The best way to find people is typically by using an online search. From people searches to email searches to social networking sites, nearly everyone has a form of contact accessible online. If you know how and where to access these features, you will be able to find the person you're looking for in a matter of minutes.
Phone Number & Address Search
DexKnows.com, WhitePages.com and ZabaSearch.com are three of the best ways to find people. Simply type in the person's last name, and optionally, first name. You can also add city, state and zip code if you know this information, and check off "include surrounding areas" if you know the general area in which the person lives. White Pages also allows you to do an advanced search, by including only the first few letters of a last name (and optional first name). This is a great option when you are not sure how to spell a person's name. All three services are free to use, and do not require a membership.
Nearly everyone has an email address and uses it as a primary form of communication with friends and family. Spokeo, for example, offers a reverse email search feature that is very accurate and totally free to use. Visit Spokeo's website and enter an email address into the search bar at the top, and the site might be able to generate a name, along with other contact information. PeopleSmart also offers a reverse email lookup, as well as a search function for phone numbers and addresses.
Social Networking Sites
Millions of people use online networking sites such as Facebook (for social networking) and LinkedIn (for networking that's on the professional side). The odds are in your favor that the person you are trying to find most likely has an account with at least one of these sites. Both offer search features, in which you can type the name of the person for whom you're looking (even maiden names for women who have since been married), and a list of matching results will be displayed on your screen in seconds. You can contact the person directly through Facebook Messenger or by connecting with them on LinkedIn, but you will need to be a member (both sites are free to join).
Ask Old Friends or Relatives
Contacting old friends and relatives are a great way to find people. If you are not able to find the person you are looking for through any of the above mentioned options, try to search for old friends or relatives of the person. Many times they will be more than happy to put you in contact with the person you are looking for.
Hire a Private Eye
Hiring a private eye can be costly, but it can be a great option to consider when nothing else seems to work. Private eyes have access to more databases than the common person, and also have connections to some courthouses and other government facilities that the average person can not obtain. If none of the free or low-cost options work, ask your local private investigator what the charge would be to find a person.
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Mel Frank is a professional freelance writer with over 15 years of writing experience. She has completed a wide variety of writing assignments for a number of publications that include CNN and various websites. Frank received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a prestigious university in Pennsylvania.