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How To Search Public Records Online – Step-by-Step Guide 2024

Individuals often turn to free public records searches to delve into the backgrounds of the people they interact with. This valuable resource allows users to gather essential information about partners, romantic interests, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors. Armed with this data, individuals can make informed decisions about establishing or maintaining personal connections.

If you find yourself in need of a reliable tool for conducting free public records searches on someone in your personal life, we recommend considering popular options such as BeenVerified, PeopleLooker, or TruthFinder. These services cater to a wide range of users and offer various search functionalities, from obtaining general background information to conducting reverse phone number lookups.

>> Try BeenVerified Now >>

How to Search Public Records

It might be essential for you to search free public records in order to feel secure in being around the people close to you. After all, you can obtain essential knowledge from search public records which can verify that people are really who they tell you they are.

Public records are data that’s available to any person who is interested in examining it.

Even though people search free public records, it doesn’t automatically mean that they’re easy to get to, or available for download on the web. This is why it’s important to learn how to retrieve public records in an orderly and effective way.

To begin people search free public records, use the three steps outlined below.

Option 1: Use Public Record Search Tools

If you need to do a background check on someone, you can make use of public records search tools to get more information.

By using people search services, you can save time and energy since they can provide you with details like contact info, address, and social media profiles quickly. These tools store and categorize public records which can be easily accessed via a search engine.

We highly suggest using people search free public records tools as they can get all the data you want and arrange it in a clear and easy-to-understand form.

The search public records process only takes minutes which is much quicker than the other two methods which might take weeks. If you decide to use this approach, we propose BeenVerified, PeopleLooker, or TruthFinder.

Here’s the full compilation of our suggested services to look for free public records:

Option 2: Search Online Databases

To search public records for a background check, go to the official website of the pertinent county, state, federal government, or court.

Look for public records in the website’s online database, and make sure to enter the entire name of the person you’re researching in order to get precise results.

Acquiring marriage and divorce documents usually requires turning to the county or state government. To find death records, one should look at the website of their local secretary of state.

Immigration records can be located on the National Archives website as well as other internet portals. Criminal or civil court records can be tracked down at the district or county archives.

Option 3: Request Public Records

People search free public records to easily locate some kinds of information, yet other kinds, like financial and motor vehicle registration records, necessitate a request to the local or state government.

To search free public records, you must contact the relevant government agency and follow their protocol, whether that’s sending an email, mailing a letter, or filling out a web form.

Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1967, Americans have the privilege to ask for access to search public records from any federal agency. You can make such requests for yourself or on behalf of other people.

Be aware though that there’s a chance that the people search free public records information requested may not be disclosed due to the risk of compromising personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement protocols.

>> Run a Public Records Search With BeenVerified Now >>

Types of Public Records You Should Search For

There are numerous types of public records that can be accessed by individuals who want to conduct background checks on their partners, acquaintances, or relatives. Some of the most common public records that can be accessed include

  • Birth records
  • Death certificates
  • Driving history
  • Civil case records
  • Divorce records
  • Rental and eviction history
  • Criminal traffic records
  • Marriage licenses

It’s important to determine what type of information you’re trying to uncover about an individual before you begin to search public records. This is why BeenVerified is a great resource, as it provides an easy way to compile all relevant data in one location.

>> Run a Public Records Search With BeenVerified Now >>

What You Need to Know about Public Record Search

Prior to starting a search public records investigation, it’s essential to comprehend if this is the suitable way to access the information you’re looking for. If you’re conducting one on your own, it could take several weeks.

Therefore, it’s crucial to have the most essential information at hand before you start so that you don’t waste your time. We answer the most essential questions about search public records that you need to understand before you begin.

What Are Public Records?

Official documents that aren’t confidential are able to be accessed by the public using the search public records. These records can be read or acquired by anyone who wishes to know the data that’s stored in them.

Historically, these materials were recorded on paper; however, many government organizations are transitioning to digital versions of these documents, which can be stored and accessed in online repositories.

What Is a Public Records Search?

