Are you being 'catfished' - lured into a relationship by someone using a fake social-media or online persona?
The extent of the effort made by scammers using the word 'free' as click bait (leading to paid search services) is as annoying to people seekers as mosquitos are to caribou. Under our noses are two of the largest search repositories of people data that are completely free to search: Google and Facebook, both of which can extend search way beyond name, address, age and phone numbers.
Google people search results are fast 'near matches' returning (for example) one billion five hundred sixty million webpages for John Smith meaning that many websites have both of those names on at least one page. Searching with "John Smith" in quotes will return only sites with that exact name, acting as a 'filter' eliminating all sites that don't have that - twenty-eight million five hundred thousand. "Captain John Smith' narrows the number of sites further to eighty hundred fifty-four thousand. Adding a middle initial returns only 26 results.
Literally anything and everything that has been made available about people online could be found in Google search results: images, videos, news, shopping.
Facebook is similar. It doesn't show the number of matches but shows pictures when available. Search returns can be narrowed by including known data about the target like schools attended, location, vocation, events...
It's rumored that Facebook was actually created by the CIA as a way of conning people into entering personal information in one huge searchable database. If so, clever data mining. Otherwise how long would it take, and at what expense, to contact 2.7 billion people, ask and record the information that people would volunteer (names, nicknames, pictures, videos, addresses, business affiliations, 'friends', personal preferences, political agendas, terrorist connections, places visited) and how less accurate would it be?
Another way to search any website for anything is to use this in the browser's address bar: site:google.com "True Free People Search" using quotes or not, replacing 'google.com' with the domain name of the site in question.
Search tip: When seeking free search services and tools, know that the first listings at the top of most search results are placed their by the search engine for businesses requiring payment for their products and services. Look for alerts to paid ads. In Google ads are flagged by 'Ad' surrounded by a green rectangle with rounded corners, or more recently just 'Ad' in bold black letters on a white background. Even if the listing suggests free results, it's safe to assume that free information will be very limited and leading to a request for payment for one thing or another.
People search is the activity of using online and offline resources for locating information about people. There are various means you can use to conduct a people search:
There's a trail that everyone leaves in this digital age, and you can find it of you have information on performing an online people search. Instances can arise where you are looking for a contact, or you want to know more about a prospective employee, plus it's always useful to get a clearer picture of who you are dealing with online. Real-life situations or business decisions will require that you uncover information, or you could be just looking for a long lost friend.
The individual you are looking for may have a social media account, might have applied for attachments using employment agency sites, or has their number listed on directory webpages. Competent online people search combs through multiple databases that include new articles, court records, and social networking sites. Using data points like the person's name, an online people search will prepare a detailed report that provides you with their current or past address, and contact information.
When you're after solid and reliable information about a person, there's a lot of publicly available information from which free sources of online people search are available. A collective of resources that won't cost a dime use web techniques to locate your target person, or to dig up some dirt on an acquaintance.
It's vital to note that some of these resources will be free for the initial search, but when it comes to divulging sensitive information, you shall have to part with some cash. The completely free online people search finder tools won't ask for your credit card, but the information provided might not be as thorough. Persons who are deceased can also prove tricky to find using the free online people search sources since they are more likely to be listed in an obituary finder.
Some of the well-known sources of publicly available information and online people search data include:
VitalRec: For free of charge birth, death, marriage, and divorce records, every US County or town in each state is covered, as well as international records from major European countries, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The National Sex Offender Public Website: This is a public website that lists all registered sex offenders for all the 50 states, including US territories and Indian reservations.
Military Records: Service records that include photos, databases, and documents are freely available in the US for veterans, thanks to the National Archives.
Copyright Records: If your target person is involved in creative arts such as being a writer, musician, or has any part in the making of copyrighted media, the US copyright office has online searchable records.
Patent Records: When the person you want to find is an inventor or scientist, they could be listed in the publicly accessible databases of the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Federal Bureau of Prisons: If like other millions of people, your person of interest is or has been at one time incarcerated, the federal bureau of prison's website will have them listed.
People often want to search for their old friends or distant relatives but a problem arises as how to find people with little information about the person. Do not lose hope. Remember: The world is small.
In this article about people search, we'll tell you how to find a person with available information: name, surname, photo or phone number. In addition to this data you may need the person's age, date of birth, city of residence or school(s) attended. Many search options work like a filter - the more information, the fewer and more accurate results.
Usually you want to implement your plan for free. Modern technologies (in particular the Internet) allow you to find any information that has been entered in the network. If the people are registered somewhere or reported information about themselves, then there is a high probability that it will be quite easy to find them in specific databases
Whistleblowers are people who expose information deemed secret or activities that are unethical, illegal, or not in the correct standing with the unaware public. Whistleblowers like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden have exposed matters of state that have violated national or public security, interest, law, or regulations. Though NGOs advocate for the rights and legal protection of whistleblowers, they live under the risk of retaliatory reprisals from the powerful politicians, corporate CEOs, or spy agencies they expose.
