is use publicly available information to create a well-rounded report for its customers, and that is precisely what it does.
If the concern is whether Spokeo and other companies offer the consumer a product that they would not be able to produce themselves, this also should not make a difference, as consumers often pay services for a product that they could theoretically make themselves; just take the restaurant industry for example.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Spokeo is not FCRA compliant, which just means that it does not access private records and users cannot use the site for certain purposes detailed on the site. Other than that, Spokeo is completely legit.
How Spokeo Works
Spokeo doesn’t collect information in its own database. Instead, it trawls through records in real time. This means that there’s no need for Spokeo to regularly update the information it looks up. Because it accesses the data directly at the source, your report should always contain the most accurate and recent information currently available.
Spokeo has access to a comprehensive range of public records, ranging from federal, state, county, and local records to court judgements and even magazine subscriptions. But that’s not all. Spokeo’s search engine also trawls the web for any signs of an online presence - from social media profiles, to blogging platforms, to online shopping accounts. All in all, it has access to over 12 billion records. If the subject of your search has an online presence, however limited, it’s safe to say that Spokeo will turn something up.
Since Spokeo searches the web for any traces of online activity—including blog posts, photos, and online shopping accounts—you can find information on your subject even if they have no public records in the US. This is really handy if you’d like to get in touch with someone you’ve met whilst abroad, or even an acquaintance who moved to a new country.
- People search
- Background search
- Criminal records
- Reverse phone lookup
- Reverse email search
- Social media search
No matter which plan you sign-up for, Spokeo will afford you the same level of functionality and customizability when it comes to search results. All reports will turn up the following basic information about your subject, that is:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Marital status
- Education level
With that being said, what other information you turn up will largely depend on what kind of search you run.
If you’re looking for information about your subject’s online presence, reverse email searches and username searches are your best bet. These types of search will turn up:
- Social network profiles
- Dating website profiles
- Blog posts and photos
- Product reviews posted on online shopping sites
If, on the other hand, you want to find out more about an unknown number, a reverse phone lookup is your best bet. This should turn up information about the person the phone is registered to and also information about the network carrier — great if you want to get in touch to complain about a caller who’s been harassing you.
As you might expect, criminal searches will turn up the most detailed information. Your report will include arrest records, court judgements, sex offender records and even information about any outstanding warrants. You may also be able to turn up information about marriages and divorces.
Spokeo Customer Support
Spokeo offers 3 levels of customer support: phone, email and live chat. Live chat is daily from 6 am to 6pm. You can also call toll free to 1-877-913-3088 from 5am to 8pm PT every day. Otherwise, you can send an email at any time.
Spokeo’s website also has an FAQ section you can consult if you’re feeling up to the task of troubleshooting and resolving issues yourself. To be fair, we found this to be rather basic compared to the knowledge-bases on other background check companies’ websites. However, the information is easy to follow and written in simple language.
And, if you’re technically minded, the tech blog run by the development team is not only an informative read, but also offers an interesting glimpse into the inner workings of a background check website.
How Much Does Spokeo Cost?
*Last updated: February, 2022
Spokeo has 2 price plans that get progressively cheaper the more months you pay for upfront. All have the same level of functionality. However, none of the plans include unlimited searches, and unused searches do not roll over to the next month.
Spokeo wins top marks for flexibility and speed. It can turn up a wealth of information, even on people who aren’t physically present in the US. And because searches are conducted in real time, you can rest assured the information in your reports is always up to date.
To be fair, the fact that you can only make a limited number of searches each month is a drawback. With that being said, Spokeo’s super affordable pricing means that it’s still well worth looking into.
Note: This Background Check service is not FCRA compliant. You may not use Spokeo's service, or the information it provides, to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. This is applicable, but not limited to, a Background Search, Credit Background Check, Criminal Background Check, and/or Driving Record. Intelius is not a consumer reporting agency and does not, and cannot, provide consumer reports. These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., ("FCRA"), which are incorporated herein by reference.