Whether you’re trying to find your high school sweetheart or simply wanting to track down a new acquaintance, the internet has a wide array of opportunities to find people. Many people don’t know that online data is stored daily, creating an extensive database to pull from at a moment’s notice.
From dating profiles, court documents, credit information, and financial records, information is now available effortlessly at our fingertips. It’s not always the easiest to find what we’re looking for, but with a bit of luck and persistence, you can do it.
What Information is Available Online About a Person?
Information about individual people varies significantly, depending on a few factors. Public records, for example, are always accessible but may not be included in online files. On the other hand, things like birth certificates, court records, marriage or divorce certificates, business registrations, and more may pull up through online search registries.
With social media accounts becoming increasingly popular, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find information (including photos, employer, birthday, hometown, and possibly a public profile) online.
Niche websites may offer more details, depending on their privacy settings, but can include any comments, interactions, or posts made on the platform.
Trying to Locate a Specific Person
When trying to search for people online, you’re more likely to find success if you include more information. Start by narrowing down the search with their current country, state, and city. The first and last name will always help your search, although last initials can be used.
Finally, you can include any other known information in the search too. For example, an employer, spouse’s name, email, or phone number can help locate the person you’re trying to find.
Top Places to Search Online:
Always Use Search Engines
While the details offered may seem generic, search engines are always a solid decision in tracking someone down. Most search engines will index popular websites (including newspapers or news websites), including articles or photographs in their results.
Search engines will also briefly scan through social media outlets for users by that name, although this may not be beneficial if the person has a generic name.
Newspaper articles and obituaries are often free of charge online, providing surname, first name, siblings, and residing city. When used with other search results, these findings may narrow your search down through geographic area.
It’s important to remember that multiple search engines will pull different results, depending on the indexing (how a search engine “reads” the site).
Social Media Platforms
Although it seems like there’s a new social media platform developed every day, significant networks are easy to use when trying to locate a person. With over 4.33 billion social media accounts at the time of writing, nearly 55% of the global population has at least one account.
When searching social media, you’ll likely need an account to use their search function. Additionally, it’s important to remember that many smaller social media platforms have formed over the years, making it increasingly difficult to search through them all.
If you have an account, use the social media platform’s search function to enter the individual’s name. Once you’ve received a page of results, narrow the search down through the advanced searches on the page.
Searching for someone through social media is only effective if the exact first and last name is used. If someone is using a nickname or abbreviation, you’ll likely not be able to find them. Additionally, if they have a limited social media profile (for example, only use a select few), finding the right platform can be tricky.
Invest in Background Check Websites
When you’re trying to find someone specific, looking through online search engines and social media platforms can be time-consuming. This is particularly true if you only have basic information or the person in question often goes by a nickname or alias.
Background check websites can expedite your search efforts, constantly pulling records from a variety of places. Websites like Check People, for example, will scan through all social media records automatically.
This alone can save you hours of searching. Background check websites will also pull information about immediate family, public records, credit report information, and more.
Like search engines, the more information you have about the individual, the better your results will become. Most websites of this nature will compile any found information into an easy-to-understand report, highlighting essential details from all sources.
Not only does this method save you time and stress from manually searching online, but it also provides current information on the person you may not have found otherwise.
Post a Wanted Ad on Public Forums
Long gone are the days of posting ads in newspapers when you’re trying to locate that special someone. Now, online is the easiest method to reach the largest audience if you’re trying to reconnect.
Many online forums and websites have a section for missed connections or community areas to share your request. Although naming the person might seem most straightforward, it’s always best to keep things generic and basic initially for their confidentiality.
First name, gender, last initial, and hometown may be enough to find who you’re looking for if they see the post.
One major downfall to posting in public forums is the ability to receive unsolicited responses. These responses are more likely to occur when trying to rekindle a romantic connection when the person seems vague in who they’re looking for or if a female is presenting as trying to find a specific male.
Catfishing (when a person pretends to be someone they’re not) can be hard to determine online, so it’s essential to protect confidential and identifying information.
It’s always important to safeguard yourself on these sites – never send money through these platforms, even if you believe it’s the person you’re looking for.