Present and Future Risks to Private Information
A fully legal process of information obtaining has put at risk the privacy of anyone with something to protect, such raised politically uncomfortable constitutional issues on the privacy of an individual. This includes:
Spy Cameras and Microphones, TVs, Google Minis
Spy cameras are also known as secret hidden cameras, security cameras, or video surveillance cameras, and they record all the events in a particular place, with or without the consent of those being recorded. With the ability to keep your property or belongings secure, spy cameras also collect information on an individual's action for later reference by employers or law enforcement. Information can be obtained using recoding with hidden cameras, or spying using microphones on Google mini or TVs.
Wiretapping or telephone tapping is the monitoring of conversation by hacking onto your phone or computer by third parties. This covert technique collects information on a person and can be used legally by the government in a process called lawful interception. A passive or active wiretap on your computer will monitor traffic, record, and alter online communications.
This is a form of planting unwanted software on your internet browser without permission or awareness. The symptoms are lots of uninvited adverts popping up. Browser hijackers force hits onto particular advertisers' websites and may modify your browser's homepage, search engine or error page. Spyware, which is software that collects information on you, can also be installed by browser hijackers, such as key loggers for email, banking authentication details.
The prevalence of social networks is now just off the scale. It is not only a convenient platform for finding friends and chatting but also a file sharing service - music, movies, images, as well as news. Therefore lots of people use it.
Modern technologies allow you to go online not only from your computer but also from your phone and other gadgets. Therefore, even without being sure whether the lost person has an account, we can assume that if he does not actively use it, then, at least, he has created a profile. So, that individual will have several contacts that can enable finding him. When choosing a platform, you should focus on interests and age.
For example, a woman over 45-50 years old is more likely to use Odnoklassniki. But the most popular Russian social network at the moment is Vkontakte. However, in the case when you are not sure if the person still lives in Russia, you should look for him in international social networks - Facebook or Twitter, Instagram.
There are several more options. For example, first, find a person who can be friends or keep in touch with the person you are looking for. It can help you to find your lost friend. And the last opportunity is to create a post in the group where people can help in the search. For example, contact the community that brings together people who attended the same school. But remember that finding a person by name in a social network is possible only if that individual is registered there and uses his real name, not a nickname.
Way before the days of the Internet and cell phones people were searching for information about other people.
People-search services have improved considerably over the years making searching for and finding accurate details about people easier and faster, fueling the addiction to 'people search'.
The closest we're going to get a 'free background checks' are the 2 websites mentioned above. There are no known 'free background check services' but many local repositories (municipalities, counties, organizations) have records of arrests, incarcerations, sex-offender lists and convictions while other sources require authorization to access like credit reports, financial histories, medical, motor vehicle, license, police and military records.
As the name suggests, a background check is an investigation of a person's history and could include looking into past employment, crimes, licenses, residences, credit, education, medical and military histories.
The Public Record Research System (PRRS, brbpublications.com) provides links to searching for free at these online destinations: Federal Courts' Opinions and Decisions, Federal Sanctions Sites and Agencies, State Appellate and Supreme Court, State Occupational Licensing Boards, state, county, and city databases.
These are many (but not all) of the resource available: Attorney General, Birth Records, Business Entity, Campaign Finance, Cemetery Inscription, Court of Criminal Appeals, Criminal, Deaths, Divorces, Crash/Driving/Motor Carrier, Elections, Embassies, GED-HiSET, Incarceration, Inmates, Insurance Agency Fraud Enforcement Dispositions, Legislation and Statutes, Lobbyists, Marriages, Military, Property Data, Sales Tax Registration, Sex Offender Registry, State Archives, State Judicial System, Taxable Entity Verification, UCC (Unified Commercial Code-1) filings of liens, Unclaimed Funds/Property, Vehicle, Watercraft, Workers Compensation
Society in general has become so dependent/reliant upon (er, addicted to) the 'world wide web' that perhaps thinking outside the box is never a thought. Old pre-Internet codgers used show leather, pen and paper and many hours of their time to slog on down to the local or university library scanning through index cards (what?) in search of documents that 'might' contain the information sought. They trekked often to the county court house perusing marriage license applications, birth certificates, business (dba, doing business as) registrations, and divorce decrees. Visits to the tax assessor's office could put property ownership and details about the owner and property in discovery. State records held drivers, hunting and fishing licenses, and every other activity regulated by government oversight. So far removed from today's camera on every corner, facial recognition, ID implants and big-brother's probe in every facet of your life.
Most governmental and private entities have hustled to commit their written archives to e form so the recorded data could be more easily searched and rendered. Some institutions though may never go down that road, like the post office, pension scrolls, religious organizations, CIA operatives and local ho-houses. Some things by nature must remain clandestine.
If the person sought is from a smaller town or somewhat rural area, there are some here-to-fore potential sources of tracking information that wouldn't come to the millennial mind:
Information about people can be found where data about people has been recorded. With some exceptions stores of people info are (searchable) public records.
