Whether you want to track down an old friend from high school or need to find out if a vendor or seller is who they say they are, a people search service is the way to go. Conducting a people search is easy to do, legal, and anonymous, but not all people lookup services are made equal.
Why Conduct a People Search?
There are several reasons why you might turn to a people finder to locate someone or find out more about them. Common sense is to find people you know but lost touch with them. You could also conduct a person search to find out more about an employee, vendor, or Tinder date. It’s worth looking up information about yourself, too, if you restrict the amount of online data.
What Information Can You Find Online?
Most official people search engines are attached to public records. When you search for an individual, you should enter as much information about them as possible (especially if they have a relatively common first and last name, like John Smith). This should bring up a profile with information about their past and present, including:
- phone numbers
- email addresses
- previous addresses
- current residence
- known relatives
- social media profiles
- job titles
If the result doesn’t seem to match the person you are looking for, try entering more specific information and search as many times as you can. If you still have trouble finding someone, search for known relatives, neighbors, or addresses that you may know. If you don’t know a whole lot about the person you are trying to track down, you should conduct supplementary services.
You can do a few things to supplement your search and find out more about the person you are trying to track down. Google is the most obvious choice. Try searching for the person by putting their name in double-quotes, e.g., “Joe Smith.” Enter as much information as possible, including their occupation, location, etc. If Google doesn’t deliver the results you hoped for, you should try some smaller search engines, like Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo Search, which use different algorithms and might present a different result.
You can also turn to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to find someone. The recommendation feature can connect you to people you may know or help you find relatives.
Finally, a few local government sites may allow free searches. Ensure that you only enter your information on trustworthy sites – there are several phishing scams masquerading as people search engines.
Is a People Search Legal?
People searches are entirely legal according to federal laws and regulations, although the websites themselves must remain compliant with user privacy regulations. You may not use people to conduct credit checks and should always use the information fairly and responsibly.
What Should I Look For in a People Search Site?
We’ve already said that not all people search engines are created equal. Some sites are simply more accurate and efficient than others. When choosing a people finder, look for the following characteristics:
People searches should present actual, accurate, granular results. Unmatched or fake results are typical (and might even come with a hefty price tag). Start by searching for yourself or a relative to see whether or not the search results are accurate and that your age, photo, social profile, and address matches yours. This will quickly give you an indication of how accurate the site is.
Some apps resemble legitimate people search engines but are anything but. They could be phishing scams designed to trick you into giving away sensitive personal and financial information. Only use services that have a solid reputation in the market. Read reviews carefully and be wary of providing too much personal information upfront.
Value For Money
Not all people search engines are free, but if you do pay for a service, the quality has to match the price tag. A premium service has to come at an affordable price and provide value for money – if it doesn’t provide more information than a free site, it’s not worth it.
People search engines are beneficial when you need to track someone down in a hurry. Make sure that you choose a safe, accurate, and affordable service at all times.