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.
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.
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!