How to Find a Person by Name: 8 Methods

In today’s digital age, it’s not uncommon to easily lose touch with friends, coworkers, or acquaintances—and later find the need to reconnect for personal or professional reasons.

Whether you’re trying to track down an old classmate, a distant relative, or a potential business contact, knowing how to find a person by name can be a valuable skill. With the rise of different search engines, social media platforms, and people searching websites, locating someone has become easier than ever.

Yet, with the vastness of the internet and the number of options available, it’s essential to utilize the best resources to obtain accurate and relevant information.
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Find a Person by Name

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Key Takeaways:
  • Sharing personal information online is often a requirement of social media sites, retail sites, and applications.
  • Search engines, websites like Facebook or Instagram, and LinkedIn are all straightforward resources that can help to find a person online using their name.
  • Dedicated search engines for locating people also exist, and include Intelius, Spokeo, and Social Catfish. These websites utilize advanced search features that collect data from public online databases. Ultimately, this extensive data collection helps increase the odds of finding someone by name.

Method 1: How to Find a Person by Name with People Search Sites

People search sites have become increasingly popular because they offer specialized tools designed to scour the internet for personal details. They are key in helping you discover someone’s contact information, background information, and much more.

Using search engines sounds natural, but if you want more accurate results, people search websites are better. If you want to increase the chance of finding someone, these are the correct resources.

1) Spokeo

In the vast world of people’s search engines, Spokeo stands tall as a reliable and comprehensive resource for those looking to find a person by name. Unlike traditional phone books, Spokeo gathers data from various online search engines. It also collects data from social networks and public records.

#1 Top Pick

Name Search: Yes

Reverse Phone Lookup: Yes

Reverse Address Lookup: Yes

Free Trial: Basic Search Results are Free

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  • Advanced Search Features: Spokeo allows users to find a person using not just their name, but also other identifiers such as email, phone number, or physical address.
  • Social Media Presence: Spokeo links to a person’s social media accounts, giving you a broader perspective of their online footprint. This is especially useful if you’re trying to check mutual friends or gauge someone’s activities on social networking sites.
  • Public Records Search: Spokeo extends its search into database criminal records and government documentation associated with the individual.
  • Location Information: Using Spokeo, one can pinpoint a person’s address and clearly understand their whereabouts. This is especially beneficial if you’re trying to send a letter or plan a surprise.
  • Phone Directory: If you want to contact the person directly, Spokeo’s extensive phone directory can come in handy, showcasing mobile phone numbers and landline contacts.

Spokeo’s interface is designed for user ease, highlighting the most relevant information at the forefront. For those concerned about personal safety, Spokeo offers a feature that can scan and alert suspicious callers or contacts, ensuring peace of mind while connecting.

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Basic Search Results are Free

2) Social Catfish

Navigating the digital world requires resources adept at extracting personal details from the web’s vastness. Social Catfish is a specialized search engine designed to find a person by name and validate online identities.

Social Catfish

Name Search: Yes

Reverse Phone Lookup: Yes

Reverse Address Lookup: Yes

Free Trial: $5.73 for 3-Day Trial

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  • Image Search Option: Ever wondered if the profile picture of an account is the actual person? This feature lets users upload an image to trace its origin.
  • Advanced Search Options: With its diverse search terms, you can probe the internet using not just names but also emails, phone numbers, and user aliases.
  • Discover Personal Details: Social Catfish digs deep from a person’s phone number to their website, presenting personal details. You can use this to check mutual friends or verify a person’s address.
  • Social Media Groups & Associations: The platform links to social media groups the person may be associated with, helping you understand their affiliations or interests.
  • News Articles: If the person has been mentioned in any news articles, Social Catfish can lead you to those sources, providing a deeper insight into their public persona.

Moreover, Social Catfish’s blog section educates users on the importance of online safety and how to avoid scams or deceitful individuals. This knowledge is key in searching for a person by name and also for navigating the digital realm securely.

