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How Much Can I Find Out About a Person Without a PI?

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Do you really need a PI to track someone down? That all depends on how “visible” that person is online. The internet offers several ways to find information about a person for free. While it’s not the best way to find verified information, it’s a good starting point. Here’s where to look and what you will likely find about a person without a PI. 

Online Search

A basic name search in Google or Bing might display photos from online sources, websites registered to the person, and any news articles they have been named in. By using keywords related to their job and education, you might be able to pull more specific information (i.e. their email address and current employer) if any exists. It’s important to note that not everything you will find will be relevant or current, so any information you find on search engines should always be cross-referenced to ensure accuracy.


The LinkedIn networking tool can help you find information on a person’s current employer and work history. Although useful, it should not be heavily relied on because it’s quite easy to create fake accounts and validation is difficult. With LinkedIn, instead of adding “friends” people add “connections” to build their network. This means that most people will approve a connection even if they’ve never met that person, making it difficult to determine if someone’s information is in fact accurate. 

Social Media Search

Facebook and Instagram can also provide you with some valuable information. You might be able to find recent pictures, names of their friends, their age, their current employer and even the town or city where they live. However, social media platforms do not verify the information or require users to update it. Someone could easily enter in a different location, age, and personal information, so using this information might not produce accurate results if a person has intentionally concealed their information.  

Public Records

You can also scour the public records online but you likely won’t get very far. There is no centralized system and most of the details you will be after (ie. current address, bankruptcy info, SIN number) will be considered private and protected.  It’s also a very lengthy process to pull information this way as you will need to go through each agency individually. Some paid services might be able to pull available information for you, but they offer no guarantee. 

There’s not a lot of information you can find about a person on your own for free, especially if they want their information to remain hidden. If you really want to dig into a person’s whereabouts and personal information, you need a PI. An investigator has access to surveillance tools and resources that the average person does not. They will also verify the information before they send it to you to ensure it’s accurate. 

If you need to locate a person or obtain an accurate background check, contact us at The Smith Investigation Agency today!

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.