The internet has made it easy for anyone to play the role of a virtual gumshoe and collect information on a person. The term “open source intelligence” ( OSINT ) refers to the process for finding and gathering publicly available information on people.
We recently used a number of OSINT, people search and public record research tools to find a treasure trove of discovery information on someone for a legal proceeding, but you can use these tools and techniques to do your own background research on people for whatever your reason may be.
Whether you are trying to search for information on a potential date, coworker, neighbor, potential employee or another person, these public sources of information on people can help you find the background information that you are searching for.
People Search Engines
The internet is full of free and premium people search engines. These search sites collect a variety of contact information, social media profiles and public records on people and make it searchable online.
Some of the more popular free people search engines include: Pipl, Zabasearch, ThatsThem, White Pages and PeekYou. While some of the more popular premium people search sites include: BeenVerified, InstantCheckmate, PeopleSmart, Intelius, Spokeo and USA People Search.
These sites typically offer a variety of ways to find a person, people profiles and public records online, including: name search, phone number lookup, address lookup and email search.
Internet Search Engines
You can also find a great deal of information on people just by entering their full name and location or other personal details into an internet search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing.
You can use search engines to find information on people by name, phone number, street address, email address, user ID or professional title through an internet search engine.
Government Public Records
Official government public records are another great way to search for people and related information. Public records in the United States typically can be found at the federal, state, county and municipal levels.
Some popular online public records that can help you find information on people include: voting records, property records, court records, birth records, death records, professional licenses, business records and marriage records.
Social Media Searches
There is a wealth of personal information that can be found on millions of people through social media sites. The two most useful social media sites for finding information on people are definitely Facebook and Linkedin.
There are lots of other social media sites as well, and most of these social networks have their own people search where you can find a person by their full name or user ID.
A reverse lookup lets you search for information on someone by using a piece of personal information other than their name. The most popular ways to do a reverse lookup on people is with a phone number, street address, email address or user ID.
The people search engines that were mentioned earlier in this article offer ways to do a phone number lookup, address lookup, email lookup or user ID lookup.
In addition, you can use an internet search engine like Google to do a reverse lookup in order to find people by phone number, street address, email address or user ID.
Additional Information On People Search Engines & Public Records
Open Source Intelligence Techniques: Resources for Searching and Analyzing Online Information by Michael Bazzell.
The Manual to Online Public Records: The Researcher’s Tool to Online Resources of Public Records and Public Information by Michael L. Sankey and Cynthia Hetherington.
The Sourcebook to Public Record Information: The Comprhensive Guide to County, State, and Federal Public Record Sources
by Michael Sankey.