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Finding People Through The Internet-Step By Step
1. When The Person's Whereabouts Are Unknown
2. Internet Phone Books
3. Listing What You Know About The Person
4. Search Engines
5. Special Search Engines
6. Search Tricks
People Search News
Articles include the latest developments, innovations and people search engines.
People When You Don't Know Their Whereabouts
When you don't know where someone lives, look for National Directories and search for them just by name. The goal is to get their city and state so you can look for them locally. (To find women who may have married, click here.)
A good directory will give you the person's address, phone number or at least the city and state where the record was obtained. You may also be able to learn their profession or something else useful.
Your first stop should be the Age lookup sites. These sites are far more comprehensive than the Internet Phone books, which omit people with unlisted numbers. Age lookup sites will help you identify the person by their name, their age and even the people they've lived with. You may also learn the city and state where the person is living now.
Search Tips For Age Lookup Sites: When looking for someone, enter their first and last name only. Ignore the box for age, state, middle name, etc. Being too specific could cause you to miss a name because the data gatherer entered the wrong age or forgot a middle initial.
To learn even more, search for them through General and Specialized Search Engines such as Google, their state, county and city homepages, their chat groups, their state bar/professional association, local newspapers, court records, etc. See Also Finding People By Their Photos
Still no luck? Then look for relatives in their home state, i.e. people with the same surname. Also, contact the "possible relatives" that were listed on the age lookup sites.
A relative by birth or marriage may be your yellow brick road to the person you're looking for.
Good National Directories Include
Internet Phone Directories
Search Engines (like Google and Yahoo)
Age/Birthday Records (Find Their Zip Code To Get City & State Info)
Federal Records such as the FAA Pilot Registry, Federal Bureau Of Prisons or database of Federal Campaign Contributors
Search Engines That List Professionals such as Doctors and Lawyers (i.e. Martindale Hubble Directory)
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Finding People On The Internet
2.The Internet White Pages/People Search Sites
Don't stop with one. Try several of them for a thorough search.
You're most likely to score when you know the person's name and address or at least the city they live in. Some sites also offer reverse lookups, where you can find a person's name just from a phone number or an address.
No hits? Try shortening the person's first name to an initial or Nick
Name. This allows you to find those people (usually women) who avoid use of
their full name.
For tough cases, see step three.
3. Make A List Of All You
Know About The Person.
A. Contact Information Such as
Their first, last and middle name (if known), nickname, city or state where they once lived, last known phone #s, address/other addresses, other phone #s, email addresses, website addresses, companies they own, names of friends or relatives and the last time you heard from or of them.
B. Other Identifiers that Make Them Unique (And Can
Help Distinguish Them From Other Leads with the Same Name)
Race, gender, age, religion, former schools, hobbies, interests, languages spoken, profession, tattoos, birthmarks, unusual features, disabilities (blind, deaf, bi-polar...), certifications/degrees, fraternity/sorority/other affiliations, etc. Even if you know almost nothing, put it down anyway. The Internet is teeming with information and anything might prove useful later on.
For example, I found an ex-girlfriend of 9 years back knowing only she spoke Russian and once lived in Ohio.
Putting her name in quotes, I combed the major search engines and found a letter she once sent to a Russian newspaper. This letter gave me the city and state she currently lived in. With this information, it was easy to find the home page of her city government and also to look up their local court records.
Sure enough, my ex-girlfriend had gotten a traffic ticket back in 1989. This ticket proved invaluable as it listed her name, address, age and telephone number. Although she obviously didn't live there anymore, it was still worth looking into. Through a reverse search on the phone number, I found her father, who after 12 years was still living at the same address! I called him and got her number.
The Big Search Engines ie GOOGLE, YAHOO, Etc.
Start with Google first. Do a search with the person's name in quotes i.e. "Jon Doe" or "Carol Smith". Also try their last name first i.e. "Smith, Carol".
For a thorough search, try other variations such as using their middle name.
For example, you could get different hits with:
"John L Smith"
"John Lewis Smith"
"John Smith, L"
"John Smith, L" Atlanta
John Smith (No Quotes) (for hits with spouse i.e. John and Mary Smith)
To refine your
search, add the person's city or state (if known) or add other terms. For
example. If your friend speaks Russian, try "Jon Doe" Russian.
If you know Jon was once in the Army, try "Jon Doe" army.
With unusual or rare first/last names, try leaving off the name that's common. This is a good thing to do especially when searching for a woman who may have married or stopped using her maiden name.
