This blog is all about joy. Or at least, all about the joy of finding people and doing free background checks. But unlike most blogs, this one will show you how to do these things even when you don’t know their name, want to confirm their name, or when their name is an extremely common one like “John Smith.”
The fact is we’re far too obsessed with names. Too often, this means we overlook how to get beyond a name, and get straight to the core of their identity. So I recommend you try these reverse searches on both yourself and anyone you want to learn more about. When you’re done, you’ll see that privacy in the US is a myth, and you’ll probably start walking the streets with a bag over your head. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Now you may think I’m exaggerating. But people use false names all the time. They’re also constantly changing their names, intentionally misspelling their names or even hiding behind their middle names! And then there’s the fact that you may not even remember how to spell their name. Or if you can, you’re still stuck weeding out the Google hits of dozens of total strangers who share the same name.
Beating the Name Game But wouldn’t it be great if you could find something unique about that person aside from their name? Something like a fingerprint, which could easily track them down with no confusion, so you know it’s truly them.
Well you’re in luck. Here are the free ways to cut through the name game. Below, I’ve included the powerful reverse lookups which can be used to find old friends, expose the frauds on dating sites, or to learn more about potential tenants, roommates, employers or business associates. Just remember to leverage what you find by plugging it into Google and the other reverse searches. A+B leads to C, and A,B,C leads to D,E,F…all the way through Z!
Photo Reverse Lookups You’re about to be scared. But also empowered. With facial recognition, you don’t have much privacy. But neither does the guy who’s photo you snapped as he was kicking in your car door.
Next time, try uploading their photo to Face Check ID. Face Check ID is the best free photo lookup I’ve ever seen. To test it, I snapped a new pic and uploaded it to their website. And unlike Google reverse images, it was able to pull up similar photos of me. Even better, it pulls up websites and sometimes usernames, the latter which can be plugged into reverse searches to learn even more about them! Note that this site works best for caucasians, and with faces staring straight at the camera.
Removing Unwanted Objects in Your Photos
Ever want to do a reverse lookup of just one person in a group photo? Or perhaps, your image search isn’t working because there are unwanted things in the background? Well, you just hit the jackpot! Here are 3 easy to use tools that are completely free, none of which require downloading.
First is the Windows Snipping Tool which allows you to extract only the person or object of interest. You simply trace a box over the head of the person in the photo and it will automatically be saved to your clipboard. From there, you can save the revised photo to your desktop and later upload to any reverse photo search engine.
Or if you like, you can use Remove.bg to nix any background such as trees or furniture, and then use the snipping tool.
Finally, If you’ve done all the above but still need to clean up the background a bit, the free erase tool on Cleanup.pictures will wipe away anything missed by the others. You don’t have to know Photoshop! You don’t have to select from a pallet of colors. You just brush over anything unwanted and it disappears!
Email Reverse Lookups Ever want to learn more about an old friend but have only a defunct email address? Old email or new email, now is the time to see the sites they’ve registered with and if it leads to new sites, new names, new addresses, new usernames, or a new marital status.
My favorite site used to be Osint.Industries.(now must pay as of 12/17/23) With their free signup, you were able to plug in an email address to get their photos, usernames, marital status, hobbies, where they shop or their professional occupation. The sole drawback is you must perform 2 annoying captchas per search.
When I tested with a friend’s email address, I confirmed where he works, who he’s married to and some of the websites he has accounts with. I knew most of this already, mind you, but I like to test these sites with the people I know. This is a great resource to find out what your old girlfriend is doing. But it’s also perfect for exposing con artists e.g. the guy whose email pulls up multiple names or the photos of different people.
This site claims to do the same with phone numbers; but when I tried a few, all I got was if they had a Skype account. Note that if you want to try this yourself, the format for US phone #s is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Cell Phone Reverse Lookups Aside from Google, there are a number of free reverse search engines for phone numbers, including defunct ones. Many of these pull up the person’s full name or a middle initial. (Things that can be Googled later of course.) Some even pull up their age, relatives, emails, and addresses. Now how about that! My favorites are CallerName.com and CyberbackgroundChecks.com (Reverse Cell Phone Lookup).
With the former, submit the cell # and then scroll down to “Caller ID” to see the name of who it belongs to. With CyberbackgroundChecks, it may pull up not just the person’s name, but also other contact info such as described above. CyberbackgroundChecks can also search by address, email, and name as well.
Username Reverse Lookups People like to reuse the same email addresses and usernames over and over again. This means you can search for old friends by their funky old email address and simply convert it into a username. For example, you could search for snicklefritz, which was from their old email address email@example.com.
