Nowadays, it’s become very easy to search for people than it was in the past. Information is just a few clicks away, thanks to the internet. One tool that’s proven to be highly efficient in the process is the people search engine. However, many people don’t know how to use people search engines to find someone or if anyone can find them using one.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter play a crucial role in finding information about people. They can also be used like people search engines. You can look up neighbors, coworkers, a new romantic interest, etc.
The truth is that, yes, anyone can find you if you have a digital footprint. Few people lack one completely. This has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, you can track down an old friend, an ex you want to get back together with, or a long-lost family member. On the minus side, anyone can find you just as easily. Often, they don’t need more than your name and a few more basic details.
Before moving any further, let’s explain what this search engine is.
Defining “people search engine”
A people search engine lets you find someone’s phone number, address, and any other information that became public at one point in the past. You can check if someone has a criminal background or has been arrested.
You can also use one if you want to buy a real estate property and want to make sure the seller is legitimate. Prospective buyers will run a background check on the seller to probe their records and protect themselves from scams.
What other information can you get?
- Full name
- Current mailing address
- Phone numbers
- Divorces and marriages
- Resumes and employment history
- Deaths and other civil records
- Social media accounts
- Relatives’ names
- Mugshot and criminal records
- Videos and pictures
Are people search engines free?
Some of them claim to be free, but they come with hidden costs. You can do a free search, but you’ll be asked to make a payment to get the results. This can be a one-time fee, or you might be asked to sign up and pay monthly or yearly. If you’re doing lots of people searches, the costs will add up. The list of search engines on Google is practically endless. Many of them have the same owner.
How to keep your data safe
People finders use public records and information from data brokers to get information, which they compile into databases. They also buy information from social media and online shops and scrape the web for data. They can find you based on blog posts, forum posts, comments, etc. They create a profile of you based on the info from any such sources and sell it.
Some people have looked themselves up and found inaccurate information. If it’s harmless, it might even be amusing. If it’s negative and you’re applying for a job, it’s another story.
Ignorance is not bliss
When you consent to the collection of your data by social networks and other websites, they have the right to share it with third parties. This means they can sell your phone number and other information to literally anyone, often for a negligible amount. It can also mean your profile info gets added to these databases, filling information gaps on the people search engine.
Few people grasp this, and some entities are taking advantage of that. Until recently, some social networks asked for users’ real names, claiming it would make them “behave better.” There has never been any evidence of this. Data collection was the only purpose.
Social media are not free
They’re not. They sell their users’ personal data to make money. Data protection regulations have definitely improved, but there’s still a way to go. Facebook would trade or sell personal data without giving the person a share of the profits.
To answer the title question: yes, anyone can find you using a people finder if there is publicly available information about you on the internet. If you want to keep your data safe, do a self-check on one of these sites to see what emerges, and if you don’t like the results, ask the website that published your info to remove it.