is intelius legit or scam? Reviews & complains 2024

The Veracity of Intelius: A Deep Dive into Legitimacy and Concerns

In the labyrinth of online information, Intelius emerges as a prominent player in the people search service domain. Promising access to public records and background check information, the Washington-based company boasts an extensive database. However, as with any service, questions about Intelius’ legitimacy and accuracy have surfaced, fueled by a tapestry of mixed reviews. In this exhaustive review, we dissect Intelius, aiming to discern whether it stands as a trustworthy resource or falls into the murky waters of potential scam.

Unveiling the Essence of Intelius

A Brief Overview

Established in 2003, Intelius offers users the ability to delve into public records databases. Here are key facets to comprehend about Intelius:

  • Diverse Services: From name and address history reports to phone lookups and criminal records, Intelius offers an array of services.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Users can initiate searches using names, phone numbers, addresses, or other identifiers. Prices range from $1-$4 per report, depending on the selected plan.
  • Extensive Database: Intelius claims access to over 10 billion public records, accessible through both their online platform and mobile apps.
  • Versatile Applications: Marketed for background checks, people searches, and reuniting with lost contacts or relatives, Intelius finds applications in various scenarios, including employment background checks.
  • BBB Rating: With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Intelius asserts a 99% accuracy rate. Yet, the ability for consumers to independently verify these claims remains challenging.

While the concept of accessing public records is legitimate, Intelius faces scrutiny due to a myriad of consumer concerns and controversies, which we’ll delve into shortly.

Unpacking the Controversies Surrounding Intelius

Legitimate Company or Dubious Practices?

While Intelius isn’t classified as an outright scam, it has garnered criticism for certain business practices:

  • Questionable Data Accuracy: Numerous reviews highlight concerns about the accuracy of data provided by Intelius. Reports of outdated or incomplete records cast shadows on their claim of 99% accuracy.
  • Opaque Additional Fees: Users frequently express frustration over hidden or unclear fees that surface as they navigate Intelius reports. The piecemeal uncovering of information can lead to unexpected costs.
  • Opt-Out Marketing Tactics: Allegations of recurring charges that users didn’t authorize or weren’t aware were optional add-ons have surfaced, raising concerns about transparency.
  • Customer Support Woes: Difficulty in reaching support and canceling subscriptions when dissatisfied compounds the challenges users face.
  • Privacy and Legal Implications: Gathering and sharing extensive personal details without explicit consent has raised privacy and legal concerns among users and critics alike.
  • Mixed Reviews: A substantial number of mixed reviews from sources like ConsumerAffairs and Reddit further contribute to the uncertainty about the overall value Intelius provides.

While these issues don’t categorize Intelius as a scam, they undeniably erode consumer trust in the platform’s ability to deliver accurate, affordable public records access—a central facet of its service.

Evaluating Intelius Reviews from Various Platforms

A Multifaceted Perspective

To offer a comprehensive view, we sifted through reviews from various authoritative platforms:

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • An A+ rating from the BBB is juxtaposed with over 100 complaints in the last 3 years, primarily centered around billing and collection issues. The contradiction raises questions about the actual consumer experience.


  • A 3.7/5 average rating from over 500 reviews showcases a mix of positive sentiments toward public records access and negative feedback, frequently citing billing and cancellation challenges.


  • A lower 2.1/5 average from 283 reviews emphasizes key complaints about hidden fees, subpar customer service, and outdated or incorrect personal information.


  • Discussions on relevant subreddits like r/socialengineering express skepticism regarding the value and accuracy of Intelius compared to alternatives such as BeenVerified.

Media Fact-Checking

  • While acknowledging Intelius as legitimate, media sources like Miami Herald note criticisms around inaccuracies and the difficulty of unsubscribing from recurring payments.

In the amalgamation of these reviews, a consistent narrative unfolds—legitimate concerns about the accuracy, value, and customer experience provided by Intelius.

