PublicData Review

Government-collected public data in one place
UPDATED August 03. 2020.
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Nowadays, no matter who you are or where you work, you can never be too careful when it comes to the people who surround you. Often a new acquaintance turns out to be a serial con artist or you discover that your friendly next-door neighbor has a mile-long criminal record.

With PublicData, you can put your mind to rest by checking anyone you want against public records collected from local, state, and federal agencies. You can use any piece of information you have on the person you are looking into, like name, birth date or license plate, and compare it against PublicData’s vast database. With a simple search, you will be able to find out if the individual in question has any type of criminal record.

The best part is that PublicData offers versatile accounts and affordable pricing, making its services available to everyone from individual users and small businesses to large corporations with high demands. For a more detailed insight into its services and benefits, continue reading our thorough PublicData review.

PublicData printscreen homepage

How Does PublicData Work?

PublicData is a one-stop-shop for public data collected from local, state, and federal agencies. The company’s goal is to provide easy and affordable access to public data through the use of its user-friendly interface. Its extensive database keeps getting bigger and bigger due to the constant influx of new information, which is why the company is currently working on an advanced search option that will allow clients to use multiple search criteria while checking up on someone. The new search engine model will have similar search capabilities as Google or Yahoo. Since it will take time for PublicData to convert all the information from its databases to the new format, the advanced search option will be available at the end of the data conversion.

PublicData believes that people should have free access to information collected by the government, except for data crucial to national security or information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. Ever since the company was founded back in 1997, it has been dedicated to upholding the principles behind the “open record acts” and the “Freedom of Information (FOIA)” laws, providing high-quality services and accurate information at the lowest prices.

With PublicData, you can choose between two subscription models, depending on whether you are an individual or business owner. All PublicData.com accounts are automatically or recurrently charged, on a monthly or annual basis, and all charges are final and non-refundable.

If you are an individual, you get to pick between 2 monthly and 1 annual plan. For corporate accounts, there are 4 different planes to choose from. As a PublicData subscriber, you will have access to the following databases: civil court, criminal, DMV, driver’s license, most wanted, warrants and crime stoppers, professional license, property tax, secretary of state, sex offenders, unclaimed property, and voter.

The company provides data from federal agencies as well, including the Bureau of Tobacco Alcohol and Firearms, Denied and Unverified Persons, FAA, National Credit Union Orders, SSA Death Master File, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, and U.S. Treasury Specially Designated Nationals. At your disposal, you also have state and area searches for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Besides the regular search option, which involves entering a name, ZIP code, DOB, license, and other information, you can use the advanced search that enables you to perform your search based on multiple criteria. For example, if you are searching by name, you can also enter the year, month, and day of birth. In case you do not know the exact day, you can substitute the number with a star symbol. The same applies to a street name or other information you can search along with the name.

With the advanced search option, the search result order is more similar to Google’s in the sense that it prioritizes hits according to match strength and not alphabetical order. What is important to keep in mind is that any search requested through PublicData yields the first 100 results that match the search criteria. If there are more than 100 matches, the results will be shown in additional pages, with each page counting as a new look-up. Moreover, as each match is clickable, meaning it provides extra information related to the search, clicking on a match counts as a look-up too.

However, if you often perform the same search, it is good to know that PublicData features AutoSearch, which saves all your favorite searches in one place. There is also an automatized email option for Sex Offender AutoSearch based on the ZIP code attached to your account. The National Sex Offender databases search is available free of charge through CriminalCheck.com, a website powered by PublicData that searches for all states, the District of Columbia, and hundreds of Indian Tribes for registered sex offenders.

Considering the sensitive nature of the information requested by its users, PublicData pays great attention to user privacy and security. PublicData will under no circumstances share, disclose, sell or provide your data to anyone. For communication purposes, PublicData may contact you through mail, email or telephone. All the information collected by PublicData is obtained from government agencies and places alike under the Freedom of Information and Public Access Laws. PublicData will not correct any inaccurate data from any databases. If someone wishes to modify the data, they have to contact the reporting/supplying government agency and notify them of the changes. Once the changes are accepted by the government agency, PublicData will make the required modifications upon the next regular update.