Don't forget to search by
Nick Name. For example, "Elizabeth" might be found under "Libby", "Richard"
under "Dick", etc.
Once you get to a desired web page, find the name quickly through a mini-search. On your keyboard, hold down the control key and the letter "F". When the search screen appears, type the one word you're looking for and click Find Next. Click "Find Next" again to go further down the page where that word appears again.
Googling People By Their Address,
Phone # or Email
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5. Use Specialized Search Engines.
Search engines abound to locate, Regular People, Military Personnel, Classmates, Doctors, Birth Parents, Genealogies, Lawyers, Veterans, Smokers, etc. They are also good for tracing people through their Chat Groups, clubs & associations.
Never forget to search the home page of the city and county government where the person once lived. There you will find access to local information such as court records, marriages, births, deaths, clubs and community news.
Have an address with a bad phone #? Use reverse lookups (address or phone) to get the names or phone numbers of the person's neighbors. Then call them for more information.
Also checkout the county tax assessor, which sometimes lists the names and addresses of property owners within its jurisdiction. To locate this agency via GOOGLE, plug in the terms "X county" "Tax assessor".
To find more information, do a word search in the
local newspapers and/or check out the homepage of the local library.
On line local papers are truly an invaluable source. Papers in small towns will publish anything, including obituaries, letters to the editor and local events missed by other search engines. You may learn your subject got married, or rescued a cat from a tree or became a school teacher. Even if you can't find the person you're looking for, perhaps you'll find one of their friends or relatives who can point you in the right direction. And don't forget to use your search tricks.
6. Search Tricks
.Find Names in The Internet Phone Books, See Internet White Pages.
.In Search Engines, Put first and last name in Quotes i.e. "John Doe".
.Narrow searches by adding new terms.
.Look for city and county local websites.
.Find Specialized Search Engines.
.Comb The Local Newspapers.
.Search for words within a website or document via "Control F".
.See the Search Tool Chart For How To Work Each Search
To find prior versions of a website that has changed or is gone,
Use the Google Cache feature below your Google return.
Plug the web address into the Way Back Machine by entering the website URL in the search box and hitting "take me back". This works great when you're searching for a person or thing that is no longer listed, but present on earlier versions of the site. Click Here For prior snapshots of www.consumer-sos.com.
The Control F Function
Use shortcuts to instantly find terms within websites, large documents and attachments.
For PDF (Adobe files), you can search for words by clicking on the Binoculars Icon found at the top of the page.
Use "Control F" to search within Websites emails, Word, Excel or PowerPoint:
Example: A search for "Cat" will also find "Cats" but not vice versa.
But a search for "Company" will not find "Companies" (spelling change).
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Control F Troubleshooting
If your search term wasn’t found,
Married and divorced women are harder to find if they've had a name
To Background or Locate Such a Person:
See Finding People By First Name Only (Consumer-SOS)
Googling Women To Find Their New Surname Marriages are often publicly announced through newspapers, gift registries, alumni news, blogs, wedding announcements, etc. To find your subject's new surname, simply click Here (Google).
Your Google search box should display:
"Jane Doe" marriage
While in the Google search box, replace the name in quotes with the name of your subject.
To be thorough, search again and again while using the various synonyms for marriage.
Still too Many Hits? Then narrow it down by adding
their last known city or state.
Examples: "Jane Doe" marriage Georgia or "Jane Doe" marriages Atlanta Georgia
Finding People By Their First name
This works best when the first name is rare or has a rare spelling. To eliminate false leads you must still know something distinctive about the person such as their age, hobbies, profession, city, state, etc. See Listing What You Know About The Person
Find a state or national database that allows you to search by first name
only. Then enter their first name, and if known, also their state.
Intellius is good
because it will return a last name and the subject's age. It may also group
the subject with others who have lived in the same household such as their
spouses, children or parents. To search Peopledata.com (ages
may be wrong) type in the first name, press a
space and then enter the letter "a"
For example: menda a or
If you get too many hits, enter the first name in a major search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Put in extra terms to narrow it down. For example: for that bilingual former classmate of yours enter: Minelva Spanish Georgia. For the musician you met at the bookstore try: Mehgan ukulele Texas. Add or remove terms to reduce or increase hits. Extra terms could include a city, their occupation, the name of a child, or another hobby. See Listing What You Know About The Person
Don't use this guide until you first read How To Find People Through The Internet Step By Step.