Scrutinizing Intelius Accuracy Claims

The 99% Accuracy Conundrum

Intelius proudly touts a 99% accuracy rate, a claim that is challenging for consumers to independently verify. Our additional research unravels layers of complexity:

  • A 2015 study by USPI compared Intelius data to court records and found matches only 60-70% of the time, bringing the proclaimed accuracy into question.
  • Anecdotal reports on forums like Reddit suggest that fundamental personal details, such as address history, often fall short of being up-to-date or complete within Intelius records.
  • The lack of transparency regarding exact data sources and methodologies hinders third-party audits of Intelius’ data quality and reliability claims.
  • The accuracy of Intelius data appears to vary significantly based on the unique public records available for any given individual query.

In essence, credible third-party analyses suggest that Intelius’ accuracy claims, while potentially holding some merit, are likely overstated and inconsistent—undermining the platform’s value proposition as a comprehensive public records access service.

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Navigating Alternatives in the People Search Arena

Considering Better Options

Given the legitimacy concerns swirling around Intelius, exploring alternatives with fewer issues is a prudent approach. Some viable options include:

  • BeenVerified: Boasting more positive reviews, BeenVerified offers background checks and people searches starting at $2 per report.
  • TruthFinder: Despite mixed reviews, some users find the expansive public and social network data more informative than Intelius.
  • Instant Checkmate: Focusing on background checks, Instant Checkmate garners positive reviews, especially regarding accuracy in criminal records.
  • Spokeo: Offering free limited searches and paid access to comprehensive background reports starting at $29/month, Spokeo provides a 7-day free trial.
  • Local Government Offices: Directly accessing certain official public records from entities like courts, property offices, or business filings can offer a more transparent and reliable alternative.

While these alternatives might not replicate the claimed scale of Intelius, they present viable options with fewer issues related to unclear fees, inaccuracies, or challenging cancellation processes, as noted in third-party reviews.

The Bottom Line: Is Intelius Worth It?

Weighing the Pros and Cons

After meticulous analysis, our assessment is that Intelius, from a legal standpoint, appears legitimate. However, its value proposition is cast into doubt based on the following evidence:

  • Mixed and Negative Reviews: Consumer feedback consistently undermines the promised 99% accuracy levels, with numerous concerns around unclear fees and difficulties in unsubscribing.
  • Legitimate Billing Concerns: Genuine worries exist regarding unclear recurring billing practices and the challenges users face when attempting to unsubscribe.
  • Lack of Independent Validation: The absence of independent validation of data quality or sources hampers the ability to verify key claims made by Intelius.
  • Superior Alternatives: Competitors with more positive reviews provide comparable public record access at similar costs, without the concerning business or customer satisfaction issues noted in third-party research.

In essence, while Intelius is not deemed an outright scam and might offer some value for basic profiles at a low individual cost, it does not consistently deliver on core promises. For many use cases, superior alternatives seem to exist, offering fair, accurate, and transparent access to public records without the questionable practices associated with Intelius.

In Conclusion: Navigating the Intelius Conundrum

A Prudent Decision-Making Approach

In summation, our in-depth exploration positions Intelius on the spectrum of legality, but it raises significant concerns regarding accuracy, transparency, and customer experience. While Intelius profiles could hold some value for specific individual assessments, the evidence suggests they fall short of reliably delivering on core promises, diminishing their overall worth.

For consumers seeking people search or public record services, exploring alternatives such as BeenVerified, TruthFinder, or Instant Checkmate seems a more judicious approach. These alternatives offer fair, accurate, and transparent access without the shadow of questionable business practices or customer dissatisfaction looming large in third-party reviews.

The quest for truth in the online information landscape demands discernment. Intelius, with its mixed reviews and controversies, urges consumers to tread carefully and explore alternatives that align more closely with expectations of accuracy, transparency, and reliable customer experiences. In the evolving realm of people search services, informed decisions are the compass guiding users toward trustworthy and valuable resources.

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