Here are 10 people search tips and online resources for locating past friends and family members without paying someone to do it for you. With a little time, effort and creativity, you can locate a person without a professional investigator. If you decide that you do need the help of an investigator to locate a person, make sure you research the professional qualifications and reputation of the individual before you pay any fees or give any personal information to them.
1. WRITE IT DOWN —
Write down everything you know about the person you are looking for, including: past addresses; high school(s) and universities attended; names of family members; hobbies; last name(s); nicknames; job profession(s); organizations involved with, as well as any other personal identifiers that you can remember about the person.
These personal identifiers will help you focus your people search and will often help lead your search efforts. This information can be changed as you move forward with your search. You may also want to keep a list of searches that you have already used so you don’t repeat your efforts.
2. WHITE PAGES —
One of your first searches should be free online white pages, like whitepages.com or 411.com. Free white pages allow you to search using various methods like “city and state” searches; “state only” searches or “all states” searches. In addition, you can try last name only searches in situations where the person has an uncommon last name. A last name only search can also help you identify possible relatives of that person to contact. If you don’t find what you are looking for online, spend a little money on paid directory assistance.
3. FREE PEOPLE SEARCHES —
There are some excellent free people searches on the web that typically contain more listings than free white pages. These searches include daplus.us , zabasearch.com , zoominfo.com and a few others. If you can’t find a person listed on free white pages, you will definitely want to try these alternatives.
4. REVERSE LOOKUP —
If you have a phone number ( but no address ) for a person or you have an address ( but no phone number ), you will want to do a reverse search to find the missing information. Most free online directory assistance sites have a reverse phone number and reverse address option. Two of the better reverse searches are located on daplus.us and whitepages.com.
You can also try reversing a phone number or address by entering it into a search engine like Google or Yahoo.
5. MUTUAL CONTACTS —
Contact any mutual friends, colleagues or relations that you share with the person you are looking for. One or more of these shared contacts may be able to put you in touch with the person.
6. SEARCH ENGINES —
Search Engines like Google and Yahoo make great people searches; but don’t expect to just enter a name and get your magic answer. This is where the information you wrote down in Tip #1 will come in handy. Use these personal identifiers in your search engine queries to weed out unwanted search results and zero in on the person you are trying to find.
7. SOCIAL NETWORKS —
Online communities and social networks are big and people are publishing more and more information about themselves on these sites, including pictures, location information, educational background, professional background, nicknames and other personal identifiers. You can use these sites to find people with online profiles, but you will need to refine your search tactics, since most people do not post first and last names in online profiles. You may want to search using first names or nicknames along with other identifiers like schools, geographic areas, hobbies and profession(s) to locate a person on these sites. Below is a list of some popular social network sites.
8. BLOGS —
Blogs are the fastest growing, most up-to-date area of the internet and they provide a lot of information. You can use blog search engines like technorati.com to search for people by name, nickname, address or phone number to see if there are any references to them on any blogs.
9. NEIGHBORS —
If you know of current or past addresses for a person, you can do a nearby search to find potential neighbors in the area, who may know the whereabouts of the person you are looking for. Neighbors will often know whether the person you are looking for still lives at the address or when they moved out and where they moved to. In addition, neighbors are sometimes willing to write down and deliver a personal message to the person’s address for you.
You can do a nearby / neighbor search by doing a reverse address ( leaving out the specific address number ) to get results for the entire street. The returned addresses that are closest to the person you are looking for are most likely to be neighbors for that individual.
Two excellent free reverse address searches are available at whitepages.com and daplus.us
10. PUBLIC RECORDS —
If the other tips fail, you can always try your luck using the numerous federal, state and local public record searches that are available online. Some of the more popular public record searches, including sex offender registry; tax assessor; unclaimed property; professional license and business-related searches, can be found at skipease.com under the “Public Records” link or try searchsystems.net