People search websites, which are becoming increasingly popular, are search engines that collect personal information about people from various sources and generate reports.
This article explains how these sites work, what information you can find using them, and the most common reasons people use them.
How do people search sites work?
Businesses get information about people's activities and habits based on what they do throughout the day. They are aware this information is valuable. Data brokers gather information about people and share it with others or sell it. People search sites are like data brokers in a way, although there are some free ones.
A people search engine might buy information from another data broker, collect data from local, state, and federal public records, or gather data from publicly visible social media profiles to generate a report on a person.
Public records can include the following information:
- driving records
- property records
- voter registration information
- birth, marriage, divorce, and death records
- criminal records, civil actions, and judgments
- professional licenses
You don't need much to go on if you want to find information about someone. You actually don't need more than a name, an email address, or a phone number to buy a report that will tell you:
- Their age, date of birth, and gender
- Their current and previous addresses
- other names they've used
- properties they've bought or sold
- their education and employment history
- their marital status
- the name and address of their relatives
- criminal records
- civil records, including liens, bankruptcies, and judgments
Reasons to use people search sites
People purchase background check reports from people search sites for many different reasons. You might want to find an old college buddy, scope out a potential partner, or connect with a neighbor.
It's relatively easy to use people search engines, as mentioned. A piece of general information will also work, like a date or a place of birth. When you enter whatever information you have on your search target, you'll get a list of people to choose from. The data gathered comes from entities that specialize in storing, retrieving, and selling data.
The information you get is available from public records from the government on various levels. It is matched to other public info available on the internet, like forum details or a social media profile. There are free people search sites, but they are usually supported by ads. The paid ones will ask you to sign up for a month or a year or pay a one-time fee to do a search and get a report.
Professional people search websites have pricing tiers, which provide a more detailed overview of someone's background for a bigger fee.
What can you get from a people search site?
When you're dealing with people, safe is always better than sorry. In some situations, it is advantageous to know more about a person.
Information about a new neighbor
Getting details about your new neighbors is not prying. You and your family need to feel safe living next door to them. You are entitled to the information. You don't need their consent to do an informal background check.
Learn more about a potential partner
It's risky to meet people online and sometimes even riskier to meet them in person thereafter. Again, consent is not needed for an informal check. It's helpful to verify any information they've given you about themselves in advance. You can confirm that they were being honest with you.
Details about a potential roommate
You might be thinking of sharing a house or an apartment with someone. It helps to know who the person really is and if they are being truthful. You must know someone well if you're going to live with them.
Do a reverse phone search
You can use people search sites to see who's behind an unknown number by doing a reverse phone number search. The site can reveal who that number is registered to.
Look yourself up
You can enter your data in a people search website to see what information is available about you online. A more detailed report might cost a fee. You can opt to have some of the information that appears removed. They can update or hide information if it is inaccurate or if there are safety concerns.
People finders can be a great way to get information about somebody. They have many practical applications. As there is the potential for misuse, you may choose to have your info removed from such websites.