You’ve already seen it in the movies: the protagonist needs to know more about a person, write a name on the screen, wait a few seconds – which are endless – and, finally, the information appears as if by magic. Fiction? Not that much.
Every day we share a lot of personal information on the Internet. These pieces of information, scattered by countless sites, are pieces of a puzzle that can be collected and fitted to obtain all kinds of information about other people.
It is not as easy as in the movies, but with some patience you get amazing results, especially if the person you are looking for is very active on the Net. Do you want to know how it is done? Bad boy! Keep reading and we’ll tell you…
The first clue
If you want to investigate the whereabouts of a person, the first thing you need is a minimum data to start the search. If you know his name and surnames, that makes things much easier, but it will not always be like that. You have to resort, then, to other data, some of them quite elusive.
If you have your photo
If you only have one picture, the thing gets a bit complicated. While there are a number of websites that allow you to search for similar images such as TinEye or Ideeinc, their effectiveness in finding anonymous people is quite low. Try to cut it so that only the face is visible. If you find yourself in this situation, your best bet will be to browse social network profiles, such as Facebook, and look for people that you think may know this person, looking at their photos and their friends. A hard task.
Do not forget to check the EXIF metadata of the photograph with specific tools, usually containing dates, the name of the owner of the camera and, sometimes, even GPS coordinates, which you can enter directly in Google Street View to confirm the appearance of the place.
If you know your IP number
The IP number is the address of a device in the network. There are several ways to achieve this: account counters, e-mail headers, P2P file exchange, and so on. Many addresses are dynamic, that is, they are assigned randomly among the users of a service provider, but others are static and belong to a single router or machine.
Many things can be done with the IP number. For example, check the geographical location via GeoBytes, discover the service provider or, if it is an institutional IP, the agency where that person works, in whose personnel directory, normally public, you can search for the person in question of minutes. Got the name or a nickname, the thing will improve.
A search in Google will return server logs and threads of forums in which that IP made an appearance, in order to, from them, reconstruct the tastes and themes of interest of the person sought. Something more radical is the scanning of the IP with map, as well as the attempt to connect to services of that machine. Apart from how difficult it has become in recent years (firebreaks do wonders), we discourage this unethical method.
If you know your nickname
Your goal is to know as much as you can: with the nick is not enough. “Google” your nickname is possible that you find the profiles of your “victim” in forums or social pages.
If you have seen it in the subway, on the bus or in your neighborhood
It is the most remote possibility, but it is not necessary to discard it if it is the only track that you have. Some forums serve precisely to locate people seen in public places.
Google, the best ally of the detective
The safest thing is that you have already tried this: write the name of the person in Google. It is the most basic, and it can be improved. To start, use the advanced search or search syntax to filter the results by language, country and time range. This will be especially useful with very common names, reducing the number of results.