Instant Checkmate Review


Instant Checkmate is one of the simplest public record searches on the market. The site provides numerous search options, including a people directory, a criminal record database, and a sex offender database. It’s open for inquiries 24/7, and ideal if you need to run a large number of searches each month.

Best for: bulk reports

Searches: unlimited searches

Usability: easy-to-read reports

Ideal For

  • Bulk searches
  • Tracking down old friends
Youtube Video


  • Unlimited searches
  • Choose from 3 types of report
  • Manual people directory
  • Round the clock customer support


  • Premium reports aren’t included in subscription
  • Slow search process

Why Go With Instant Checkmate

We could go on and on endlessly about why you should choose Instant Checkmate as your go-to background check software. However, we’ll limit ourselves to 2 compelling reasons: one, you’ll love being able to choose how detailed you want your report to be, and two, the reports are beautifully laid out.

3 types of report to choose from

While it’s great to have the most comprehensive collection of data possible, this is not always practical or necessary. Sometimes, basic contact information and an address history are more than enough. InstantCheckmate knows this, so it offers 3 different types of report that are tailored to different needs: email reports, standard reports and premium reports.

The report layout is easy to follow

Understanding an Instant Checkmate report is as easy as it gets. Criminal records are color-coded so you can quickly see whether it’s an unlikely, likely, or possible match. And, navigating the different sections is quick and simple - just click on the tabs to the left of the report to quickly jump to the section you want to read. You can also download reports in .pdf format if you’d rather have a hard copy.


InstantCheckmate has month-to-month or 3-month subscription options, with a 3-month subscription being the cheaper option. You can also buy a one-off report.

All membership plans include unlimited reports. However, premium reports are not included in the membership fee; and you’ll need to pay an extra $19.99 per report.

Trial$1 for 5 days
Single Report$29.95
One Month$34.78
Three Months$18.24/month
Compare Instant Checkmate costs to our top background check sites >>

Reports Offered

  • People search
  • Background search
  • Criminal records
  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Reverse email search

Customize Search

InstantCheckmate’s 3 report types are progressively more comprehensive than the other:

  • email reports
  • standard reports
  • premium reports

Email reports and standard reports are included in your membership subscription; and you can get an unlimited number of them each month. Premium reports, however, incur an additional fee.

The most basic report available, an email report will give you the following information:

  • Name
  • Address history
  • Social media information
  • Known relatives

While this may not give you a lot to go on if you’re checking a prospective date or a suspicious neighbor, it should be more than enough to get you started if you’re looking to track someone down.

Standard reports are more comprehensive, and include the following additional information over and above an email report:

  • criminal background check, including arrest and prison records
  • sex offender information
  • government licenses

Premium reports are the most comprehensive reports Instant Checkmate produces, and they’re also the most expensive - an extra $19.99 on top of the price of your monthly subscription. Here’s a list of the additional information a premium report can uncover for you:

  • Civil judgments
  • UCC filings
  • Properties owned
  • Voter registration
  • Tax liens
  • Professional licenses
  • Hunting/fishing permits
  • Weapons permits
  • Foreclosures
  • Aircraft owned
  • Neighbors
  • Business associates

Is Instant Checkmate Legit?

One thing to remember about what this site offers is that it aggregates all free and accessible public information and records for its users. Instant Checkmate never claims to offer information that you can’t find on your own. It’s just that you wouldn’t spend the time doing the research yourself. Just like you wouldn’t question the legitimacy of a different service that you could theoretically do on your own, such as home construction, so too with this background check service. It just does the hard work for you.

InstantCheckmate has access to millions of federal, state, county and local public records. The company is very upfront about the types of records it has access to; and also to those it doesn’t. Indeed, there’s even a page on the website that lists, specifically and comprehensively, the different data sources and the way the data is collected from them.

The information Instant Checkmate has access to is primarily public data, which it gathers via Freedom of Information requests. Data points include criminal databases, court records, sex offender registries, census data and other demographic data. Unfortunately, the list excludes credit and social security information - data which other background check websites claim to be able to provide.

With that being said, Instant Checkmate is also very upfront about how often it updates its databases. It does so every 24 hours, which should make for very accurate results.

We tested the website for accuracy by carrying out a number of searches. Besides searching for some friends and acquaintances, we also looked up infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and Instant Checkmate’s very own founder and CEO Joey Rocco.

