What is Intelius People Search? It is a data gathering information service available for individuals and businesses. With Intelius’ search capability, individuals may complete a search based on name, address, telephone number, cellphone number (in some cases), and email address. But how does Intelius get all this information? Who can use the results, and is there someone out there trying to crack Intelius’ people search?
Intelius gathers information for individuals and businesses to review. As an individual, you may complete a people search based on name, address, telephone number, cell phone number, and email address. Upon completion of your search at Intelius’ web site, a message will indicate whether results are available, and then, you may purchase different reports including credit reports, phone records, birthdate, and a review of address history, among several other options.
Among the many on-line search sites to find out information about an individual, Intelius is foremost in the amount of information available from its service. Intelius is the background base for many other people search websites, including sites like Zabasearch. For example, when you search Zabasearch, trying to crack into information on your new boyfriend or girlfriend, you will likely be led to use Intelius to get more information. Because of the completeness of the Intelius search engine, many others are relying on it to complete their searches for them; also many of them have been purchased or acquired by by Intelius.
Intelius also provides a variety of services. Among these are protection services, which include identity theft and credit reporting services, criminal and sex offender search results, and a reverse cell phone call directory. The identity theft protection service is used to create an identity profile, obtain credit information, create fraud alerts, and build a warning system to notify you in case of any of the information that is part of your profile is being used to obtain credit. In the event identity theft occurs, Intelius’ Identity Theft protection product also provides a $25,000 insurance policy to assist you with recovery related issues.
The business services program that Intelius offers assists businesses, apartment owners and landlords. Businesses may perform people searches to do background and criminal checks on applicants. Landlords may perform credit and background checks for collecting information on potential tenants. Other business services are available, including providing research and information to businesses about safe hiring practices. Business services may be customized to perform searches based on specific criteria, or may be a full background and credit check.
The price for these services varies. Some sample prices are:
$4.95 for a cell phone record
$44.99 for a full background check on an individual
a statewide employment check is $29.95.
A nationwide employment check is $59.95.
Intelius Club Members
Club members get discounts on a variety of products. Reports may be saved online or printed for future reference.
Technical and customer support assistance is available through telephone, email messages from the Intelius site, and many questions are answered on the Frequently Asked Questions page within the site.
The idea of being able to retrieve this much information at the touch of a keyboard and with the simple online use of a credit card purchase is very frightening. I admit that my first response was to review my options for getting removed from this service. Like a do not call list, Intelius has an “opt out” service. For more information on how to opt out of being one of the millions of people in the Intelius database, you need to contact them directly. They will provide you with a fax number and instructions on how to have your information removed from the system. But, consumers should know the following about the opt out policy:
“As a courtesy we can ‘opt out’ your specific information from the Intelius People Search service. What this means is that your name as it appears in a particular record and the associated identifying information such as your address and phone number will be suppressed if you request this in the manner described below. However, please note that any time your identifying information appears in a public record in a manner which is different from the record you opted out; it will again appear in our system. For example, if your address or area code changes your new information will again appear unless you opt out the new record. There also are many other public records search services which are not owned by Intelius and your request that we opt out your information will not prevent your information from appearing on other people search services. To opt out your publicly available information from being obtained by someone using our People Search service, fax or mail your name and address as it appears on our website or send us a copy of the page from our website that includes your information.”
However, before you do that, let’s look at some of the very important services that Intelius has to offer. For example, if I have a house for rent, this system will allow me to do a background check on my potential tenant. I can find out if they have been convicted of any crimes or if they have a history of bad credit. Both of them would make this personal an undesirable tenant. After all, I wouldn’t want someone living in my house that may be producing methamphetamines? Or that had a search history which showed that they wouldn’t pay their rent.
Another example of everyday use for the average individual would be to do people searches and get background reports for a new love interest. With the use of the internet, dating services and chat rooms, just to name a few, are places to meet both friends and romantic partners.
It could be very helpful, useful, and provide a level of safety to be able to find out exactly how much information this person is providing is truthful. For example, by doing a people search on your new love interest, you might discover that they may still be married, or convicted of a crime, or that they are in bankruptcy. These are all things that you should now in order to make a decision regarding your continued involvement with them.
However, despite good reasons for people search engines like Intelius, critics of the service make valid points. Some criticism is simply that there is just too much information available, and with this you could literally put a $50.00 investment into a purchase, and have enough information to steal a person’s identity. For a $50 investment, you, with a little criminal mind and a bit of ingenuity, can spend thousands of dollars and do more significant damage, to the people whose information you’ve stolen. Identity theft information could be sold to users, it could be used to get jobs, medical care, buy a house and obtain credit cards. Not a bad return on a small investment.
Another criticism of the service is that information is often outdated. This is explained by the use of the databases used to retrieve the information. Court records and DMV’s are often out of date and the information available on them is frequently inaccurate. As a result, you or your businesses search results may not be complete.
A very valid criticism of this product would be that this information is available, and therefore could also be sold to marketing companies. Once done, mass marketing companies could then flood consumers with annoying purchase offers via telephone and mail. Not only are these annoying, but they are very time consuming to be removed from. Offers like these also increase a consumer’s chances of becoming a victim of identity theft and credit card fraud.
Intelius has won the following awards:
2006 Ernst and Young finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year
2006 Stevie Award for Best New Company
2007 CODiE Award finalist for Best Online Consumer Information Service
2007 Stevie Award finalist for Most Innovative Company
Many testimonials are available regarding the effectiveness of the Intelius products. Stories include those from doptive child birth parents, businesses that are satisfied with the protection and information results they obtain through the use of Intelius prior to hiring individuals, and others. As scary as the idea is, of this much information being obtained all in one spot, it is important to note that all Intelius really does is pull the information together.
It is already out there, and with some work, it could be found, without the help of an information gathering service.
So even if you removed your information from Intelius, and every other people search engine available, you are not truly protected, thanks to the freedom of information act.
In many cases, the assistance that Intelius provides to businesses and individuals may outweigh an initial response to this type of product. After all, wouldn’t you want to know the truth about your prospective partner, employee, or tenant? Maybe you want to find a long lost family member or friend?
There are many valid reasons for using a public information service like Intelius, and before deciding if it is helpful or harmful, take a look at it yourself.