In addition to being affordable, PublicData provides benefits like top-notch customer support, bonus look-ups, and mobile support.

Note that PublicData is not a consumer reporting agency and the information provided by PublicData is not constituted as a “consumer report” regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

PublicData Screening Services

Like we mentioned earlier in this PublicData review, you can perform a search based on several criteria. Once you select the database you wish to search, you will be offered available criteria, like name, date of birth or plate number, based on which you will be able to search the records.

Performing a name search requires the last name or a portion of the last name of the person you wish to look up, in which case you do not need a first or middle name. You can narrow the search down if you have the full first and last name along with the entire or partial middle name. Use the middle name only if you know the exact first name and its correct spelling.

Performing a date of birth search requires you to select the year, month, and day of birth from the drop-down menu. In case you do not know the exact day, leave the field empty, and you will get data matching the year and the month. The results of the DOB search are usually long, but in case you do not have the name, this option is the next best thing.

There is also an option to perform a search based on other criteria like license plate numbers or VIN (vehicle identification number). With a known VIN, PublicData searches the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) databases. You can use a partial plate number by entering the first 3 or 4 digits, but you can also get results from entering first to n characters of a VIN.

PublicData does not provide options for any kind of customized search. The mentioned search options are available depending on the database in question. Let us now take a closer look at the company’s databases:

Civil Court Databaseenables civil case searches by name for California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas.

  1. In California, the data available varies from county to county:
  • Marin County – The available data relates to civil court records that include civil, family, probate, and small claims court cases. The data includes case number, date filed, and plaintiff and defendant names.
  • Orange County – The available data relates to civil court records maintained by the State of California, Orange County Superior Court System.
  • Riverside County – The available data pertains to family law cases before September 2018 – present, Superior Civil Court records – cases dating through November 2017 and from December 2017 to the present.
  • San Bernardino County – The available data relates to civil records from 2004 to the present quarter.
  • San Diego County – The available data relates to civil court records, domestic court records, records maintained by San Diego County Probate, and mental health records.
  • San Joaquin County – The available data relates to civil court records including case number, case status, filing date, and case name.
  • Santa Barbara County – The available data relates to civil records maintained by the State of California, Santa Barbara County.
  1. In Colorado, the available data relates to marriage licenses issued by the state of Colorado from 1975 to 2006. To obtain the data, one must prove they are a relative, legal representative or have a direct and tangible interest to view this data.
  2. In Illinois, the available data relates to marriage licenses issued by the state of Illinois from 1763-1900, but the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index project is not yet completed. For any extra information, you should contact Illinois State Archives.
  3. In Kentucky, the available data relates to death records from 1911-1999, including name, date of death, county of residence, and county of death. The data has not been updated since December 2007.
  4. In Maryland, the available data relates to criminal records maintained by the state of Maryland District Court System, but the information only includes cases that exist and for which the case’s existence or a person’s identity is not protected information under Md. Rules 16-1001 through 16-1011 and criminal records maintained by the Maryland Department of Corrections.
  5. In Oklahoma, the available data relates to supreme court records as maintained by the Oklahoma agent of the court’s system.
  6. In Texas, the available data relates to Texas marriage license applications from 2000-2013 and Texas report of divorce index from 1968 – 2015. Other data varies from county to county:
  • Brazoria County – The available data relates to civil court records, including case type, court, judge, plaintiff and defendant information, and defendant attorneys’ information. The search can be performed using plaintiff and defendant name.
  • Collin County – The available data relates to county civil court records, district civil court records, civil court probate records, and unknown civil court records.
  • Dallas County – The available data relates to Evictions information maintained by the State of Texas, Dallas County, Justice of the Peace Court, civil court records maintained by the Dallas County Civil Court System, and the Dallas County Family Court System from Nov. 2005 – present, including case number, style, case type and subtype, filing date, case status date and active case status, and statistical closure civil court records maintained by the Dallas County Civil Court System including case number, style, case type and subtype, case status date, statistical closure date, active case status, and statistical closure status.
  • Hood County – The available data relates to civil court records as maintained by the Hood county court clerk, including case title, attorney names, case status, and filing date, and it can be searched by plaintiff or defendant name.
  • Kerr County – The available data relates to Civil and Criminal cases in Kerr County, Texas.
  • Waller County – The available data relates to civil court records as maintained by the Waller County court.

