In the booming age of social networking, it’s easier to find lost friends and colleagues than ever before.
Yesterday’s private world is now an online world. Everyone with a search engine has open access to social networks, government databases, and public records.
If you’re looking for a long-lost friend, or perhaps want to do a background check on someone, consider these free resources for finding people on the internet.
How to Find People for Free on the Internet
The internet is basically a giant database, filled with data points about individuals. Today, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t commented on a blog entry, made a post in an online forum, or registered on Facebook or Flickr.
Different sites use this information in different ways. While the following 13 sites can be used to find people online, they can retrieve data from a variety of sources. As a result, there may be some differences between the results.
Before you begin, learn a few details about the person. Start with their birthday or their state of residence. Once you have those details, the volume of information you can find online about a person is incredible. In fact, it sometimes proves to be overwhelming.
When searching for people online, be sure to use multiple people search engines for best results.
Pipl People Search
There are many websites looking for standard social networks like Facebook or Twitter. But Pipl is one resource that performs an in-depth web search for names on “non-typical sites”. The search results from Pipl are impressive.
I used Pipl to do an in-depth search on myself. The search pulled my own data from profiles on Soundcloud, Last.fm, and others like job search sites and Google.
I was impressed by Pipl’s efforts to reveal street addresses, phone numbers and even family members, taken from various websites.
To use Pipl, you must register. It’s a little frustrating, but worth it because the results are great. I even did a search for my wife, who works as a local government councilor, and Pipl revealed a document that said her name. Impressive!
Perhaps the most powerful tool for finding someone who has been using the internet for a long time is Google Groups. Google Groups has entered into its database of more than 800 million Usenet messages, an impressive archive of internet conversations since 1981.
For example, if the person you are looking for enters university during this time, you may find traces of them. Usenet channels were a popular way for people to access the internet before it exploded in the late 1990s. Universities, research centers, technology businesses, and other institutions rely on Usenet for collaboration and more.
Not only you may find the person you are looking for, but you will also get an idea of their current thoughts, ideas and motivations.
The “100% free people search” service, TruePeopleSearch.com gives some good results.
But it depends where you are.
For US readers, this is a great tool, and just by searching for your name and residency status you will find very in-depth results.
You should also get good results for Canadian residents too. TruePeopleSearch will usually return a list of previous addresses, along with phone numbers.
Also look for the “Possible Associates” section. Useful for law enforcement and private eyes, it displays the names of roommates, colleagues, and more. Undoubtedly taken from public Facebook information, this is useful information.
Like TruePeopleSearch, FindPeopleSearch.com generates basic “teaser” background information. However, the information can be very helpful when you are trying to learn more about someone. What this website brings to the game is that it offers a wider range of information than others.
However, again like TruePeopleSearch, this site does not offer results from outside North America. However, what it does well. For example, after selecting a possible candidate, FindPeopleSearch provides a map with the possible locations of your mines.
Family information may also be listed here, depending on what data has been collected for the individual. You can find important family links here, such as a brother, sister, or even an aunt, uncle, or cousin.
While most search engines scour public information and not much else, PeekYou.com goes to great lengths to dig up popular social sites like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more.
The results are always impressive, although they can be a bit chaotic. For example, a search for my own records combines details about me with others with similar names.
Also, PeekYou gave me a new middle initial, which was a surprise of course!
As with all these sites, keep in mind that the data collected may not be accurate. This could be caused by an error in the data source, or an error when the names were matched.
Sometimes tracking down someone takes a little more creativity than simply typing a name into a search engine. Another approach is to rummage through the popular high school reunion site Classmates.com.
Of course, you need to have an idea of the high school the person attended. If successful, you’ll find a list of people who have registered on the site with the same high school on record.
Start by selecting a school by state and city, then enter the name of the student to search for. Many people are registered on the site, so you should have a good chance of finding the person you are looking for.
Note that this is a US-only website.
Various genealogy sites can be used to track individuals, although the process is slightly different.
When it comes to genealogical records, information may be limited to living people. This will depend on data privacy laws and genealogical site policies. Therefore, while it may be useful to establish a family informasi with whoever you are looking for, the information will be scanty.
The results page will show possible address and relative information, while paid background information can also be generated via PeopleFinders.
FamilyTreeNow is a good choice for genealogy research. Interested in family history? Check out our downloadable guide on how to research your family tree online.
Want to track someone down and you only have their photo? Use a reverse image search tool like TinEye.com. This site will turn the entire internet inward for the same image, and it will show you whether it was uploaded elsewhere.
This site uses innovative image recognition technology that can match images based on what you upload to the site. It’s an impressive technology and it worked the first time I tried it, it immediately identified that I had uploaded the same image to bintalahe.blogspot.com. And, it even recognizes an image when only part of the image matches the original. Very impressive thing.
Another option for reverse image search is Google Image Search.
Google is also an effective tool for tracking someone online. Before trying, keep the following tips in mind.
- Enclose the person’s full name in quotation marks (such as “David Lee Roth”). Google will only return search results with the person’s full name.
- Include more information you already know about the person (such as ex-Sam-Hagar singer) Van Halen. Your search results will be more precise.
- If the person is involved with a specific organization, try searching only that site (such as “site: extreme-band.com”Gary Cherone”). If the person is listed as a staff or contact on the site, you will find details
These tips work great give it a try!
In fact, searching for people with Google works so well that people searching for sites that existed last year have been shut down. Who needs that when Google is already doing its best?
Find Public Records With Zaba Search
If you do a full background check on someone, then you may be more interested in their online activity. You may be looking for the following information:
- Where to stay for the past few years
- Criminal record check
- Driving record
- Birthday and location of birth (for citizenship verification)
- Child predator check
A person with a criminal record or court ruling has a surprising amount of information about them online. All you need is the name and DOB of the person you are researching; location will help narrow it down.
One of the best sites to query public records for free. Using ZabaSearch, you can determine a person’s past and current address and phone number.
To view the full profile, you have to pay $50 via Intelius. This includes past addresses, relatives, criminal history, bankruptcy, and more.
It provides a very large database for all state and federal agencies. Most of the services for which you need to pay for background details come from these free state and federal agency databases. You can find data for free by searching this website to find these agencies and doing your own search.
For example, digging through the state of Maine agents reveals where you can look for Maine’s criminal records.
One of the simplest ways to find people is just by searching on Facebook. It’s amazing who pops up when you search for a name on Facebook.
Other social networks have also proven useful in finding people. For example, many people avoid Facebook and are active on Twitter, or even Instagram.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn is a great resource for finding people. A career-centric alternative to Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ll find people you can’t find anywhere else.
If you know where the person you’re looking for has worked or studied, LinkedIn is a great choice. While you won’t find too many details without a LinkedIn subscription, there should be enough to go on.
You’ll be able to find out what they’ve been up to recently professionally, as well as who they’re in touch with.
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