Published Published July 18, 2024
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Why you should opt out of Instant Checkmate

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Type a name into Instant Checkmate, be it a friend, a new neighbor, or even your next blind date, and you’ll get a detailed background report on that person, including their home address, employment history, traffic violations, and relatives. Some people might see this as a good thing – after all, knowledge is power. But to those of us who value privacy, people-search services like Instant Checkmate can be an absolute nightmare. 

Quick takeaway: you should opt out of Instant Checkmate exposes loads of personal information such as full names, current and previous addresses, phone numbers, family ties, employment history, educational background, licenses and permits, bankruptcies and liens, assets, and other sensitive details. This not only violates your privacy, but also puts you at risk of stalking, harassment, financial fraud, and even identity theft.

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Opt-out requirements at-a-glance

  • Profile is removed within: 4 weeks
  • Manual request submission: around 15 minutes
  • Requires an email address: Yes
  • Requires CAPTCHA solving: No
  • Requires phone number: No
  • Requires identity verification: Yes
  • Online or mail-in request: Online
  • Overall difficulty: High

What is InstantCheckmate? is a data broker, AKA people-search, website. As the name suggests, such sites allow you to look other people up and find their personal details, from contact info and address history to professional licenses and legal records.

InstantCheckmate home page search contact information

Described as a leading public records search service by Instant Checkmate themselves, the company gathers information from federal, state, county, and other public record data sources, and compiles it into personal background reports. Basically, the service is a modern version of white pages and yellow pages directories that used to be delivered to your door.

Founded in 2010, Instant Checkmate has grown into one of the biggest people-search sites in the industry, attracting around 4 mln monthly visitors.

What is Instant Checkmate used for?

Initially, Instant Checkmate was created to help research potential dates. Today, the service is used in a much wider range of situations:

  • Locating long-lost family members, friends, and schoolmates
  • Vetting people you meet online before meeting them in person
  • Learning more about your neighbors
  • Verifying the credibility of sellers from online marketplaces
  • Checking who’s behind unsolicited calls and texts
  • Verifying the owner of a phone number
  • Researching your kids’ social media friends
  • Researching what others can find about you online
  • Locating nearby sex offenders

While these cases are legit examples of when Instant Checkmate can be helpful, the service can’t check or verify why people are actually looking others up. So, whether it’s a former classmate searching for you or a scammer – Instant Checkmate will never know. And due to the plethora of personal details shared, the website is a treasure trove for ill-wishers looking to locate you, send you unsolicited or even threatening texts, find out your political or religious affiliations, create easy-to-believe scam attacks, or piece your identity together for identity theft.

Notably, there are clear legal boundaries around the use of Instant Checkmate. Specifically, the platform is not a consumer reporting agency and doesn’t provide consumer reports. That means it can’t be used to make decisions about credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, and other purposes that require FCRA compliance. However, nothing stops a potential employer or landlord from conducting a quick search for your name instead of paying a legitimate background check service.

Instant Checkmate terms of use - I understand and agree button

Of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple — the accuracy of information on people-search sites like Instant Checkmate is never guaranteed. From outdated records to false criminal charges attributed to you instead of the person with the same name, such inaccuracies can lead to lost job offers, difficulty renting a place, and strains on personal relationships.

How do people use Instant Checkmate to find your information?

Using Instant Checkmate is fairly straightforward. The website provides 4 search options:

  • People Search
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Criminal & Traffic Records
  • Inmate Search

People Search

This is the most common type of search as it pulls all the information available about a person. To look someone up, you simply need to enter their first and last name, city, and state. Then, the platform displays a lengthy animation full of warnings and bald statements that hint at criminal records or embarrassing personal information. The progressive screens are interactive and ask questions about the person you’re searching for to narrow down your results.

Instant Checkmate report overview criminal traffic records notice

Once the results finally load, you’ll see profile previews that share a couple of personal details like age, location, and possible relatives. To get a full background check report, you need to purchase a membership.

Reverse Phone Lookup

As the name suggests, this tool allows to look up phone numbers and find information about their owners. Some details, like carrier, location, and security rating, are available after you provide your email. Detailed reports are behind a paywall.

Criminal & Traffic Records

Intended to uncover someone’s past arrest records, criminal background check works similarly to People Search and requires looking up one’s first and last name, city, and state. Search results, however, contain little to no information about offenses. To access it, you need to buy a full report.

Inmate Search

This type of search is intended to help locate a person in jail or prison. To look someone up, enter their full name and last known state. The results will indicate the release date and place of detention. For a detailed background report, you need a membership.

Instant Checkmate also provides name and state directories. Interestingly, using a directory instead of a search tool seems to bring up more personal details for free.