Criminal Database – allows for an advanced search based on name, date of birth, and ZIP code. The name search covers all fifty states, the DOB search is limited to 36, and the ZIP code search is only possible in Texas and is limited to Bexar and Travis counties.

PublicData printscreen Criminal Advanced Search

DMV Database – allows for an advanced search based on name, license plate, and VIN, which covers Colorado, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin departments of motor vehicles.

Driver’s License Database – allows for an advanced search based on name, date of birth, and driver’s license number. You can perform a search based on all three criteria only for Florida and Texas.

The Most Wanted, Warrants & Crime Stoppers Database – allows for an advanced search based on name and date of birth. Crime Stoppers databases are available for Kentucky, New Mexico, and Texas. The Federal Most Wanted search includes information found in the following agencies: Federal Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Air Force – Fugitives, United States Marshals Service – Major Fugitive, US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms – Most Wanted, Drug Enforcement Agency, and FBI – Most Wanted Fugitives. Wanted and Warrants databases are available for 36 states.

Professional License Database – allows for name, license, and ZIP code searches, covering professional license databases for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Property Tax Database – allows for a search based on name and ZIP code. The name search covers all fifty states and the District of Columbia while the ZIP code search is limited to 35 states.

The Secretary Of State Database – allows for a search based on corporation name and corporation ZIP code. The corporation name search covers 48 states while the ZIP code search covers 38 states.

The Sex Offenders Database – allows for a search based on name, date of birth, and ZIP code. This search is available through CriminalCheck.com and it searches the sex offender registry. The name search covers Indian Tribes Sex Offender Registry, Territories of United States Sex Offender Registry, all fifty states as well as the District of Columbia. The DOB search covers Indian Tribes Sex Offender Registry, Territories of United States Sex Offender Registry, and 40 states. The ZIP code search includes Territories of United States Sex Offender Registry and all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Unclaimed Property Database – allows for a search based on name and ZIP code. The name search covers the following databases: escheated estates list in Colorado, unclaimed property in Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma – department for life insurance, owners department in Florida and department of revenue in Georgia,  New York State Comptroller – unclaimed funds,  Texas Office of the Comptroller – Unclaimed Property. The ZIP code search is limited to Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Dacota, Oklahoma, Texas Office of the Comptroller, Wisconsin Unclaimed Property, and Florida Unclaimed Property – Owners and New York State Comptroller – Unclaimed Funds databases.

Voter Database – allows for an advanced search based on name, date of birth and ZIP code. The name and ZIP code searches cover Arkansas, District of Columbia Board, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Texas voter databases while the DOB search includes Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Texas voter databases.

PublicData Voter - Advanced Search sreen

Federal Searches include the following agencies:

  • Bureau of Tobacco Alcohol and Firearms (data related to firearm dealers licensed by the U.S. Government)
  • Denied and Unverified Persons (individuals and entities that have been denied export privileges by the U.S. Department of Commerce)
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • National Credit Union Orders
  • SSA Death Master File
  • U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (data after July 21, 2011)
  • U.S. Treasury Specially Designated Nationals (information like SDN name, type, sanctions program name, vessel information (where applicable), address and alternate name)

State & Area Searches cover all fifty states and the District of Columbia, allowing database searches based on name, date of birth, license, and ZIP code.

