Finding people and information about them online is a skill that’s quite necessary to have these days. It’s not creepy, it’s just research. After all, we often find that we come in contact with people who we need to trust our personal issues, belongings, or even family members with!
Having the skill to find people and relevant information about them, as the CIA or police would, can really come in handy. This is especially true when you’re going on a blind date and need to make certain that you’re not going to make yourself vulnerable by doing so. What about strangely suspicious neighbors? Empty suspicion is never a good thing – the last thing you’d want is to be suspicious of neighbors who are not sinister in any way, but might just be a little eccentric. Perhaps a co-worker who you work closely with is someone you need to check up on to make sure that taking that business trip with them is a good idea for you. We’ll teach you how to use a few online tools like a pro, so that you, too, can learn how to find people like the CIA or police.
Collect Relevant Information
Start simple! Gather information by opening up your notes app on your phone, a blank word processing document on your laptop. You know what? The traditional route is effective enough – use pen and paper.
Start by jotting down all the information that you already know about the person in question. We’ll assume you know their first name, and it won’t take much to learn their last name, if you haven’t already. Write that down. Add their nicknames, age, date of birth, and age. Take a guess on the last one, if you have to. If they’ve dropped any other information about them in conversation that you remember, that would be important, too. It would be useful to have an idea of where they live, or even where they’ve been based previously. Even a country, or city, would be good enough.
Make a note of dates, locations, previous employers, old high schools or universities, names of relatives or close associates – literally anything that you can think of that’s associated with them. The more, the better. “Less is more” doesn’t really apply when you’re trying to find someone. This is the best way to start with your search, making a note of the most important relevant information that you could use, with which to move onto the next steps.
Trawl Social Media
We’ve used the word “trawl”, but sometimes it’s simply just “checking”. Simply inputting the name and surname or any other relevant info that you might have about the person in question can bring up their account or profile on social media sites. Most people, these days, have a social media account of some kind – whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
A Google search could work, but you’re probably not going to find much that way. You’ll often just find what you already know. Once you find their social media account, you could be faced with two outcomes – the profile is fairly private, in which case you won’t find much info or photos that the person has posted, or, you’ll be able to see their images and what they’ve posted. In most cases, especially with Facebook, most people don’t really turn up their privacy settings to the full, allowing you to see a fair amount of what they put up there. This means that you could see comments on their photos – which means you could get a sense of who some of their closest friends are. By seeing what they post, you’d be able to get an idea of their political views or what their hobbies might be.
If you don’t happen to find the individual on social media since there may be numerous people with the same name and surname, or if they use a landscape image as their profile photo, don’t give up just yet. Filter the search results with extra information that you already know about them.
Reverse Phone Number Searches
As we’ve mentioned above, you can always start with Google. However, Google will bring up loads of landline numbers, but most of us have been moving away from landlines and just using our mobile phones nowadays. Using a reverse phone number website to learn more about someone is a helpful way to get more detail about an individual if all you have is their phone number to start with. These sites, or apps (like TrueCaller), often give you a person’s name and surname, or their business name, at the least. In other cases, you might also be able to learn about the city or state that the number is listed in.
Various government websites exist, giving visitors access to databases related to different things. For example, the National Sex Offender Public Website provides a list of all registered sex offenders in the US. This can be really helpful in cases where you’ve got an upcoming blind date, or you’re moving into a new apartment building and need to learn more about your neighbors.
Use People Finder Sites
This is where you can really get the lowdown on an individual that you’re searching for. While social media can give you an idea of what people put out there for others to see, a people finder site can provide a lot more in terms of who they really are, as well as their backgrounds and what they’ve been involved in. Nuwber gives you access to public records from a massive database of citizens in the USA. With this tool, you’re able to find out if that suspicious neighbor has a criminal record, or if a blind date is married or has been married before. It takes one search, as opposed to finding bits of information on an individual across five different social media sites, for example.