Maybe you've spent the morning online arguing with someone who seems off somehow. You could be interacting with someone on an online dating site who seems too good to be true. If all you have is a username, it can be tough to investigate someone, but there are searches you can do that can track down the person behind the online profile.
How to Find Real Names
One thing that makes tracking down the name behind a username easier is the fact that many people use one name across all sites. So "HappyBunny2000" can probably be found on sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Reddit. If you can find one username, you may be able to pull up memberships on multiple sites and gather more identifying information.
But you don't have to do too much investigating to find a username in some cases. Instead of a Snapchat username reverse lookup, for instance, you can just go to the person's profile and see if the full name shows up as Display Name. Some users on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat choose to lock that down for privacy reasons, but it's a great first place to check.
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It's important, though, to know that tracking down information on someone for nefarious purposes could get you into legal hot water. This should be used to keep yourself safe, not to go after someone.
Ask for Information
Instead of going through an Instagram or Snapchat username reverse lookup, it's much easier to simply ask the person for their name. This obviously won't work if the person is being confrontational or presenting as a troll online. But if you want to know more about a person you're having a friendly conversation with, it can't hurt to ask for a name.
In some cases, though, people want to do a username search for dating sites. You may be communicating with someone you're thinking about meeting or simply want to verify someone's identity before moving forward in conversation. It is absolutely okay to ask a person's full name and general location in this case. Someone who refuses to give this information may be deliberately hiding something.
Conduct a Reverse Username Search
Whether you're conducting username searches on dating sites, social media platforms or forums, the first place to start is Google. Simply enter the username and start digging. If you don't get the results you need on Google, try an alternative search engine like Bing.
Often the key to your reverse username search is in the username itself. Some people use a variation of their first and/or last names on various platforms. You can try to guess at the person's name using clues from the username and sometimes get results, especially if you have a general idea of where they live.
Third-Party Username Search Tools
There are plenty of tools available to help you conduct a reverse username search, and many of them are free. SocialCatfish.com will pull up profiles on multiple sites, including photos to help you identify which ones may belong to the person you're looking up. To get details, though, you'll need to pay.
If you're trying to conduct a username search for dating sites, though, it can help if you've been communicating with the person outside the platform. Typically, online daters will switch to email or offer a phone number for texting. You'll probably have better results with a reverse search on someone's phone number or email address than you would with just a username.
Detecting Fake Accounts
Sometimes your Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat username reverse lookup will reach a dead-end for a reason. Some people set up fake profiles to be able to post freely on various sites. If the profile is on a social media platform, it can even be used to entice people to give away sensitive data like banking account information.
There are several telltale signs that a profile may be fake. Look at the person's profile and pay attention to the legitimacy of followers, the types of comments being posted and the types of photos. A fake profile is also less likely to have a deep history filled with a large number of photos.