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Table of Contents
- About Instant Checkmate
- How To Use the Instant Checkmate Website
- More In-depth Features
- Instant Checkmate Pricing & Refund Policy
- Standard & Premium
- Instant Checkmate vs Other Background Check Websites
- Additional Things to Note
- What is a CRA?
- Issue with the FCRA
- Instant Checkmate Reviews
About Instant Checkmate
Humans are born with curious minds… Curiosity does NOT always kill the cat. In present time, most of us use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to search important details about someone we are interested to know more. This might even equate to stalking, for some people. But valid reasons to conduct a background check rise up, as the world of online dating emerge.
Originally serving as a validation resource tool for people who were searching about their online dating prospects, Instant Checkmate started in 2010. More fraudulent profiles were created during that time. And people used Instant Checkmate to check if the information stated in their prospects’ accounts are true, as well as to find out their criminal records or sex offender status.
From there, the purpose of Instant Checkmate expanded. It is now a tool to provide up-to-date vital records of people, mostly for personal use.
How To Use the Instant Checkmate Website
After you have entered the person’s name and age/location on the blanks needed to do the search, you’ll see a loading page where you can see the progress of your search. Then, you will see a preview of possible matches with the name, their aliases and location, as well as the ages. You can choose the one that matches the best for the person you’re searching for. Afterwards, you’ll be directed to another loading page in which the report will be created. Before you see a notification that the report is completed, there are at least four loading pages.
A pop-up message will show before paying for the report.It will ask if you would want to try their offer of $1 for standard reports and full-access trial membership. This trial only lasts for 5 days. You will be charged $29.63 per month, onwards.
Once you have chosen the plan you prefer and you are all set, Instant Checkmate will provide you helpful little tips so you can search fairly well and make the most out of your membership.
One of the helpful features in Instant Checkmate is it shows photo(s) of the person you’re searching for. Thus, you can be assured if the details you’re looking at is of the correct person. This can also be beneficial if you haven’t personally met the person you’re interacting with online. After seeing such, you can now put a face to the name. Though if the name you’re searching for has many owners, it can be tricky.
Besides showing you basic details of the person like residence address, contact details like mobile number and landline, and birth date, you can also see that person’s social media accounts.Instant Checkmate shares a direct link to a person’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Gravatar, LinkedIn, and more!
A Zodiac Sign compatibility test is also included in the report, which might be useful for people who are seeking astronomical advice for their possible relationship with the person they’re searching for.
More In-depth Features
On the bottom part of the site, more important details are indicated. For criminal records, each offense is listed separately, including the booking date and location. You can also see the charge type and case number, along with detailed offense code and criminal code. It also shows the arrest disposition that points out whether they were arrested or released. Additional information includes the court where the offense was dispositioned.
As mentioned above, there is a section showing the location of the person you’re looking for. This would especially be helpful if you are searching for old friends. You can see the time frame on when they started living in an area and when they were last seen there. Additionally, the report includes the old locations the person resided in.A premium function supplements these data by providing you with lists of possible neighbors of this person, and their addresses.
Instant Checkmate Pricing & Refund Policy
Besides the quality, price is one of the things to consider in choosing a product. Unfortunately, customers cannot use Instant Checkmate for free.
Customers are presently charged $34.78 per month, for one month of unlimited reports and searching. There is also another option, where one can sign up at a less price of $27.82/month. This plan is available if you decide to search with no limits and get the aforementioned unlimited reports for three consecutive months. The information provided for the fair prices mentioned above are comprehensive and might be complete already for some. But to get more vital details like financial data and email reports, an extra fee would be asked of you to pay.
Standard & Premium
There are two kinds of report that you can get from Instant Checkmate. Standard reports compose of information about date of birth, current and last known addresses, and census data. Other details include: persons living at the same address, satellite imagery of properties, traffic records, and/or nearby sex offenders. These bits of information are already enough for some. But if you are looking to delve deeper, you can try the other type of report.
Premium reports, which include data like old phone numbers, professional licenses, properties owned, and civil judgments (among others), are priced at $19.99. Important thing to consider: Despite your ability to get the Premium report of an individual, this doesn’t mean that Instant Checkmate will provide all the information you need to know for that person. This is especially true if the person does not have the details in the first place (such as, he/she might not own a property).
Plans acquired on Instant Checkmate are renewed automatically every month, until customer cancels membership. You have two options on how to cancel it, anytime you want to do so. A customer can call this hotline number: 1-800-222-8985 (available 24 hours a day). Otherwise, you can go to your account settings so you can do it yourself immediately. You can opt to ask for refunds using the number mentioned above, too. Easy-peasy!