Username reverse lookups are great for finding their photos, their new name, and their profiles on various social media. My favorite site is IDCrawl, which is simple to use and quite powerful. When I entered the username sleuthforthetruth, it found me on Instagram, Youtube, and even pulled up my posts on Reddit.
Street Address Reverse Lookups Old street addresses can pull up new names and list their current addresses. I’ve used these types of reverse searches to find roommates of 20 years ago, including those who had foreign hard to spell names!
My favorite address reverse search website is Cyberbackgroundchecks.com (USA Only). Just type in a new or old address to find who lived or lives there, along with their more recent cell #s, email addresses and physical addresses.
Domain Name and Other Reverse Lookups Do they have a website? Or perhaps they reserved a domain name but never did anything with it. Either way, there are some powerful tools which use a name, a company name, a domain name or an email address to see what they registered. Often this reveals more phone numbers, more email addresses, and even other information about them.
Conclusion The bottom line is that there’s tons of free info to confirm someone’s name, get their middle name, or just find out more about them, all without even using Google. But leverage whatever you find. Trust but verify; and above all, make sure to always enjoy the ride!
More Blogs on Background Checks (Sleuth For The Truth)
Back in law school I knew three people who went by different names. There was Pat, who’s first name was really John. There was Steve, who’s friends and business associates called him “Greg.” And then there was Mike Davis, who spent 9 years in a Texas prison for a quadruple homicide. Later when it hit the newspapers that Mike had quietly enrolled in our humble law school, we soon learned he was the notorious Walter Waldhouser.
Pat and Greg turned out to be law abiding citizens…mostly. Walter Waldhouser, not so much. He’s now back in prison on five counts of third-degree money laundering.
In the first two cases, Pat and Steve preferred using their middle names. They did this for innocent reasons (I suppose). But whether innocent or not, a name switch tends to mess up a good background check.
So here’s how to pull the beard off Santa and expose the fraud. Here’s how to spot the person who gives out a false name, or who uses their middle name to hide from their own wrongdoing.
Right from the start: Take any contact information (old or new) and plug it into Google and the various free reverse lookup sites. Then see if the name they gave you matches the name that turns up in your results. If it’s different, it’s time to do another background check!
Grab The Low Hanging Fruit (Emails and Cell Phone #s)
These days, virtually everyone sends texts. And this means almost everyone gives out their cell phone number. Free websites such as OKcaller.com, Cyberbackgroundchecks.com and Spydialer often pull up a name based on a cell phone number. For more See Consumer SOS: Reverse Cell Phone Searches.
You can also get their full name simply by knowing their Gmail address. And it’s all for free! For more, see my handy dandy collection of free email reverse searches.
Scroll to the bottom to see the Sentencing and Imprisonment of Elisabeth Greenhill and Jonathan Greenhill who operated the fraudulent travel agency Mission Trip Airfare and stole over $1.3 million from over dozens of Christian Ministries. (The subjects of this blog which was written 3 years before, while they were still hiding behind their website.)
The great thing about living in a small town is that you know everyone by name. You know their reputation and you know where to find them, especially if they’ve done you wrong. And so you’re less likely to be taken in by a pretty face, as you already know their true character.
Not so on the Internet. On the Internet the big bad wolf can masquerade as a happy sheep. And the ugly duckling can look like a beautiful swan!
Don’t get me wrong. I like beautiful swans. Especially when they’re all so pretty soft and white. But if they’re an ugly duckling, I want to know about it. Because if the ugly duckling took all my money and won’t give me a refund, I’m going to go duck hunting.
So let’s talk about business websites. No, not the large companies that are publicly traded and easily found. But the small businesses. The ones that make nice professional web pages, where for some reason, the owner’s contact information is completely missing.
Yes, the websites where you’re unable to talk to a live person. And if you have a problem, you’re stuck filling out a complaint form which goes into the corporate abyss.
But what if you could find the business owners behind the website? Perhaps express your joy to them at their personal email address? Or maybe even send a bouquet of flowers to their house while they’re eating dinner?
Do you feel guilty for being so mad at them? Why not tell them all about it on their private cellphone! They may need to know about the awful dream you keep having. You know, the one where you repeatedly sue them and put a lien on their home.
Reaching real live owners is important, especially when there’s no evidence the business has been incorporated. If it’s not an official company, it means the owners could be personally liable. And so the more owners you can find, the more houses and property you can put liens on!
So this is a blog about hard to find businesses. Businesses that might not be incorporated and might not even have a bad reputation. (Yet) The only thing you know for sure is that they owe you money and you need to reach real live people. People who can be held accountable for the wrongs they’ve done.
