A major disappointment. Or to be more narrative:
I was creating a lesson on the persistence of information on the Web, and I thought some info from a background check company would make a revealing slide. So I typed in a name and the service at the Intelius Web site provide a reasonable presence. Like several of the other background check companies on the Web, Intelius apparently uses trained gerbils with abacuses to find information, because the user must sit through screen after screen of growing completion lines, while the screen says something like, "Gathering information on possible arrest records." I must have wasted five minutes waiting for these gimmicks to play out.
Finally, I was offered the report for $20 or so for a month of unlimited additional reports. I was a sucker, so I chose that. Then a screen pops up, saying that if I wanted to print or download a copy of this report, i would have to pay a few more dollars. This ploy turned out to be a major method of upping the cost of the report. For more details on criminal records, for example, please pay extra.
The basic report is pathetic. Here is what I got:
1. Name and birth date, accurate
2. Possible Aliases, three listed, none correct
3. Possible Jobs, 9 listed, 6 correct, 3 incorrect, including owning a termite control company
4. Educational degrees: 3 listed, all correct (impressive)
5. Social Security Number: number not provided; location issued (California), correct
6. Possible Marriage Records: 6 listed, 0 correct.
7. Possible Divorce Records: 7 listed, 0 correct
8. Possible relatives: 6 listed, 4 correct
9. Related URLs: 10 listed, 4 correct
10. Possible P)hone numbers: 1 out of 6 correct
11. Possible email addresses: 1 out of 5 correct
12. A list of sex offenders living near previous addresses.
13. List of neighbors near various previous addresses.
14. Possible criminal records: incorrect traffic violation
15. Unlikely criminal records: About 12 criminal records none attributable to me, mostly traffic violations, but a couple burglary
16. 28 sex offenders near addresses
17. list of 6 web pages or connections, 6 listed, 3 incorrect
and a few more pages of the same junk.
A purchaser could have gleaned a former address and a former phone number if he had been looking for it. Otherwise, every correct note is buried and confused by incorrect junk.
I didn't spring for any of the "extra details." I felt somewhat cheated by the ploy of withholding info, especially after saying how thorough it was going to be (and that I had better prepared to be shocked at what I was about to learn).
Bottom line: for me, Intelius is a waste of time and money.