To undertake a reverse people search or reverse name lookup the right way, you will have to use three search sources:
Google as an investigative tool
This is how you can find information behind a name.
Unfortunately, paid people search websites will offer no decent information. This can make you think a reverse name lookup is difficult. There are many online people search services on the web that promise results for a small fee. However, many of these reverse name lookup services are simply clickbait scams or are just trying to extract a small amount of money from you.
They will not be able to provide the reverse name search information the user is looking for.
Furthermore, many countries protect personal data for their citizens, so a name search service that claims to offer reverse name lookups in these countries are almost always untruthful and unhelpful.
A DIY reverse people search will almost always be the best option.
So, what do you do if you can't rely on a people search website and want to do a people search now?
You use an OSINT strategy
OSINT, or open-source intelligence, is the use of public records information to gain intelligence or “information.” Thankfully, many individuals volunteer their personal information to be available publicly.
By available publicly, we mean that they are available on the internet.
The only problem is that the information behind the name is surrounded by a lot of other data which makes the task of a reverse name lookup a little difficult. The method to remedy this is finding the correct information among all the irrelevant data.
So, how do you begin to perform a correct reverse name search? By DIY free reverse name lookup methods. This is done by utilizing Google, on-line directories, and social media. These are just a few of the ways to perform a quality and no cost "find people search."
Free Reverse People Search Summary
Use "official" information databases
Use the Google Search Operator: "Exact Phrase Match." This is used in our completely free Google Reverse People Search Tool! Google really is the best people search engine.
Search the name in social media platforms.
Reverse Name Lookup Directories
An important first step to a reverse people search will involve verifying an individual’s past and also verifying an individual's identity using "official" databases. By official, we mean the types of online public records governments control.
Many governments do not share people's information; however, things like court records and financial records have personal data and are typically free or only require a small fee.
Those paid services we mentioned will almost never provide the information contained in these official databases. Official databases is a great place to start your reverse people search because it will give you information on the name that is not indexed on search engines and also information on the name that will corroborate your research that is based on indexed material.
An example of this can be finding a date of birth on a database, then a social media account with the same name and DOB. Now the intel gained from that social media account is corroborated, because of the government public records search.
Reverse Name Search Service
We cannot stress the ineffectiveness of reverse people search services enough, so we'll give you an example:
The surname Sandru is one of the most uncommon names in the entire world. There are around only seven thousand people in the world with this surname. This should make searching this name very easy, due to Sandru having a small amount of irrelevant data around the name. When using the most popular reverse name search, the name Peter Sandru yields no results.
Now, if you use our own free reverse people search tool, the name Peter Sandru will offer many results. These search results are also accurate and verifiable results.
Our reverse people search tool is basic and simply uses Google's Exact Phrase Match feature. Exact Phrase Match works well with this search because the Name Peter Sandru is rare.
Furthermore, the name is associated with businesses and is a name of note. So, with a rare name that is saturated throughout the web, there is really no excuse for a reverse people search service to provide you with no results.
Google Reverse Name Lookup
Now you know the next step after databases:
A "Google person finder" is a good way to continue a "search people by name" task when it is combined with "Google Search Operators."
This also answers the common question: "how do I do a reverse name search for free on Google?" The answer is using Google Search Operators. Search Operators are special text characters and commands that greatly extend the capabilities of a regular Google search.
The one specific Google Search Operators that works well with a reverse name lookup is quotes (""). This Operator searches Google for 100% the exact phrase (Exact Phrase Match) that is being searched within the quotes.
If a name is searched inside quotes, only results containing that name will appear. This will get rid of a near infinite amount of unwanted similar names that will not help you in your reverse name search. Furthermore, you can be more effective in your person search by searching common variations on the given name.
Name Search Via Social Media
As with on-line directories, social media accounts will sometimes have reverse name information that is not accessible by search engines. Many social media users will have their real name available with a quick search in the social media's search box. Similar to directories, the name will need to be searched individually in each of the social media platforms.
It should be obvious now why paid people search sites cannot be used. These services are almost always disingenuous and if they can get information on a name, it will be fragmented information that has been aggregated from Google. This holds true even for services that claim to be the best free reverse people search service. These free people search websites are usually just trying to acquire and sell your personal data. Thankfully, a basic DIY reverse people search can be done simply and without a paid or free service. All you have to do is utilize Google, databases, and social media. After these three basic steps, a reverse people search will yield the most accurate information available.
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 14 years as a Professional Investigator and certified OSINT Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of many investigative training programs in various capacities. Over the length his career, Peter has performed numerous open-source intelligence investigations on individuals and organizations.