Instant Checkmate Reviews: Is the Website Accurate?

Instant Checkmate Reviews: Is the Website Accurate?

Instant Checkmate is advertised as a source for obtaining personal background information online. Read Instant Checkmate reviews from editors and readers.

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About Instant Checkmate was registered on 6/17/2010. It accesses a variety of public records in order to create the reports it offers. These include “reports from millions of public records including information provided by state and local governments. All of the information contained in our reports is part of what is referred to as the ‘public record.'”

Opting Out

Anyone can request to have their information removed from the database via their opt out form. They have free and expedited options for this.

How much does Instant Checkmate cost? is free to search. You can run searches on the site but if you want to access the reports, however, you’ll have to register and pay for it.

  • 1 Month: $22.86/mo
  • 3 Months: $14.86/mo
  • 6 Months: $9.86/mo
  • Single Report: $29.95 (This option was available in early 2013, but we are not seeing it in early 2014)
Here are the payment options as shown in April 2013.

Here are the payment options as shown in April 2013. The Single Report is no longer offered in 2014, but the other prices remain the same.

Before they even show you the prices, you must agree to a variety of warnings, such as the “shocking” nature of the reports and agreement not to stalk anyone. You also must give your email address first. After all of these reports are run – and the promise that you’ll get a reported emailed to you – what is eventually emailed, however, is a link to their search page.

If you attempt to navigate off of the page requesting payment, you will likely be given a pop-up offering you a 5-day trial for $1. Be careful, though, as they will charge your credit card for a subscription at the end of this 5-day period.

Here is the splash screen in April 2013.

Here is the splash screen in April 2013.

The site took on a new design by mid-2014.

The site took on a new design by mid-2014.


Performing a search on Instant Checkmate merely entails entering a person’s name, location, and age if known. A search screen then appears stating that such things as online activity, speeding tickets, arrest records, misdemeanors, felonies, lawsuits, marriage records, etc. are all being accessed.


This search screen shows the various records being accessed.

You’ll then be given a results page which shows possible matches. The information shown is the age, location, possible relatives, and what information can be accessed for that individual. If you click on “Access Report,” more search screens appear, such as a social media report (below) which appears to search about 10 major social networks.


Instant Checkmate now includes social media searches.


We ran reports on ourselves and the information that was returned contained a mix of accurate and inaccurate information. It seemed to confuse some people with other individuals of the same name, and listed relatives that did not exist. The more common the name, the more likely it seemed to contain incorrect information.

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Our readers have expressed three primary complaints about Instant Checkmate: Incorrect information, billing issues, and customer service.

Incorrect or missing information
As we discovered in our tests, information may not be as accurate as one might hope. It’s unclear how much of this is in the control of We’ve also seen traffic tickets show up as criminal results. There seemed to be a big problem with relatives, as they were quite inaccurate.

Billing Problems
One concern which is definitely within the control of Instant Checkmate is that of billing. The biggest complaints we received revolved around the inability to cancel membership, or being charged even after canceling.

Customer Service
Complaints regarding customer service run the gamut, from rude to non-cooperative to difficult to understand.

Other Online Reviews

Instant Checkmate is featured on a number of other websites.

  • Consumer Affairs gives the site a 3.5 star rating as of September 2014.
  • There are nearly 300 reports filed on Ripoff Report. Many of these involve billing and recurring payments.
  • Webutations gives the website a 70 out of 100, with downgrades for “Webutation Reviews” and “Web of Trust.”
  • Scambook lists over 100 complaints unresolved.

Bottom Line

If you decide to use Instant Checkmate, view your reports very carefully, and be sure to keep a close eye on your bank statement. Don’t expect to have “free” reports emailed to you.

Your Instant Checkmate Reviews

Have you used We want to hear from you in the comments below.

Originally published April 13, 2013
Updated September 24, 2014

  • Oh’behr

    Thanks for the comments. You saved me money and time and it’s basically a spammer.

  • Chari

    Not only is the money a hoax, as you have heard from many other experiences, but the information is incorrect. I have the same first name as my former sister-in-law. So, at one time, we had the same name. The information that came up was a mixture of true and untrue things that might have appeared in either one of our names. Total fraud. First the money thing…then, what you get is not necessarily true.

  • shan

    I applied for a 7 day trial, when I called to cancel they said 5 day. Thank goodness that I did not give my real name and used a visa gift card that had $1.14 left on it.

  • T. Grizz

    I agree with all the complaints I read. I am still trying to get out from my 6 month contract.It is nothing but a scam and ripoff

  • Pat Kittle

    Thanks everyone for the warnings.

    Any website that hypes a service, implying that it’s free, and only after wasting your time & raising your expectations do you find out it’s not free, is a parasite. LEAVE!!

    Even if it dangles some real low-priced bait, LEAVE!!

