Knowing how to find out where someone lives (and see their record) can come in very handy. You may be trying to reconnect with an old acquaintance or you may want to look into someone’s background (like your daughter’s new boyfriend) to see if they have a criminal record.
Many people check what goes on a criminal record when meeting new people, to ensure their safety. Typically, addresses and criminal information can be found online, by using a phone lookup tool, through social media and other public records, or similar searches.
However, the amount of information available on individuals may differ from state to state, so be sure to look up the state laws in your specific area, before conducting any searches, whether you live in Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, or another state.
Without knowing the available methods on how to find out where someone lives, it can be difficult and time consuming. Luckily, there are several methods you can use to get the answers on how to find out where someone lives.
How Can I Find the Address of the Person I’m Looking For? (Do I Need a Phone Number to Find Out Where Someone Lives or Just a Name?)
If you are trying to find someone and their address, you should first identify all of the information you know about them. Write out any alternate names, middle and last names, past known addresses where you know he or she has lived, current or past phone numbers, or any other information that might be helpful in your search. This will make it easier in finding someone’s current address.
First, a phone number is extremely useful when determining someone’s address. Many internet websites offer reverse phone lookup tools, such as White Pages and Yellow Pages. These sites lookup public records and other online records to find the information you’re looking for. Once you enter the phone number on one of these sites, it will reverse phone records, and pull any addresses, names, or other information associated with that specific phone number. Reverse searches are very helpful when you have some, but not all of the information needed, to find someone.1
Second, social media sites can also help you narrow down the city where someone lives. Often, media websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter share the location of where users made a post. However, some users may have their privacy settings changed to prevent the website from sharing this. In that case, you should check someone’s specific social profile, to see if they have their city or hometown shared there.
Once you have determined the general area where someone lives, it may help you further refine your search. With the name and city of a person, you can conduct an internet search or use a website such as White Pages. This website allows you to search for people, but only if you know their name and town. Once you enter this information, you can get more specific information, like a street address or phone number. If you don’t have a computer, or can’t find the information online, you can also use an old-fashioned telephone book, where you look up the name manually.1
If you know the state where the person lives, you can also search state archives, which are official government sources. Searching this data may be worth a try if you are fairly certain of the current state.
If the person you are looking for is an owner of property, this may also be helpful in your search. If you know the county where they live, you can search the county’s tax assessor office for their name. This will connect you with the address of any property they may own.2
After exhausting free online services, you may not be satisfied with your results. Free resources are often out of date and take time to search. In that case, it may be beneficial to get an official background check. Keep in mind that each state has its own background check policies, while searching how to find out where someone lives, so be sure to check local laws.
What Information is Available on Someone’s Entire Record?
There are several options on how to find out where someone lives for free, but paying a small fee for a background check is sometimes a better option. If you still can’t crack the code after conducting online searches, you should use a background screening service. Government and official background checks through the state are the most reliable for finding out where a person resides, while third party sources may have some inaccurate information.
Before using a third party company, you could check government background check sources. The National Center for States Courts (NCSC) website has felony and other information from state courts for all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Some of these states include detailed information on the criminals.
For example, many states provide a database for felony records, where records are readily available to the public. These states include:
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
More specifically, while you cannot find all records instantly for New York, North Carolina has a statewide database available to the public. Therefore, if you live in New York, North Dakota, Ohio, or another state not listed above, it may be harder to find felon and criminal records on someone.
If you can’t find the specific state’s records, you could also order a background check through a third party company. Ordering a background check is not only less work for you, but will also typically find out more information than just an address and phone number. Depending on the type of background check you get, they will reveal different information. It is important to know how to get a background check specific to the information you are looking for.
Typically, there are two main types of background checks, usually referred to as level 1 and level 2. However, the exact types of checks available will differ state to state. A level 1 background check is typically the lowest level check, which screens local public records and other local criminal records.
A level 2 background check is more intense. This type of search often requires more time to receive results due to how long a fingerprint background check takes. But in doing so, it will search national records in addition to local records. The check can reveal felonies, past addresses, credit history, misdemeanors, education history, and more. Many employers also run background checks that require a Social Security number, which will reveal all of the past registered addresses for a job candidate, but these also require consent.
There are also federal agencies which govern what information may be made available to employers and the general public through background checks. For instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulate background check laws throughout the country.
The FTC works to enforce the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law which controls how much information third-party background checks can reveal on job candidates to employers.
Is the Search and Find Always Legal? Do I Need to Know State Laws for Finding an Address?
In fact, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that anyone conducting a background check for professional purposes needs to first seek consent from the person. For example, an employer must get permission from a job candidate before ordering a background check. While denying the request for a background check may result in the candidate being disqualified from getting the job, it is still the individual’s right to do so. If you are conducting this search for the purpose of a professional screening, ensure that you receive permission from the job candidate before commencing your search. Otherwise, whatever you find will not be legal to use in the hiring process.
However, if a background check is being conducted for personal reasons, you do not need to seek permission, or notify the person you are screening. For example, this would apply if you are conducting a check on a neighbor or significant other, or your child’s teacher or coach.
Always remember to be cautious when looking into information on others, because certain actions could be considered stalking or an invasion of privacy.
In fact, there are some US laws protecting Americans from cyber-stalking, which can be considered a criminal offense and or a form of harassment. Several US states have anti cyber-stalking legislation to prevent this type of online stalking, including Connecticut, New York, and Florida.4
If there is a new person in your life, you may want to find exactly where they live or want to look into their background, for safety purposes. Alternatively, you may want to know someone’s address for pre-employment background check purposes, to ensure the job candidate is who they say they are. No matter the reason, it is important to know all of the options on how to find out where someone lives, so that your results are accurate and up to date.