We think
search sites


Garbo is a new kind of online background check for the digital age.

What is a people search site?

A people finder site, also known as a people search site or people lookup site, gives anyone the ability to search someone else and find personal identifying information (PII) about them.

Other names for a people search site include:
  • People finder sites
  • Public records search
  • Reverse phone lookup site
  • Phone search site
  • People search engine
  • Phone directory
  • Address lookup site
  • Address search site
  • People directories
  • People search website
  • Background reports
  • Online background check
  • Background check
They often show a search bar where you enter in basic information like a person’s name, phone number, or email address and they will pull back as much public information as possible. They claim these sites are used to search people online, old friends, relatives, friends, etc...

They provide access to what are considered public records here in the United States.

Oftentimes, you can search with full a full name, although they will pull back dozens, if not hundreds of individuals, you have to sort through, especially if it is a common name.Accurate results are not guaranteed.

Accurate results are not guaranteed. Many of these sites say they are not subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the "FCRA") and therefore the information cannot be used for credit reporting, employment decisions, screening potential tenants, or similar use cases.

What kind of information is provided in a people search?

People search sites are designed to provide access to a high quantity of information — regardless of its accuracy. We don’t really know why most individuals would need access to all of this personal information — besides doxing, stalking, or worse.  

It’s pretty creepy what information people search sites may provide access to:
  • Contact information including cell phone and landlines
  • Current address and address history
  • Family members' / friends' / associates' contact information
  • Social media profiles and accounts
  • Email addresses
  • Photos
  • People directories
  • Property records
  • Bankruptcies
  • Other court records
  • Criminal records*
And it’s not just on the person you searched - you can find people’s possible relatives’, neighbors’, friends’, and other associates’ information directly on someone else’s profile. 

*NOTE: Many sites do not provide access to criminal records or have very limited access to these types of criminal history records. Many counties do not provide easy access to criminal records, including arrests and convictions. You should not use people search sites as your end-all safety solution. In our opinion, they’re often misleading about what information they do and do not have access to, especially as it relates to criminal records.



really free?

While many people search sites appear to be free at first, they often require you to pay to perform an “upgraded” level of scan to reveal additional detailed information or records. They often put a premium price on criminal records while providing access to, in our opinion, invasive personal identifying information for free.
  • Even the "free people search sites" eventually ask you to pay (or are likely selling your data)
  • Most people search sites require a monthly subscription
  • The average monthly subscription is $24.99
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Create a bold and enduring presence for your business using Instance.


Garbo is a new kind of online background check designed for the digital age.

  • Biggest database of harmful and violent offenses
  • Limits access to personal identifying information
  • Person not notified that they've been searched
  • Access to resources and education
A screen of Garbo's application.

How is
Garbo different?

finds the balance between privacy and protection

People search sites provide access to incredibly invasive information like home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. We focus on the reporting of violent and harmful behavior.

built-in safety features

We recognize that people may be in vulnerable situations when searching someone to see if they have a history of violent and harmful behavior.

no subscriptions

Expensive subscriptions can cause people to not run a search on someone.

search with limited information

Garbo is designed to work with the limited information you have before meeting someone new — whether that's through online dating, buying something online, or the many other ways we meet strangers today.

faster search than ever before

Traditional people search sites can take up to twenty minutes to load the results and take you through dozens of pop-ups. With Garbo, you get the information you need in a matter of minutes.

focused on the reporting of violent and harmful behavior

Garbo excludes certain non-violent, non-harmful offenses and uses lookback periods to help create a more just and equitable solution.

find the information

that matters