Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Search Your Name Online: Be Prepared for a Shocking Discovery

Come on, admit it. You've Googled your name. Actually, it's a good idea. You should know what is on the Internet about you.

Usually you'll find such things as what you've written, where you've worked, your Web site, speaking engagements and your blog.

Some say it's just an ego trip.

I disagree. You also want to see if something is inaccurate or downright nasty. If it is on a public site, you might be able to do something about it such as comment.

Nevertheless, there is a lot more about you online than just what you wrote or where you worked

Google is not going to tell you the details of your personal life. Beyond the various free people searches are details you normally wouldn't make public, but they are there for anyone to find.

It's downright scary. Forget about privacy. It's long gone.

I've found people I didn't know except for a first and last name. I had no address, age range, names of relatives, nothing. I performed this questionably ethical process using my home computer and available public free people search engines.

Many think the information is inaccurate. I'm here to tell you most of it is true, current and very, very personal. I know because for this exercise I used myself as the subject.

Below is a list of some popular search engines that you can use for free:

· Ancestry.com: -Need age, gender, year of birth, etc. Very little without these details.

· 411.com: - Mostly accurate information on city only and one "association" with my husband.

· CVgadget: - Will give you a list of a person's social networks

· PeekYou: - Very little information beyond name and city.

· Pipl: - The most comprehensive information for free. Photos, profession, employer, city, state, phone numbers and age.

· Searchbug:- No information available

· Spokeo: - Very limited, but accurate information with a map. Just name and city.

· White Pages: - Name, current and old addresses. Others with similar name and sometimes age. No email or phone number. Will refer user to paid companies.

· Wink People Search: - Very little accurate information beyond name and city.

· Yahoo People: - Mostly a Google search. One address.

· Zaba Search: - Some accurate information on street address, city, state, and age. No email or phone number.

Fee based people search sites:

Several of the free sites will refer to a paid site for more information.

Below are several paid-based sites and what you can find out.

· Intellius.com: Intellius is the largest paid people search engine online. It allows a free search that lists name, city and relatives. Many of the free sites offer more information for a fee. Once you click on the additional information they link to fee level. Intellius offers six different services ranging from $.95 cents to $50.00.

· USA People Search: Starts with free list of names and city. For more information, it offers a limited, time-based option such as a 24-hour, 7-day or 30-day subscription.

· US Search: The free portion gave accurate information on city, state, parents and education. The fee portion offers three different pricing options and services from $.95 cents to $40.00.

I paid the $40.00 to see what kind of information would come back.

- Name, aliases, all previous & current address, current address, phone numbers and my age.

- Relatives, property values, bankruptcy and criminal records.

- All relatives, ages and social network associations.

- Property information including lot size, finished size, house type, tax assessment year, year built, Zillow estimated value, and valuation change from two years ago.

- Available criminal Records. If the records you want are from out of town, you can pay $15 and the site will send a person to retrieve court records and send them either by E-mail or by fax.

There are sites to look up specific criminal records, arrests, sex offender sites, and "skip tracing" for missing people.

Pretty much whatever you are searching for on anyone, it can be found using an online search engine.

Happy hunting.

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