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to the internet and the ever-growing population of worldwide
web users - finding information about someone in a snap has
never been easier...
that said - while some cases are as simple as searching for
the person's name in a search engine like Google.com - some
people searches can literally take years. Some individuals,
for a variety of reasons, simply do not want to be found.
we can't guarantee that you'll find whoever it is you're trying
to track down, what we can guarantee is that after
you've read this article, you'll be equipped with a comprehensive
knowledge of how to use the internet to its maximum potential
for searching for that long lost relative, friend, old romance
- or maybe for other reasons (deadbeat parent, debtor, etc.)
your quest may be - here's how it's done...
all know the quote about "those who fail to plan, plan
to fail". It's a cliche, to be sure, but it's certainly
not invalid. This especially applies to investigation. As
you undertake a search of any kind, it's important that you're
working from a foundation of as many details as possible that
you might have about your subject.
the planning stage, in this case, is that you'll need
to compile and organize as much information about this person
as possible. Their full name(s) and initials, any known aliases,
their address or previous addresses, their workplace(s), where
they went to school or took post-secondary education, any
sports clubs or memberships they might belong to - and the
list goes on.
you're conducting a person-search, most people get hung up
on just the person's name. In many cases, though, the person's
name is going to yield zero results or leads. As with most
investigations, it's the details and connections that form
an eventual path comprised of several "links" that
lead you to your subject.
example - let's pretend that you're looking for an old classmate
that you knew from growing up in Seattle. You know the school
he went to (obviously), and you also know that he dated a
girl that you know obtained her law degree, and now practices
corporate law in Tacoma. So you then head over to Washington's
state bar association website, search for her lawyer profile,
and then send her an email asking about your old friend (and
her ex), and perhaps also reminiscing about old times.
out she'd exchanged emails with him just the other month,
and he's now travelling around Europe. She sends you his email
address - and now you're in contact.
a simplistic example, but it's typical of how most successful
"people searches" actually occur where the subject's
details aren't listed in a typical directory like the relevant
phonebook, or WhitePages.com. So in this case, it's the details
and connections around the person that conclude the search
- not their name alone.
suggest putting together a summarized list of pertinent details
about your subject somewhere visible in your workspace, or
on your computer. This way these details, connections and
possible information sources are always on the forefront of
let's get specific...
we previously mentioned, you'll want to start with resources
like searching WhitePages.com, InfoSpace.com and so on to
see if they have a listed phone number and address in connection
with their name. Be sure not to narrow your search terms too
much whern you're starting out. Just type in their last name
and first initial, for example.
if their surname is obscure - don't bother with the first
initial. Also, it may be unlikely, but if there's no results,
try searching a few misspelled variations of their surname,
as that can happen sometimes. (I know from experience, actually
- my surname always gets spelled wrong...)
run a search using Google.com. Type in their name inside quotation
marks ("john brown") and hit the search button.
If no results are displayed, try the search without quotes.
If too many results are displayed, keep the name in quotes,
but add a qualifier to the search query.
example: "john brown" + nevada
"john brown" + accountant
whichever profession or title they may have. You can also
add sports team names, aliases and so on to the search query
if it's a common name that pulls up far too many results.
let's talk about how to "go deep" on the web...
of all, what you'll want to do is visit and bookmark our People
Search Resources page for search assistance
both now and in the near future. It's a comprehensive directory
of all the sources you'll want to search through online to
find potential information or leads about your subject.
of the internet's content is not indexed by search engines
like Google. In fact, with the explosion of community sites,
social networking sites (like Facebook.com) and other similar
topical sites - many of which do not display their content
to public or guest users (and that includes search engine
spiders) - it's more likely than ever these days that you
actually won't find contact information about someone by "Googling
it's more likely that you'll find success searching the major
social networks - like Facebook.com. Again, for a full list
online search resources, see the people
search resources page.
also want to search any relevant "classmate registries",
alumni databases and any other similar network which they
may be a part of. Since many of these social services encourage
members to "add" their friends, or previous classmates,
it's not uncommon to see a good portion of a given graduating
year as "active members" in these kinds of groups.
the subject ever served in the military or the reserves, you
may want to search any active military networks or other related
"buddy finder" searches. Again, click the people-search
link above for a comprehensive listing of these sites.
finally, as we'd alluded to in the first section - the
details are your most-likely bet for finding your subject.
Refer to your initial "list" and start tracing down
potential contact leads by searching community sites related
to their interests, professional directories which might list
job positions or professional standing, sports clubs in which
they might be active, and so on.
- repeat this process for finding known acquaintences, past
friends they had, past employers - anyone who might know of
their current whereabouts.
you come across any potentially useful or even historic information
connected to the person (and old phone number, an expired
email address, etc) - save it in your "list" and
run searches on those items as well.
the details that will bring your case together - so make sure
that you exhaust every potential lead.
now that you know what to do - it's time to get started.
by visiting our people
search page, and once you're done that, you
might want to consider using the SnoopStation
wizard for a more interactive and thorough
a 100% Free Background Check Below...
it's actually free and won't cost you a dime.
the SnoopStation Wizard (on the left, below) to perform
a 100% free
background check and public records search
for any individual or business in the United States. Our wizard
will configure a customized "search path" based
on your criteria, showing you exactly which resources to
use to find what you want, for free!
you can use the premium search (on the right, below), which
is a paid service that gives you access to a proprietary records
database where you can search millions of documents, all at
once and instantly...
Background Check (FREE)
the Best Option:
information & resources made available on this site fall
under the category of "public records", and are
completely legal to access
for US citizens. However, some restrictions apply - for example,
you cannot use SnoopStation.com to investigate celebrities
or juveniles. See
use this site.