30 March 2009

Review: Intelius Date Check

I recently had the opportunity to review Date Check, an online service offered by Intelius, designed to answer any questions you may have about another individual (presumably someone whom you’re dating, given the name, but you can search out anyone). Job history, criminal convictions, address history, bankruptcies, and all sorts of stuff that you'd want to know if you're nosy, like me.

It's no secret that I've been having a hard time with the dating scene since I moved here. Last month I decided to dip my baby toe into the online dating world.

Online dating squicks me out, and even I think that's inconsistent with my personality and what I do. I'm a blogger, and I'm comfortable and open and quite happy to form new relationships through the internet. But. Dating? I mean....that could lead sex?? Call me old fashioned, but online dating really just feels off to me.

But where do you meet people?? It's not like I've got a lot of choices here people.

So I've had a few matches. I've looked them over. Some email conversations. I haven't met anyone yet in person on account of the afore mentioned squick factor. But with a date check! A ha! This is the answer! This is exactly what I've been looking for!

The Intelius user interface is very simple; you enter the person’s name, state, and you have the option of entering their address. The person I searched only came up with one match, but I was searching for someone with an unusual name, so I imagine that with a more common name, there would be a set of profiles to choose from. You select the profile you wish to view, and Intelius spits out its report, which includes (as available) the following:

* Personal Public Records Data
* Property History Summary
* Single State Civil Judgments
* Business Profile Summary
* Address History
* Single State Criminal Check
* People Search Report

Lucky for me, I know how to pick a winner, and ALL of these things were available. Oh yes, you read that right, ALL of them.

Personal Public Records Data: This is name, known aliases, age and date of birth. Straight forward.

Address History/Property History Summary: This is where Date Check lists known historical addresses, along with associated phone number, known neighbors, etc., as available. The addresses aren’t listed in chronological order, and the dates of residence aren’t listed, so this section seems a little random. Ten listed addresses bouncing around from city to city could be strange, but you have no way of knowing the time span of the list, or the order of the residences, so this feature, in my opinion, seems to have limited functionality. You do have the option to click through to a property report, which for $10 will give you home value, ownership info, neighbors, tax information, legal description, neighborhood information, etc. I live in an area where almost NO ONE in my age bracket is a homeowner, so I have a hard time seeing the value of this service to me personally.

Civil Judgment Report: This section lists civil records from county courts, and provides all the relevant information you would need to pull records at the courthouse. Wouldn’t you know it? This is where the state tax evasion showed up. This person is starting to look suspicious.

Single State Criminal Check: NOW we get to the juicy stuff. The criminal check lists criminal records from county courts, department of corrections, and administration of courts. The report through Intelius lists the case number, the county, and the offense date. With this I then used my library sleuthing skills to go to the county court websites and look up the case numbers to get more info. For the individual I checked, Intelius didn’t offer a great deal of information on the 8(!) different records, but the case number and county were enough for me to take it to the next level and unearth a series of records ranging from the mundane (traffic citation), to the undisclosed (paternity case for a child whom I’ve never heard mentioned), to the genuinely criminal (felony case). At this point my journey left Intelius completely, and I’m off using the Freedom of Information Act to call courts and pull records, but Date Check was certainly the jumping off point.

Intelius has the option to “confirm case at the courthouse” for an additional $49.95. If you choose to do this, criminal records are verified on-site by a court researcher, and the report includes the offense, case number, sentencing, and some other info. Personally, I’d rather save the $50 and pull the records directly from the court. There are typically processing fees for this, but they’re much lower than $50, and unless a case is sealed by the court, you can pull substantially more information. So for me, the benefit of confirming at the courthouse is pretty limited.

Overall, Intelius offers an easy to navigate service that’s easy to read and understand. I particularly like the volume of information consolidated into one report. In regards to the features that are offered at additional cost, I didn’t see any that I thought would be worth the money, although I admittedly did not try them. I think a background check can be hard to do on your own because you don’t necessarily know where to look, but once you have a starting point, it’s simply a matter of fleshing out the details directly at the source.

I’m still feeling squicky about online dating, but I learned something very important:

I think I have heinously bad taste in men.

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In addition to Intelius’s data search service, the free iSearch.com search engine allows you to quickly and easily uncover information about anyone. This is a great, targeted search that looks not only at public records, but also through social networking platforms. Get your search started at http://www.isearch.com.

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Intelius. Read what everyone thought about it here.


14 comments:

  1. thanks for story!

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  2. Oh Grace! What a discovery! That raises stalking to a whole new level. Still... one has to wonder how many divorces could have been headed off at the aisle had women had access to this kind of info! Watch out for the married ones... I hear that there are quite a few on dating sites. Ewwwww. Keep us posted -- it sounds like hot fodder for many, many posts to come!

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  3. LOL! So funny! Yeah, about 8 years ago I did the online dating thing too... never had anythig bad happen... my sister actually met her huband that way too!

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  4. Were you quite tempted to look up your own info? Now I find myself wondering how many of my own felonies and paternity cases are still on the books.

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  5. Try eHarmony. They check a lot of this out, and their system for matching is really good. It takes about an hour to fill out their questionnaire, but I think it did an excellent job of nailing my personality, even to some little details that I was surprised to show up...like how I prefer to be the second in command, making sure everything happens, and not the leader. Though it noted I can be the leader and do a good job of it, too. They were accurate though!
    I met my "match" at eHarmony. I think I was more selective about who I agreed to meet than he was, because he had some bad date experiences, but mine turned out well. With eHarmony you go back and forth about 6 times before you exchange phone numbers or email, so it helped weed out a lot of bad coffee dates, IMHO. Good luck. It is absolutely worth it to find the right person.
    PS You can always check them out on your thing.

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  6. Oh, yes, Online dating is something else and I have used Intelius before, however, it usually only occurs to me to check after something not so great happens. I have tried online dating before and stopped after I finally got up the nerve to actually meet someone and they ended up being a married preacher with 3 kids. Best of luck though.

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  7. This is so fun. I am sorely tempted to check myself out.

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  8. I tried on-line dating for awhile and met some nice guys. Didn't have chemistry with any of them or meet for a second date but still got to polish my 'first date' dating skills. My take on on-line dating- don't spend the money until YOU are ready to actually start dating. I wasn't back then and didn't realize it until later. Anyway,
    I did encounter two who were married- both fit the profile of not being available on weekends (creative excuses) and become very defensive when blatantly asked IF they were married. E-Harmony is by far the classiest and safest bet, in my meager opinion. Best wishes to you!

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  9. I could have used this years ago:) Good luck with the dating scene!

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  10. Suburban TurmoilApril 6, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    WOW. Good thing you found all that information out early. One of my best friends didn't find out the same kind of information until her father did a background check on the guy after she was ENGAGED to him.

    Marriage called off. Major turmoil. Sounds like Intelius could have prevented it...

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  11. @rehabordie I've never heard Maggie Gyllenhaal. I usually get Julia Stiles or Thora Birch.

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  12. Well, I think Maggie is way cuter anyway. ;)

    I still get weak kneed over her in Secretary.

    :O

    M

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  13. I think we all wish more folks would make that distinction, Anon.

    :LOL:

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  14. Also try this New Intelius website: PeopleSearches.com

    Check it out!

    http://www.PeopleSearches.com/

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I live for validation.