A common name such as John Smith, can get you thousands of multiple listings. Obviously going through every one of them would take an eternity. But don't despair. Your "John Smith" can still be found. All you have to do, is cross reference things unique about him to narrow your leads. Once you know your subject's age, middle name or living patterns, it's easy to find your mark.
For example: California may have ten thousand John Smith's. But how many were Harvard grads from 1977, have a wife named Mora and now live in West Hampton? Not too many I bet. And of these John Smiths, how many are 47 years old and have lived in Sacramento, Boston and Austin? Even fewer no doubt.
Yes. With cross referencing, you can find the people who match your subject's age, middle name, travel patterns, profession, education, etc. And from there the search can be narrowed to the one person who fits the bill. Here's How:
First, find out all you can about them through special search
bios (if famous) newspaper stories, etc. Then write it all down. Include
their name, age, city or state they once lived in, last known address, hobbies,
interests, profession, name of relatives or spouse(s), colleges, etc. For An
Overview, See Using A Bio To Background
Search for the subject's first and last Name on Google or ussearch.com. Write
down any new information you learn and don't forget to look them up by their
nicknames. (Use "Control
F" to search for names within the nickname website.)
Note: if you find your mark, stop here and do a typical background search. Still not sure you have the right subject? Then see the next step below.
Narrow your findings to those people about the same
age as your subject (as indicated by their bio, college graduation date,
newspaper summaries, ussearch, obituaries or other sources).
Finding People By Their Photos
Narrow findings to those who live or once lived near any place mentioned in
step 1. This information can be quickly obtained from
age websites that list the subject's city,
state or Zip Code. Ussearch and Intelius are great for confirming ages and list
the city and state where the subject lived. (To get city and state through
reverse Zip Code lookup, click
Narrow findings even further to those who work or once worked near any place
listed in step 1. (i.e. same state and/or nearby city). Note:
People tend to work close to where they live. Simply narrow your search to
those subjects who lived near where your target works or has previously worked.
For An Overview, See Using A Bio To
Narrow findings to those who have spouses with the same name and living patterns
as your subject's. This can be a two step process. First, repeat all prior steps
but now use the name of their spouse. Second, if your search turns up multiple
listings, simply cross reference the places where these two people lived
together. For example, The "Mora J Smith" found in Sacramento, Boston and Austin
is likely the wife of the "John P Smith" who lived in Sacramento, Boston and
See Cross Referencing Spouses To Get A Hit
Search for one of their-easier-to-find friends or relatives who can tell you
more about your subject, i.e. phone #, last address, etc.
Once you are almost certain of your target, do a
Google search. Put the name in quotes (try with and without middle name).
Get too many hits? Then
Refine Your Search.
A Google search may tell you even more about your target or confirm you've got a
Bio Of Francis Comerforl (CEO Found on A Media Network Website)
Formerly the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the PBC Television Stations Division, Frank Comerforl was named President and General Manager of WPBC, effective July 12, 2002.
Comerforl has led the station group to record sales -- a major achievement in the recent challenging ad market.
Comerforl, a 23-year TV veteran, has been overseeing sales and marketing for PBC's owned-and-operated stations since 1999. Previously, he had served as head of sales for WPBC since 1994. Under his leadership, PNBC broke numerous sales records and surpassed the competition as the top billing television station in the New York marketplace. Under his watch, WPBC supported numerous community based campaigns, launching "Wednesday's Child," one of the most successful programs in the nation to help place foster children in permanent homes.
Comerforl joined PBC from Storer Broadcasting Company, where he held a variety of sales management positions, culminating as General Sales Manager at WSBK-TV in Boston.
Honored as "Volunteer of the Year" by the Friends of RSVP, Inc. (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of the Community Service Society), Comerforl has been proud of his work as a GE/PBC Elfun Society volunteer at the Manhattan School of Science and Math.
Comerforl graduated Georgetown University in 1977, and holds a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration and Finance.
A native New Yorker, Comerforl and his wife Maura currently maintain residence in both Brooklyn and Long Island.
I then put his full name in Google. From this I learned that Francis X. went to high school in Hackensack, NJ and Graduated in 1973. Unfortunately, I couldn't find him in the The Georgetown University Alumni website. Although he went to school there, I didn't. And only GU alumni have access to the website.
Google also turned up a genealogy discussion forum where the subject actually lists his close relatives! See below.
