It can be difficult to pinpoint the person you’re searching for online. Especially if he or she has a common name. There may be multiple profiles for the same person, and if you’re trying to run a background check or get a feel for a new hire, you don’t have time to cycle through irrelevant responses.
White and yellow books used to be the place to go for this kind of information, with accurate address information and sometimes a blurb about the person you’re looking for. Those days are long gone. The yellow book is not only outdated, it’s inefficient compared to a name directory.
CheckThem’s name directory can be complicated at first glance, but once you understand the power of this database, you can verify someone quickly and efficiently.
How Name Directories Work
A name directory collects publicly available data about people, then categorizes the data into an alphabetical database. Much of this information is available to you at your County Clerk’s office but is often time-consuming to access.
A basic name search isn’t like a background check. The info these searches provide is very simple and typically includes a phone number, home address, and sometimes a few other pieces of information like current occupation or known relatives.
Performing Your First Search
The first step in your search process is to either select the name from an alphabetical list or attempt a query of your own. Queries will return more specific information, allowing you to sort through the most relevant names related to your search. Try a search for your own name to see what pops up.
The database has a browse function built into the alphabetical list, allowing you to find a specific name and then drill down into more information about that person.
Browsing can be helpful if you’re not sure of the person’s last name. If they’ve recently remarried or changed their name for any reason, a database search can help you identify which name they are going by legally. A standard search would simply return “no results.” The challenge with browsing is finding your subject since you will need to sort through identities from individuals around the U.S.
Searches are useful when you already know some things about someone and need to verify their identity before you take the next steps, like a background check.
Clicking a profile gives you good data points to work with. First, you will see the person’s legal name listed alongside any aliases. Next, you can see the person’s age. You will also see a series of locations based on publicly available data about this person. This will include any apartments and homes they’ve stayed at with their name on the lease or mortgage.
You also have the option to do more in-depth checks of someone’s credit, employment, and criminal history. These checks come at a premium, but they provide information from national databases and offer a more in-depth profile of someone’s financial and criminal history.
You should be aware that your home address may be visible in these kinds of searches, and that this information is freely available. There are a few privacy issues that come into play with name databases.
The primary concern for most people is home security. With your home address visible, you need to be far more aware of how you present yourself online. If you decide to troll someone, or you become the target of harassment, that can backfire if they learn more about your identity.
What can you do?
For starters, you can secure your home by using surveillance cameras or by hiring a security company to monitor your space when you’re not around. There are many DIY solutions offering decent functionality from your phone, including remote lighting and doorknob cameras.
You can take basic safety steps as well, such as keeping hedges in front of your windows and covering your space properly. Thieves tend to go after easy targets they can identify quickly. They don’t want to spend a lot of time scoping out a property because this increases the risk of being caught.
There are ways that people from the internet can affect you in the real world even if they don’t live close by. The first consideration is vacation time. Posting photos of yourself on the web can divulge your location, knowingly or unwittingly, and those around you know you’re not home. If those photos are exposed to friends of friends, you run the risk of a home invasion.
One example might be a vengeful Ex seeking details about your new life. They could track your movements from city to city, verify your social media or dating profiles, and then use this information against you.
You might also consider background checking a date prior to meeting them. Name directories would be your first step to verify that this person with whom you’re talking exists and isn’t catfishing with someone else’s information.
Finally, consider that an address can tell someone a lot about you and your lifestyle. Using your address, someone can discover the cost of your home, as well as its appreciation. From there, they can make educated guesses about your salary level and affluence.
Using Search to Your Advantage
What can a name database do for you?
It always helps to know what’s publicly available about you. Most of that information can’t be changed, but it’s useful for the future. Verifying the accuracy of a report also works to your advantage.
If you see inconsistencies, contacting the database holder to correct them can help when you’re fighting against creditors or trying to verify information for an employment background check.
Your County Clerk can also help you remove or obscure some of the public data on you, within reason. There are ways to list alternate addresses or phone numbers, which helps cut down on the amount of spam mail and phone calls you receive.
Name databases also sometimes contain interesting facts about a person’s name. You might learn the etymology from a database query or find the popularity of a particular name throughout history.
In general, it’s good to maintain awareness of what someone can find about you. Start by searching yourself. Using a name database provides a lot of personally identifiable information that a simple Google search won’t return. You might discover that some of the info about you is under your control and easy to turn off, such as public Facebook posts or Twitter accounts linked to your phone number.
Searching is also useful for those interested in genealogy. You can find out where living relatives are located and reach out to them for a meetup. It’s a good way to meet new people and learn more about your family line. It’s possible to track down old friends as well.