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How to Find Old Friends with an Online Background Check

When you are growing up, you always assume you will be friends with these people forever. But it doesn’t always work out that way. You move away for College or work. You meet your partner and settle down. Your life moves on and you lose touch with a lot of old friends. But at some point, something triggers a memory and you think to yourself, ‘I wonder how he is getting on’ or ‘I wish I knew what she was doing these days.’

In the past, tracking down old friends could be a time-consuming and expensive process. But with the advent of the internet age, it has become surprisingly simple to find old friends using an online background checking site. They can take even the vaguest information about someone and search through reams of publically available data to locate them. In this article, we are going to teach you how to find old friends with an online background check as well as suggesting which of the many sites on the web are the best ones to use.

Best background check site to use to find lost friends

A quick Google search will turn up dozens of different sites, all claiming to be the best around. Inevitably, some are a lot better than others. If you are going to use a background checking site to seek out an old friend, you want to make sure you have the best possible chances of success. But how to separate the wheat from the chaff?

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We’re here to help make the search easier with a list of recommendations. The core criteria we have applied to narrow down the market are:

  • An extensive range of background checks – Some companies offer more comprehensive searches than others. But to give you the best chance of finding a lost friend, you need to pick a site which offers the widest possible range of data searches.
  • Proper research – Unfortunately, there are some sites out there who will claim to deliver in-depth research, but actually do little more than a quick internet search and then pad out the results. Our recommendations use the latest technology and effective human resources to carry out their research carefully and diligently.
  • Search customization – In seeking out a lost friend, the amount of information you have could vary enormously. It is therefore vital that the site can do the job regardless of how much information you give it.
  • Accurate and comprehensible reports – The findings of a background check will be present to users in a report, but the quality of these reports can vary enormously. We have only recommended those sites which can deliver easy-to-understand, accurate, and readable reports.
  • Ease of Use – Most sites employ a dashboard to enable you to access the information that has been found and manage your searches. But some of these are less user friendly than others. We have only recommended sites that offer a well-designed and easy-to-use dashboard.
  • Good customer support – Background checking is not a precise science, so good customer support is essential. Our recommendations all offer excellent support including significant out of hours provisions.
  • Mobile apps –We all want to be able to access data on the go these days and being able to access your search information on a mobile device is important. Therefore, all our recommended providers offer mobile apps as standard.

Please note: background checking is not a precise science. No reputable background checking site would offer an absolute guarantee that they will find the person you are seeking or that they will get 100% of the information they provide correct. Having said that, the best services do have impressive track records and boast high levels of user satisfaction. All of the three sites we are recommending here have delivered consistently positive results and we are confident that if your lost friend can be found, all of these sites will likely manage to do so.

1 — Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate is the top background checking siteon this list and offers a comprehensive research service which is ideal for hunting out lost friends. They offer a virtually identical service to other serives. Their pricing structure is also a little higher than average, and they too have a two-tiered payment structure. Nevertheless, Checkmate certainly delivers a high-quality service for that price. For their basic fee, they will take whatever information you can give them with and seek out such details as a person’s sex offender status, criminal records, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history, and any information on social media sites.

In our experience, this usually gives a lot of detail, but if you do want more, such as financial history, court records, driving licenses and weapons licenses, you can get it by paying a bit more for their premium plan. CheckMate has a really nice online dashboard as well as an excellent customer support service that is open around the clock. But they do only offer an Android app at the moment, which is a shame. Their final reports are easy to follow and well laid out and all the customer feedback we have received about their service has been very satisfied.

Readers Deal: If you want to give Instant CheckMate a go, why not take a look at our exclusive readers offer. 

2 — TruthFinder 


Truthfinder is another excellent background checking site and while it may place second on this list, they are just as likely to be able to find your lost friend as any of our other recommendations. Truthfinder offers fully comprehensive research service that looks into just about any piece of information you can imagine. They claim to search through millions of public records and as a result, can turn up includes full contact details, current and previous addresses, criminal and court records, driving records, personal information, and information about known relatives.

They too offer a two-tier payment structure, and for the higher fee, you can take advantage of their unique deep web research service too. They claim that this searches through more online and social media records than any competitor site and premium customers can expect to find out things like a person’s education history, voter registration records, weapons and other licenses held, and more. Like Checkmate, they too can only offer an Android app at the moment, but they also have a 24/7 customer support service, and a real bonus is that theirs is available on a toll-free number too. Truthfinder may not have been our favorite background checking site, but it still does a great job.

Readers Deal: If you want to give Truthfinder a try, why not take advantage of our special discounted rates and sign up today.

