A woman in a purple top seated at a café table, using a smartphone to browse online sites to find people with whom she’s lost touch, with a laptop open in front of her, in a

When you have friends or old acquaintances that you’d like to reach out to, it’s best to look online to track them down. Even if you only have a few details you can use to look them up, you’ll often get lucky when you persevere long enough.

Here are a few online tools to use to locate old friends or colleagues that you wish to reach out to.

Got Their Email? Is it Still Valid?

People change their email address like they change restaurant recommendations. Because of this, even if you have an email for someone, it’s a good idea to verify it first. That way, you won’t send an email to them and wonder whether it’s hit their spam folder, it’s waiting to be seen, and they’ll see it eventually, or the email account is no longer valid. Check out theemailfinder.co to verify that the email address you have is still valid or has long since been invalid.

Google is Your Friend

Some amateur Googling often turns up some surprising things. It helps to track them down if your friend has an unusual name, but some careful searching will turn up old pages where they registered details and have probably forgotten all about. It’s also a better way to find social media profiles than looking on sites like Facebook if you know anything about them that will match on their profile.

Social Media is Trickier

Try looking up your friend or colleague on Facebook, and you’ll be faced with a bewildering number of people who share the same name. Still, it’s worth a go because you might just get lucky. Let’s face it, Facebook has over 1 billion profiles right now (some of them real people; others, not so much) so you have to go treasure hunting, but you never know what the results will show.

Also, be aware that if you do find them, you can send them a direct message, but it often goes into the secondary inbox at Facebook and not the main one. This is a little-known inbox which few people check that acts like a spam folder with email. Because of this, we’d suggest friending them first to increase the chance that a follow-up message will hit their primary inbox.

Find People on Pipl

Pipl is a people finding service. It scans web information to track people from all over the world. It pulls up available photos and publicly available records too. Tracking someone down is easier to do when you have their full name, and you can also add their location to try to narrow the field more.

How inclusive is Pipl? The website has a running counter showing that it has records on over 3.1 billion people. It won’t be long before they have 95% of the people who are on the web.

Tracking an old friend or acquaintance takes patience. You’ll need to endure some trial and error to find the person that you’re looking for.

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Avatar for Annabel Johnson

Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

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