As an example, I will show you how to find the owners behind missiontripairfare.com. (AKA MTAF and Mission Trip Airfare) Missiontripairfare.com is a great example of a site that doesn’t have easy to find contact information.
Once, their contact information used to be out in the open. But for some reason, it’s now all been neatly removed. So here I will use real public data to show you who the owners are and (if you like) how to reach them.
But before we begin, I must warn you: There’s a lot of information out there. So don’t get lost in it. Always keep in mind the following:
When You Get Their Names & Websites It Will Lead To Their Contact Info. When You Get Their Contact Info, It Will Lead To Their Names & Websites. (So Everything Can Be Used To Find Who Owns What!)
Four Happy Tips
Get their name and ways to reach them through theirwebsite, website address and older versions of their websites.
Google any contact information you find, including their business names, plus any business or personal emails, addresses and phone #s.
Use their names to get their contact info and their contact info to get their names. (Gather all the info you find. Even old emails and phone numbers could lead to other owners and hidden associates.)
Confirm you have the right contact information. Plug your info into the free validators for their current emails, physical addresses and cell phone numbers.
Now Here’s How To Find Them:
Scour Their Current Website For Owners Names & Contact Info Typically, ownership and contact information can be found on their “Contact Us”, “About Us” or bio section. Copy any contact info into Word or notepad even if it’s just a first name. You’ll be Googling it later.
Sadly, through this method I could find nothing about the owners of missiontripairfare.com. The website was devoid of any helpful names, emails or phone numbers!
Scour Their Old Website For The Owners’ Names & Contact Info Here’s where I hit paydirt! With the Way Back Machine, you can go back in time to what the website looked like in the days of yore.
In other words, you may be able to see owner information before they got crafty enough to remove it! So with missiontripairfare.com, I was able to browse through 10 years of changes to find one of the website owners and how to reach her!
Here’s what missiontripairfare.com looked like in 2007. Note the contact info up top is now missing from the current website. But there’s no fooling the Way Back Machine!
The owner of Mission Trip Airfare is Elisabeth Greenhill, also known as Beth Greenhill. Her photo and bio is here (site as of 2005). I was also able to find a working cellphone # for her at 404-353-6824 (confirmed by the cellphone validator below). As late as 2016, she was still on the website as the founder and owner.
Lookup The Website’s Domain Name Registration For Names & Contact Info: Also Look Up Related Sites With .org & .net Yes! Did you know that every website must register their domain name and provide contact information? Often this information can be found for free through a domain name lookup.
For large businesses, a domain lookup is pretty much useless. The reason is that any contact info you get is apt to lead to their IT department. And who wants to talk to IT people!
But it’s a goldmine for looking up small business owners. Often a domain registration gives you their name, their phone number and their email address. Sometimes you’ll even get their personal cell phone number. How about that!
But I was not so lucky with MTAF. For some reason missiontripairfare.com has concealed their domain registration. Sometimes people will pay extra for a private (or hidden) domain registration which can only be revealed through a court order.
But fear not! Sometimes you can look up a domain history which will tell you who owned the web address before they concealed it. This is how I found Beth Greenhill’s email address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Too bad it’s no longer valid.
For even more leads, try looking for who owns the same domain name but with the .net and .org suffix. Often people will reserve several domain names even if they’re never make them into websites. And sometimes, they will leave their contact info unprotected!
Through this approach I was able to uncover that Jonathan Andrew Greenhill owns missiontripairfare.org and missiontripairfare.net. WOW. He has the same last name as Beth Greenhill.
Is that a wild coincidence? Or could they be business partners? Whether they’re siblings or husband and wife is a separate issue. But read on and I’ll show you that too! But right now I’m just looking for liability. And the more partners the merrier!
Google All Names & Contact Info For More Leads Even if your website has virtually no contact information, be sure to do at least two Google searches.
You’ll always want to Google the business name and then do a separate search for the website address. In my case, I jumped the gun and Googled too quickly. I didn’t have the owners’ name yet. So I was overwhelmed with hundreds of useless hits.
If I knew the owner’s name earlier I could also have Googled Beth or Elisabeth or Beth Greenhill separately or in the same search box along with the website or the business name.
Also, I could have Googled any email addresses, physical addresses and phone #s to see what else comes up.
A Google search for“elisabeth greenhill” Georgia found she lives at 225 Warm Springs Circle, Atlanta, GA 30075. She owns this property as indicated in the Fulton County property lookups.
Check For Hidden Relationships Note: To find hidden relationships between two people, I could have Googled Beth Jonathan Greenhill. Or I could have searched for their names along with a company they might own together.
