Get to Know Your Person of Interest Using Social Media and the Internet

identify and locate people

Have you heard the saying “If you don’t know, ask Google”?  Well, the same can be true when you want to look for an individual online.  There are techniques that can be used to identify and locate people using both Google Search and social media sites.

With just about everything now available online somewhere, data collection opportunities have reached new heights when performing an investigation.  The trick is knowing what to search, where to search, and how to search for this information.

As we discussed in a previous article, Revealing Hidden Facts about Injuries and Claims using Social Media in Combination with Medical Canvassing, we talked about how social media searches work well together with medical canvassing. But, what if you are just trying to identify or locate your claimant and possibly obtain more information about them?

With minimal information about your claimant, an online search can begin and possibly lead to much more information about them that can benefit your investigation.

You can start by Google searching the claimant’s name and location to see if there are any public articles, posts, or other sites related to the claimant.  If you want to see if the claimant has an account on a specific website, you can perform advanced searches using Boolean “operators”.  This allows you to perform specific searches using exact names, usernames, emails, etc.  Another helpful tool is the Google Advanced Search, where you can refine your search parameters easily.

It’s time to start searching the social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  If you were able to locate the claimant’s email address or a username in the Google search, it will help you to quickly find their social media profiles on most of these sites if they exist.

Once you have identified the correct social media profiles belonging to you person of interest, now you can start profiling them, while searching and collecting relevant data and information for your investigation.

TIP #1: Most people tend to use the same e-mail address and/or username for multiple accounts, so use this to your advantage.

Tip #2: When searching a person’s social media profile, you see that they are not frequently posting, consider looking at their relatives and friend’s profiles too.  You may find some information posted by them about your subject that the person of interest has not posted on their profiles.

Well, there you have it.  Some general tips on how to get to know your person of interest using social media and the internet.  There is, of course, much more you can do when investigating a person of interest online, but we’ll save that for next week’s article.


The tips and information provided in this article is for educational purposes.  If you are going to perform a social media search on a person of interest, make sure you are following all rules, regulations, and privacy policies associated with these sites.  If the accounts and information is not protected by use of privacy setting or restricted profiles of the user, that information is considered publicly available information as long as it’s available to anyone.