Is Intelius Legit or a Scam? Honest Review

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  • Post published:February 15, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Intelius is one of the most popular online people search and background check services today. With over 15 years in business, millions of users trust Intelius to access public records and make informed decisions.

But is Intelius legit? Or is it a scam that you should avoid? In this in-depth Intelius review, we’ll uncover everything you need to know about So let’s start with the basics.

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What is Intelius and How Does It Work?

Intelius is an online people search and background check service. It allows you to look up information on virtually anyone by searching public records and proprietary databases.

With Intelius, you can:

  • Find old friends or classmates
  • Research a new neighbor or landlord
  • Look up unknown numbers calling your phone
  • Screen potential dates or relationships
  • And more

The company compiles data from various public and commercial sources, including:

  • Government records
  • Phone directories
  • Public social media profiles
  • Court and criminal records
  • Property records

Intelius then aggregates all this public information into comprehensive background check reports.

While you could find this public data yourself, it would take an enormous amount of time and legwork. Intelius does the heavy lifting for you by compiling everything into an easy-to-use online search platform.

Now let’s look at the specific Intelius products and services available.

Intelius Products and Services review

Intelius offers a wide range of online search products:

People Search – Search for names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, relatives, and more.

Background Checks – Access criminal records, arrests, bankruptcies, foreclosures, marriages, divorces, and other public records.

Reverse Phone Lookup – Input a phone number to find out who it belongs to.

Reverse Address Lookup – Enter an address to uncover property details and residents.

Public Records Search – Dig up court, property, and vital records.

Email Search – Find email addresses associated with a name.

Previous customers have used Intelius services for:

  • Reconnecting with old friends or finding long-lost relatives
  • Researching a potential romantic partner or date
  • Screening a new roommate, tenant, or hire
  • Looking up unknown callers leaving voicemails or sending texts
  • Getting owner information when returning a lost wallet or phone
  • And much more

Now that you understand Intelius and what it does, let’s dig into the big question: is Intelius legit and trustworthy? Or is it a scam?

Is Intelius Legit? Reviews from Users

With so many phony sites and online scams today, it’s normal to be skeptical of any online service asking for your personal information and money.

So is Intelius a legitimate company you can trust? Or is it a scam to avoid at all costs?

While no background check service is 100% perfect, here are some signs Intelius is legit:

Intelius BBB Rating

Intelius currently holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB grades businesses from A+ through F based on factors like:

  • Number of complaints
  • Timeliness responding to complaints
  • Truthfulness in advertising
  • Commitment to resolving issues

An A+ BBB rating is difficult to achieve, so this helps validate Intelius as a legit and reputable company.

However, while ratings are important, also look at the substance of issues raised in BBB complaints. We’ll cover that shortly in the “Is Intelius a Scam” section.

Intelius Trustpilot Reviews

On Trustpilot, one of the internet’s most trusted review sites, Intelius has a 1.5 out of 5 star rating based on over 200 reviews.

At first glance, this makes Intelius seem highly questionable.

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However, reading through the reviews shows most negative feedback centers around a few key issues:

  • Unexpected billing and hidden fees
  • Difficulty canceling subscriptions
  • Missing or inaccurate information in reports

We’ll unpack those concerns coming up. But the point is that very few Trustpilot reviews call Intelius an outright scam or accuse it of fraud. While there are certainly some unhappy customers, legitimate scams and shady websites tend to have much more uniformly negative feedback.

So the Trustpilot reviews, while mixed, lend some credibility to Intelius as a legit service. But there are absolutely areas that need improvement.

Intelius SiteJabber Reviews

On SiteJabber, another trusted review site, Intelius scores 3.79 out of 5 stars across nearly 80 reviews.

Again, while not flawless, this indicates most customers have had a positive experience with Intelius and find it legit. Negative SiteJabber reviews echo similar complaints as those on Trustpilot.

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin – is Intelius a scam?

Is Intelius a Scam?

Based on third-party review sites, industry reputation, and BBB rating, Intelius appears to be a legitimate people search service on the whole.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t serious issues raised by some angry customers accusing Intelius of shady business practices and even fraud.