What personal information does Instant Checkmate collect? provides details like phone numbers, age, current address, job history, and relatives, for free. An in-depth background check report comes at a price and usually contains:

  • Names and aliases
  • Birth date
  • Current address and location history
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Family members
  • Associates
  • Social media profiles
  • Images
  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Licenses and permits
  • Assets
  • Bankruptcies
  • Liens
  • Judgements
  • Evictions
  • Criminal history
  • Traffic violations
  • Watchlists information
  • Registered sex offenders

It’s important, however, to note that a background search won’t disclose:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Credit scores
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • Personal text messages and call history
Check what Instant Checkmate knows about you

We will scan Instant Checkmate and 200+ other websites to reveal who lists your Phone Number, DOB, Home Address, Property Records, and other details.

Please enter your first and last name

How does Instant Checkmate gather your private information?

Instant Checkmate mainly gathers public records from federal, state, and local agencies all over the United States. Other sources of information for Instant Checkmate include:

  • Social media platforms
  • Business directories
  • Public websites and forums
  • Phone directories
  • Other data brokers

Compiling information from such a diverse range of sources into one report, Instant Checkmate effectively acts as a one-stop shop for personal background investigations.

Is Instant Checkmate legal?

Though many people raise concerns about their personal information being published without consent, people-search sites like Instant Checkmate are absolutely legal. They simply gather data from publicly available sources and compile it into individual reports. The same information can be accessed by anyone via public records due to the Freedom of Information Act.

Nevertheless, Instant Checkmate has encountered legal issues regarding its practices, particularly in relation to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In one such instance, the Federal Trade Commission required Instant Checkmate and Truthfinder to pay $5.8 million for making false claims about the contents of their background reports and violating the FCRA by operating as a consumer reporting agency, among other things.

search initiated see who he's messaging

Is Instant Checkmate safe?

The answer to this question really depends.

If you are a user of Instant Checkmate, you are relatively safe. For one, uses the HTTPS connection which makes data interactions between the site and your browser secure and private. They also don’t save credit card information on their systems and secure payment details with encryption. Additionally, Instant Checkmate doesn’t disclose your search history or notify the person you look up.

However, just like any online service, Instant Checkmate isn’t immune to data breaches. The latest one happened in 2020 and exposed users’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, and in some cases, hashed passwords.

As for non-users, people-search sites like Instant Checkmate put ordinary individuals at certain risks as they share loads of sensitive data. This information can easily be accessed by practically anyone, including people with malicious intentions.

Is Instant Checkmate free to use?

Running searches is free, but access to in-depth background checks requires an Instant Checkmate membership. There are several subscription plans based on which particular search you plan on performing. 

For those who only need reverse phone lookup services, a monthly subscription is $5.99 for unlimited reports. A People Search subscription costs $35.47 a month and gives access to unlimited reports as well. 

Additionally, Instant Checkmate provides a five-day trial for $1. This option is good for those unsure whether the service meets their needs and is worth paying for.

Instant Checkmate reviews

Despite Instant Checkmate displaying numerous positive reviews on their website, user feedback on review sites is mixed to negative.

For example, Instant Checkmate’s rating on Trustpilot is 2.2 out of 5. Users often mention poor quality of data and clickbaity advertising tactics, among other concerns.

Trustpilot Instant Checkmate's rating

Instant Checkmate reviews on ConsumerAffairs mention problems with unsubscribing, an irresponsive customer care team, and outdated information in reports, with an overall rating of 1.7 out of 5.

The company’s score on Better Business Bureau (BBB) was 2.96 out of 5 stars. However, the profile is being updated and doesn’t currently show any ratings or reviews.

Who owns Instant Checkmate?

Instant Checkmate belongs to the PeopleConnect network of data brokers that also includes such sites as Intelius and Truthfinder. The company was founded by Kris Kibak and Joey Rocco in 2010 and is based in San Diego, California.

Instant Checkmate quick links

In case you’d like to review Instant Checkmate’s policies or reach out directly to their customer support team, here’s a list of helpful links:

What other data broker sites have my information?

Unfortunately, Instant Checkmate is one of the many sites exposing your personal information. There are dozens of people-search websites and each can potentially share your details. The good news is that most of them have opt-out procedures in place. The bad news is that there’s no single form that opts you out of all of them at once and you have to submit individual requests to each site.

In case you prefer to remove your personal information manually, here are several opt-out guides for your convenience:

How to automatically opt out of 207 data brokers

Opting out of data brokers is no easy feat. There are hundreds of these websites and each has its own opt-out process. Even after your profile is removed, you still need to continually monitor each site as your information may reappear later.

But we can take the load off your shoulders.

Onerep is a fully automated service that scans 207 data broker sites for your profiles and completes the opt-out process for you. After sending the initial request, we check back until we verify that your profile has been removed. Then, we monitor each site monthly: if they republish your information, we immediately spot it and automatically begin the removal process again.  

Sign up to Onerep and rest easy knowing that your personal information is under control.

Opt out of Instant Checkmate and similar sites that breach your privacy

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IMG 4591 2 scaled e1716977867459 Dimitri Shelest Founder and CEO at Onerep

Dimitri is a tech entrepreneur and CEO at Onerep. He is keen on sharing his expertise in cybersecurity and privacy matters and is regularly published on various platforms.

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