Snooping. We all do it.
Today, it’s easier than ever to snoop on people. There’s a stupid amount of information available online – if you know where to look.
Keep reading to discover the top ten best ways to search for information about anyone on the internet.
Use Facebook’s Search Function for Surprisingly Detailed Results
We’ll start with an obvious one: Facebook’s search function is a lot more powerful than many people realize.
Did you meet a friend of a friend at a party? Want to know his name? Click on your friend’s profile, click on their ‘Friends’, then enter the person’s name into the list. With just a first name, you should be able to find exactly who you were talking to.
Or, if you wandered into an event or group and want to learn more about someone you met, then look up that group on Facebook. There’s a chance the event had a Facebook listing. Scan the list of attendees and find the person you’re looking for.
The basic Facebook people search feature is also more powerful than many people realize. You can search for posts, people, photos, videos, pages, groups, and events by:
- Tagged Location
- Date Posted
- Friends, Mutual Friends, Public, or Anyone
Want to learn more about David? Want to see photos of David from 2009? Here’s how quickly you can narrow down search results using Facebook’s basic filters.
These are basic tips you can use to find information about virtually anyone through Facebook – unless they have a locked account.
Snoop on Someone’s Instagram Even If They Have a Private Profile
Did you meet someone in the bar last night that you liked? Did you forget his name? Check Instagram.
Instagram’s location-based tracking tool makes it easy to instantly see anyone who publicly uploaded a photo from a specific location at a specific time.
Search for the name of the bar or club on Instagram, and there may be a specific location filter for that spot. Tap on it, then tap the ‘Recent’ tab. You’ll see all photos tagged in that spot in descending chronological order.
You can also tap the location’s profile photo to view stories posted from that location. Stories disappear after 24 hours, but it’s possible you’ll find the specific person you’re looking for – or a friend of the person you’re looking for.
Alternatively, type your city into the Instagram search bar to see stories posted from your city over the last 24 hours. Tap your city’s location profile (the round circle with the pin inside it) to view certain stories posted over the last 24 hours.
These tips work best if the person you’re searching for has a public profile.
What about if the person has a private profile? In this case, you can still use the tips listed above and look for photos of that person shared by friends with public profiles. These friends may have tagged the person by their Instagram handle, for example, making it easy to find the person’s profile.
Google Someone’s Online Username
If someone uses a specific handle on Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever, then they may use that handle elsewhere.
Instead of simply Googling someone’s name, try Googling their handle. You might find an entire part of their life that they have attempted to keep separate from their “public” profile.
Enter Someone’s Username Into Facebook
Some people have attached their usernames to their Facebook profile.
Try this: type facebook.com/YourUsername
Replace ‘YourUsername’ with the username – or suspected username – of the person you’re trying to track.
Depending on privacy settings, you might instantly view someone’s Facebook profile. If you only have a username and want to learn more about someone, then this is a great place to start.
Enter Usernames Into Login Forms and Click “Forgot Password” to Find an Email Address
Do you have a username for someone and want to learn their email address? Try the “forgot password” trick.
Enter someone’s username into a login form – say, on Facebook, Instagram, or Gmail – then click “forgot password”. You may be taken to a page that lists the person’s email address.
Sometimes, websites will try to hide the email address, saying something like, “is this your email address? s****@g****.com. This can still help you narrow down email search results. It’s also particularly useful if someone is using a work email instead of common provider like Gmail. If you know someone previously worked at CNN, for example, then the recovery email might pop up as s*****@c**.com
This tip may also work in reverse: enter someone’s email address to get information about the person’s username.
Taking Advantage of the “Suggested Follow” Function on Locked Twitter Accounts
The “suggested follow” function on Twitter has revealed many celebrity burner accounts. The trick goes like this:
- Follow a locked account you suspect to be a celebrity burner account (or anyone you want to learn more about)
- Wait for the “you may also like to follow” or “suggested” box to pop up
- See if you can identify any trends and clues from the people in the box
If you follow a suspected celebrity burner account, for example, and you get recommendations to follow that celebrity’s family’s public Twitter accounts, then it’s possible you stumbled upon a genuine burner account.
Slate used this strategy to identify Mitt Romney’s “Pierre Delecto” burner account. The account followed a bunch of political commentators – and also a suspicious number of Romney’s family members.
The “suggested follow” tip works best for locked or private accounts accounts, because with locked accounts, you can’t see who they follow or what they have tweeted. With unlocked Twitter accounts, you can simply check their followers and tweets for clues.
Run a Public Records Search
Public records are called public records for a reason: they’re accessible to the public. The specific items that are part of the public record vary between jurisdictions. Some of the items that could appear on a public records search include:
- Previous addresses
- Current addresses
- Birth and death certificates
- Marriage and divorce certificates
- Voting records
- And more
Much of this information is accessible to ordinary people like you and me. Visit a website like Check Criminal Record to quickly run a public records search on someone.
Check a Criminal Record
Criminal acts are part of the public record. Generally, you should have no issue looking up someone’s criminal record for free. Some of the things that can appear on a public records search include:
Arrest records (even if the individual wasn’t charged)
Other criminal background history information
It’s common for people to run a criminal records search on the people around them. Are you suspicious about a neighbor? Worried about a teacher at school? Curious about a coworker? Whatever the reason may be, it’s generally legal to look up someone’s criminal record without their permission.
However, it may be illegal to run a background check on someone without their permission if you’re making important decisions about that person’s future – say, if you’re accepting or denying them as a tenant, or if you’re hiring that person. You can still check the person’s criminal record – but you need permission.
Again, we recommend using Check Criminal Record for fast, easy, and accurate criminal records searches anywhere in the United States. Just enter a first name, last name, and state to get started.
The internet is a scary place. With a few basic, free sleuthing strategies, you can easily uncover extensive information about virtually anyone.