There are plenty of reasons why you might want or need to track someone on the web. It could be an old friend you’d like to reconnect with or a family member no one has heard from in a while. Or maybe you’d just like to get the low-down on someone before a first date. Whatever the case, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to find people. Here are four of the best ways to do it.
Google is the simplest place to start. As a search engine, it should pull up any instances of the person’s name if it’s been mentioned online. A simple internet search is not going to give you answers necessarily, but it will point you to some sites that might. For example, your search might pull up an old article written about them at their high school, or it might reveal some old wedding photos published online.
There are some flaws with using Google to find someone, however. It shouldn’t be the only tool you use. For one thing, your internet search will likely pull up many people with the same or similar names. And you might be sure it’s them based on previous knowledge, but if you’re going off of very little information to start with, there’s really no way to know. Use Google as s a jumping-off point and try to piece it together with information you get from other places.
Background check sites
There are plenty of sites where you can pay a small fee to run a background check on anyone. The most thorough ones will include things like marriage records, divorce records, aliases, social media accounts, online dating profiles, and even mugshots. You can usually perform these searches with minimal information, but you may have to narrow down the results based on age or location.
You can check all the social media platforms if you want to, but Facebook is probably the only one you’ll actually need. With 2.38 billion active users every month, the person you’re looking for is likely lurking there, too. In the case of Facebook, though, just finding a profile doesn’t mean much unless they’ve set it to “public,” which many people don’t. But what you can hope for is that at least part of their profile is visible, such as current posts or their list of friends.
If their friends list is visible, you can do a little further digging that way. It will take some time and a bit of patience, but you can check out some people on the list to see if they’ve shared anything involving the person you’re looking for. The best place to start with this is family. If you don’t know the person, you can look through people who share their last name. This is all dependent, of course, on finding people on their list who have public profiles.
Reverse image search
If all you have is a photo of someone, the hunt can be a little trickier than with a name, but definitely not impossible. There are a couple of ways to do this, but the easiest is through Google. On the left side of the search bar is a camera icon. When you hover over it, you should see a drop-down menu with a “search by image” option. You can then either upload your image or paste its URL in the search bar. Google will then search the web for matches of your photo. Keep in mind that if the photo you have was never published online, you may see some similar photos that are not necessarily your subject. You’ll have to click through each image and try to determine if its the same person based on other criteria.
The web is an invaluable resource. Whether you’re looking for an old friend or family member, utilize the online tools mentioned above to help you with your search.