    These creeps should spend the rest of their lives paying people back.

    (Usually a scam site will post at least one very favorable bogus comment about itself. This site seems to be no exception.)

  • AZ

    I used the link provided by Yahoo and entered information on their form using another name and a disposable Yahoo email address. When I tried to leave the site a screen popped up saying that they were offering a reduced price of $.99. I closed the site. Within hours my disposable email address was hit with Spam, 75 the first day. I know it was caused by Intant CheckMate because much of the email was addressed to the bogus name I used on their form. In the past week I have exceeded 150 addressed that I have blocked from the Spammers. It is now never ending and I will likely close that address. These people are creeps. Tel everyone yoy know to stay away from them and take the time to let Yahoo know about these people.

  • Nancy Bacon

    This has to be one of the biggest scams ever. You sign up for a one month trial and every time you search out a person you get nothing but name and address. No other records, but for a fee you “qualify” for premiu service. Still n, arrest history, marriage, divorce, nothing. Then the premium service shows up on your bill for 19.95 additional. I checked on someone that I know has an extensive criminal history over several years, even did time in prison, but nothing showed up. Do not fall for this scam!!!

  • carly

    A couple of months ago I opened an account with Instantcheckmate. I opted for the $5 dollar plan for a couple of days and then cancelled when I didn’t find what I was looking for. I spelled my first and last name differently than what it really is because I do not like giving that info out. To my suprise, after I cancelled, I have been BOMBARDED with SPAM from every kind of email you can think of. I know it is with InstantCheckmate because the emails spell my name the exact way I entered it to sign up. I have never had so much spam in my life. Be aware, if you give them your email address, be prepared for mass spam coming your way.

  • Eric Olson

    We had a billing problem and contacted checkmate directly by phone. The people we spoke with were very pleasant and tended to our problem very quickly. We had an answer to our problem within 24 hours. We also spoke to someone in quality assurance—again just as nice as could be.

  • Bev

    Thank you all! I was on the verge of paying them whatever they wanted. They had my (precious friend of long ago) correctly identified, or at least her correct age and “4 family members” and gave the names of her mother, her father, her sister, and her sister’s husband. Now whether they have current contact information, I don’t know, but after reading your experiences, I’m afraid to sign up. I fear they’ll not only charge me for more than a single month, but give me false information and call it “results”. Already they have noted that my friend has 4 felonies – NOT. I know this woman very well, in touch or not doesn’t change that. She has NOT committed any felonies. What else false will they claim to know? Is there a good search company out there???

  • Lisa Montgomery

    I signed up for 1 month. They didn’t have any information although I knew the person had arrest records. Then they continue to charge my account each month when it was suppose to be a one month membership! Don’t mess with them!

  • Jerry

    Instant Checkmate has taken over my Yahoo email site. I can not access my email because of what looks like their ad. I am concerned this is a virus and do not want to click on their $$ icon. Any ideas for how I can get rid of this? My email opens normally except I can not access “sent,” “trash,” “inbox,” or any of the folders I normally use with my email service. Please post any suggestions you might have at this web site.

  • waffles

    Please update us as this unfolds!

  • AmM

    They are a hoax. I ran one background check on someone that I knew their history (and there was plenty that should have showed up) and not one bit of information other then some of their previous address and their DOB was provided. Nothing came up about the persons several marriages, divorces,arrests, etc.

    When confronted the company first went to that sometimes some states do not report or are behind. Some of the records I am aware of are over 10 years…shouldn’t be a problem. Second time confronted they used the ‘well I guess you didn’t read our disclaimer’.

    BUYER BEWARE – The one month unlimited auto renews if you do not call them and cancel.

    This company is a fraud. Do not get caught in their scam. File with BBB if you get caught up in their web of deceit.

  • J

    I tried the five-day membership for $1. Looked up a few people, decided I didn’t want to get an extended membership, called the toll-free customer service number and was helped by a polite gentleman in the cancellation of my account. Quickly received a confirmation e-mail that I will not be billed for any other services, as my account was succesfully terminated. So, the customer service was excellent. As far as the information I got, most of it seemed accurate, except for a few cases where marriage/divorce info was not current. Maybe a premium membership gives access to more info. My only complaint is that after looking at some criminal record info, I realize there are some acquaintances who have been less than honest about their general past behaviors.

  • Jper

    This site is about inaccurate information and finding ways of billing beyond advertised usage.
    Dont use!

  • J. Gleason

    Went looking for marriage information for my sister to apply for SS benefits and got “no records found”. Called to cancel and ask for my money back and was told they could only refund half since I had looked up two people. (The other person was my sister’s ex-husband. I figured it might show the marriage/divorce dates under his name!) Total scam! Major ripoff,

  • JP

    I did a check on a relative who passed away seven years ago. They list him as still living.


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