Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Try Before You Buy

It's called Instant Checkmate.  It's billed as a one-stop shop for background information on anyone.  Including online profiles and criminal records.

So today, I sitting here, and I'm really fucking bored.  BattleBots has put me in a sciency state of mind.  So I decided to see what Instant Checkmate had to offer.

My conclusion?

no title

I decided to do the classic standby of using something I already know the results of.  Actually, three somethings I know the results of.  I have two people in my family with arrest records.  One, whom I shall call The Artful Dodger, has a rap sheet that reads like a Springer show guest -- check fraud, petty theft, all that shit.  Nothing really bad, but there's a whole lot of it.  The second is someone I will call Louis ("PIIIIIIIIILLZ HERE!!!"), who has done time twice on drug related charges and only got out of the halfway house this past January.  And then, just for shits and giggles, I decided to search myself.

Let's go to the tape.

I started with Louis because she was the most obvious choice.  It did a thorough (or so it said) search, the taskbar taking about three minutes to fill completely.  It then said it needed a secure connection to show me private info.  Then, the surprise -- one month of service for about $30, three months for about $45, or six months for $60, paid at once.  Well, I'm not that curious and tried to navigate away.  I then got a message, five days of full access for $1.  Okay, that I can do.  It asked if I wanted PayPal or credit card.  I pulled out a nonrefillable gift card I keep for online transactions -- $25 dollar balance (actually down to $14.53 at the moment), and type in that number so they don't have my actual information (and that includes tying me to my PayPal account.  I ain't volunteering information to them, those fuckers can dig for it).

Here's the first problem -- it's like buying tires.  The initial price seems like a great deal, until you have to pay for the extras, like, "Do you want them on the car?"  Valve stems?  That's extra.  There's a sales tax, a state tax, a local tax, a schmuck tax, a moron tax, a "Oh, where have you been, man?" tax...a pdf (which you can make with your own browser) is $2.  Only general information is revealed, for more, you have to buy the detailed report for $20.  It's a fucking racket.

So, what did it say about Louis?  It was wholly inaccurate.  They did get Louis' names, single, married, and even a couple of the aliases she used during her acquisition runs.  But Louis no longer lives in the city it lists as her current residence.  It also lists that as her last phone number, not her actual currect cell phone number.  But this isn't the dealbreaker.  The dealbreaker is the criminal arrest report.  Keep in mind, Louis is a two-time loser for drug charges and B&E.  Those are felonies.

No mention of a criminal record AT ALL.  The closest match they found was someone brought into traffic court in Orange County.  That's not in the Chicago area.  Her last trial was about a year ago, six months in the pen and six in the halfway house, out since January.  That information should have been there.  Her record wasn't wiped from her first offense, either.  But the only thing they could find was what they said was an unlikely match.  Also, no mention of the three -- count 'em, THREE -- times she has declared bankruptcy.  Strike one.

Now, let's move on to the Artful Dodger.  This individual got into a lot of trouble in Chicago, and has continued her efforts after her move to Florida.  Come on, you better be able to find information on her.  Nope.  No criminal records found, not even unlikely matches.  That's bullshit.  Strike two.

So, let's take a look at little ol' me.  According to Instant Checkmate, I have a LinkedIn profile that lists me as President-Chief Operating Officer at R. H. Missner & Co., Inc.  Christ, what am I doing going to work in a warehouse every fucking day?!?  It says I have a Twitter account -- I don't, but at least it got the name right and says I'm in the Chicago area, so I guess half a point for that.  And it turns out I have a pilot's license!  Yes!  I guess my belief that I was a combat pilot in my last lifetime is transferable between avatars!  I'm almost tempted to request a copy so that, when I meet my parents during my trip to Florida and mom asks what I've done so far on my vacation, I can show her that and watch her lose her shit.  Hey, it's not like I was surfing!  (Oh, I'm such a bitch.)  Astrological information was relatively accurate -- I say relatively because while it got my moodiness and such, it neglected to mention that I'm not any regular Cancer, I'm a double-moon Cancer, which makes for some interesting differences with the rank and file.  But hey, given what they've been wrong about, I suppose I should just be glad they got the sign right.

So, no, Instant Checkmate is bunk.  When it comes to investigation, nothing beats good old fashioned leg work.  Hell, Google can give you better results and they can't even find the right shit half the time!  Save your money.
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