A public records search involves looking for documents that are openly accessible. It can be done by people who would like to know more about the history of an individual with whom they have an existing or potential link.

It’s also done by people who are eager to find out what details about them are in the public domain.

What Are the Benefits of Searching for Public Record?

Investigating public records search for individuals with whom you have a personal relationship can be highly beneficial.

  • Reliable Information: Open search public records that are available to the public contain personal information such as the date of birth, marital status, and address. This official documentation can validate that the information which the individual has provided to you is reliable.
  • Informed Choice: Investigating someone’s past by examining public records can be invaluable in determining whether it’s a good idea to continue or start a relationship with that person.
  • Safety Check: By examining court documents, it’s possible to find out if the individual you’re investigating has taken part in any criminal or civil proceedings in the past or is currently doing so. Investigating someone’s search public records history is an integral part of proper risk management in order to ensure personal safety.

>> Run a Public Records Search With BeenVerified Now >>

Best 7 Public Record Search Tools

If you’re looking to quickly and effortlessly access information about the individuals in your life, search public records tools can provide you with the answers you seek. Here are the top seven search public records tools that are available to use for personal research

  1. BeenVerified ($29.99/mo) – Best Tool to Search Public Records
  2. PeopleLooker ($23.99/mo) – Best for Speed and Relevancy
  3. TruthFinder ($28.05 / 1 month) – Vast information resources + Advanced search features
  4. Intelius ($24.86 / 30 days or $42.25 / 60 days) – 256-bit encrypted connection + Customer confidentiality
  5. Instant Checkmate ($35.12 / 1 month) – Easy to use + Criminal background search specialization
  6. Spokeo (Custom) – Variety of data sources + Multipurpose features
  7. PeopleFinders ($24.95 / month or $29.95 / month) – Value for money + Decades of expertise

If you’re curious about how to search public records quickly, you can take advantage of public records search tools to uncover essential information which verifies if other individuals are who they allege to be.

Look into the functions and cost of the tools on our list to pick out the one that fits your investigative requirements.

1. BeenVerified: Best Tool to Search Public Records Overall


BeenVerified stands out among the search public records services due to the fact that it provides a court runner service wherein a BeenVerified staff member will go to the court in person to request documents that have yet to be added to the firm’s online platform.

For both Android and iOS users, there are mobile apps available. It’s possible to start your investigation with any data points that you decide to use. It’s possible to get a rebate when you prepay for three months.

In contrast, it’s essential to have a membership to make use of the website as individual searches are not supported.

Once you have gone through all the “loading” screens, the only thing you will be able to view is the prices. Clients are not pleased since the reports they receive have less information than those given by other top background check websites.


  • 3 Months Unlimited Reports: $19.49/mo
  • 1 Month Unlimited Reports: $29.99/mo

>> Try BeenVerified Now >>

2. PeopleLooker: Best Public Records Search Tool for Speed & Reliability

PeopleLooker is an easily navigable website that serves as a hub for a variety of services. Its primary offering is to provide an abundance of data about individuals, which is sourced from multiple sources such as public records, social media, and online directories.

These services include background checks and address and reverse phone lookups.

PeopleLooker provides a convenient way to quickly look up information about people, such as contact details, criminal and traffic records, and other details.

Although the relevance of the data may not be completely reliable, search public records are a helpful tool for anyone looking for information for their own or professional reasons.

PeopleLooker’s relevance of data can be impacted by a variety of elements, such as the origin of the data, the privacy settings of a person, and the precision of the information located in public records.

Even though PeopleLooker tries to guarantee the correctness of the data given, there may be cases in which the information is outdated, incomplete, or wrong.


  • 1 Month Membership: $23.99 per month
  • $1 7-day trial
  • 3 Months Unlimited Reports: $19.19 per month

>> Use PeopleLooker Now >>

3. TruthFinder: Best for Value of Money

TruthFinder is a powerful search engine that gives you the capability to look up most people in the U.S. It provides you access to a huge array of search public records from assorted online sources such as the county, city, state, and federal archives.