Some of the most common Intelius complaints include:

Hidden Fees and Overbilling

By far, the top complaint against Intelius across review sites is unexpected billing, hidden fees, and difficulty canceling automatic charges.

Many users describe signing up for what seemed to be a low one-time search, only to find repeated monthly fees deducted from their accounts without notice. Others report not realizing they were automatically enrolled in a subscription until they saw recurring credit card charges.

While Intelius does disclose its billing practices in the fine print, many customers understandably feel tricked and deceived. This murky billing process definitely hurts Intelius’ reputation.

However, it’s worth noting Intelius has a clear cancellation process, which we’ll cover shortly. As long as you closely review what you’re signing up for and immediately cancel any trial or subscription you don’t want, you can avoid unwanted charges.

Difficult Cancellations

Another common complaint is difficulty canceling Intelius memberships and stopping recurring billing.

Some users report calling customer service repeatedly to cancel without success. Others say they canceled online but still got charged the following month.

However, many others report quick and easy online cancellations without issue. So experiences seem mixed in this regard.

If you want to avoid any cancellation headaches down the road, be sure to immediately cancel any Intelius subscription you no longer want. Do this online through your account or call customer support if needed. Screenshot any cancellation confirmation emails for your records.

Also, alert your credit card company and ask them to block any unwanted Intelius charges in the future. This provides an extra layer of protection.

Inaccurate or Incomplete Information

Some Intelius users complain background check reports contained wrong information or lacked certain details they expected to find.

This is understandable, since Intelius relies on public third-party data sources that can sometimes be incomplete or contain errors. No background check service will be 100% perfect and comprehensive all the time.

However, Intelius does seem fairly responsive to fixing any incorrect info issues reported by customers.

So while Intelius isn’t a deliberate scam, its confusing billing practices, cancellation issues, and occasional data problems explain many of the negative reviews and complaints.

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Who Should Use Intelius?

Given the pros and cons, here are some examples of who can benefit most from Intelius:

  • Adoptees or long-lost relatives – Intelius can help find biological family members through public records and genealogy data.
  • High school reunions – Easily get former classmates’ contact info for reunion planning.
  • Dating and relationships – Research a potential partner before getting serious in a relationship.
  • Tenant screening – Look at financial and criminal history to vet rental applicants. (But don’t use Intelius as the sole factor in rejecting an applicant.)
  • Estate sales – Locate relatives of deceased individuals selling property or possessions.
  • Lost contacts – Retrieve phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses for old connections.
  • Protect elderly family – Screen questionable new friends, caretakers, or acquaintances who enter a senior’s life.
  • Fraud investigations – Assist fraud victims in tracking down scammers and perpetrators.

However, Intelius should NOT be used for certain purposes:

  • Employment screening – Violates FCRA requirements. Use a CRA approved service instead.
  • Making sole rental decisions – Cannot legally deny housing based only on Intelius report.
  • Stalking or illegal tracking – Intelius prohibits unauthorized use to infringe privacy rights.
  • Hacking or accessing sealed records – Only provides public data legally available to general public.

Bottom line – Intelius can legally access the same public records anyone can request directly from government agencies. It simply aggregates everything in one convenient place.

Now let’s look at Intelius pricing and costs.

Intelius Cost and Pricing

Intelius offers all-inclusive subscription plans that allow unlimited searches.

There are three main packages:

1. People Search

  • Unlimited person and address searches
  • Criminal records, bankruptcies, properties, relatives, and more
  • $24.86/month billed monthly
  • $21.13/month billed bi-monthly

2. People Search + Reverse Phone Lookup

  • All features of basic People Search
  • Unlimited reverse phone lookups
  • $34.95/month

3. People Search + Reverse Address Lookup

  • All features of basic People Search
  • Unlimited reverse address lookups
  • $34.95/month

They occasionally offer short-term discounted trials like 5 days for $0.95. However, these require cancelling promptly before converting to a full monthly subscription.

You can pay via credit card or PayPal.

