By Steven Gillman
How do you find people for free? To avoid hiring a private investigator, learn how to do your own investigating. Here are a couple techniques to get you started.
People are creatures of habit. Even when they are willing to give up their names, and move far away, they rarely are willing to change who they are. A bowler will still want to bowl. If you suspected which city he may have moved to, you could call bowling alleys there to get information on new league members. If I moved and changed my name, you could find me where people gather to play chess. Think of all their habits, and how these might predict their behavior and location.
Most of the time, though, people you try to find aren't really trying to hide. At least, they aren't trying very hard. Maybe they have left town and keep their phone number unlisted, but they probably haven't changed their name. How do you find them quickly? Here are some techniques.
Find People For Free With Skip Tracing Techniques
"Skip tracing" is tracking down people who have "skipped" out of town, or otherwise disappeared. This was the part of my job that I enjoyed when I was a bill collector years ago. It is much easier today with the use of the internet, but the principles remain the same.
The basic things you start with are things like sending mail to any addresses you have and calling any phone numbers you have for the person. When you send a letter, you pay a little extra for "address correction." The post office will return a card to you with any forwarding address they have on file for the subject.
When you call their phone number(s), if you get an answer, you of course want to ask for the subject. If they have moved, you want to get any information you can from the person on the line. Use basic phone pretexts for this.
Find People With Phone Pretexts
These are useful stories. They can be as simple as "Hi, this is Dave. I'm an old friend of John's. Do you know where I can find him?" Be prepared, of course for a question or two, like. "Where do you know John from?"
More complicated pretexts might involve a temptation like, "I have a rebate check for $50 on a car stereo here that John never claimed. Do you have his address, so I can just drop it in the mail today?" If they refuse or claim they don't know where he is, give them your number and ask if they could give it to John if they talk to him.
Get any information you can while you have a person on the phone. They may refuse to give you an address or phone number, but then mention the city that the subject has moved to. Ask them who else might help you, and call those people. Using the phone is the easiest and fastest ways to find people for free.
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