People With Common Names-How To Background Them

So you Googled John Smith and got a billion hits.  No surprise here. It’s a very common name.  The problem with common names is that many people have them.  So expect that most of the people you background will have a name shared by others.  But don’t worry.  We can still find them!

Spotting People By Their Unique Physical Features
Sketch of a Person-Physical Things Unique To Him

In the everyday world of face to face contact, we can spot our John Smith even when he’s in a crowd.  The reason is because he has unique PHYSICAL features that make him different from everyone else.

For example: We can find him by his height , the shape of his face, the color of his hair, his voice and many other things that taken together, no one else has in the exact same package.

But when looking for records, you don’t always have the benefit of a photo.  So how do you find someone on the Internet when you can’t see them?  The answer is to find the non physical features which like their face, make them unique.

So what non physical features make your John Smith stand out in a crowd?  What’s so unique about him that it’s obvious you have the right guy?

Spotting People By Their Unique Non-Physical Features

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For example: To find your John Smith in a Google or a criminal records search, it would be helpful to know unique things about him such as his middle name or initial, or his age or date of birth. This could narrow your search from ten thousand to 10 almost instantly.

What about the names of his relatives such as his spouse, his brother, his sister or his parents?  With this information, you could retrieve records with both his name and their names and disregard the rest.

Better yet, we would know we had the right John Smith, if his name was found along with his current and past contact information.  For example, a John Smith with at least one of the same phone numbers, addresses or email addresses as the one we were looking for.

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But why stop there?  Even without his contact information, we could still narrow down our list of John Smiths for we know our John Smith lived in 5 specific cities and states and that he’s also an attorney.

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Likewise, knowing his hobbies, his fraternity, and his college and employment history would also identify the right John Smith.  After all, there may be 10 million John Smiths.  But how many speak French, went to Harvard, liked skeet shooting and worked for Firestone tires?  And how many of these were Phi Beta Kappas?  Not many I bet.  In fact, he’s probably the only one in town!

Before I tell you what to do with this information, let me show you the free places where you can find it.

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The three age and relative lookup sites above will match the name with various other identifiers so you know you have the right person.

In addition to finding out your subject’s middle name, their relatives and where they’ve lived, some of these sites also provide
current and prior addresses and phone numbers.  In some instances, their education and employment history will also be listed.

For more information on their education or employment history,
check out free sites such as Linkedin and
Sometimes this information can also be found in a company bio or commercial directory, which will list spouses and job histories, along with other key identifiers that make your subject unique.

So How Do I Search With This Information?
First, Google their full name and also their name with middle Initial (both with and without quotes around the name).

Then Google all contact information, past and present. This includes all their known addresses, phone numbers, emails, and companies they’ve owned, if any.

Finally, do combined Google searches with their name and school, their name and employers, their name and their profession, their name and hobbies, and there name and any other unique identifier. This can also include adding the cities they’ve lived in or the names of their relatives, their blogs, and their Websites if they have any.

Be sure to copy and paste any new information you find into Word or Notepad.  For example you may find a unique name he used on a dating site.  Or learn that he also had an additional email address.  Or suddenly realized that the John Smith you kept over looking is really the same guy!  So it pays to paste what you find as you might discover it’s needed later.

When you learn something new, Google the new information alone, or along with his name and other Identifers.

Next, it’s now time to search special search engines specific to each state so you can find Court Records, Bankruptcies, Mugshots, Tax Records,  his Occupational Licenses and more.

People move around a lot.  So look in every state where you know he’s lived.

Related Links
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check
Reverse Searches-Using emails, usernames, phone#s, photos and addresses
Google Like A Pro!(Quick Tips & Tricks)
Free Public Records (Consumer-SOS)

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