Intelius Review: An interview with Intelius People Search and People Finder’s Ed Petersen

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Intelius People Search

Intelius is a company providing more than people search and people finder services. However, that is what people most know Intelius for.
In this review and interview with Ed Petersen, Executive Vice President for Intelius, we spoke about Intelius collecting cellphone numbers, their people search and enterprise-level services, and challenges people have had with Intelius accounts.

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Identity Theft Secrets: This is Jonathan Kraft with Identity Theft Secrets and today I am talking with the Executive Vice President of Intelius, Ed Petersen, about Intelius services as well as what they do within the realm of people search and knowing what people are actually, I guess, knowing a bunch of information about people. So, Ed, thank you very much for taking the time to join us today.
Intelius: No problem, it’s a pleasure to be here, Jonathan.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, let’s just get started. What, what does Intelius do? I think a lot people maybe don’t know what Intelius does exactly.
Intelius: Intelius was developed to provide protection and safety services to both consumers and businesses and so the goal of the company has been to provide consumers and businesses with intelligent information so they can make better decisions about people, businesses and assets that affect their daily lives. And, so, whether someone is making a decision to hire a contractor, or hire a nanny, or to go out on a date with someone they’ve met online, or dropping their kids off at a soccer practice, or for protecting their identity by monitoring public record data or credit report data, those are the types of services and the types of solutions that Intelius brings to the market.
Identity Theft Secrets: Awesome. And how long has the company been in business?
Intelius: So we founded the company in January of 2003, so right around five and a half years.
Identity Theft Secrets: And basically people search then, is at the core of what you do, right?
Intelius: I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the core, but it is certainly one of the entry points, I think, for our customers and our consumers. We’re by far the largest online public records company and certainly a material component of that is people search. We run the people search components for many sites including Yahoo, including AOL, Yellow Book, a lot of the large directory-type sites and so Intelius is very, very advanced in that type of technology. I think that what ends up happening with people search from our standpoint is that people search is an enormous space online. In fact, you’ll see stats out there; I think that there was a Business Week article a few months back that said that 30% of all internet searches are people search-related. Now, about half of those 30% are actually celebrity searches. But still, even 15% of all internet searches are regular, “hey, I’m looking for Ed Petersen, how do I find him?” And so, the space itself is enormous, but what we’ve ended up seeing is that once people connect, they want to take that next step and they want to get a little bit deeper information about the person they are trying to connect with. So, “I’ve found Ed Petersen, I’ve used Intelius to find Ed Petersen. The next step is, I’d love to get a little more background information on that specific person before I may reach out to them.”
Identity Theft Secrets: So, “I knew Ed Petersen in high school, and so, now I’ve found where he is; but hey, I’d like to find out what he’s been up to for the last ten years.”
Intelus: You got it. Before you show up on his doorstep or pick up the phone, you may want to make sure that there isn’t anything in there that would give you pause.
Identity Theft Secrets: Sure! How does Intelius collect all of this information on people? If you’re providing the backend for some of the larger people searches online how do you go about collecting all this information?
Intelius: Intelius literally has about 19 billion records at Intelius so, in-house, and so one of the things Intelius has always done is try to provide the deepest information and the most reliable information out there; which is a very difficult problem to solve. And, so, we have, as I said, at Intelius, about 19 billion records in-house. We also have real time data feeds from numerous sources. So right now, I think we have about, north of a hundred different data suppliers that give us information, and that some of that is on a very daily updated basis, some of that is on a more sporadic updated basis. But what we try to do is to use a ton of heuristic processes and the Intelius technology that allows us to match information together, stitch information together to present a very accurate report for our customers.
Identity Theft Secrets: So that kind of sounds a little scary, if there is over a hundred data sources feeding the information into Intelius. What information, for example, could someone buy about me through Intelius?