Just to get a clearer picture of how PublicData works, we took a random name and searched it through the databases and federal searches described above. Where available, the type of information you can expect to find includes:

  • Civil Court: case number and title, status and status date, judge, prosecutor, case subtype, file location, jurisdiction, physical file, jury requested, jury verdict, capital case, appeal case no, location, filing date, appeal date, probation officer, defendant, next appearance, trial by, lead attorney, total jail imposed, money due, booking number, attorney waved, bail set, and extension date.
  • Criminal: name, date of birth, eyes, hair, height, weight, race, sex, special marks, and charge.
  • Driver’s License: DL number, name, address, city, state, ZIP code, DOB, race, sex, height, name change flag, address change flag, date of birth change flag, sex change flag, deceased, dl original date, expire date, issue date, motorcycle, new dl number, out-of-state previous dl, and out-of-state previous state.
  • Sex Offenders: name, date of birth, address, county, ethnicity, eye color, hair color, height, sex, weight, aliases, scars/marks/tattoos, offenses, risk, photos, and screenshots.
  • Unclaimed Property: account number, holder number, report year, item number, owner last name, owner first name, address 1, 2, 3, city, state, county code, holder name, property type, cash amount, last contact date, relation to owner, stock shares, CUSIP number, stock code, and date record submitted.
  • National Credit Union Orders: docket number, ID, name, institution, relation, year, city, and state.

PublicData Plans & Pricing

As mentioned earlier in our PublicData review, this company offers both individual and corporate plans.

Personal accounts are created and maintained through credit card use and are considered a lower-cost option for those who do not require a large number of look-ups. PublicData offers three individual plans:

  1. Individual Monthly for $14.86 (600 look-ups per month)
  2. High Use Monthly for $24.86 (1,250 look-ups per month)
  3. Individual Annual for $34.86 per year (700 look-ups in total)

Corporate plans offer certain benefits like mailed invoices and check or credit card payment solutions and they are also considered a lower cost-per-lookup option.

PublicData price Individual account plan

There are four types of corporate plans:

  1. Business Monthly for $85 (5,700 look-ups per month).
  2. Business 1,200 for $120 per year (1,200 look-ups per year)
  3. Business 3,000 for $250 per year (3,000 look-ups per year)
  4. Business 10,000 for $500 per year (10,000 look-ups per year)

PublicData also lets you save some cash through its AutoSearch feature and bonus look-ups.

PublicData price Corporate account plan

The AutoSearch feature is intended for users who often repeat their searches. The feature allows you to save all your favorite searches in one place, making them easily accessible at all times. Additionally, you can also receive an automated email containing your search results on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It is important to keep in mind that AutoSearch emails do not count against the number of your allocated look-ups, which means you can forward and share the search results with anyone without them lowering your look-up total. The information provided through the AutoSearch feature is time-limited and not as comprehensive as provided in an online search. Information guarded by enacted legislation like driver’s license data is not available through AutoSearch. Sex Offender AutoSearch emails are zip code-based and automatically provided by PublicData every month. To make sure you receive free AutoSearch emails, just select the ‘AutoSearch’ option from your toolbar.

The bonus look-up service allows you to continue your monthly service even though your look-up limit has been exceeded. You can use your free look-ups as long as your account stays active. There are two easy ways you can earn your bonus look-ups. First, PublicData rewards customers who recommend its services to others. The second way is by paying with your credit card. Every time you make a purchase through PublicData, your account will be credited with 100 bonus look-ups, which can amount to an extra 1,200 look-ups per year for users with monthly subscriptions.

