In the digital age, finding individuals based on their name and surname has become increasingly accessible through various Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) methods. The article covers techniques, such as search engines, social media platforms, people search engines, public records, and database leaks, to uncover valuable information about individuals using their real names.
When it comes to finding someone on social media and other online networks, you can use their first name and other characteristics. If you have mutual friends but only know your target’s first name, try searching on Facebook. Narrow down your search using filters like their university, location, or workplace. Similar search options are available on other social networking sites, particularly LinkedIn. Some services also allow you to search by uploading phone or email contacts. By using these tools, you can increase your chances of finding the person you are looking for by narrowing down the search results.
To find family members, try searching for people who have the same surname in their likes and comments.
People Search Websites
The implementation of GDPR in mid 2018 had a significant impact when searching individuals within the European Union. Many websites that previously stored personal data were required to remove it, making information like email addresses and phone numbers no longer searchable. However, outside the EU, people search websites continue to be a valuable source of intelligence. In America, some efficient options include PeekYou, BeenVerified, PeopleLooker, TruthFinder, Thatsthem, or Intelius.
Truepeoplesearch is one of the best free people search engines, but it is blocked in certain countries. The most popular people search platforms require a paid subscription, and not every service provides all types of information, such as someone's address or social footprint. Therefore, it is important to determine the specific information you need before choosing a service, which will ultimately save you time in the long run.
Government agencies and public institutions maintain records that can be accessed. For instance, you can retrieve court records, dates of birth, marriage statuses, and property records. Services like FamilySearch, Ancestry, and Voterrecords (US only), as well as county or state government websites, offer access to such information.
In the USA, all federal court records are available through the online catalogue at PACER.gov. This resource provides information on criminal charges, bankruptcies, and civil court cases. If you're searching for someone who has been in prison in the USA, you may be able to locate them through an inmate search via the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This search allows you to determine the whereabouts of any individual incarcerated for a federal crime since 1982. In addition, the US maintains a comprehensive list of sex offenders through The National Sex Offender Public Website.
While it can be challenging to locate someone online without knowing their full name, it is still possible. If you have additional information about the individual, such as their place of residence or work, you may be able to find them by combining their first name with additional information in search engines.
You might use so-called “Google Dorks” (Advanced Google search queries), but such special search queries work on multiple search engines. In fact, some of them will yield much better results than Google. For instance, searx.be in some cases gives better results and a much more extensive list of cached pages. It is good to experiment with different search engines as each of them is focused on a particular region and has a different underlying technology. Such an approach will yield better findings.
Use quotation marks
When a person's name is enclosed in quotation marks (e.g. "Kim Wallace"), the search engine is instructed to search for that exact phrase. This can help narrow down the search results and focus on the most important information.
Knowing a middle name will significantly reduce your search, because many people have the same name and surname.
Check for variations
When searching for a person by name, it is very useful to determine what are the possible variations of that name. People may go by different names or have variations of their names, as they may be influenced by the history and the local culture. For example, if you're looking for Mike Wayne, try searching for Wayne M. or Mike W. Abbreviations are commonly used to create name variations, and assuming additional names can greatly expand your search.
Transliteration is another good method to check for name variations. It happens when a name and surname are transferred from one language's alphabet to another. For instance, Ukrainians might write their name in either the Cyrillic or Latin alphabet, like Yurii Zhezheliv (which equals to Юрій Жежелів). For more details, you can refer to the Official Ukrainian Transliteration System.
Data leaks and breaches can usually be downloaded from Torrents or cloud share services such as Mega.nz, paste-bins, etc. To easily search through breach archives you can use DocFetcher or Searchmonkey. Identify services your target might be using and try to find recent breaches to have access to up-to-date information. To search for your target in an old database, start by using their surname. However, instead of directly searching for the target, focus on searching for their parents. Since the database is outdated, it's unlikely that the target's information will be present. However, gathering data on their relatives can potentially provide valuable insights for further investigation.
There are many ways to find someone having just a name and a surname. The starting point always depends on the case. However, search engines are almost always the first starting point for the investigation. It really helps if you are familiar with history and cultural variations of the name you are researching. It may open up many pivot points.
In conclusion, the vast amount of information available online, combined with powerful search engines and social media platforms, has made it incredibly convenient to locate individuals based solely on their real names.