Nowadays, it’s easy to find someone online if at least some of their information is known. It gets more complicated with limited data, though.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible. Armed with the tiniest details, it’s possible to track somebody down online.
Collect as much information as possible, including photographs and anything that appears outdated. Be patient, though, as it requires more time and skill than a standard person search.
Taking whatever is available, here are some practical ways to use it.
Start With What’s Known
A person doesn’t need their own social media profile to be mentioned online. An online search with whatever is known can produce surprising results.
For example, ‘David from Utah with a jaguar tattoo on his leg’ could bring up the person being looked for. Make the search requests specific by using as many details as possible.
The smallest of details about the individual could generate a positive hit. Things like:
- Unique hairstyle
- Car make and color, and any add-ons
- License plate number(s)
- Any unusual hobby or habit
- Distinguishing features — like the tattoo example above
- Property details
Compile a list of as many of these as possible and get searching.
Don’t overlook the value of pictures. If all that is available of the person of interest is in photograph form, that could be enough.
Reverse image searches use technology that scours the internet looking for possible instances of the photo being used. The results could link to contact information about the person.
Ideally, search for more than one picture, provided they’re available.
Reverse image searches are incredibly straightforward and can be done from a smartphone.
Be wary of all results, though; it’s not uncommon for people to steal photos of others and use them to portray themselves. This practice is even more likely if the person in the original picture is good-looking.
Tread carefully if many results come up with differing contact details; some could be fake profiles.
Expired Data Is Still Valid
No matter how old the information available on the person is, it’s still searchable. The world wide web has been open to the public for almost 30 years. In that time, a lot of data has been collected and stored.
Even deleted information is still accessible to many.
Take advantage of this knowledge to search for anything historically known about this person. This could include:
- school awards
- previous addresses
- part-time jobs
- short-lived relationships
Old email addresses, phone numbers, and street names can be reverse-searched to see if forwarding details have been added.
Create A Help Page
One person looking for someone can be hard work. With many people contributing information, the task gets more manageable.
Create a social media page asking for information on the person. Whatever the reasons for locating this individual, be sure to frame the page as a positive search request. The goal here is to encourage others to be as forthcoming as possible.
As outrageous as they may sound, follow up on every lead. It could be the most improbable piece of information that turns into success.
Even if this doesn’t lead to finding the person, any relevant information learned can be added to the growing profile.
People They Know
Any of the above search tactics may not find the person being looked for but could uncover a current or former friend or colleague.
If this is the case, take advantage of the advantage by getting in touch with that person.
Depending on the reasons the person is being looked for, they may not be 100% forthcoming with their friend’s contact details. Instead, they may provide other information that can be used for searching.
All new data can be added to what’s already known to form a larger picture.
Limited Information Is Often Enough
Even with the smallest of details, locating someone online is still possible. The process isn’t as straightforward, and it requires more creativity and patience.
Be ultra-specific in search requests. Use everything that’s possibly known about the person. Put images and expired information through reverse searches to see if anything turns up.
Finally, don’t go it alone. Ask others for help. Collectively putting together more and more information will get the task done.
The key to success is to build as much of a profile as possible from whatever sources are available. And be patient, it’s going to take time, but the results are worth it.