Intelius: Sure, and I think that really the important thing to know here is that everything that Intelius has is public record information or publicly available information. There certainly is information that Intelius does not have. We do not have health records, and we don’t just, you can’t call up someone and they call up Intelius and say, “hey, I’d love to check out Jonathan’s credit report, can you give that to me.” We can’t do that. So, it is all public information that we have. What a user can check out is they can call up, or they can go online to the Intelius website, and they can get information, for example, on your address history. They can get your current contact information; they can see if you have a criminal record. They can see if you are on the sex offender registry. They can see if you’ve had any civil litigation; for instance, a bankruptcy or a tax lien. They can see what type of professional licenses you may have. They can run a report on your property to see, hey, what is the value of a piece of property that you may own. So, there are numerous things like that that are all really geared towards giving someone a better picture of who they interact with.
And, so, I think from Intelius’ standpoint, one of the things that is important is if you look at the trends that we’ve seen in the U.S. over the last decade or so, and even a little longer back than that, is that Intelius has really seen this trend of over 200,000 people moving every day in the U.S. And so, what’s happened is the days of “hey, I’d like to add a deck onto the back of my house,” where you say “great, my next door neighbor is a guy I went to high school with, his brother-in-law is a contractor.” “I’ll just write him a check, leave a key under the mat, and head off to work.” And, either leave him alone in the house or leave him alone with my family in the house. Those days are really gone because there is such a transient-type society that we live in, that network of self-check really is no longer there. And I think that’s the role that Intelius has fulfilled for many consumers, where they don’t really think that the world is an evil place. But what they do want to do is before they make major decisions about either letting someone into their home or around their family, or making a financial decision, or protecting their identity, they want to make sure they are making the right decision and have all the most important information at their fingertips.
Identity Theft Secrets: So someone, I think that is really a good example of it because we, I mean, just as a society we are moving a lot more than we ever did for sure. Could someone go though and buy on the personal security site, could someone buy my, for example, social security number through Intelius?
Intelius: No, not at all. We would never sell a social security number to somebody. There is no chance.
Identity Theft Secrets: Do you have that information though?
Intelius: We have on certain spots on credit headers and so forth, we certainly do have social security data. It is actually very, very secure. What we do is we break it, if you will, and then encrypt it in two different databases. One of the interesting things about Intelius is all the different, because of the level of data we have, all the different security levels that we have to go through; we get audited, not only by our partners, but we also have the highest level of security authentication from VeriSign that you can receive to make sure that all of that information is safe. Now, calling in and saying what we do use, is we also do a large amount of employment screening. So if you look at, for example, FedEx Ground, we do the majority of their employment screening. So if a guy comes to your door and delivers a FedEx package to you, most likely Intelius has given FedEx the green light that that person is OK to hire. The level of data that we have to go through a screen of that nature is pretty substantial and, so, we really do hold ourselves to a higher standard of trying to be good stewards of that information.
Identity Theft Secrets: So a business like FedEx, for example, could come to you and say, “hey, we’ve got social security numbers for these twelve applicants. We want to run them through your system and see what they come up with.”
Intelius: Yeah, “we want to verify that this person is who they claim to be.” Absolutely.
Identity Theft Secrets: Ok.
Intelius: Absolutely. Now, if you come to Intelius and you have a name and an SSN; you can run a background report on that. You cannot come to Intelius and say “hey, I’d like to get Ed Petersen’s social security number. We do not do that. So, you cannot go buy social security numbers. If you have, and you just can’t go to the site and punch in a social security number and get the name or the information associated with it either. You have to have a match.
Identity Theft Secrets: So, could you explain more about that?
Intelius: So, if you go in and you want to run a background check off of a social security number and you had, well I could use myself as an example. If I went to Intelius and I had my social security number, I can punch that in, but then I also would have to have, I have to know the name that is associated with the social security number to be able to actually run the report. And so, I’d have to go in and type Ed Petersen, SSN is, you know, so forth, is this, hit submit, and if the SSN matches the name, then we’ll run the report. It’s just another way to narrow down the information for people, but we certainly by no stretch of the imagination allow people to just punch in a name and get an SSN.
Identity Theft Secrets: Sure, OK. Well, from an identity theft perspective if an identity thief already had let’s say, my name and social security number, and they brought it to your system, they could potentially get a lot more information about me. I mean, if they already have my name and social security number, I’m in trouble anyway, but…
Intelius: Yeah, I would say that actually it goes the other way, generally, you know. It would be if someone’s already got your name and social security number, they’ve already got the information anyway.
