You probably have a high school buddy or a friend from university who went off your radar for whatever reason.
With the recent expansion of the amount of personal information that online servers store, it shouldn’t be challenging to track them down and restart your friendship. Here is what you can do.
A Step-by-step Guide to Looking for People Online
If you aren’t rich enough to hire a private detective, the other viable option is looking for your friend online. Let’s start.
1. Googling your friend’s personal details
You probably still remember your friend’s full name, their then residential address, the college they went to, and probably their date of birth.
Let’s see what happens if you enter different combinations of this information in Google.
1. 1. Name plus date of birth
If you enter a personal name in Google, the search engine will first show public figures, politicians, scholars, etc. If you are in luck, you may recognize your buddy among them. Entering name plus date of birth does not narrow down the search.
1. 2. Name plus location
Entering name plus town or district may return some matches only if the person you are looking for has participated in community events.
1. 3. Name plus school
This combination may return encouraging results only if your friend has excelled in academics and has participated in prominent fraternities or sororities.
1. 4. Name plus Facebook
You may Google this combination, hoping to find your long-lost buddy’s profile. You may succeed only if they have allowed their profile to appear in public searches and if it’s among the top three or four most popular ones.
1. 5. Google image search
In theory, Google can recognize your friend’s old photo and link it to their current public profiles. In practice, the search engine returns results about what’s in the picture.
If it is a graduation photo, it’ll show you related pictures of college graduates. Google image search might work if they’ve uploaded that pic on Facebook and if Google has access to their profile.
When can Google help?
Google may help you find your friend if they have become prominent public figures. Google filters the results by location, so you may need to repeat the four combinations under a VPN’s cover.
2. Using an online people finder
If you are going to search for people online, it makes sense to use a dedicated website instead of Google.
2. 1. How are people finders better than Google?
People search engines may not be as powerful as Google almighty, but they are better tuned to track down individuals; hence their results are more refined.
2. 2 How to choose a good free people finding service?
The best people finding services have different superpowers. To begin with, you should choose one that’s accessible from almost everywhere.
Also, you should use a service that does not use the give-to-receive method. In other words, one that does not ask to connect with your email or social profiles.
Accepts any details
A good people search engineshould accept various combinations of personal details, including the four already mentioned.
Last but not least, your free people finder should generate detailed reports. You may need to sign up for a free trial to access court records and employment history.
2. 3. Premium people search account
If you are not satisfied with the results returned by the free people finder you chose, you may try their premium service. Computer Hope lists a lot of options here.
All premium people search accounts allow unlimited monthly searches, which significantly increases your chances of finding the person you’ve been looking for.
Even signing up for a free trial makes more sense than using a basic account. You’ll notice that the retrieved results are more accurate and specific. Still, be aware of the risks.
As soon as a new bit of information about your long-lost friends pops up online, premium your people-finding service will automatically send an alert.
All premium people finders have massive archives of personal info that store records long after they disappear from the original databases.
If you have a Facebook account, you can look your friend up there. With a bit of luck, your long-lost friend may appear as a friend suggestion without you having to do anything.
If not, you may connect with mutual friends and ask them about the person you’ve been trying to find. Over time, your lost friend’s phone number or email address may reach you in Messenger.
In the rare event that your old friend isn’t on Facebook, you may look them up on LinkedIn. The network promotes its users’ professional skills and career paths by interconnecting them.
If your friend has built a successful career, their profile must appear as a connect suggestion.
5. No results?
If the above methods do not work, maybe your friend has been keeping a low online profile. Some people grow suspicious of social platforms and develop some kind of online paranoia.
It’s impossible to find such people online. Instead, you should try to track their whereabouts through mutual friends.
Last Updated: July 6, 2022