While the search engine did take its time to populate results, we had no problem narrowing down the results and locating the people we were looking for. Each time, we turned up a wealth information, including some stuff we didn’t know about one of the acquaintances we looked up.

How it works

InstantCheckmate stands out from the crowd thanks to its top-notch customer service, comprehensive manual directories, and a commitment to go above and beyond in order to educate and entertain its subscribers.

Comprehensive Manual Directories

While Instant Checkmate has a powerful search engine, sometimes it’s just easier to look someone up manually. To this end, Instant Checkmate has a comprehensive set of manual directories you can use to search for specific information. There are 4 dedicated directories you can use to look someone up, namely:

  • a people directory
  • a criminal records database
  • a sex offender database
  • an inmate search

You can quickly sort through these directories and hone in on the person you’re looking for alphabetically. In addition, the criminal record database, sex offender database, and inmate search are also sorted by state and by most populous city.

More Than Just a Background Check Service

InstantCheckmate is more than just an online service you can use to check people’s background out or track down old acquaintances. It’s also committed to inform, educate and entertain. To this end, the company runs 2 blogs: The Luminary and Crimewire.

The Luminary is a relationship and lifestyle blog. Some of the topics it deals with are light-hearted, but that doesn’t mean it shies away from addressing more difficult issues. The blog also addresses tough situations, such as how to make a long-distance relationship work or even how to deal with a loved one who suffers from addiction.

Crimewire, on the other hand, has a very different objective in mind: being the go-to resource for all things crime-related. You’ll find tips and tricks on being savvy and staying safe both online and offline - from information on identifying and avoiding scams to dealing with an abusive date or partner. On the lighter side, you’ll also find interesting tidbits such as histories of famous crimes and trivia - great to know on quiz night.

Did we mention the mobile app…


Ease of Use

One of Instant Checkmate’s biggest selling points is that your membership allows you to carry out an unlimited number of searches, as opposed to other companies that charge extra if you go over a certain amount. This makes it the ideal choice if you plan on searching for people in bulk, for instance if you want to get in touch with the old gang from high school and have a lot of ground to cover.

What’s more, Instant Checkmate’s manual directories allow you to instantly get specific by honing in on the criminal information you want to find out about. There’s a criminal records database and a sex offender database, both of which include arrest records sorted by state. You can also carry out an inmate search, which goes through prison system records and court data in order to find out where the person you’re searching might have been incarcerated in the past.

Help & Support

One of Instant Checkmate’s standout features is the quality of its customer support. The website itself is full of helpful information, including a comprehensive FAQ page which you can consult to find out more information about the service or address any issues you may have. More to the point, however - and unlike many other background check websites - you can speak to a live customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling their toll-free number.

Round the clock support means you don’t have to wait around at odd hours to speak to someone if you live in a different time-zone. Whether you have an issue with billing, navigating the website or with the results of a search, you can instantly pick up the phone and speak to a friendly person who’ll help you out.

And if the thought of speaking to someone on the phone makes you nervous, you needn’t worry, either. You can also get in touch with customer support by opening a support ticket or sending an email.

Unsurprisingly, the company enjoys an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Instant Checkmate’s FAQ section is extremely comprehensive. Not only will you find answers to your most pressing questions, you can also watch how-to videos that show you how to make the most of your subscription and get the right information on the subject of your search.

Live support is available via a toll-free number. Unlike many other background check websites on the market, Instant Checkmate’s phone lines are open 24 hours a day. Finally, Instant Checkmate’s social media accounts are active, responsive and also fun to follow. Learn more about what background checks can do for you or simply beat your workday blues by read their fun posts.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to track someone down or uncover information on a person you have a bad feeling about, Instant Checkmate is a great tool to have. What’s more, the service goes above and beyond simple background checks, also aiming to educate and entertain via its social media accounts and two blogs.

Admittedly, the report generation process can sometimes be a slow and frustrating process. However, the quality and detail in the reports and overall ease of understanding them more than makes up for this.

About InstantCheckmate

Founded in 2010 by current CEO Joey Rocco, Instant Checkmate’s original mission was to help people date more safely by making it possible to run a background check before meeting in person. Since then, the company has grown to become one of the largest and best known people search engines in the US. Using a powerful search algorithm to trawl through millions of federal, state, county and local records, Instant Checkmate now delivers millions of background check reports each month. The company also has a strong corporate social responsibility program. Part of its profits support the Together We Bake organization: a comprehensive training and development initiative for women recently released from jail.



Last Updated October 29, 2017

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