Identity Theft Secrets: Right.
Intelius: It would be unlikely (laughs) because the information they would be getting would be, are you a criminal, do you have any civil judgments or liens against you. Or what is your address history; those types of things, and those things are more readily available in public records than getting an SSN. And, if someone has gone to the trouble of getting a SSN, and, illegally getting an SSN if you will, chances are that the problem of them having other information is not real high.
Identity Theft Secrets: We…
Intelius: Our identity theft product, I mean, it’s always interesting. We have some of these discussions of how do you know your identity theft protection product works? One of the examples I always say, is “well, geez how do you know your car alarm works? You know, I went into the grocery store and the light was flashing red and when I came back out my car was still in the parking lot. I assume that no one tried to steal it but I don’t know if someone walked by and had the thought of stealing it, saw the car alarm and didn’t.” Our identity theft protection product I think is a great service to prevent identity theft; it monitors more than just public, excuse me, more than just credit reports. It also monitors public record information. I think that if people have a concern about identity theft or are concerned about their information being compromised, the best thing to do is to buy an identity theft solution such as the one from Intelius.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, we always tell everyone that there is no way to prevent identity theft. It’s impossible. You cannot prevent your information from being stolen. Because Intelius also has competition that also has, I mean, if you look at in the past, for example, and you had ChoicePoint that got hacked. And I think that was a great example of information being available. I think they basically sold the information. It wasn’t even a hacking, it was just…
Intelius: They were selling it. I don’t know all the details of the ChoicePoint case, but I think you are, you are right on. I don’t think they were necessarily hacked, I think they had a fundamental flaw in their approval process to grant access to credit data. And now, I generally don’t comment about things that I don’t know all the details, but I think you’re right. I think it was more, it wasn’t that they were hacked; it was more that they had a policy issue with how they were, who they were issuing information to. And that actually isn’t as bad as, it isn’t as careless as it might seem, because I think that what happened there is that they were selling credit reports to who they thought were single landlords. I’m speculating a little bit here because I really don’t know all the points of the case. But, my point is, someone has a rental house and they want to call in and get a credit report. Well, in that scenario, they really are a landlord. And so, how do you actually confirm that, and I think there was some breakdown in there. We’ve spent a lot of time on our Security portion of our business to make sure that we have really dotted all of our i’s and crossed all our t’s too, and turned down business that we’re not really, really sure is legitimate people calling in to use the products for legitimate purposes.
Identity Theft Secrets: Which I think is awesome on your end, but there could be competition of yours, or other businesses that start up that aren’t as secure or aren’t as protected or as safe about the information as Intelius is. So, I mean, what we always tell people is that there just no 100% effective way to prevent identity theft; so you might as well have some plan in place to actually protect yourself.
Intelius: Yeah, I think you’re spot on. You know, nothing is sure, right? I think that it’s one of those things that we all in the industry chuckle a little bit about, the LifeLock guys, is that, you’re right, there’s just nothing that is at 100%. It just is not possible. They obviously have got a good business and they’ve got a couple of issues out there; it’s being able to say to your point that we’re 100%, we’ll stop identity theft, I just don’t think it’s possible. I think that what you want to do is, you want to make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to cover yourself, and because, in general, identity thieves are like any thieves. They are sort of lazy, right? (laughs) So, if your information is monitored, and you’re flagging it and you’re watching it and you’re being a good steward of your own data, because the data is not going away, the data runs the economy. It is not going to go away. If you are being a good steward of that data, your chances of something happening is greatly reduced.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, and I think, just looking at some of the background about what Intelius does as far as protecting the information, I think you are probably, you know, if not the top, one of the top companies as far as protecting the information that you have.
Let’s kind of talk about the information that you have, because I think recently and I think it was this year actually, Intelius built a cell phone directory, been building a cell phone directory, and there was a cell phone directory of over 90 million cell phone numbers that went online for about three days. As far as I can gather and then it was removed (Ed laughs). Can you talk how the directory was created, why it was posted online, and then why it was removed?