PublicData Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Customer-oriented
  • Top-notch customer support
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Constantly updated data
  • Access to thousands of databases
  • Advanced search
  • Bonus look-ups
  • Multiple individual and corporate plans

Cons

  • No refund policy

Bottom Line

To sum up our PublicData review, this company managed to stay on top of its game for more than two decades, enabling users to access public records from local, state, and federal agencies at affordable prices. PublicData compiled thousands of databases containing regularly updated information to provide accurate data to both businesses and individuals through multiple monthly and annual plans. Now more than ever, PublicData remains dedicated to the idea that people should have easy access to government-collected records and it will continue to provide low-cost, high-quality services to all who wish to protect themselves from fraud, stay informed or simply be cautious.


User Reviews (13)

PublicData customer rating based on 13 user reviews.

The PublicData reviews listed below reflect the opinions and experiences of real users and are in no way influenced by the company reviewed here. Before publishing each review, our team checks whether it was submitted by an actual user in an effort to prevent false or spammy reviews.

  1. Kaison Petty | January 24, 2020

    I do tons of lookups each month so I’ve turned on the autosearch option because the same searches repeat from time to time and I couldn’t keep track of it otherwise. I also receive my monthly list of searches and I mark the names that repeat and write them down on sticky notes so when a name sounds familiar I can check it right away and without having to repeat the search.

  2. Alfie Gilmour | January 8, 2020

    Found my reports to be pretty accurate each time. First I did a little background check on myself just to see if the results matched and they did. You get your money’s worth and more, the information is correct and reports are thorough and as far as I could conclude up to date.

  3. Dilara Bain | December 24, 2019

    The prices are more than fair, I compared it to similar services but Public Data is honestly the most affordable of all not to mention their reports consist of recent data which is the point when you are looking into someones criminal past. My company uses a business package which has over a thousand searches per year for only 120$ per year, it’s ridiculous!

  4. Tymon Adkins | December 2, 2019

    Talked to a very nice and polite customer support representative. It’s great when an online company offers such a personal approach to its clients. I was really impressed

  5. Kane Mason | November 9, 2019

    Some of the databases are incomplete or nonexistent. I’m not able to find information for some states at all and some states are not even listed in the search. People Finder could focus on finding more data and adding it to its reports

  6. Maksymilian Page | October 22, 2019

    It said I used all my monthly searches which is 600 searches and impossible for me to do, I called to complain and after two days received an email informing me it was a technical mistake and that I’m free to use what was left of my searches. I was a bit surprised they didn’t offer any extra searches since it was a mistake from their part.

  7. Martha Doyle | September 28, 2019

    I was always suspicious of my daughter’s boyfriend who is 11 years older than her. It turns out he is twice divorced and has a criminal record back home in Texas. I just forwarded the report to her without saying anything. She can make a decision on her own now that she has all the facts.

  8. Edith Barnett | September 27, 2019

    This is one serious company and I was thrilled by the level of professionalism from the customer support which was dedicated to helping me choose the best option, inform me how everything works and they were available and quick to answer every question I had and were very polite no matter how many times I called.

  9. Kamron Andrew | September 20, 2019

    I’ve tried a couple of licence plate searches but pd came up with nothing, it was really odd because I had the entire lp number and everything. I mean it’s not money wasted, I did other searches and find some useful data but this is why I subscribed in the first place

  10. Tamara Young | July 20, 2019

    I own a small business and the bonus lookup option came quite in handy once we realized we don’t have any more left. It’s great the company awards its customers loyalty that way.

  11. Nil Marks | May 20, 2019

    My wife and I got an account to check up on our new neighbors who from the look of it didn’t seem all that reliable. I don’t want to have to worry every time I leave the house so I’ve searched their license plate and discovered they had several running with the law prior to moving here. I informed other neighbors so they know who moved to their street.

  12. Gillian Moore | February 20, 2019

    I referred a couple of friends to PublicData and ended up having tons of free lookups thanks to that!

  13. Nadia Johanson | January 10, 2019

    I wasn’t able to find anything with the partial number plate I had even though it said I can use the first 3 characters. I managed to see the entire license plate some time after and found what I was looking for.

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