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article imageBig growth in people-finding websites

By Tim Sandle     Jun 6, 2019 in Technology
Want to run a background check on some one? Wish to know what your neighbour is up to? There are solutions for that in terms of people-finding search engines and this market is becoming big business, despite the privacy issues that come with it.
People search engines include the likes of MyLife, Spokeo, Instant Checkmate and PeopleSmart. These types of search provides are types of data brokers who amass considerable volumes of personal information and re-package it into profiles which can then sold to interest parties.
According to the Financial Times, the types of customers that these websites attract are a mixture of curious individuals, businesses doing running checks (often to assess finances) and an assortment law enforcement agencies. The required information is provided back to these parties for varying fees.
A concern with such services is data privacy and it stands that as consumers become more privacy conscious and more people are seeking to take control of their data, then at the same time it is seemingly relatively easy to pay someone to gain background information about another person that the person may wished to have kept private. Search engines that offer people finding services would no doubt respond that they are simply providing packages of information in the public domain. If this is all that is offered, though, why pay for the service?
Not everyone sees the value in such websites. Writing for Lifewire, Tim Fisher comments that many people finder websites do not actually deliver much and the same information "they're promising to deliver to you as soon as you pony up a credit card number can be found online with just a little bit of digging and a little bit of patience." Fisher's advice is to avoid such sites and find out what you need yourself.
In terms of free services, Google provides an array of resources. One can simply type a name into Google, and here more returns are found why using quotation marks (so that "Fred Smith" will deliver fewer results than simply Fred Smith, although such a name without any other contextual information will still produce several million entries). Adding things like towns or potential employment will help to minimize the search.
Another area to get good Google search result sis searching Google images, which will often link to social media profiles. Google maps can also help to pinpoint locations. It is also possible to track people through the use of Google alerts.
More about people finding websites, Tracking, people searches
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