If you’re searching for someone online and you find yourself stymied by Google, then you’re in luck. This article contains everything you need to know to find someone online with limited information.
However, we must caution you people have a right to privacy, and we insist that you respect that. This article is not intended to help you stalk an ex-partner or harass a relative. Now, let’s get down to business.
Unless a person has made a diligent effort to hide, everyone has an online trail that reveals pieces of personal information. Your first search attempt should be through Google, but your next stop should be social media if that doesn’t give you anything.
Using Social Media to Search for Someone
Just because you struck out on Google doesn’t mean it still can’t be helpful. Google is a great way to search a social media site. For example, you can put “joe smith site:facebook.com” into Google, and in many cases, this will work better than using Facebook’s internal search. For increased efficiency, you may also want to include a location in your search string.
However, this is not to say that you can’t search directly on the social media platform and get good results as well.
Facebook offers filters that allow you to narrow your search results based on place and time. So even if the person you’re searching for hasn’t posted recently, this filter may uncover some of their older posts.
Twitter offers a people search that’s similar to the one offered by Facebook. They also have an advanced search page. Start by dropping a name into the search bar and if that doesn’t give you the results you want, try restricting your results by date or location. You also have the option of searching for tweets to a specific account. Therefore, if you know the person is a big Brad Pitt fan, you can search for someone who has tweeted to @PittOfficial.
If a search by name doesn’t work, you can also try phone numbers and email addresses. This is a useful trick because people often modify their names for social media, but they use their real email or phone number.
However, it’s important to note that on both Facebook and Twitter, there is the option to prevent people from finding you through your email address or phone number. That being said, many people don’t bother to do this, so it’s still a viable search option.
There are also a number of free tools on websites like Bazzell that you can use to dig into data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other places. For example, you can search for people who worked at a specific place or attended a particular school.
Using Friends of a Friend to Find Someone
If your initial searches don’t get you anywhere, it’s time to think outside the box. One such out-of-the-box thought is to find someone through their friends. The accounts of relatives and friends of the person you’re searching for can lead you to them, even if they’re well hidden. This is because the network of tags, likes, and retweets goes pretty deep on Twitter and Instagram, and most of this content is public.
If you’re able to connect with someone who is linked in some way to the person you’re looking for, most social networks will offer up a list of other recommended contacts, which can lead you closer to whoever you’re searching for or give you clues to how to track them down.
Using Alternative Search Engines to Find People
If you strike out on Google, you may want to try other search engines like Bing and DuckDuckGo. There are even search engines that tend to dig a little deeper, like WebCrawler, DogPile, and MonsterCrawler, or WayBackMachine, which can dig up pages removed from the internet.
Another search engine that many people recommend is Pipl. This search engine offers results beyond the typical search engine and offers filters for location and age. However, the information can sometimes be inaccurate, outdated, or incomplete, so you should perform other checks if you can.
Other Ways to Find Someone Online
If you’ve exhausted all the social media sites and search engines you can think of, there are still other options to explore. To find these options, you need to ask yourself, what other places do people register themselves? What apps do they sign up for that don’t make their data available on the web? For instance, dating sites. While you can’t track someone by name on a dating site, you might be able to find them using location, age, and gender.
What forums or communities might the person you’re looking for be interested in? Do they like to boat, for instance? Do they perform in theatre? Searching pages and forums related to areas and interests can reveal promising leads. After all, you don’t always have to look for an individual directly; someone who knows or used to know them might serve you just as well.