Intelius: Yeah, absolutely and I think that … I will tell you this. We certainly underestimated the reaction to a cell phone directory. And, if I look back at that space, there have been, the cell phone companies tried to come out with a directory a few years ago, and I think it was four years ago if my memory serves correctly. And, they received some backlash. And so, it’s not an idea that is, we just came up with and were cavalier with. It was, it certainly is something that has been tried on a handful of occasions by some people. We still have the most comprehensive collection of cell phone data that is out there. How the majority of people really use that service, though, is really for caller ID reversal lookup, what we call a reverse lookup. And I think why people use it, so even when we launched the product with, you could go in and type in Ed Petersen, let me see if I can get his cell phone. Over 90% of the use for that product was still, “hey, I have this cell phone number, I don’t know whose name is associated with it; let me get the information associated with it.” So, it’s very similar to the product that we have in that space, it’s very similar to almost like a caller ID at home; where someone dials you, you don’t know who the phone number is, and you want to get information about it. And I think why that product is actually been very successful is that if you look at the trends that are happening again in the U.S., people under 30, I think it’s like 30% and that number and that percent is actually growing, only have a cell phone. And so, the days of having a landline are really coming to an end. And so, the White Pages as you know it is, in principle, a dying product. Because, the White Pages as you know it, is all landline-based. It will evolve into a cell phone directory. And so, right now what we have is a cell phone reverse lookup, and it is very, very popular and I think been very, very well-received. I think that one of the reasons I said why people use it to is that if you look at, geez, the age group again, not only are the people under 30; the percent who own it, the age of which people get cell phones now is also continuing to get lower and lower and lower. And so, instead of just saying alright now you’re 17 and maybe you’re 16, here’s the keys to the car, and, by the way, here’s a cell phone. I think you’re starting to see parents who are saying “geez, you’re eight years old and you’re in Little League, and I’m going to give my eight-year-old son a cell phone too.” You know, and so that age group is going lower and lower and lower, but what happens is that the parent picks up the cell phone and says “geez, I recognize these three phone numbers on here, but what’s this phone number? And who is this person that’s calling my 14- or 15-year-old daughter? And what is this phone number that’s on here?” And, so they take that phone number and they’ll go to a service, like Intelius, they’ll enter the phone number in there, and they’ll get information that is associated with that cell phone number which they would not be able to find on a regular White Pages site.
Identity Theft Secrets: So, I think a lot of the concern then that people have this perception that “well, it’s my cell phone number, it’s safe, and, you know, I don’t give it out to anybody, how do you have my cell phone number?” And, I don’t know that people are all that surprised necessarily that their cell phone numbers are available. But, I think, you know, people are a little concerned that there could be a public directory that could be hacked or sold to marketers and they could start getting calls on their cell phones.
Intelius: Now there’s a couple of points there. One, it is illegal for telemarketers to call cell phones. Just right off the bat, it’s illegal. It’s a Federal law. Telemarketers cannot, and really what the federal law says is that a telemarketer cannot use an automated process to call cell phones. And in principle, what that means is that they can’t do it; there is no large telemarketing firm that doesn’t use an automated process to dial. I mean, it just doesn’t work; the business model breaks. You just can’t have people picking up the phone and dialing phone numbers and then waiting for it to ring. So, it’s really not a concern. It shouldn’t be a concern because it is illegal. If you ever get called by a telemarketer on your cell phone and if you say to them, “do you realize that you called my cell phone?” they will hang up so fast because they know it’s illegal. And they should never do that. They should not be able to do that. The hard part for a telemarketer, of course, is that they can’t, it’s pretty difficult to tell what a cell phone number is and what it is not because of number portability now. Meaning you can go from a landline to a cell phone line back to a landline you know, very easily, with the same phone number. Secondly, if you look at this cell phone, and I agree with you, there is certainly a group, and I use, for example, my mom. My mom is a great example on this with her cell phone. She will call me and she will say, when she’s on her cell phone, “hey, how are ya, will you call me back?” And then she’ll immediately turn the phone off, right? And you’re right, her generation is wired — similar to what you said, which is “this is my cell phone number and I want to hold it so dear and close to me. And, I’ll call someone if I need to call someone, aside from that I don’t ever want anyone calling me on it.”
