Getting information on a person used to be an arduous process, and while it still can be, the wealth of information available online has at least made that process easier. With a little knowledge of the different resources available, you can often find someone on the internet with just a name. This is great if you want to locate a long-lost friend or relative, research a potential employee a bit more or get more info about a person for any other reason.
This guide will cover the most effective strategies you can use to track someone down by name online with no cost or for very little of a fee. One important thing to keep in mind with all these strategies is that you should record all the personal information you find and use it to refine your search efforts. For example, let’s say you find a person’s location after starting with just their name. That location can then allow you to be more specific in your search attempts moving forward.
Looking for the Person on Social Media
Social media is an excellent place to start when you only have a name. Try Facebook first, because it’s the world’s largest social media network and it has the most helpful search filters should you have any other information on the person. Enter the person’s name into the search bar and see what comes up in the results. If there are too many results to sort through, check the filter options to see if you can possibly refine the search by a location, school or place of employment and maybe even hidden dating profiles.
LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter are also popular social networks that you should check, although they have their limits. LinkedIn limits your search results to people who are within three degrees of connection from you, which means you’ll have better luck with a larger network on the site. Instagram and Twitter don’t do this, but they don’t always have much information on a person even if you find them, although this also depends on how active a user the person is.
Use a People Search Site
A people search site works well for getting a detailed report on a person that collects all the pertinent information available about them. FreeBackgroundCheck.org is the best choice here, as it gathers data from all kinds of sources, including search engines, public records and social media. This will cost you a few dollars but it’s worth it, as it saves you time.
- FreeBackgroundCheck.org has a search by name option that is selected by default. All you need to do is enter the first name and last name of the person in the fields provided. There are also fields for a city and state if you know those, but they’re optional. You can also conduct a reverse phone search, email address lookup, license plate lookup and or a reverse address search.
After you run your search, you’ll get a list of potential results. If you find the person you’re looking for, then you can click View Report and register for an account to get all the information the site has on that person. You may have better luck here for certain pieces of information than you would on social media. For example, if you want to find out where someone lives, obtain their phone number or view any criminal records they have, then a people search site is the way to go.
Search engines, and Google in particular, are often the first place people think to go when they want to track someone down by name. Although search engines can provide valuable information, it’s challenging to sift through the results and separate what’s valuable from what’s unrelated to the person you’re interested in.
There are two situations when a search engine is a good choice:
- The person has a unique name.
- You have information on the person besides just their name.
If the person has a unique name, you can probably get information on them by searching for the name alone. But if they don’t and all you have is their name, then you’ll end up with too many unrelated results to have much luck here. Just think about all the results you’d get if you were searching for someone named John Smith.
That’s why you’ll need other information on the person if they don’t have a unique name. This lets you perform a more specific search by entering their name combined with other pieces of information you have on them, such as their date of birth or a previous employer.
Reverse Image Searching
This doesn’t help you find someone on the internet with just a name, but it can help you during the search process. There are browser add-ons that let you right-click on any image, and then perform a reverse image search using Google or your search engine of choice. A reverse image search is when a search engine looks up all the sites that have the image you’re searching for. Now, you can also simply save an image or its URL and put either in a search engine’s reverse image search section, but it’s faster to just download a browser add-on.
As you’re searching for a person, you may find pictures of them, especially if you find any matches on social media. Most people upload profile pictures, and they tend to use the same pictures across multiple sites. You can run a reverse image search on any picture you find to immediately locate any other site with that image. Those other sites could also have information on the person.
Putting It All Together
How in-depth you get with your search will depend on how much information you want on a person. If you’re just looking to reconnect with them, you can do that by tracking down one social media profile and contacting them through there. If you want a more thorough look at their personal details, then you should give all the methods above a try. It usually doesn’t take long to pull up all kinds of information on people.