Spokeo and Social Catfish are potent tools for finding someone online. However, it’s important to ensure you’re not infringing on private information online. Since such activity could result in violating legal regulations.

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$5.73 for 3-Day Trial

3) Intelius

Reliable Method

Intelius stands out as one of the premier people search websites available today. Beyond the basic search bar, the site boasts advanced search options tailored to help users find a person by name. It delves deep, pulling data from various search engines, social networking sites, public records, and government websites.


Name Search: Yes

Reverse Phone Lookup: Yes

Reverse Address Lookup: Yes

Pricing: 5-day trial at $0.95

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  • Person Report: This provides a comprehensive overview of an individual, including their physical address, phone number, and even criminal records.
  • Advanced Search Features: Enables users to narrow their search results with options like location information and age.
  • Contact Details Pages: Helpful for those trying to discover someone’s contact information, such as a person’s phone number or email.
  • Image Search Option: You can use this feature to find details and match the individual’s photo to social media accounts or a personal website.

Remember, while Intelius and people search websites offer a wealth of information, it’s crucial to approach the process responsibly and with respect. All private information online should be handled carefully.

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5-Day Trial at $0.95

Method 2: Using a Search Engine to Find Someone by Name

Finding a person by name using search engines can be the quickest and most straightforward method. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1) Initiate the search by choosing your preferred search engine (Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc.)

Step 2) To narrow down the search results, type the person’s full name in quotation marks. For instance, “John Doe”. This ensures the search engine results page (SERP) shows results with that exact name.

Step 3) If the person has a common name, add more information like their location, workplace, or any other known detail. E.g., “John Doe” + “New York” + “Graphic Designer”.

Using a Search Engine to Find Someone by Name

Step 4) Most search engines have advanced search features where you can filter results by time, location, or type of content. This can be helpful to refine your search.

Step 5) From the results page, click on relevant websites with more details about the person, such as LinkedIn profiles, personal websites, or news articles.

Step 6) Some search engines allow you to perform an image search. If you have a photo of the person, it can be used to find related content or their social media presence.

It’s essential to consider alternative spellings or common misspellings of the person’s name, as search engine algorithms might rank these lower. Also, regularly clearing your search history can give you fresh, unbiased results in your pursuit.

Remember, not everyone will have a significant online presence. It might be time to explore other methods using a search engine if you are still looking for them.

Method 3: Using Social Media to Find Someone by Name

Social media platforms are a goldmine of information. Here’s how you can utilize them:

Step 1) Choose your platform of choice. Popular social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter are better.

Step 2) Type the person’s name in the search bar. Add a location or known mutual connections if it’s a common name. Platforms like LinkedIn’s advanced search features allow users to filter by location, workplace, school, and other criteria.

Step 3) Once you’ve found a potential profile, check mutual friends or connections to confirm it’s the person you’re searching for. Some people may be in specific groups, alumni networks, or communities. Joining these can provide a closer look at member lists.

Step 4) On platforms like Instagram or Facebook, look for photos where friends or family might have tagged the person.

Step 5) Once you’ve identified the person, it’s a good practice to send a courteous message introducing yourself and stating your intent.

Always remember to respect privacy. Not everyone may appreciate being contacted, especially if there isn’t a strong reason or mutual acquaintance.

Method 4: Use LinkedIn to Find a Person by Name

LinkedIn is a potent platform to locate professionals from all over the world. Here’s how you can use LinkedIn to search for a person:

  • Use the Search Bar: Input the person’s name into LinkedIn’s search bar. If you know any additional details, such as the company they work for or their location, add that to narrow down the results.
  • Check for Variations: Names can be spelled differently or might have nicknames. For instance, “Robert” might also be listed as “Bob” or “Robbie”. Be sure to try multiple variations to cover all potential matches.
  • Use the Advanced Search Options: LinkedIn’s advanced search features allow for a more targeted approach. You can filter results based on location, current company, past company, industry, and even by school. This can be immensely helpful if you’re trying to locate someone within a specific sector or region.

