Since 2000 I have been Andrew, Private Investigator to my friends. If you are on the Web, I WILL find you. I know I’m not the only ‘friendly stalker’ out there. If you are looking for a long lost love, forgotten family member or are just curious if your first grade teacher is still alive, here are some tools to help!
My tool of choice is Pipl, a search engine that culls the “deep Web” in order to find people around the world. Culling through social network profiles, member directories, court records and other pages that aren’t always available to general search engines, Pipl is great for uncovering that former flame or long lost relative.
Searching is a breeze. Simply enter a first name, last name (mandatory), city, state and country and you are off and running.
The results are broken out into sections: Background Reports (which lead you to pay-to-find sites), Professional and Business, Personal Profiles, Public Records, Publications and more.
The top right side of the page contains thumbnail images of potential photo matches.
There is no registration and Pipl is 100% free to use.
The GOOD: Free, easy-to-use, results easier to sift through than a ‘normal’ search engine.
The BAD: Results are inconsistent, too many links lead to pay sites and these are formatted to look like ‘free’ results – and that can be misleading
Recently redesigned, Whitepages.com is no longer a tree-killing clunker like its paper predecessor. There is a “Find People” section, but if a personal has chosen to be unlisted (which seems to be the exception, not the rule) you are out of luck.
The true power of WhitePages comes with the ‘reverse lookup.’ If you have the address or phone number of a person, you can verify their name, location, age range and potentially other members of the family living at the address. Any good Internet sleuth knows that searching family members of your intended subject is a great route to find who you are looking for. The searchee might have gone through measures to not be found, but have their relatives?
The GOOD: Easy-to-read results, multiple free search tools
The BAD: Unlisted numbers are a dead end, information is not necessarily current
If you do a Google search of “find people,” you will find that many roads travel back to Intelius. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the site gets over 1 million hits a day and generated over 3 million reports last year. Favored by many businesses and human resources departments, the site also delivers accurate information to individuals. In-depth searches such as e-mail address locator or ‘social net search’ with cost you a few bucks, but there are a few free features you can use to your advantage. A name and city search will yield potential previous cities where your searchee might have lived. You also get a list of names that could be possible relatives. Another cool feature is the reverse phone search which will tell you if a number is a cell or landline (Google voice numbers are considered landlines). There is also a free criminal records search.
The GOOD: The #1 player in the people verification space
The BAD: Details will cost you money
Other useful tools:
Fundrace, offered through the Huffington Post allows you to use a zip code and last name to find out if a political contribution has been made to a major American political party.
Zabasearch gives you the ability to know when YOU are being searched for.
MyLife offers you access to more than 750 million profiles with advanced search and filtering options, all in one place. Enter an individual’s interests for refined results.
Classmates was the original ‘secret stalker’ Website, giving folks the change to reconnect with former school buddies and military personnel. You must register and indicate the year you graduated and school you attended in order to access records. Of course, should you become “creative” with your registration, others can be located without being found.
Zillow will give you information on a person’s home if they are the owners. Learn how much they paid, when they purchased it and what their taxes are.
Maintaining anonymity and having a Web presence is virtually impossible these days. If you have any other tools you use to track people down, let us know!
P.S. – These Google search tricks are often overlooked and a great way to find folks!