Relatives of Francis X Comerforl
I grew up and live in NYC. We trace our family back through Pa. & NYC
My Father was Edward Francis COMERFORL Jr.
Grandfather was Edward Francis COMERFORL
Great Grandfather was Nicholas COMERFORL
I am not sure about his father's first name.
I think he was born in NYC or emigrated to NYC and died in Pa.
Any info you may have would be appreciated.
See Using A Bio To Background Someone
FOR BUSINESSES: Good for revealing the business behind the blind job ad, for backgrounding fraudulent businesses, or for any business that’s hard to investigate. Find the name of the business, whether they do business under assumed names, and who else they’re connected with. Also good for finding the physical location of the PO box and at times, the name of the PO Box Owner.
FOR INDIVIDUALS: Good for finding the physical location of the PO box and at times, the name of the PO Box Owner. May also lead to websites or chat rooms frequented by the individual or those they're connected with.
Strategy: On Google, enter the PO Box #, state and Zip Code to learn the name of the PO Box Owner or Business. Several names may turn up which could either identify your subject or reveal who they're associated with. Then background all your relevant leads.
Suppose you receive junk mail from a new business called The Matrix. Their flyer says they do home repair and that they're located at Post Office Box 12345” NY, NY 10022.
But when you Google "Matrix and "home repair" you find no one's ever heard of them. And your search with the Better Business Bureau and Secretary of State gets you nothing.
Google the PO Box # State and Zip Code exactly as shown below.
"PO Box 12345" NY 10022 (Always put the PO Box # in quotes and abbreviate the state)
Next, eliminate all irrelevant hits. Hits which don't have the correct PO box and Zip Code all in the same paragraph, should be ignored.
See Also US Postal Form To Obtain Physical Address of PO or Drop Box (For Service of Legal Process)
Is The Address A Concealed PO Box or Mail Drop?
An address may list the word "Suite" or "Apartment" to disguise that it’s really a concealed mail drop. Below is a partial list of mail drops and other non-physical addresses. Stop looking if your address appears there. But don’t assume the address is real because it wasn’t found in the first place you looked. No listing is by any means complete. So it pays to search all of them.
Step 1 (Search For Address in The Listings Below)Find the Locations of over 40,000 Drop Boxes (UPS, Staples, Office Depot, etc.)
Maps enter the word "mail" and the Zip Code of the address you’re looking
At left a partial directory of drop boxes will appear. If you see your
address, stop searching for it’s not a physical address at all. Note: You’ll get
pages and pages of addresses, but do not search past the Zip Code you’re looking
for. (Usually the first page or two). To see the Zip Code of an address, simply
click on the blue link. The Zip Code will appear on the Map.
If You Can't Find The Address, Google the Main Part in Quotes.
Often this will reveal the address to be a UPS, Staples or Mailboxes Etcetera
For example, the address below is a concealed drop box that was missing from many of the drop box directories.
3522 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Ste. 141
Atlanta, GA 30319
With the main part in quotes, do a Google search with
"3522 Ashford Dunwoody" (omit rd dr, city, or state, etc.)
Note the 8th entry down shows this is just a UPS location.
Still Unsure? Then Ask The Post Office What Type Of Address This Is.
If you have an address and are not sure what it is, or if it's even a real address, then go to The US Post Office Website and look up the address and phone # for the post office that delivers to the address. Then call that post office and ask them if they know what's located at that address. Simply ask if it is a residential address, or if it's an office building of some sort. Also ask if they know if the address is a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) like a Mailboxes Etc. or UPS Store. The post office is not required to answer these types of questions, but they can if they want to. 90% of the time they’ll tell you what you need to know.
Googling People By Their Address, Phone # or Email
KNOWING THEIR NAME IS NOT THE SAME AS KNOWING WHO THEY ARE. To find out more about their background or who they associate with, enter their number, email, or address in Google and the other search engines. Through Google you may learn if your subject is a famous politician, a convicted murderer or belongs to your local fitness club.
Googling An Address (Consumer-SOS)
Googling A Phone Number (Consumer-SOS)
Googling An Email Address (Consumer-SOS)
You can never predict if the search engines will pick up all or just a portion of the address . Therefore, start with as little as possible. Add more terms only if you get too many irrelevant hits. For example: If your neighbor's address is 2422 Morosgo Ct NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
If you get too many hits or irrelevant returns, try
"2422 Morosgo" (put the phrase in quotes to narrow your search)
"2422 Morosgo Ct"
"2422 Morosgo Court"
"2422 Morosgo Ct" Atlanta
"2422 Morosgo" NE Atlanta
In addition, you can then background any business, organization or individual associated with this address.