Use LinkedIn to Find a Person by Name

  • Check Mutual Connections: Viewing mutual connections can be an excellent way to confirm you’ve found the right person. These mutual connections might be colleagues, classmates, or mutual acquaintances.
  • Join Groups: Many professionals are part of LinkedIn groups based on their industry, alma mater, or interests. If you know their professional background or interests, joining related groups might reveal member lists or posts they’ve interacted with.
  • Check for Public Profile: Some users have their profiles set to public, meaning they can be viewed even without a LinkedIn account. You might find these profiles through a regular search engine results page.

Always approach with respect and professionalism when reaching out to someone on LinkedIn.

Method 5: Use a Phone Directory

Before the advent of the internet, phone directories were the go-to method for finding a person. Even in the digital age, they can be a great resource.

Use a Phone Directory

Review a local phone directory if you know the person’s last known location or mailing address. Larger directories or national ones can be used for a wider, broad search. Traditional phone books are organized by the last name. Go through the listings until you find the person’s name. Remember, they might be listed under a middle name or initial.

A better option for those with the internet is to search websites that double as online phone directories. These can provide a person’s address, phone number, and sometimes even their email.

While phone directories might seem old-fashioned, they remain effective, especially when other digital methods don’t yield results.

Method 6: Search Public Records

Public records are a treasure trove of information. Government websites and local institutions maintain these background records, including marriage, birth, death, criminal records, and property ownership.

Many governmental agencies or institutions offer online databases where you can search for various public records using only a name.

However, if you know the person’s last known location or mailing address, visiting a local courthouse can provide you access to records not available online. If you have a legitimate reason, you can access a person’s criminal records through government portals or local police departments.

With online public records, you can now search websites that specialize in curation by pulling them into a single database. A fee is usually associated with accessing this information.

Method 7: Post a Missed Connection Advertisement

“Missed Connections” are personal advertisements where anyone can post an ad. These ads help in looking for someone they may have briefly met or lost touch with. Craigslist is one of the websites with this functionality.

While traditional newspapers might seem a little more archaic, they often have a “Missed Connections” section. Write a brief description of the person and how you know them, requesting them or someone who knows them to contact them.

Social media is also a great resource for posting an advertisement. Posting on social media groups through Facebook can be effective. Especially, if you think the person might have some friends or family members on there.

Always ensure your posts are respectful and not intrusive. Remember to be vague with personal details to protect privacy.

Method 8: Hire a Private Investigator

If all other methods fail and the search for a person is crucial, consider hiring a professional. Private investigators (PI) may be able to reliably track down someone even if the person doesn’t have an online social media presence.

Hire a Private Investigator

You need to ensure you only hire reputable, peer-reviewed private investigators. There are many people scamming the internet as fake PIs. When you choose a private investigator, check for reviews or a kind of license.

The more information you are able to provide to the investigator, beyond a name, the higher the chances of success. This includes last known addresses, place of employment, mutual connections, and any other relevant details.

While hiring a PI can be expensive, it might be worth it depending on the nature of the investigation. Ensure you’re aware of all fees upfront.

Remember, hiring a private investigator should be a last resort. Only reserve this for situations where it’s essential to locate someone and all other methods have failed. Ensure the PI adheres to all laws, especially concerning private information online and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


If you’re wondering how to find a person by name, the internet is your greatest resource. While technology has made it much easier to find someone, it’s important to respect boundaries when it comes to personal privacy. With a little persistence, reconnecting is just a couple of clicks away.

Top Pick

In the vast world of people’s search engines, Spokeo stands tall as a reliable and comprehensive resource for those looking to find a person by name. Spokeo allows users to find a person using not just their name, but also other identifiers such as email, phone number, or physical address.

Visit Spokeo