In this case I confirmed that Beth and Jonathan Greenhill are brother and sister, not husband and wife.
Find Owners Through A Company Name Search, Both Local and National. Off the bat, I found nothing for missiontripairfare.com. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find your business. And how I searched will help you.
Be sure to search several states and in the various ways described below in red. If you find an incorporation, see if you can open up the original company filing. This will often have the owner’s cell phone number!
Searching Several Ways For A Business For missiontripairfare.com, I did a preliminary national search making sure not to include a city or state. The free national search is good just to see what states have companies with the same name as the one you’re looking for.
If you find one in a certain state, click on the company name for their contact information. But don’t stop there. Even if you get their address, it could be an old one.
Now that you know the state where the business could be incorporated, go back to the free listing of Secretary of States and look up the most current contact info.
The national search ain’t perfect. It could miss records. So to figure out where they might be incorporated, I also would do a search where the owner lives and has lived, plus California and Delaware, which are where a lot of people incorporate.
So in the case of Mission Trip Airfare I checked with the Secretary of States in GA, DE, IL, SC and CA. Sadly, none of these had anything for MTAF, Mission Trip Airfare or MissionTripAirfare.com. In GA, I also searched for Beth Greenhill and Elisabeth Greenhill both as a registered agent and also as the officer/owner of any company. Nothing.
Now you might be asking what does it mean if your business is not incorporated? In short, it means the owner can be personally liable for any debt incurred here.
Even when a business has incorporated, the owner may still be liable if they used the business to defraud people. So be sure to get legal advice on Piercing the Corporate Veil.
And this is where the fun begins! If more than one person is involved in the business, it could be a partnership where everyone is liable. This means you want to find all owners, so you can put a lien on all their houses! Now ain’t that something!
Plugin Names To See If They Own Other Businesses Which List Their Contact Info If you find the names of people connected to the business, do a national search by their names too. Remember that names lead to contact information and contact information will lead to more names.
It may be they are the officers or agents of other companies. Companies where you can find where they live and send them a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Find Their Contact Info Through The Better Business Bureau Complaint Database. The BBB allows you to search by website, business name, phone number or email address. Keep in mind that a new business may not have complaints. I recommend a search with and without their state. It’s possible their new business in GA has no complaints, but the old one in AL does. This only works if the owner used the same name for both businesses (not uncommon).
WIth MTAF, I was able to use the BBB to locate their virtual office which is located at 10 Glenlake Pkwy STE 130 Atlanta, GA 30328-3495. They also listed “Ms. Beth Greenhill, Founder“
Find Their Contact Info Through Other Domain Names They Have Yes, you can get their private cell phone number, physical address and email addresses based on other domain names they’ve registered for. And you can do it simply by plugging in their old and new contact information. You don’t even need to know if they have a website!
So now all the contact info you saved is paying off!
Through a Reverse Whois Lookup you can find their other websites and domain names.This works by plugging in any of the following:Their name, the name of their company, their user name, or an email address of theirs.
Now let’s get back to Jonathan Greenhill of Mission Trip Airfare. With just his name I learned he owns the following web addresses:
To find his current address, look for the latest website/URL. In this case it’s the one I marked in red. They don’t have a website up yet. But it’s always worth checking because an up and running website might have contact information.
Note that as late as 2016, Jonathan Greenhill listed his contact address as 1425 Rock Springs Circle, and his cell phone as 404-822-4185. Here’s a photo of the property where he lives.
Are you a shy person who is too afraid to shake his hand? Well in that case, why not email him at email@example.com? I’m sure he’ll be very glad to hear from you. The email is still valid. But if you need several more, just grab them from one of his other domain registrations.
Note: If my link to who owns a domain name doesn’t give out details on how to find him, you may need to go to GoDaddy or where ever the domain name is registered. Then use their WHOIS to find the owner’s contact information.
Confirm You Have The Right Contact Information By now you have a slew of emails, phone numbers and physical addresses. But which ones are current? Does the cell phone number work? Who owns it? Is the email still good? And how can you know if they even live there anymore?
On October 18, 2019 Elisabeth and Jonathan Greenhill both pled “Not Guilty” to all counts. Elisabeth Greenhill’s pleading shows her current phone number and address. If it were Jonathan’s I’d have published it in a heartbeat. But perhaps Elisabeth should get some grace here. She’ll need it.
Elisabeth Greenhill On February 3, 2020 Elisabeth Greenhill changed her plea from “not guilty” to guilty of count 1. But she then tried to withdraw her plea, blaming her lawyer of course, for never explaining things to her. The judge didn’t buy it, and Elisabeth was penalized for perjuring herself and showing no remorse for her awful and dishonest crimes which hurt at least 41 people.
