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3 ways to dig up dirt on people

3 ways to dig up dirt on people
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

We all do it. You meet someone casually or professionally. After the exchange of pleasantries, you are compelled to bring out your inner Sherlock Holmes.

Hopping online, you are ready to validate or discredit this person. The problem is you need to use the right sites or else you'll be duped, scammed or worse.

1. People search sites

If you search the Internet using only a person's name, you're going to eventually end up at a people search site like PeekYou, Spokeo, White Pages Neighbors or any of the other few dozen around.

These sites pull publicly available information about a person into one spot. You can find a person's age, what social media accounts they have, where they live now, where they've lived in the past, their relatives' names and quite a bit more.

There are a few catches, naturally. You have to pay to get more than just the basic information, and even then it isn't always right. These sites are also loaded with advertisements that look like legitimate links. Information from people with similar names often gets mixed together.

Recently, a caller to my national radio show explained his name and a completely unrelated person's name ended up in the same profile at a people search site. He was 58. The other person was 29. He owned a consulting business. The other person had a long rap sheet with charges of drug trafficking and theft. After a little digging, I figured out it was a case of identity theft. The search site put this together before the caller did.

Super sleuthing tip: When you search Google, Bing or another search site using only a person's name, be sure to look at the search results past page 1. You might find older Web pages that contain information about this person they thought were long gone.

Next page: What to look for on social media

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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