It starts at the very beginning with a birth certificate recorded in the county or province of birth and ends with a death certificate on record in the jurisdiction where the inevitable event took place. That very first hospital record holds details from blood type to any known diseases or malformities, as well as sex, length, weight, race, et. al. Well before high school graduation, as will be borne out here, every detail about 'people' is known and forever available to those with authority to access it.
The birth cert of course holds the full name of the newborn, full names of the mother and father (if known ;), the place of birth (city, state, hospital name) and often times finger and/or toe prints (in case finger
For many people the next document holding information about people in the baptismal parchment, naming the religious institution, mother, father and infant names as well as the date of the ritual. Tangentially church logs contain data on parishioners.
Often overlooked are census scrolls which record information about all family members residing in a location at the time census is taken.
Next up is enrollment in grade school so at a very early age there's already data about people present in multiple archives. During childhood the amount of information may be limited to full name, address, date of birth, names of parents and siblings.
Don't forget the long arm of Uncle Sam and his requirement to have a social security number, which second only to people's names becomes their second identifier, more easily understood and searched that 'Gawanaapolis'. As we'll learn as we go, 'government' wants to know every detail about people, including their whereabouts and activities at any given moment.
Perhaps sadly is the amount of personal data people have voluntarily put out there about themselves (that may come back to haunt them in the future). In this decade we've learned that tremendous stores of things about people are on file: every email sent, every bit disclosed on social platforms, every group membership - plus much that was not volunteered like photos taken from a variety of cameras posted at every corner of daily life, from ATM machines to traffic cams.
High school is the next archive to hold information about people, followed closely by Uncle Sam's next requirement for boys to register with the Selective Service. The military has been populated by volunteers since nineteen seventy three but this registration is forced to make men subject to 'the draft' in case of an 'emergency', or, the nation's next invasion of a foreign country for oil, precious metals or the enforcement of democracy. Males must register within 30 days of turning eighteen.
Following high school for most people is college, trade school, a family business, marriage or the armed forces, all of which leave a searchable paper or e-form trail. For people who didn't do so well in school or hung out with the wrong people, there may be records of arrest, imprisonment or deportation.
People's college curriculum vitaes are a wealth of information containing personal details, contact info, education, qualifications, institutions, dates of attendance, skills (computer, language, etc), study overseas, fieldwork, dissertations, research and teaching experience, presentations, lectures, exhibitions, grants, scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, awards, honors, certifications and memberships.
When it comes to search services there are a lot out there. From Facebook to MySpace there are many ways to consume content. The search tools are all so diverse and they need their own descriptions to be understood. For some search engines the news will pop up on a feed and you can search specific topics. For others you just get a blank box and then you must explore the topic. Below included is an in-depth description of all the search services that are major players in today's digital information highway.
Facebook has a unique profile as you must create your own identity to sign up. Facebook has stricter standards than ever now and you must actually sign up with your legal name and details to be considered. Once you are signed up you can look up names. However there is not the same option of using in-depth details like schools to find people. It's unfortunate that this changed with Facebook as it was convenient. However Mark Zuckerberg has been to court many times for data breaches. He has had to improve Facebook so that people that do not want to be discovered can still be relatively anonymous on Facebook. All in all the Facebook feed is geared to you discovering news from platforms you like. You can search these platforms out and like the page. Then the information from the brand will show up in your feed. It's an interesting way for you to get involved with the type of content that you have a preference for. Other than this Facebook can let you join groups that you can interact with privately on the public sphere. They have privacy options so that you can navigate the digital space undetected if you like. Those who want Facebook though still have to risk the chance that their data could be mined illegally. It has happened before and it will likely happen again on some form of social media. Those who don't make an account can't really access much of anything that Facebook has to offer.
Google News is run through a Gmail account. It will give a list of the headlines. You can click on the news and you will be taken to the article. On the right Google will also list the temperature in your area. This is just another way of keeping you in the loop with all that is happening. In the News is a list of all the keywords that are popular in the news. This can also be found on the right-hand side of the screen. It is a little bit like an SEO list for news. The For You section is customized headlines based on what Google thinks that you will personally be interested in. You will get a list of your country's news as well as world news. Additionally you will find technology entertainment sports science and health news. All of these come together to give you what a traditional print newspaper would present. If you like to look at the news in the morning then Google News might be a comprehensive way to browse the headlines.
IMDB (Internet Movie Database) is a goldmine for information regarding everything to do with the film. It is one of the places that is recommended to go to as the gold standard for film facts. One of my professors at university recommended to use it as the best source. If this doesn't inspire you that this place knows what it's talking about I don't know what will. You can always get more information by clicking film titles and names that you want to know more about. I've found that I can go down a rabbit hole discovering new actors and actresses as well as what movies are coming out. It's very interesting to see a history of the films that certain artists choose to work on. There is also a list of all the professionals that team up to make a film happen. I like understanding the plot of a film and what goes into making it. IMDB is mainly about the facts but you can also find fan favorites and editors' picks on the main site. There is a search engine right at the top if you know exactly what you are looking for.
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