BeenVerified.com has created an Android app to work as an extension of their 'free background check' service, and the app is just as useless as their website.
You've probably seen the commercial for BeenVerified late one night on a cable TV station. It shows a few actresses talking about some guy they met online and how they decided to run a background check on them, then the commercial says you can look up anything on anyone for free. By the end of the commercial, it then mentions a trial service. You can watch their current ad on the BeenVerified website.
I don't know what it is with these late night ads and suspicious services like 'speed up my computer' or 'easy debt reduction' but they seem to be more fraudulent than legit. For starters, this service is not free at all. Downloading the app lets you do one free search a month, but it didn't even work for me. If you use their website, it asks you for a bunch of personal information before showing you any information.
Learn more about why this app, as well as the BeenVerified website and service, is a big waste of time.
The BeenVerified app for Android appeals to the snoop in all of us. Their advertisements imply that the service would be great for looking up info on strangers, like people you meet online. It would certainly appeal to employers who needed a cheap and easy way to dig up information on prospective employees by running a quick check on them to see if they are telling the truth on their resume or job application. Who wouldn't want to know someone else's secrets if they could be discovered without that person ever knowing?
With this app, all you have to do is search a person's name. You can specify the state they live in, if you know it, but it's not required. If you have their email address, it's searchable. You can even let the app tie into your phone contacts and run a background check on everyone you know.
On the Android Market, this app currently has a 2.2 out of 5 rating after 255 rates have been given. 155 people have so far just given it one star. Read the next section of this review and you'll find out why it's getting such poor ratings. In short, it doesn't work as promised. One reviewer even stated that they have an extensive criminal history and looked themselves up and found nothing.
Does It Work?
Through my job, I have a great many friends who are police officers. I also have close family members who work in law enforcement. Because of my connections, I sometimes learn a little more inside information about local events than what others might hear on the news or read in the papers. As such, I know of quite a few people with extensive criminal histories. I know what they've been arrested for and I know that some have served time. Most of this is public information if you dig around on Google archives for new stories on arrests and convictions.
To test this software, I did a search for someone who I know is a convicted felon. This person has done time for credit card fraud and other offenses related to stealing. The guy is a thief and has had his name and photo in the local news media more than once over the past few years. I figured that if this app actually worked, then this person would surely turn up a hit, but they didn't. Absolutely no criminal activity was reported, though it did give me the guy's home address.
If this app fails to report someone with multiple felony convictions that have been documented in the press, then I consider it broken. You can get more information out of a Google search with the person's name in quotations than you could from using this app. In fact, I did such a search on Google and the first result was for a local news story telling of this guy's most recent arrest and it mentioned his previous conviction for bank fraud. He was even on probation at the time!
Downloading this app gives you credit for one free search per month, so I used that credit and turned up nothing. If my free credit for a search on a known felon shows nothing, why would I want to pay them money and provide my personal information and credit card number for a service that clearly doesn't work as promised? Google searches are free and turn up more information, anyway.
In the end, BeenVerified is a bust. Sites like RipoffReport.com feature numerous complaints about the service - mainly dealing with credit card charges that still come after the service was cancelled. Do a Google search for 'BeenVerified Scam' and you'll get a bunch of hits on blogs and message boards from users making complaints. The only sites I found that seemed to be in favor of this service also linked back to it and one used an annoying browser redirection script with a suspicious pop-up window, so be careful if you go looking up additional information on this.