Saturday, February 12, 2011

Finding People

The multitudes of websites that can, for a fee, find public records on people can be a great tool for those who are trying to find lost family members or want to find out if Suzie's new boyfriend is a criminal or not. They can be quite useful. But for the unscrupulous who access such websites, it can be a pretty scary thought.

When people had to actually burn some shoe leather to physically go get a public record, they were probably less likely to go do it, but it is so easy now and many times it's just a couple bucks to get all kinds of information from the comfort of your own home.

I was already aware of some of these sites I've listed, but the amount of these sites that some less than honorable person can use to find you to do you harm is just astounding. Some of the sites have an "opt out" or "blocking" option, but many do not. Here's just a few:

Search Government Records
Will search for spouse details, criminal history, military history, business records, immigration records, and other records for $59.95 for a lifetime access and $39.95 for 1 year access.

USA People Search
Has a people search as well a reverse phone lookup, background check and criminal record check. It will also give the names of other people attached to the subject you're looking for. For a one time $1.95 you can get names, phones, addresses, birthdays, aliases, and relatives. For a 30 day access of $39.95, you can get people, property, marriage, divorce, death and unclaimed money searches. To get criminal records or business records, that will cost you $10 more each.
Their privacy policy doesn't offer any type of "opt out" or "blocking" option.

Lookup Anyone
Public records, reverse phone, background, cell phone ID, property report, email lookup, death records, and business search. Also provides relative/associate information attached to your records. It costs $1.95 for basic information (name, age, income, address history, phone), $19.95 for unlimited searches for 24 hours for basic information, and for $39.95 you can also get a background check, civil and criminal, property liens, aliases, neighbors, marriage, divorce, death, bankruptcy, lawsuits and judgement information. I didn't see any "opt out" or "blocking" option.

Detective Magic
For a special price of just $6.99 a month, if you continue use after the first month, you will gain access to email address, phone number (including unlisted numbers), hidden assets, FBI record, driving and police records, background checks, addresses, credit reports, track online activity, learn how to make untraceable calls and emails, obtain alimony and child support records, maps birth and death certificates and much more. I didn't see any "opt out" or "blocking" option.

I like zabasearch and I've used it in looking for possible relatives still living, in my genealogy research. It does have a "blocking" option, you have to mail them a copy of your Government issued ID with your name, dob, and address on it and they will block that information, however, if your public record is not expressly written as what is on the ID card, then it won't get blocked.
The basic search at Zabasearch will give you name, month and year of birth, relatives, a map to the address. I think the address history goes back up to 40 years. It will then direct you to Intellius will then allow you to buy the background information, sex offender check, neighbors, home info, criminal checks, small claims and judgements, etc all for $49.95. You can also do a search by SSN and a reverse phone search.

A part of LexisNexis, which has you agree to not use their information for the purpose of employment, credit or insurance, will, for a fee give me bankruptcies, judgments, lawsuits, liens, FEIN, corporate records, and business address and phone information. Their pricing list is too extensive to list here, but it's pretty spendy. Their list of databases is also extensive. There is no "opt out" or "blocking" option.

PC World Article
This article provides 5 additional good places, according to it, to find people and their public, but potentially sensitive, information. It includes, PeopleFinders, FriendFeed (which searches 40 social networking sites for your subject), Spock (looks for school, work, and social affiliations and photos) and, of course, the ever popular

All People Information on Demand
When you register for free, you can get photos, phone numbers, city, age and associate/relatives. I didn't get to the cost part of this site, but to send an email to your subject, find them on social networks and run a background check it takes you to another part of their site. There is also an "affiliates" link, which if you are not familiar with the concept, it means that any Joe Blow can operate a site that links back to this Background Report 360 and for each "sale" you make through your site for people to run backgrounds, you earn 75% commission. They offer no "opt out", because, like the others, they don't own the information they provide you, it is owned by 3rd parties. Also, like many of the others, when you visit their website, they may collect non-personal information on your computer's IP address, browser type, web site that referred you and your search criterion which they may share with the 3rd parties.

This site lets you search by name, username, interests, work, school and more. If they have a picture located, you get that too. When you run a name, you get city and state matches, facebook matches, myspace matches, public record and background checks (5 days unlimited access), phonebook, email addresses, wikipedia, LinkedIn, Photo Albums, Twitter, Documents on line, web results and Images if found. I clicked on their privacy policy and found a link for "Protecting your Privacy". It is run by They have a monthly, annual and 2 year program ($9.95, $7.95 and $4.95 per month respectively) that will remove your name, address, age, phone number, past addresses and other personally identifiable information from the web; continually monitors the Internet and requests the removal of personal information whenever it becomes visible; blocks unwanted paper mail from your home postal mailbox; creates a "do not track" list for you on over 100 online networks; and provides 24 hour help.

There are also some nifty websites that can school you on how to search properly and get the results you want to find. One such is The Spider's Apprentice. Another is Find Free People Friends. The LawFirm provides you some links to 5 free people searches and gives a few helpful hints, including when to hire a professional (go figure, eh? LOL)

Okay, that's about it. These examples barely touch the surface of what can be found on you. Those social networks are a treasure trove of information, be careful what you put in your profile. If you are a celebrity or other high profile person that gets interviewed frequently and that sort of thing, your all over the Internet anyhow. These things are nice for people who you may have lost touch with and would want to see again, but, as I said before, they are great tools for people who may want to do you harm also.... and they don't have to do much at all to get your information.

Take care!

No comments: