Whether you're searching for an old friend, lost love or someone who owes you money, locating a person free of charge has never been easier with the internet. Successfully locating someone often depends on whether or not that person wants to be found, but websites that specialize in mining public records databases and nationwide phone book listings can help. Moreover, social media sites have an unprecedented number of registered users. Browsing these sites can turn up profiles of people you'd thought disappeared long ago.
Check out Zaba Search
Zaba Search is public records database that displays names, addresses and phone numbers of people collected from various public records sources. Type in the first and last name of the person you're searching for and choose the state they're likely to be located in from the drop down menu. Click on the "Free People Search" button.
Zaba Search also displays recent addresses and telephone numbers of variations on the name. This information is obtained from phone company records, county and state property transaction records, post office change-of-address forms and voter registration records. Personal information from sweepstakes or contest entry forms is also distributed to marketing lists, making it then frequently available as part of the public domain.
Log on to the White Pages
Enter the first and last name of the person you're searching for, as well as their city and state, or zip code, if possible. Press the "Find" button. If the person you're searching for is (or was) listed with the phone company, their name, address and phone number will appear in the search results.
The White Pages website is a free online directory assistance service, similar to the printed white pages phone book. Although it is helpful to enter city and state information on the website, the white pages online directory does a nationwide search.
Use Facebook to Search
The social media site has over 500 million members who post their personal information profiles online. To browse these profiles, you must register for free yourself. Once registered, type in the name of the person you're searching for in the search window and click the search icon.
A list of names matching – or closely matching – the name you've entered will appear, accompanied by a photo or profile icon. Their geographic location may also be listed. Send the person a message by clicking the "send her a message" text link at the top of the profile page.
Consider Registering with LinkedIn
Like Facebook, LinkedIn is a social networking site, but dedicated to business achievements and professional endeavors. Search for a person by name from a window on the homepage, but to open that person's profile, you must register for free yourself. Once registered, you will see a person's LinkedIn profile containing education and employment history, and usually contact information.
If no contact information is listed, you may send the person a message through the LinkedIn website. LinkedIn currently has 85 million registered members around the world.
Mara Kuljer has been writing since 1998 on local politics and environmental issues. She has been published in the "North County Times" and "San Diego Union Tribune." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from University of California, Los Angeles.