On March 23, 2021 Elisabeth Greenhill was sentenced to 7 years and three months in a Florida federal prison, plus 3 years supervised release with special and standard conditions. She must pay $1,310,102.00 in restitution and has reported to prison atFCI Marianna SCP on Noon, April 29, 2021 to begin service of sentence. She is appealing, but I doubt she’ll win this one.
Jonathan Greenhill Jonathan Greenhill was found guilty after a three day trial, which he appealed of course. Jonathan actually got a much lighter sentence than his sister Elisabeth, even though he has a decade plus history of being sleazy, unscrupulous and downright deceitful. Perhaps this is because unlike his sister he wasted far less of the court’s time with legal duplicitousness and chicanery. Plus he probably blamed his conduct on being a victim of substance abuse, as his sentencing suggests he has a drug problem.
On April 1, 2022, the court sentenced Jonathan Greenhill to 3 years and one month in federal prison; plus 3 YEARS SUPERVISED RELEASE and $969,102.00 IN RESTITUTION. The court also recommended to the Bureau of Prisons: (1) That the Defendant be allowed to serve his custodial sentence in the BOP facility at FPC Montgomery, Alabama, and (2) That the Defendant be recommended for participation in the RDAP program if he qualifies. Unlike his sister, he has no set time yet to surrender himself to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. As of May 11, 2021 Good ole Jonathan is now in federal prison at Montgomery FPC.
Ever want to know who that unknown caller was? Or what if you could do a background check on your new date, or the guy at the convention, but all you have is their first name and cell number?
Well, join the club! This blog is all about reverse cell phone number lookups. The goal: Find a first and last name associated with the number along with other identifying information.
Why Background Someone By Their Cell Phone Number The fact is that landlines are rapidly becoming extinct. The typical reverse phone directories which did so well with landlines, work absolutely horrible with cell phone numbers. So these days, they’re virtually useless.
But why bother looking up a cell phone number in the first place? So what if you get a name and address? Often you have their name anyway. Right?
The name behind a phone number is useful for many reasons. For example: Suppose your dating “David Smith” but a reverse lookup shows the number belongs to Susan Smith? Just who is Susan?
Is she his wife? An old girlfriend? A roommate? His sister?
Or suppose instead of Susan Smith, the name that comes up is David Fogelman? You then remember that on all your dates, David always paid for things only in cash (you never saw his ID or credit card). And come to think of it, he was never available on holidays or weekends.
Could your David Smith really be David Fogelman? If so, why would he hide his last name from you? Maybe David is doing so because if you knew his last name, you’d also know David is married.
Up until recently, free cell phone lookups were grossly inaccurate. You could never trust if the name was correct and so there was no reason to jump to conclusions.
But that’s all changed thanks to OKCaller and SpyDialer. Between the two of these you have at least a 50% chance of getting the right person. Plus you can sometimes get an address or photo allowing you to do a full fledged background check!
Think about it. With just a cell phone number you can look up the property they own, their true age, their marital status, who they live with, their criminal records and more! So check out these Cell Phone Lookup links and see below for how to use them!
Using OKCaller.com To Find A Full Name And Address OKcaller is a tool for determining if the number belongs to spammers or telemarketers. But its real value is its ability to find the name behind both private landlines and cell phone numbers.
Simply type in the number without any spaces like this: 6785879228. Often you’ll get a full name associated with the phone number. (depending on the # you’ll get a last name first, or first name last) Sometimes you’ll even get a physical address.
The photo is the least reliable but the other tools are quite useful. If you select voicemail, you’ll be automatically routed to it and the owner will never know you called. Instead, they’ll see a callback number from Spydialer. Note that the voicemail option won’t appear if the number is a landline or voice over IP like Magic Jack. Unless it’s a cell number, the voicemail feature will be grayed out and unclickable.
So let’s do a name lookup with my friend Will Hooper’s old phone number (678-592-2100). You can see that “Bill” is found to be the owner. Close enough! Often Spydialer will retrieve a first name and sometimes a last name. You can then Google the number and the name to find out even more.
Now let’s try this with a landline or voice over IP #. (678-587-9228). Note that you have only two options, and cannot check the voicemail. A name lookup reveals “Graha”. It’s obviously mine.
But look what happens when you click on photo lookup. It actually pulls up my Facebook page and my full name is on display.
Here are some other quick ways to find who’s behind a cell Phone #.
In both Facebook and Google, search like this:
“123-4567” Graham (try either a first or last name)