It’s able to compile the information from all these sources into a comprehensive report that’s organized in a straightforward way, making it simple to navigate.

It’s now possible to locate the complete identity, contact number, delivery address, and email address of an individual within a few minutes thanks to this service.

It allows one to access personal details, past locations, permits, criminal history, financial data, social media accounts, and dating profiles.

There’s no longer a need to spend hours traveling to different government offices and courthouses because the search for public records is now made available online.

We recognized TruthFinder as the most suitable overall search public records tool for its combination of plentiful data sources, features, and security selections.


  • One-month unlimited – $28.05/mo
  • Two-month unlimited – $23.28/mo ($46.56 charged every 60 days)

>> Try TruthFinder Now >>

DISCLAIMER: You may not use TruthFinder or the information it provides to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. TruthFinder does not provide consumer reports and is not a consumer reporting agency. (These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., (“FCRA”), which are incorporated herein by reference.)”

4. Intelius: Best for Confidentiality

Intelius is a widely recognized source of data concerning individuals and the people to whom they’re linked. It provides background check services that allow you to form a more detailed understanding of the current and past of your acquaintances.

It has a search public records tool that collates information from multiple sources and presents it all in one place.

If you want to form connections with new acquaintances or rekindle ties with old friends, Intelius is a great resource. It can help you check your own record and identify who’s trying to get in touch with you.

Moreover, it can provide you with details like people’s names, contact details, and any criminal history associated with them.

We believe Intelius is the most dependable public records search tool in terms of keeping information confidential due to its dedication to protecting customers’ privacy. It utilizes a 256-bit encrypted connection to ensure searches are kept under wraps.

Additionally, it promises that it will never inform the people you have looked up using this service.


For just $24.86 per month, you can start a monthly membership and gain access to our people search services. However, if you choose to pay for two months in advance, we offer a discounted rate of $21.13 per month. This means you will be billed $42.25 every other month for your membership fee.

>> Use Intelius Now >>

DISCLAIMER: You may not use Intelius or the information it provides to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. Intelius does not provide consumer reports and is not a consumer reporting agency. (These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., (“FCRA”), which are incorporated herein by reference.)”

5. Instant Checkmate: Best for Simplicity

Instant Checkmate

Instant Checkmate is a service that focuses on running background checks. It grants access to valuable information regarding individuals living in the United States.

With this search public records tool, it’s possible to look up aliases, ages, addresses, and court documents related to a person. It’s also possible to look into a person’s criminal past by using an online background check.

If you have any doubts about a person’s violent tendencies, this search public records engine will provide you with information regarding any felony accusations, sexual offenses, misdemeanors, and speeding tickets.

You will be able to see if the person has ever been arrested or spent time in prison.

We recognize Instant Checkmate as the most user-friendly people-search public records tool out there because of its ease of use. Once you start your search, it will provide you with pop-up notifications to refine your results with more information about the person.

Moreover, it’s simple to remove yourself from the search public records database with an option that’s visible at the bottom part of the page. All searches are secured by a 128-bit encrypted connection and Norton protection.


If you choose to make an upfront payment, the monthly service charge will be $35.12 for a month. However, if you opt to pay for three months in advance, the monthly fee will be reduced to $28.09 per month.

>> Try Instant Checkmate Now >>

DISCLAIMER: You may not use Instant Checkmate or the information it provides to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. Instant Checkmate does not provide consumer reports and is not a consumer reporting agency. (These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., (“FCRA”), which are incorporated herein by reference.)”

6. Spokeo: Best for Versatility

Spokeo logo

Spokeo is a service that provides detailed reports about people’s backgrounds. It can be used to search for names, aliases, contact details, social media accounts, location info, familial connections, and legal documents.

This search public records tool can help you to make contact with individuals and it will keep you informed of any changes to the report while your Spokeo account is running. As the data banks accumulate more details, it will add new information to your reports.

