Finding People Using Online Tools

Given the array of tools available for finding virtually anyone online, a little knowledge will make it possible to find that old friend or colleague that seems to have disappeared. While it’s possible to remain somewhat anonymous, anyone online leaves footprints. Although it may not always be easy to find someone, there are techniques that increase the odds of finding them. If you want to find someone online, try the tools listed here.

1. Use Google to search first.

While that may seem obvious, it’s not always as simple as it sounds. Simply plugging a name into Google or any other search engine will usually result in a long list of people with the same name. Sifting through the list may take a significant amount of time, and anyone seeking a level of anonymity will be hard to find. Experts in finding people online recommend searchers use keywords to narrow their searches. Searching “Greg Johnson St. Paul computer tech” will likely provide better returns than simply plugging in “Greg Johnson.”

peoplesearch2. Check social networks.

Social network sites generally have search functions, allowing users to ferret out members. While the same issue of multiple name returns is still going to happen, many of the social networks include pictures and data allowing searchers to find the individual they are looking for. They also allow filtering by city, school, marital status or other factors that help identify the most likely matches to your search.

3. Consider using people search engines.

While there are fees charged by some service providers, others are free. These services make it simpler to find a specific person. Pipl, for example, provides free people searches and is touted by many users as the best site for finding people if searchers have some basic information. These sites are most effective when the person sought uses their actual name online. That means searchers may have to consider nicknames or other name variations when conducting searches.

4. Search public records.

Free sites, like Zaba, find information, but the data is not always as comprehensive as fee-based sites like Intelius. While it makes sense to use free sites first, searchers seeking additional information may need to consider paying sites to garner the information they need. The trick here is to creatively use the information in hand to get as much information as possible before resorting to Intelius or similar sites.

It is very difficult for anyone to erase all references to their data from online sources. There are simply too many places that collect (and disseminate) data about everyone. Finding a person may be difficult, but it is rarely impossible with the variety of search tools available.

About the Author

Roger Feinstein has grown up with computers his entire life and strives to help others understand what goes on behind the scenes in their PCs. He's been writing tech articles for websites for over 5 years.

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