How to Find Free Information on a Person

By Carlye Jones

  • Overview

    There are plenty of sites where you can pay to get the goods on someone. But the information they give out can be obtained for free. It just takes a little know-how. Here's how to find free scoop on an individual.
    Getting information for free takes work, but it can be done.
    • Step 1

      List all the information you already have on the person you want to search. Creating a list of what you have gives you a good starting point for finding out what you don't have. Include details that might seem mundane, such as the person's favorite screen name or hobby, because they might help you in your search if you get stuck. Especially helpful information includes last known addresses, last known companies or jobs, schools attended and names of close family members.
    • Step 2

      Use the major search engines. Using the information you gathered in Step 1, search for the person on sites like Google and Yahoo! But don't just run a search of their name. Try many different combinations of their name and other information. For example, if you search "John Doe" you'll come up with more information than you can sift through, but if you search something like "John Doe, Los Angeles, photographer" you might find what you're looking for. Be sure and try searches with and without a middle name (if you know it) and with and without quotation marks around the name. Also, search the "News" and "Blog" tabs as well. Blog searches are a great way to get information about someone. Searching by known screen names or "handles" and email addresses can also yield results.

    • Step 3

      Narrow your search. Using the information you found from the major search engines, follow up on some of the leads. For example, if you found that the person you are looking for was listed on a police report in Hope City, find out what county Hope City is in and go to the county court's website. Look for public records online or call the court to see what information you can get. Don't forget to check local newspaper websites in cities where the person might have lived. Not all of the information on newspaper sites comes up in a general search.
    • Step 4

      Call friends, family and coworkers. If it is not a secret that you are searching, call people that you both may know. Sometimes simply asking for information gets great results, depending on what you're trying to find out. Even if they don't have the information you're looking for, they may know something that will set you on the right track to find what you want.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy

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