Maybe you've lost touch with someone and no longer have his address, or perhaps you'd like to find an old friend's current address but all you have is a disconnected phone number. Because, for security reasons, so many people block the release of their personal information, locating an address can be difficult. However, there are techniques and services that provide free look-ups for people's contact information. You can also hire a private investigator who's skilled at locating people's current addresses.
Look up the address online. Various online services provide listings of public information, including addresses. For example, look up the person in Google's phonebook service. Go to Google, type "phonebook: FirstName Last Name" and add a city name if known, for example, "Sally Smith City", and press the "Google Search" button. Be sure to include a space between "phonebook:" and "FirstName." Or look up the person's address in Whitepages. Simply go to Whitepages, fill out the required fields under "Find People" and press the "Find" button.
Go to a public records database like Peoplefinders.com or Intelius.com. These websites capture public information from multiple online sources and aggregate it into a single database. Input the person's name, city and state. If the person is listed, you'll typically receive information including current and past addresses, phone numbers and more.
Contact a relative. This technique works best if a person has an unusual last name. Call directory assistance on 411, request listings for that surname in a particular city and call those people. Ask if they are relatives of the person you're seeking. If so, introduce yourself, explain why you're looking for that person's address and ask if they would be comfortable providing it? Because people may be reluctant to release others' personal information, ask if the relative might instead forward your phone number to the person. If and when that person calls, request his address.
Hire a private investigator as a last resort if getting an address is really important. Most investigators have the skills and resources to find people and their current addresses. Contact your state's professional private investigator association and request an investigator to help you locate a person.
Take care not to violate the person's privacy. Whatever method you use to find someone's address, do not be tempted to show up unannounced on his or her doorstep. There's a risk that the other person does not want you to find them, and they may feel vulnerable. Try mailing a letter to their address instead.
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In 1997 Harlequin published Colleen Collins' first novel, followed by many more by Harlequin and Dorchester. Her articles and writing have appeared in "P.I. Magazine," "Pursuit Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan." She earned a B.A. in theater arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America.