As you do the cancelling on your own, a pop-up message will come up about a discount and ask if you would like to continue the membership for only $9.97 a month. It is up to you, if you prefer to go on with the cancelling or to avail the offer.
Instant Checkmate vs Other Background Check Websites
In their website, Instant Checkmate claims that:
“Whether researching arrest records, phone numbers, addresses, demographic data, census data, or a wide variety of other information, we help thousands of Americans find what they’re looking for each and every day.”
But do they really comply with this statement?
One of the great things to consider Instant Checkmate is it offers a simpler file and report to look at. For example, rather than just being given a list of criminal offenses, Instant Checkmate provides customer a PDF breakdown of the records. These records had either been archived (by PDF) or been stored in a database.Besides that, Instant Checkmate has lightning speed in accessing files. It can aggregate a large number of files in a few seconds (still depending on your internet speed).
Besides the data they provide, their service also differs with other background check websites due to other factors. One thing is they offer 24-hour customer service. You can consistently and easily ask them for guidance on your search, via email, phone, or instant message.
Another reason that Instant Checkmate stands out from other competitors too is its capability to tap into ancillary markets. Hence, it offers information like census data, celebrity search, and an option for a reverse phone look-up.
One great feature that they added into their website is their Sex Offender Database. The criminal reports they provide also show a map of all registered sex offenders in the area of the person you searched for. You can view the mug shots and details of nearby sex offenders too, which could be helpful if you consider going to the place.
Despite the great features mentioned above, Instant Checkmate has its own limitations. As of now, it does not have a reach beyond the United States, as its service only specializes in American database to avoid any international red tape.
To decide if Instant Checkmate is what you need, here is a rundown of its pros and cons:
- Excels at design (Graphics, reports, and website are attractive and clean.)
- FAQs section is very helpful because it provides information what you can and cannot do with the data you received.
- Customer service is reliable. (Some customers claim that they received a reply email within a day).
- The report you’ll be getting is fairly easy to read.
- The data you’ll see are mostly correct.
- Cancelling the membership is a breeze.
- A nice bonus: ability to flag information that is incorrect.
- You cannot see a person’s complete criminal record history unless you pay more.
- Service is limited to United States.
Additional Things to Note
What is a CRA?
It is significant to know that CRAs (Consumer Reporting Agencies) are those officially recognized to provide information about a person’s employment history and credit history, among others. These vital data can only be accessed by potential landlords, employers, and even creditors – not just the “curious” public.
If an unfortunate action is taken against you, you can ask for a CRA to supply you with a free consumer report. Though, some agencies offer it for less than $11.50. You can see a list of official CRAs here.
Most importantly, one must know these two things: (1) Instant Checkmate is not an official CRA.(2)CRA does not allow the general public to request personal information like the one that Instant Checkmate provides, from them.
Issue with the FCRA
In 2014, Instant Checkmate was accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by the Federal Trade Commission. The reason was for allowing people to get access on consumer reports illegally. Neither admitting the allegation nor denying it, Instant Checkmate paid a fine of $525,000. They also vowed to change the claim in their website. Thus if you check their site, you’ll see notes informing people that they are not an official CRA. They also cleared out that information gathered should not be used to create decisions for hiring employees, granting loans and insurance, etc. Instead, Instant Checkmate notes that the data they provide can only be used in finding the truth, protecting the family, and satisfying the curiosity.
Instant Checkmate Reviews
Despite this fair resolution to the issue, Instant Checkmate still has a long list of people complaining about their service. Many customers were mentioning that they were billed fraudulently. Others were telling that they had issues in cancelling the membership on-time. Some other reasons for the bad reviews include customers claiming: the service was scam and a rip-off and the amount to pay was high for the amount of information received. Some people also say that reports they received were incomplete.
In January 2014, Instant Checkmate had been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Currently they have an A+ rating with them. There were a lot of complaints about Instant Checkmate there, too. But BBB notes that the problems were resolved.They add that the company was reaching out to the customers who got involved with the issues, to help them regarding their problems.
No matter what personal reason you plan to use a background check tool, it is vital to know if one is fitting for the information you need to obtain. Despite having some negative reviews about billing issues, Instant Checkmate is a fairly easy to use tool. It is considered to have one of the more organized database of resources, and the information you’ll receive is shared to you in a clean, intuitively-designed PDF file. The most important data are presented to you, in a way in which you’d think they thoroughly thought out what the end-user needs. Additionally, the data they provide are mostly correct!
Despite these positive things, issues like having to pay more for vital information are still there. In the end, it all boils down to your decision. Would you risk paying the cost to learn personal details about someone? Or, would you would rely instead to social media sites, or to little ol’ pal, Google?