And, but, if you look at the numbers from people 30 and under, 40 and under, that perception is completely different. Completely different. We have a sales group on our enterprise site, our inbound sales team is actually a relatively young group of people and they are, a lot of them are in their mid- to late-twenties. And, if you ask them, “do you mind having a cell phone directory?” or “would you care?” Their answer would be unequivocally “absolutely not, it doesn’t bother me at all! If someone calls me on my cell phone, and I don’t recognize the number, I just don’t answer it.” And that’s just a major shift. And I think it’s very similar, you know, you see when the first White Pages went on to the internet; the very first White Pages went online, there was a backlash on that as well. You had that backlash of “geez, you’re putting the White Pages online and now you’re even linking to maps and directions.” Now of course, over the years, over the last decade, that reaction to that has become nullified. It’s just commonplace. So, I think that what you are going to see is an evolution of this where as cell phones become the only line that people have, you’ll see that that really will replace the White Pages and a cell phone directory eventually will come back, it will come back. I think that Intelius was early to market on it, but cell phone companies when they tried it, you know, four or five years ago, were early to market on it. I don’t think that you have seen the end of it though — would be my guess.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, I think Arthur Shopenhauer has sort of said that ideas come around and they go through three stages. They’re ridiculed, and then they’re violently opposed, and then they serve as self-evident. And you know, it’s very interesting, I think, what you are talking about there. I remember using Mapquest, the first time I used Mapquest and I got directions from my high school, and this dates me; but from my high school to my parent’s house and I used those to get people to a party at my parent’s house. And, it blew me away, like this is scary, like this technology can do. So, I guess kind of switching away from that point about the cell phones, some of the biggest critics of Intelius say that the information that you sell isn’t really worth anything. Even Techdirt, there was this Techdirt article that went to say “it’s not hard to find many, many, many people who claim that the information is next to useless.” What do you say to those critics about the value of the services that you provide?
Intelius: I think that if you look at Intelius in general, there’s a couple of things that I would point out. One, we’re a top 100 website. So, the volume of people that come into Intelius is enormous. The customer, we’re also the only player in the space who has live customer support; U.S.-based customer support — you can call into a 1-800 number, and they are going to talk with a live body that’s here in our building. So, we take our interaction with our customers extremely seriously. I think that if you look at any product, I mean I can go out and get the resources to build a car if I wanted to, right? I could go out and build a boat on my own if I wanted to. You could do anything you want, right? And you could put that information together. You certainly yes, without a doubt, if you wanted to look up an old friend or get information on an old friend, let’s say I’m trying to track down a buddy who I went to college with and he’s living in Chicago now. I could hop on the plane and go back to Chicago, go down to the Cook County Courthouse, go into the courthouse, flip through all the records, find the information, pull it out, hop back on the plane, fly back to Seattle, dial up the phone number, and talk to the person and track him down that way and then make the decision whether I wanted to see him or not. I mean, my point is that, you know, that is sort of a reach of an example, but my point is, anything is possible. One of the things that Intelius does is that we try to pull together the most accurate representation of what is in public record, and pull it together in a way that is very compelling for customers and consumers so that they don’t have to do that work themselves. The one thing I will point to is, we have an enormously high return customer rate. And so, if we were just trying to sort of, if customers did not see the value in our products, if they did not see the true value in our subscription services or our product offerings, they wouldn’t come back time and time and time again. I also would have to hire, for the amount of traffic that comes into the Intelius store, if you will, I would have to hire an army of customer service agents if we had that many unhappy customers. Now, when you get to the volume of transactions that we have, you certainly, unfortunately, you are going to have a couple of customers that do not agree with the product offerings and that happens. In a digital good space, it’s always, I think, even more difficult. You know one of the things, if you look at Amazon, right, it’s a little different, right? They can ship you a book and if you don’t like the book, you can send it back to them and they can resell it. With a digital good, once I display the product, I’ve had to pay for everything. I’ve had to pay for the product and so forth. I can’t resell it. It’s out the door. I’ve just accepted all the cogs, all the cost of the goods, and the product is, it’s a perishable inventory. And so there’s certainly, it’s a little bit interesting model from that standpoint and interacting with the customers because of some of those unique things. But, I think overall we’ve done a very good job there and I think our return customer base and the fact that we’re the only one that really have onsite, true 1-800 customer service, customer support where we can interact with our customers has helped us out a great deal.
