The internet is a great tool for connecting with friends, classmates and relatives you've lost touch with, and also for searching and applying for job openings. Some categories of personal information available are: public records, blog posts or social media posts, or information from newspaper articles, wedding announcements, or obituaries. If for some reason you are unwilling or unable to use the internet to do your research, it is possible to hire a private detective, especially if you are looking for a missing person, trying to confirm someone's identity or finding evidence that can be used in court. However, you must respect an individual's privacy by always being cautious when discovering information that could be harmful to you or others.
Method 1 of 4: Searching for people using the internet
Step 1. Do a general search
Search tools like Google or Bing are great options to search for anything you want for free. Do a simple search including the person's name and the city and/or state they lived in or where you last saw them.
- Don't overdo the search terms. Put quotation marks around the name you are searching for. With that, the tool will only search pages that contain that same name.
- First, try to gather as much information as you can. Bookmark or save a list of sites you intend to read but are paid.
Step 2. Find people using a specific site for this type of search like Webmii
You can search based on the person's address or phone number. If you want, there is also the possibility to pay a fee or something similar to use people search sites. This option is usually much more complete than free sites.
- Some useful information that is good to have on hand when searching is: full name, current or previous city/state of residence.
- On Catta, for example, you can create an account to do 20 free searches if you are a legal entity.
Step 3. Access historical files or census data
This is a good option if you are looking for living or deceased relatives. On the IBGE website you can find old data from the census of states and municipalities.
- Most census records are grouped by state. Therefore, it is important to know the state in which the person was born, died or still lives.
- Searching sites with collections of historical documents of the city can also help a lot. And if you want to look for documents that haven't been digitized, visit your state's national library.
Method 2 of 4: Finding People Through Social Media
Step 1. Understand how social networking can be your ally
According to a survey by We Are Social, in partnership with Hootsuite, from 2019, more than 60% of Brazilians are active on social networks. The first five most used social networks were: Facebook, YouTube, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram.
- Most social networks allow a search of their content to find users or identify users who have ties to companies, institutions or live in certain regions.
- The information on social networks is not always accurate, after all, it is the user who edits them. The creation of fake accounts or spam on these platforms is growing more and more, which can confuse you. Maybe you're trying to connect with someone you really know or a fake.
Step 2. Find people on Facebook
People often use social networks like Facebook to connect with friends and family. Enter the person's name and some other information (city of residence, place of work, school) in the search bar.
Step 3. Look for someone on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the biggest platforms to connect with other professionals. It's a great tool for finding information about a person's professional background or interests. From the LinkedIn home page, click on the search bar and enter the full name of the person you are looking for.
Step 4. Use social media to find people from other countries
Although Facebook has the most users in the world, it is not the most popular social network in every country. There are other very famous platforms in other places. In China, for example, QZone and Sina Weibo are widely used. In Russia and some places that used to be part of the Soviet Union, they use VKontakte and Odnoklassniki a lot.
However, these sites are not always in English
Method 3 of 4: Accessing Public Records Online
Step 1. Locate the state or county in the online public records repositories
Public records are created and maintained by government agencies. The definition of this term may vary from country to country, but they must be made available to citizens if they make a formal request.
Look for a database of this type of document in your state. Enter your state and "public records" into the search tool of your choice. Then look for specific information such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, etc. on the appropriate pages for your region
Step 2. Access civil records at specialized agencies
The National Archives and the Genealogical Society Family Search make these types of documents available online. Enter each one's specific page to look for what you want.
Step 3. Search the military records
Your respective state's Archive provides military or medical records. In this collection it is possible to find information about the Army's actions throughout the country's history.
Military records can be accessed during the Archive's opening hours and in accordance with the Access to Information Act
Step 4. Search for civil and criminal records online
Criminal and civil proceedings can also be accessed. Just find out who has competent jurisdiction to handle each case. Civil lawsuits concern acts of negligence or dispute between organizations or individuals. Criminal cases are those in which privacy and security rights are violated.
- Search the case by accessing the court responsible for the case. The courts of your state or the Superior Court have a procedural consultation. But, if the processes are processed in secrecy of justice, they can only be accessed by the parties involved and the lawyer. Some data such as venue and case number are required to access the document.
- Through the National Registry of Prisoners it is possible to find information about arrest warrants. But to be able to use this tool, you need to login. It is possible to know who is in prison, the place where the person is and what the conditions of the facility are.
Method 4 of 4: Hiring a Private Investigator
Step 1. Hire a private detective
These professionals can help you find and analyze legal, personal and financial information. Some of the services they offer are: background checks, suspected marital infidelity, conducting employee screening, verifying a person's identity, finding missing persons, and recovering stolen property. To work in the field, it is recommended to take specific courses in which the student will learn the basics of law, persecution techniques, etc. It is necessary for the student to send proof of the Criminal None and be of legal age.
Step 2. Choose a licensed professional
Be careful when hiring a detective. Search the internet for investigative agencies in your region. If it's your first time doing this, research carefully so you don't go out and hire just anyone. Check if the chosen agency has a good reputation.
- Compare prices and services offered by companies.
- Interview a private detective. Ask him to show you a document proving that he took a course and his professional identification card. Write down your name and any other information you think is relevant.
- Check the professional's suitability in specialized agencies.
Step 3. Sign a contract
Once you've chosen your detective, make sure you sign a contract including the service that will be offered, a list of mandatory fees and payments, and the length of time the service will be offered. The contract must also stipulate the evidence (notes, recordings, etc.) that the client will have access to during the investigation. The detective also needs to prepare a final case report including the results of the investigation and the amount and time spent on individual elements of the case (Espionage, additional investigators, special equipment, time spent on the lookout, etc).
- Read the contract carefully and ask what you still don't understand.
- Set a deadline for completion of the work.
- Demand a detailed estimate of the services offered as part of the contract and ask the company to send you an invoice and proof.
- Have a contract bill, invoice and vouchers stored in a folder.
- Many people search sites are paid. Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of spending your money on it. If you are paying for multiple sites at the same time, the cost can be quite high.
- Copy the information into a file on your computer or write in a notebook to get better organized. It may sound silly, but this will make your searches much easier.
- To view or search for content on social media, you may need to create an account on each of them. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are free. Just make an account and edit your profile and privacy settings however you like.
- Research public records access policies in your city or state. How documents are stored or distributed varies by agency or department.
- Knowing basic information such as the state or municipality where the person was born, lived or died helps a lot.
- You can even know the individual's year of birth to search. However, try to find what you are looking for without this type of data.
- Keep in mind that the information found may not be positive for you or others.
- Report detectives who violate your written contract.
- Some people are much easier to find on the internet than others. This may be because they may use a common name, or change their name and use a pseudonym, use an unlisted or unpublished phone number, or they may simply have died.
- Beware of fake IDs. Many people create pseudonyms on social media because they don't want to use their real name. Search engines and social media cannot be as accurate as public records.