You’re not alone if you’re wondering how to find someone online. Whether you’re looking for a person named in a will or trying to reconnect with an old college buddy, there are many ways to find clues about their whereabouts.
This article has some excellent tips on using the internet to search for and find people.
Make a list of all the info you have on them before you begin your search. Even the most minor details can help you establish their location. If you can, include the following details, among others:
- Name and aliases, if applicable
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- Approximate age
- Information about friends and relatives
- Previous partners
- Colleges or high schools where they went
- Previous employers
- Any criminal convictions
- Interests or hobbies
- Property or vehicle ownership
- Social media profiles
Ask any mutual acquaintances or friends if they have information. Now, you can proceed with your search to find people online.
1. Reverse image search
You likely have a picture of the person. Even if it’s an old one, you might get clues about their location through a reverse image search. This approach can help you comb the web with an image as your starting point. When you’re done, you’ll get links to related websites or other pictures.
You can do this content-based retrieval on images.google.com if you’re using a laptop or desktop computer. Search engines like Yandex or TinEye, which are dedicated to image searches, can help too.
2. Publicly Available Information
You can find clues when you’re looking for more information about a person by thinking about marriages, births, divorces, or other key milestones in their life. There should be a public record of all such events.
Laws on these searches vary from state to state when it comes to accessing such information. Birth and death records that are under a century old are subject to stricter rules than marriage and divorce records. In some cases, identifiable details are removed from publicly available records.
Typically, the county clerk maintains this information. You can view any electronic records remotely. Contact the clerk at the email address listed on the website or call the department to see how to access the public records.
3. Free Search Tools
You can use free people search sites to generate a basic report on your subject. This will include their full name, address, approximate age, and landline number. While the functions of these sites’ free versions are more limited, they will include the option of reverse phone lookup, which will let you enter a number into the search bar. The site can retrieve details about the person to whom the number is registered if this information is publicly available. You’ll also see if it’s linked to any fraudulent activity.
4. Search Social Media
You might get an idea of someone’s location by checking their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, or Instagram. Visit each of these media and enter their name and city or state in the search bar. You might find a profile through a search engine by entering terms like “John James Facebook.”
If you don’t get anywhere, try a specialized search engine that monitors public mentions on social media. They can be faster and more effective than searching manually.
5. Google Alerts
You don’t have to abandon your search if you don’t find any relevant information immediately. You can get notifications of future activity connected to the person you’re trying to find. Go to Google Alerts and enter their name and other relevant details. You can choose how often you want to get alerts, like once a week, and list what sources you want Google to monitor.
6. Court Records
You’ll get key evidence from any documents if your search target has been involved in court proceedings. You can find federal court records at PACER.gov. This site has information on civil court cases, bankruptcies, and criminal charges. It’s free to sign up, but there’s a small fee per page of each document you access. In some cases, they waive the fee.
You can also take advantage of the site’s case locator feature, which will show if the person is involved in current federal litigation.
7. Search the Federal Prison Bureau
You might find them by doing an inmate search if they’ve done time. The Federal Bureau of Prisons will have relevant information. You’ll get information about their whereabouts if they’ve served a sentence for a federal crime in the last 40 years.
It’s possible to search using their name, gender, race, or prison registry number. Not all of the information is up to date. You could search the National Archives Records Administration for details if the person was convicted before 1982.