See Googling A Phone Number (Consumer-SOS)
See Googling An Email Address (Consumer-SOS)
PO Box Lookup-Finding A Business Or Person Through Their Post Office Box (Consumer-SOS)
Try various combinations. Note that each variation can yield different
See examples below:
See Googling An Address (Consumer-SOS)
See Googling An Email Address (Consumer-SOS)
If it appears to be a business email address, (not Yahoo or Hotmail or
Google just the last part of the address to get where they work.
Nothing turns up when you Google "firstname.lastname@example.org"
But search for "@accmhs.allegan.mi.us"
and you'll see he works at a community health center in Allegheny, PA. From there you may be able to find him in the company directory or background him through city, state and county records.
Back To Sleuthing For People On Line
See Googling An Address (Consumer-SOS)
See Googling A Phone Number (Consumer-SOS)
Back To Sleuthing For People On Line
Find Or Background Old Classmates-Step By StepFinding old friends Finding old classmates Alumni search classmate
background backgrounding almuni lookup
Use the online phone books if you know their name and location and just want to call them. Otherwise, you'll need to learn more by backgrounding them. Backgrounding helps eliminate false leads, such as when their name is very common, or you get hits in many states. It's also good for finding married or divorced women who now have a different surname.
Other Ways To Find Or Background Them
Find them on Facebook Myspace, Twitter, etc. Female classmates can often be
found by both their maiden and married names.
Select 2-3 people you remember and look them up on Facebook. Still not
sure if the fat balding guy is the same guy you used to have lunch with? To
confirm you have the right person, see if he lists any classmates that both of
Facebook allows you to "View Friends" to see all of their Facebook friends, If this is your former classmate, you're bound to know some of them. or at least find that many of his friends are from the same city and state where you both met each other. Otherwise it just may be the wrong guy. The great thing is they never need to know you were scoping them out. Unless, of course, you decide to add them as one of your friends. Even without doing so, you'll still be able to view their photo and see the city and state they now live in. At that point you can use non-Facebook sources to either contact them or further background them.
To find more classmates you both know in common, see Finding their Friends, Associates & Relationships.
Section or alumni association of your school’s Home Page may have the
classmate’s address, email address or phone number. If your subject is a woman
who has divorced or married, it may even list her new surname.
Can’t find your alumni section? Look around for their site's search engine (many schools have them) and type in the word “Alumni”. Then search for their alumni directories or associations. If you cannot find your school's homepage, go directly to Google and type the school's name in quotes, i.e. "Tulane University".
Next, do a Google Search for your subject’s last name within the website itself . (Google can sometimes find things within a site faster than the site's own search engine!). Search Here to Google the websites of major universities. Or, just enter the last name in the Find Results box and then enter your school's website address lower down to the right of the "domain" box. (leave out the "http" or "www") This may tell you if they’ve been married, where they live, or give you other news such as their profession, births, deaths, etc.
See also Finding Women
lookup sites are far more
comprehensive than Internet phone books. (Omit state and search with and without
middle initial). These will often list the subject’s age and relatives
along with the cities and states where they once lived or currently reside.
Sometimes they’ll include a middle name or even who they live with! Note that
US Search you just click on your target name for the cities and states where
the person lived or now resided in. If none of them are familiar, you probably
have the wrong person and should click on your next lead. Try several age look
up sites. ZabaSearch
might even return a current address or phone number.
See Also Finding
People By Their Photos
is by far the most extensive Alumni Finder. Sign up for their free service to
search for alumni.
In Classmates, find out many of the schools they attended by entering in the person's first and last name. Note: these schools are only those your subject has reported voluntarily. So there may be errors or omissions.
Once you obtain schools your subject has attended, Google the person's name and school to find even more leads.
Examples: "Graham Firestone" Stuyvesant
and "Graham firestone" "Arizona State" (compound words should be in quotes to keep them together)
If you know all the schools or colleges they attended, select "schools" or "colleges" and then "browse schools" or "browse Colleges". Note you can learn if a woman is now married or divorced, for when you click on her name, a different or hyphenated name will appear up top. Repeat steps #2 and #3 if her name has changed.
For more Help See also Finding Women and