Home Advice & How-ToGuides 5 Top Resources for Websleuths
Home Advice & How-ToGuides 5 Top Resources for Websleuths

5 Top Resources for Websleuths

by Jeremy Hillpot

Our obsession with true crime has given rise to a generation of citizen detectives who use the internet to solve cold cases. Whether it’s solving the Case of the Shifty-Eyed Tinder Date, digging up dirt on Ms. Perfect in Biology Class, hunting down Bob Who Owes You $500 or lending your time to help work on an actual unsolved crime, there are some powerful resources available on the web to help you find the information you need.

So put your Sherlock Holmes cap on and let’s get sleuthing. These are our favorite websites for in-depth internet investigations. Keep in mind that these investigation tools are the go-to resources of real private investigators. In other words, they work!

1. LexisNexis

LexisNexis is a subscription-based information service that keeps its information reserves on lockdown — unless you’re willing to pay the fee. Normally, attorneys, private investigators and law enforcement are the ones who subscribe to this service, which connects to more than 65 billion public records.

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If you’re just trying to learn about your BFF’s creepy new boyfriend, LexisNexis is probably outside your budget. But if you have a friend in the legal industry with a subscription, ask them to run your search for you. If you’re hooked on web sleuthing, however, it may be worthwhile to invest in an account. 

2. Spokeo

Spokeo is a people search service that pulls data from over 12 billion public records — and scours online information sources — to give you all the information you want about someone in one place.

Since Spokeo’s archives include a vast reservoir of court and government records, a search on the platform could reveal whether someone has a criminal past or arrest record. It could also provide data on someone’s location history, contact information, family members, social media accounts, public photographs and more.

When you investigate someone on Spokeo, our mission is to put as much information at your fingertips as possible. And please keep in mind, Spokeo isn’t just about satisfying your obsession with true crime or digging up dirt and spying on people. We’re also about keeping you safe, finding valuable information that could improve your relationships and making sure you can trust the random people you meet and interact with in the world and to make your world more transparent. 

Best of all, using Spokeo is easy. Enter a name, email address or phone number into our search tools, and we’ll tell you everything there is to know about them. Try Spokeo now.

3. Facebook

It might not sound like a pro-level resource, but you’d be surprised what you can learn from a quick Facebook search. Type in the name, find the right picture and browse to your heart’s content — or to your heartbreak and discontent, if you find an illicit affair.

Depending on how active a person is and if their account is public, Facebook can tell you everything from where someone lives, who they’re dating, whom they dated in the past, who their family members are, where they work, where they drink at night, what they do for exercise to what they ate for breakfast. 

Due to the wealth of information available on Facebook, the site has become a go-to resource for private investigators, attorneys, police, government agents and snooping ex-lovers when they want to know more about a person of interest.

4. Factiva and ProQuest

Factiva and ProQuest are subscription-based websites with massive, searchable archives of current and past news publications. While an archive search on Google News could produce interesting results, Factiva, ProQuest and similar news-archive services have access to articles you won’t find on Google.

If you’re digging deep into someone’s past, searching old newspapers and past internet publications can produce some valuable information to help you understand what the person is about.

5. Municipal and Local-Government Websites

Local-government and municipal websites feature reams of hard-to-find information about arrests, criminal records, court records, jail records, vehicle information and more. If you know the states, cities and counties where your person of interest spent time, visit the government websites of these areas and start digging.

Along with his fascination for emerging technologies like internet technology, blockchain, encryption and the laws and market trends that follow them, Jeremy Hillpot’s background in consumer-investor fraud litigation provides a unique perspective on a vast array of topics including website tech, investments, startups, cryptocurrencies and the law.