Some key things to note:

  • No single searches available – Must purchase a subscription
  • Auto-renews every month unless cancelled
  • Cancel anytime online or via customer service

While their unlimited search subscriptions provide good value, the company’s confusing billing and cancellations cause frustration for some customers.

Intelius Pros and Cons

Here are the key pros and cons of using Intelius as your background check and people search service:


  • Wealth of data – Access billions of public records in one place.
  • Instant results – Reports generate in seconds.
  • Well-designed site – Clean, user-friendly interface.
  • Free trial offers – Try before you buy.
  • Mobile apps – iOS and Android access.
  • Customer support – Phone and email assistance.
  • Comprehensive reports – Criminal, property, marital history, and more.
  • Public information – Same records available to anyone directly from government sources.


  • No one-off searches – Must buy a subscription.
  • Auto-renewing subscriptions – Bills every month until you cancel.
  • Cancellation difficulties (for some) – Users report issues stopping charges.
  • Misleading billing – Free-to-cheap trials convert to full-priced subscriptions.
  • Data inaccuracies – Public records are not error-proof.
  • Can’t screen employees – Not FCRA approved for employment checks.

So in summary, Intelius provides extensive public records access that can save you time and effort. But questionable billing practices and difficulties managing subscriptions cause frustrations for some users.

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Intelius Alternatives

If you encounter issues with Intelius or want to compare other options, here are some top alternatives:

  • BeenVerified – Similar public records and background checks. More transparent pricing.
  • TruthFinder – Comprehensive background checks and people search tools.
  • Instant Checkmate – Good for criminal record screening and sex offender checks.
  • US Search – Accesses billions of public records and advanced filters.
  • nuwber – Best for quick reverse phone lookups.
  • ZabaSearch – No subscription required, pay per report.
  • PeopleFinders World’s largest online people search directory.
  • RocketReach – Retrieve hard-to-find email addresses.

Take some time to browse and test multiple options to find which people search service best fits your specific needs.

Is Intelius Legit and Worth It? Our Verdict

So after this comprehensive review, is Intelius a scam you should avoid? Or is it a useful service worth trying?

The bottom line is Intelius is a legitimate company and most customers have positive experiences using their tools to research people and public records online. For serious genealogists, reunion planners, adoptees, and certain professional cases, accessing Intelius’ vast public records trove can provide tremendous value.

However, Intelius billing and cancellation processes need improvement. Too many customers feel blindsided by hidden fees or unable to stop recurring charges. Intelius needs full pricing transparency and better account controls.

Here are our final recommendations on navigating Intelius:

  • Only sign up with eyes wide open – Read terms closely and know what you’re buying.
  • Cancel any trial immediately if you don’t want ongoing subscription.
  • If cancelling a subscription, do it online and call to confirm account closure.
  • Screenshot any cancellation emails for your records.
  • Alert your credit card company or bank to block any unwanted Intelius charges.
  • Don’t depend on Intelius as your sole determining factor for rental approvals, hiring, or other high-stakes decisions based on someone’s background. Verify any key info discovered.
  • Use people search products ethically. Never misuse personal information to harass, stalk, or harm others. Respect privacy.

While Intelius isn’t perfect and still has room for improvement, it can serve as a useful tool if used carefully and responsibly. Approach with caution, manage subscriptions diligently, and take advantage of Intelius’ vast public records access to inform important personal and professional decisions.

Is Intelius Legit or a Scam? Final Thoughts

So is Intelius legit? Intelius provides a valuable service by compiling billions of public records into easy online reports. It can help reconnect you with long-lost friends, research new acquaintances, screen potential tenants or dates, and much more.

However, unclear billing practices cause headaches for some customers. Avoid problems by closely managing any subscriptions and immediately cancelling anything you don’t want.

While no background check site is flawless, Intelius appears far more legitimate than scam based on expert analysis, customer reviews, BBB rating, and two decades in business. Responsible use of their public records access can provide you with useful intel to guide personal and professional decisions.

Just enter any Intelius trial or subscription with eyes wide open. Read the fine print, cancel promptly if desired, and leverage their powerful databases to inform life’s big choices while respecting privacy.

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