Is TruthFinder Legit, or Is TruthFinder a Scam? – A Thorough Investigation
Background check services like TruthFinder promise easy access to records on nearly anyone. But can you trust the information in their reports? Is TruthFinder a reliable service or a scam?
As an experienced cybersecurity writer who has used these types of tools, I decided to thoroughly examine TruthFinder‘s practices, accuracy, and legitimacy. Read on for my in-depth findings.
What Does TruthFinder Do Exactly?
TruthFinder is an online people search platform that provides background check reports on individuals from data gathered across public records and social media networks.
Specifically, some of the key sources TruthFinder compiles its data from include:
- Federal court record systems like PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records)
- State repositories like the California Courts Online Self-Help Center
- County sources like the Los Angeles County Public Defender records
- Local law enforcement databases
- State Department of Corrections inmate locators
- Sex offender registries
- Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
In 2021, TruthFinder claimed to have over 1 billion public records in its database. For perspective, top competitor Instant Checkmate claims 150 million records while Intelius cites data on over 600 million people.
By leveraging these massive record databases, some of TruthFinder‘s core features include:
- Criminal record lookups – See felonies, misdemeanors, incarcerations etc.
- Reverse address history – Previous addresses and names associated with them.
- Reverse phone lookups – Identify name, location, carrier and line type (landline vs VOIP)
- Email address searches – Gather basic background details on an email owner.
- Social media searches – Find social media profiles associated with your search term.
- Sex offender checks – Returns offenders listed near an address.
- Dark Web Monitoring – Monitor for unauthorized use of your PII on dark web sites and forums.
But just how accurate and reliable is the information uncovered through these searches? Let‘s analyze further.
Evaluating Accuracy and Legitimacy
Any background check service is only as good as the data sources it draws from. Unfortunately, public records aren‘t always completely accurate or up to date. Outdated entries, data entry errors, and delayed reporting can introduce inaccuracies.
According to one survey by Methvin Law Firm, nearly 30% of criminal background checks done by leading firms like TruthFinder produce incomplete or inaccurate results.
However, criminal records tend to be more reliable than civil records according to professionals. This NAPBS whitepaper indicates criminal record databases are accurate approximately 90% of the time due to stricter reporting requirements. Civil records lag at 70-80% accuracy.
In my experience, TruthFinder produces decently accurate results, but they aren‘t perfect. Running comparisons against county-level searches provides the best way to verify any discrepancies.
I‘ll caveat that accuracy and completeness can vary quite a bit by location. Rural areas often have fewer accessible digital records than metro areas for example.
When it comes to customer sentiment, TruthFinder earns reasonably positive marks. They hold an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and average 4 out of 5 stars on reviewing sites like Trustpilot.
One recurring complaint is slower and less helpful customer service compared to competitors. Keeping an open line of communication is important for clearing up any discrepancies.
Overall, TruthFinder appears legitimate in its purpose of providing background screening services by compiling public domain records. However, approach the information you receive with a healthy skepticism before making any life-altering decisions!
Weighing the Pros and Cons of TruthFinder
|Wide database of 1B+ public records
|Not 100% accurate – errors/omissions occur
|Criminal checks seen as highly accurate
|Subscription-only access can get expensive
|Helpful for basic background info
|Support and customer service is just average
|Clean, easy-to-use report interface
|Advanced filters and options lacking
|Monitor for personal info leaks
|Some stale public record sources
Like any service, there are some tradeoffs in relying on TruthFinder. Make sure you factor in these pros and cons before moving forward with them.
How TruthFinder Stacks Up to Competitors
TruthFinder isn‘t the only player in the online background check game. Stacked up against top competitors, here‘s how it fares:
|Ease of Use
As this table illustrates, Instant Checkmate leads when it comes to accuracy given their focus on aggregating criminal records. Intelius offers a lower cost of entry but has a dated interface. TruthFinder strikes a balance on accuracy, affordability and ease-of-use for casual background checks.
Is It Legal and Ethical to Use TruthFinder?
An important consideration – does using TruthFinder cross legal or ethical boundaries? The short answer is not if you use it properly and avoid any harassment or discrimination.
Most of the data surfaced by TruthFinder comes from public government databases that carry no expectation of privacy. The other portion is social media content users have posted publicly themselves. So from a legal standpoint, everything is above board.
However, you do have an ethical responsibility not to misuse background check services to stalk, threaten or discriminate against others. TruthFinder themselves notes it‘s licensed for "individual, internal use only" and should not influence hiring/firing decisions.
Treat any information you uncover as confidential and think twice before accusing anyone directly based on a TruthFinder or any other report. If serious concerns come up, consulting with legal counsel is advised.
The Bottom Line on TruthFinder
TruthFinder provides a helpful starting point to uncovering basic details on just about anyone. As long as you understand public records have limitations, approach the data critically, and avoid harassing misuse, it can be a useful tool.
Is it 100% accurate? No service achieves that. But TruthFinder is just as legitimate as major competitors in the space and produces satisfactory results for many.
Hopefully this deep dive has provided the facts to determine if TruthFinder is right for your background check needs. Let me know if you have any other questions!