Identity Theft Secrets: Awesome. Well in talking about the growth of the business, your CEO filed for an IPO to make the company a public company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, um, not that long ago. Can you talk about that? I don’t know if you can or not, but fortunately, for the IPO … (laughs).
Intelius: Yeah, actually, we are in a quiet period, but I can tell you that yes, we did, you know, I’m certainly one of the founders of the company and so we’re walking through that process. We filed for it; we’ll see how it goes and the S-1 has been filed. In fact, I think we just updated that a little while ago so that there’s a more recent S-1A that’s been out there that you can look up. But talking about it specifically, I think our General Counsel would be kicking me under the table.
Identity Theft Secrets: Displeased — alright (laughs). Well, in listening to this interview, I’m sure there’s going to be somebody who listens to this interview and goes, “wow, so they have all of that information about me compiled in one place; I don’t want all that information out there about me.” So is it possible for someone to get their information removed? Or let’s say you have inaccuracies about them on their report, if they order their own, is it possible to get the information removed or corrected?
Intelius: Yes to both of those. And so, without a doubt, we have an opt-out policy. I think one of the interesting things about our opt-out policy is that we’ve got, we just like to make sure that the person who calls in to change, edit, delete information out of the system is, in fact, who they claim to be. So we just have, on our site, there is a spot where it is outlined what you need to do just to make sure that you are who you claim to be, and then we have a very straightforward opt-out policy. In fact, once you contact us, I think it is, I think it states that you’ll be opted out within 24 hours. It’s either 24 or 48 hours.
Identity Theft Secrets: Ok. And then if there is inaccurate information, somebody could get that corrected as well.
Intelius: Yeah, we can just certainly update it and again what you want to do and it depends on what type of information you’re trying to change, if you will. If you are changing your address and you are calling in and saying “hey, my address and my phone number is, I moved and you guys don’t have it there yet;” which would be unusual, because usually we have it the next day. But that’s one level of authentication, if you will, that you would go through for that. If you’re calling in and saying, “hey, I have a criminal record and this has been expunged and I need, and you’re listing it on the site, and I need to get that off of there.” There is just another set of rules that you need to go through, rules of engagement if you will, that you will need to go through with Intelius.
Identity Theft Secrets: So, you just said something really interesting, that it would be odd if I moved and you didn’t have the information the next day.
Intelius: Yes.
Identity Theft Secrets: That’s going to freak some people out.
Intelius: (laughs)
Identity Theft Secrets: Knowing some of the, you know, I mean, I’m very familiar with how quickly data moves around the world, but …
Intelius: Right.
Identity Theft Secrets: I think a lot of people really aren’t. And so, how do you, again you said that you grabbed the information from a hundred different sources, but, could you walk me through just a little more in-depth how that process works?
Intelius: Yeah, I think, you know, there is, we get daily feeds that come in from a variety of spots and, what we do, is a daily update on much of our data sets. And so, particularly in the address, the residential data suite, we update that information on a very regular basis and so, we have daily feeds that come in where, if someone has moved, so if there has been a connect or a disconnect from a phone company or something along those lines, we generally know about it the next day.
Identity Theft Secrets: And you know about that through just some simple public record searches?
Intelius: Yeah again, Intelius does not have any super secret, you know, back channel, you know, I know the secret handshake and I’m slipping the guy five bucks to get some data off his back door at some weird spot. It’s all public available information and that’s really it. I think the big thing that Intelius has done well is we’ve put together a data infrastructure that allows us to handle and deal with the data, deal with the information, and dealing with updating that information on such a regular basis. That’s where we have excelled. It’s nothing that is not in public record or publicly available data.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, who are some of the biggest competitors for what you do, as far as your service is concerned and what’s the best thing about you versus those other companies?
