In today’s digitized world, it’s important to have some decent online detective skills. Some people consider this ‘stalking’ and believe that it’s an invasion of privacy to delve into the lives of other people online. But with online scams of every sort on the rise, knowing the truth about the people you meet is essential to keeping you and your family safe. Technology is wonderful, but has made us more vulnerable to online threats and scams unlike ever before. On the good news side, technology gives you powerful tools that actually protect you. One of those tools is 

Knowing how to research someone online is one of the only ways you can protect yourself against financial, emotional, or physical malice. Whether you’re trying to find out information about one of your Tinder matches, a FB marketplace seller, or a neighbor, here’s how you can use the internet to make sure that you can trust the people you’re talking to. 

Google everything you know about the person

You’ll be surprised how little information you need to uncover a lot of background on someone. Google is a powerful tool that harbors a significant amount of data. If you know how to use it correctly, you have a world of information at your fingertips.

The more personal your search results are, the faster you’ll be able to pull up whatever you need to know. Someone’s email address, phone number, and the name of the company they work for will quickly produce results that will allow you to go down a rabbit hole of information. But even if you don’t know that much about them yet, that’s okay. Do you know what city they live in? Sometimes all you need is their name to lead you to more identifiable results.

Use third-party information sites

When you search anything, Google will typically provide you with hundreds or thousands of search results, so it can be time-consuming to wade through all the information to find what you’re looking for. If you use a third-party site that provides Reputation Profiles about people from all over the world, you can access pertinent information about someone much faster.

This is the service my company, MyLife, provides its users. Websites like this offer as much information as possible about the people on its platform. has over 320 million profiles that include everything from criminal and civil court records to online reviews written by people who have dealt with the person before. All you have to do is search their name, and these Reputation Profiles populate in our database. Think of it like Google search, but you’re not inundated with as much irrelevant information.

Don’t have a lot of info? Use their pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words. Just one photograph can tell you a person’s entire backstory. Online users are constantly recycling their images across their social media profiles, online dating apps, and personal websites. Grab one of these pictures and do a reverse image search and you’ll see all of the places this picture was used in the past. This can let you know important information like whether or not someone has been arrested or if one of your Tinder matches is actually a scammer. 

Becoming an online detective isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Knowledge is power, so use all of the information you can find to protect yourself against frauds and scams.