People searches are becoming popular as technology now allows courts and creditors to easily track down delinquent individuals who owe them money. This usually starts with uncovering where someone works. Finding out where someone works is relatively simple; however, there is a chance that you may end up on a wild goose chase of sorts if you don’t know where to start looking and what basic information you need to begin.
Know the person’s full name. This will help narrow the search and eliminate as many people as possible with different middle names or suffixes such as Jr., Sr., II or III.
Find out where the person lives. Some online people search engines will produce information about people with similar names from different cities and states. This requires additional searches among a group of names that are not that of the person you want information about. To avoid extra work, find out the state in which the person lives. His exact address will also greatly help eliminate extra steps.
Know the person’s Social Security number. Social Security numbers are also attached to her tax information. If you don’t have a SSN, at least know the person’s full name. A person's Social Security number can be found on old tax information, old checks and bank and similar personal forms.
Gather additional vital information. This includes date of birth, phone numbers, names of former employers, and the names and contact information of his parents and siblings. This information will be very helpful, especially in the early stages of your search.
Start the process yourself. Call the phone numbers you have, starting with those that could belong to the person you need information on. Call her siblings—anyone that may know where she might work. You can call former employers; however, they may be required to withhold new employment information. If you have a court order, however, you may be successful in getting them to help you. If you have an attorney, he can also assist with specialized court, tax and other searches.
Do a basic online search. Start with search engines like Google. Type as much information as you know, such as "Mike Smith, Boulder, Colorado." The person's employer may also have a website that lists its staff. Certain companies such as LinkedIn, often contain updated employment information about people without them even knowing it's online. Basic Google searches often produce this information immediately. Yahoo! also offers a free people search that often will provide updated employment information (see Resources).
Pay for an online people search. If you can’t find a person’s employer on your own, there are hundreds of online companies that specialize in finding detailed information about people. Almost all of them charge a fee. Keep in mind, however, that many of them only produce information that often can be easily-obtained through public record searches and online surfing. Only use reputable firms that offer comprehensive searches that go beyond information contained in public records (see Resources).
Always be honest with people you are tying to get information from. Hire an attorney if you have to. Lawyers sometimes have access to search methods not available to the public, including obtaining court orders that require previous employers and government agencies such as the IRS to divulge information.
Never pay an online search company unless you’ve exhausted all possibilities yourself. Only do business with reputable search companies. Stay away from ones that seem to over-promise. These are the firms that charge for simple information anyone can obtain through basic Internet and public records searches.