How to Find Anyone Online

By Donna Porter

Can you really find anyone online? Almost. With the advent of social networking and dedicated sites that scour these and other places with the purpose of mining personal information, privacy has become quite scant on the Net. If you know or can guess someone's email or user name there is a good chance you can find out much about that person's online activities. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe their personal information is private. With these tips not only can you find anyone online but also learn how to better protect your identity by identifying how and what information is made public.

Things You'll Need

  • Research time
  • Free people search websites
  • New email account

Step 1

Sign up for a new email account that is unrelated to any internet activity. Optimally, obtain a temporary email address that expires in several hours.This enables you to register for websites deemed to help you find anyone online, without compromising your own identity.These sites help you find anyone online, in part, by the registrations they receive.

Step 2

Write down what you know about the person of interest to include their email address, potential nicknames, activities, work, hobbies and location. Guessing sometimes works as well, especially with emails and nicknames. Learn more in the related eHow article, "How to Investigate People Online."

Step 3

Start with the ZabaSearch website. Here you can find anyone online with an identical or similar name, their age, address and phone number. You may also find relatives and associated names of the person by freely previewing their paid-for people finder service.

Step 4

Visit the Reunion website if ZabaSearch doesn't provide results. Again, be wary of the information you provide upon registration.

Step 5

Find anyone online who employs major social networking sites, from Facebook to Digg to Flickr and several others. Try one or more of the following websites: Spokeo, Wink or PiPl. activity is also searched and may even reveal a real name, when only a pseudonym is known. This happens if the account holder mistakenly or purposely leaves their account information such as their "wish list" public. PiPl may also reveal real names of MySpace account holders.

Step 6

Narrow your search results at Google to learn more about your person of interest If you suspect activity at a particular site, try adding the site search parameter: Example: site: "My Friend's Name/Nickname" + "Location" + "hobby" -- filling out the fields with your own data. While you may need to tweak the information, it is a useful way to find anyone online when too many false positives turn up in the search engines.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that these are legal, free and approved ways to find someone online. Consider how much more a professional or hacker can find out about anyone online.
  • Never assume your email or sign-up information is safe at a website. Research the website, ready privacy policies and never mix personal emails with business or financial accounts.