3 — Intelius

Last pick for a background checking site to use to find lost friends in 2018 is Intelius. Intelius offers a wide-ranging background checking service at a very reasonable price. Using their vast range of available sources, Intelius can identify such things as a person’s full contact details, address history, criminal records, financial history, property records, educational history, and plenty more besides. Their attention to detail is impressive and the feedback we have received from users is also hugely positive. They claim to have completed more than 50 million background checks for satisfied customers from right across the USA.

In seeking out lost friends, Intelius deploys the very latest research technology, but they do also include an important human element to their work as well. For example, they will send someone to search through non-digitized records in criminal and civil courthouses if required. The Intelius online dashboard is nicely designed and really easy to navigate, while their reports are some of the best and more comprehensible we have encountered. Intelius also offers dedicated apps available for both Android and iOS devices, which are also well-designed and easy to use. They also offer an effective customer service team who can be contacted via email, on the phone, or via their online troubleshooter service.

Finding friends on your own vs using a paid service

There was a time when such a search would literally be like looking for a needle in a haystack. But not anymore. Today, there are a number of different places you can look depending on what information you have available. The first place most people will try is a search engine such as Google. You might get lucky here, but there are a lot of people in the USA and if your lost friends have a fairly common name you could find yourself back in ‘needle in haystack’ territory. A better bet these days is probably social media sites such as Facebook. Quite a lot of people make information about their school and college backgrounds publicly available, which can help to narrow down your search. But of course, there are no guarantees.

The other option is to go down a more professional route and use a paid-for background checking site to do the job for you. background checking sites are designed to help people look into the history of an individual by compiling profiles based on publically available data and information about them. They are great an ideal tool for anyone who wants to find out more about someone for all manner of different reasons. For example, if you want to learn more about your new neighbors or the girl your husband keeps talking about from his office. But they are also often used by people who want to find a lost friend or family member. And the service they offer is ideal for this purpose too. No matter how much you know about your old friend, if the information about them is out there, a background checking service offers you the best chance of finding it.

What is an online background checking site?

A background checking site is a website which employs the latest technology to look for information about people. To do this, they search through huge quantities of publically available information sources and then compile everything they find into an easy-to-understand report. Different background checking sites will have access to different information sources, but all of the information they will access is 100% legally available and already in the public domain. These sites don’t do anything shady. If you were so inclined, you could go and look up all of this information for yourself. But doing so manually would be a time-consuming and laborious process.

Such sites can conduct in just a few minutes searches that might otherwise take you hours. They are far more likely to get things right, too, even with scant information to work with. Even if you only have a partial name and a place you went to school or college together, a background checking site will stand a decent chance of finding them. You can usually customize searches, so you only get back the information you need.

Where do background checking companies source their information?

Different background checking sites will use different information sources when carrying out their research. Sources used will also vary depending on the nature of your search and the pricing level you are paying for.But generally speaking, they all look at the same basic type of information, all of which is freely and legally available and already in the public domain.

This could include sources such as criminal records, education records, credit check records, driving records, social security data, litigation records (to uncover details of any legal actions they were involved in), archive records, personal references, and any information that a person has put on social media or other online sources. It is almost always a very comprehensive range of sources and the technology they employ means that most sites can guarantee a high degree of accuracy.

Why are some background checks free while others have to be paid for?

There are plenty of sites which claim to offer a ‘free background checking service’ around, but we would urge caution if you decide to use these sites. Tt is very rare to get something good for free these days, and that is as true in background checking as anywhere else.

Running a reliable background check is not cheap, as it requires the use of high tech research tools as well as man-hours. While some local and state records can be accessed for free, almost all nationally retained data requires the payment of a fee in order to be accessed. This all costs money, and sites have to cover their overheads at the very least.

If you find a site offering to do this for nothing, there is likely to be a catch somewhere.It could be that the site uses your data for nefarious purposes, or even operates as a ruse to plant malware or other malicious software onto your device. Other sites may deliver a free report that is based on little more than a quick internet search.

On the other hand, don’t be duped into thinking that expensive services are always better, either. Stick to the core criteria we listed earlier, and it’ll become clear who offers value for money.

In summary

Making the decision to seek out a lost friend can be a difficult one, but it can prove hugely rewarding too. There are ways you might be able to find your lost friends for free using search engines or social media sites, but the best chances of finding them are by using a background checking service. These sites can search a huge range of data sources quickly and effectively and turn up positive results on the basis of the most minimal of information provided.


Have you ever used a background checking site to search for a lost friend? How did you find the experience? Was your search a success? Did you use one of the background checking sites we have recommended in this article? Did our guide help you in your search? We always welcome feedback and guidance from all our readers, so why not share them with us using the comment boxes below.

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