Strategies for Locating People Online for Paralegals

The Paralegal Resource
December 5, 2012 — 1,522 views  
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Paralegals need to locate people for a variety of reasons. Examples include witnesses, suspects, character references or relatives of a deceased person. Here are the top five methods for locating people online.

Social Media

Never underestimate the power of social media. Almost everyone has a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account. Simply type the subject's name into a search engine and you will see a list of his or her social media accounts.

As long as the privacy settings are public, you can learn a lot about the person you are trying to locate. Their profile may show what city and state they live in. The profile may even include an e-mail address or telephone number. Contact the subject using the social media's message system. Try calling the telephone number and sending an email.

Another way to use social media is to look through the friends, followers, or contact lists. See if you know anyone on these lists and contact them to see if they know the person you are looking for or where the person you are looking for lives or works.

Look for a place of employment on the profile. Try calling the employer and ask to speak with the subject. If you know someone who works at the same employer, contact that person see if they know the subject.

Criminal Records

Search online for criminal records. Try searching in any city or state where the person lived. Try searching federal records as well. Some jurisdictions have this information online. It is much easier to search online than it is to contact the jurisdictions in writing or to drive to the court house. Use the criminal records to try to locate a last known address or the address of a friend or relative.

Tax Records

Check online for property tax records in the locations where the person lived. This will give you their address.

Yellow Pages Online

Try typing in the subject's name in or If you have the person's phone number, but not address, you can use the reverse search function. Type in the phone number and it might give you the address. Some people move and change phone numbers frequently, but keep following any new information found on these websites.

Bankruptcy Records

Check bankruptcy filings; If someone has filed bankruptcy you can obtain the subject's address, telephone number, place of employment and maybe even relatives.


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