Intelius: Yeah, I think that there’s a couple, because there are a couple good players in the space. If you look that, on the consumer side, US Search is certainly a good company. They certainly do some things, nice things there. We’re a bit larger than they are, quite a bit larger than they are, but we certainly consider them a competitor. On the employment screening space, First Advantage, we certainly compete with; ChoicePoint we compete with; Hire Rate we compete with. So there a number of companies in that space as well. Those are the types of companies on the transaction side that we work with. On the identity theft protection side of the business, you know, LifeLock is certainly someone that we keep an eye on. There are a handful of companies across multiple different levels of our business that we watch, on a regular basis. I think that the big thing with Intelius, if you look at, I think, some of the things that we think we understand very, very well, one is data. I think we understand very, very well how to pull data together, how to use heuristic-type processes to be able to create better reports on Intelius than anywhere else, which means they are more accurate, they are deeper, they are presented in a better fashion than anywhere else. I think we understand consumer marketing pretty well. We certainly have done some things where we have got some room for improvement, just like any company. We were talking about, for instance, the cell phone directory, but I think that Intelius has done that pretty well and I think we understand how to get users into a site and how to navigate them through a site so they can answer the questions that they’ve got as fast and as efficiently as possible.
Identity Theft Secrets: Awesome. Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time today. I know you are probably running to a bunch of different things all the time, but is there anything else that people should know about your company or about Intelius or the people search services that you offer; really anything else about what it is that Intelius does?
Intelius: I think the biggest thing that I would remind people is the goal of Intelius is protection and safety services. And so, every product that you look at at Intelius has been built off of some personal experience with either an executive of the company or someone that we have known that has run into an issue where if they had a solution like one of the ones on Intelius, their life would be better today than it was. And so, whether that has to do as I said, with hiring a contractor, someone who wrote a check to a contractor and the guy never came back; to whether it had to do with someone driving their kids to school and that person was not a person you’d ever want around your kids, let alone driving them to school. Whether it has to do with identity theft, we’ve had someone around here who had their identity stolen. All of the solutions that Intelius has and provides are geared toward protection and safety so consumers can make better decisions about people, businesses and assets. Those are the things that Intelius strives to accomplish.
Identity Theft Secrets: Well, I want to thank you for taking a few minutes with us today and talking about some of the people search space and how Intelius is operating inside of that. And, we’d love to have you back obviously if things change in the future and definitely would love to have you back to ask more questions if people have them as well as we go forward.
Intelius: Absolutely, let me know, we’d love to join you.
Identity Theft Secrets: Thank you very much!
Intelius: Bye, Jonathan.
Identity Theft Secrets: This has been an interview with Identity Theft Secrets. We can be found online at

Click here to go to Intelius and try it out on yourself for free.
Intelius People Search


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3 Responses to “Intelius Review: An interview with Intelius People Search and People Finder’s Ed Petersen”

  1. Wones Says:

    Intelius, Inc. is an excellent company as well but checkout website

  2. Consumer Says:

    Intelius Revealed as a scam
    It turns out that the facts are in and there is no question that Intelius is a scam. What they do is outright theft from consumers. For all of the details, see the excellent blog at:
    Many people on blogs and comments have said they felt that these guys at Intelius deserve to be in jail. Read the TechCrunch story and the various comments and decide for yourself. There are also numerous web site where consumers have complained about these guys.
    Intelius claims to offer background checks and public information. It�s pretty clear that all they do is to scrape public data and repackage and sell. All by itself, that is a legitimate service, but for them that is just a vehicle for a scam. All consumers should be pleased that TechCrunch did a background check on them, and found what a fraud they were,
    By the way, there are 100’s of honest and ethical background check firm around that do a great job.

  3. EY Chow Says:

    I used Intelius for one time transaction just to find a person and the tool is very much user-friendly and easy to navigate. The service fee was charged yet I received an additional $20 charge several weeks later saying I have also purchased a “Identity Protection Package” which I have never authorized this transaction and the order has never shown in my first transaction.
    I called the customer service and it took me about an hour to get through; their customer service rep responded my dissatisfaction with “there’s nothing we can do because it comes along with your first people search purchase; therefore we cannot offer any refund.” The ridiculous thing is, this identity protection has a totally different order number and if what he said is true, why I did NOT see any indication of this additional charge when I purchased their service the first time!?
    Their search tool may be useful, but I am very disappointed about how they used my account info and charge me for something I have not been notified or aware of – I consider this almost like a deceit rubbing customers’ money & rights.