This service can help you to locate individuals and contact them. It will regularly supply you with upgrades to your reports as long as your Spokeo profile is current. Additional data will be appended to your records as the databases increase the amount of data they contain.


Spokeo presents a monthly subscription starting at $19.95 per month. Alternatively, you have the option to choose the quarterly plan, which is priced at just $14.95 per month and billed every three months for a total of $44.85.

>> Try Spokeo Now >>

7. PeopleFinders: Best for Speedy Results


PeopleFinders is one of the longest-running search public records services that has been around for a considerable amount of time. It can access open records from more than 6,000 data sources, such as white page listings.

Utilizing it, people can search for individuals by their names, telephone numbers, and addresses. It also provides details on a person’s property, criminal and traffic record, acquaintances, and family ties.

PeopleFinders has been deemed the most cost-effective option due to its reasonable monthly packages. If you just need the basics, you can go with the regular membership plan.

For a relatively small cost, you can also opt for the premium package and gain access to intricate details as well as some extra benefits.


  • PeopleFinders Premium Membership: $29.95/mo
  • PeopleFinders Membership: $24.95/mo

>> Try PeopleFinders Now >>

Public Records Search Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Conducting a public records search isn’t a simple task and can take a long period of time if you’re not aware of the right sources. To assist you with the right data for your search, we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions.

Is It Legal To Conduct a Public Records Search?

Yes. In the U.S., it’s permissible to search public records. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which was implemented in 1967, grants the American public the authority to ask for search public records from federal government bodies.

The only exceptions are documents that may jeopardize national security, infringe on private life, or breach law enforcement policies.

Why Should You Conduct a Public Records Search?

To ensure your safety and emotional well-being, it’s wise to conduct a search of public records to gain access to documents that provide vital facts about other people. This type of record verifies the identity and personal details of other people.

By reviewing the information that these documents contain, you can gain valuable insight into the history and personality of your significant other, acquaintances, and relatives.

What Are Public Records Search Tools?

Search engines or services that collect and organize data from various sources are known as  search public records tools. They compile the information into easy-to-follow reports, which can be beneficial when you’re analyzing the history of people around you.

These tools can assist you in reducing the time and energy required for the task.

What Can I Legally Use Public Records Search Tools For?

It’s permissible to use search public records tools for individual use. For example, you can use it to investigate someone you’re currently in a relationship with or plan to be in a relationship with, such as your romantic partner, neighbors, friends, or relatives.

However, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), it’s unlawful to utilize these tools for professional reasons, like evaluating employees, credit assessments, loan approvals, or tenant selection.

What Are the Best Public Records Search Tools?

When it comes to searching for public information, there are a variety of options available. It can sometimes be difficult to know which are legitimate and which aren’t, so we have looked into many of them to determine the best choice for you.

We believe BeenVerified is the top choice due to its wide range of data sources, powerful functions, and security options.

>> Use BeenVerified Now >>

Final Thoughts on the Best Public Records Search Tools

Digging into public records can provide valuable insights about individuals you currently or potentially have relationships with. This information can influence your decision to forge friendships with neighbors or strengthen bonds with relatives. It also plays a role in determining whether marrying your partner is a wise choice.

Having evaluated various options, we confidently assert that BeenVerified stands out as the superior pick. It offers affordability and user-friendly features, allowing you to swiftly access the desired data.

To experience its benefits firsthand, sign up today and conduct an initial search to uncover comprehensive details from public records relating to your subject of interest.

>> Try BeenVerified Now >>

All product names, logos, brands, trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

DISCLAIMER: You may not use the non-FCRA approved services mentioned in this article or the information they provide to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. These services don’t provide consumer reports and are not consumer reporting agencies. (These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., (“FCRA”), which are incorporated herein by reference.) 

The information available on our website may not be 100% accurate, complete, or up to date, so do not use it as a substitute for your own due diligence, especially if you have concerns about a person’s criminal history. The services we mention do not make any representation or warranty about the accuracy of the information available through our website or about the character or integrity of the person about whom you inquire. For more information, please review each service’s Terms of Use.

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