Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Posts Tagged ‘Pipl’

Some of Our Favorite 2010 Private Eye Links

Posted by Writing PIs on December 23, 2010

As 2010 come to an end, lots of people post their favorite top-10 somethings (favorite 10 books, movies, whatever).  We’d like to post 10 of our favorite, and best of all free, 2010 private eye links because we can’t decide which of the many we use and like are actually the best of the bunch.  So here goes…

Some of Our Favorite, and Free!, 2010 Private Eye Links

An excellent, informative private investigations blog from McEachin & Associates, Ltd. : The Confidential Resource

It’s still the most comprehensive public search engine around, our first “go to” place to do a quick look-up: Google

We love to read about fictional PIs, too.  This site is a grand journey into the world of fictional PIs, from Victorian England to the mean streets of New York: The Thrilling Detective

Great source for investigation articles by PIs, as well as the latest investigation news from around the world: Investigation News

PI’s Declassified Internet radio show: PI’s DeClassified

Online trade journal for private investigators, legal professionals, and protective services industries: Pursuit Magazine

Have a safe, happy holiday, Writing PIs

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Four Free Tips to Find a Long-Lost Friend

Posted by Writing PIs on December 4, 2010

Just last week, a fellow private eye was prepping his family’s Thanksgiving turkey when he spied an article in the local paper about a woman wanting to find a long-lost relative so she could pass on the family Bible.  He used a proprietary database that many private investigators use to locate people, and within minutes had found several people who might be that woman’s relative–turned out one of them was the right person and on Thanksgiving, a very grateful woman found the long-lost heir to their family Bible.

Although most people don’t have access to such proprietary databases–which are fee-based, and available only to professional PIs and other professions such as law enforcement, law firms, collection agencies–there are several free resources people can use to search for a long-lost friend, high school sweetheart, neighbor, or other acquaintance.  Let’s look at 4 of these free resources:

Free Tip #1: Look up the person’s name in Google.  At our investigations agency, Google is the first place we’ll run a name (phone number, address, or other identifying information) because it’s still the most comprehensive, public, and free search engine available. Let’s say you’re looking for Billy Jones, and the two of you went to high school in SmallTown Nebraska.  In the Google browser, type “Billy Jones SmallTown Nebraska” (without the quotation marks), press the Google Search button, then review the results.  All instances that Google finds of Billy Jones in that town/state will display as links to websites, blogs, social networking engines, online documents (such as resumes), and much more.  Click on a link and search that online site/document for additional contact information for Billy Jones–this will require some patience and sleuthing on your part as you’ll be reading through information and picking out relevant bits to aid your search (for example, you might see Billy Jones’s name in a roster for an upcoming high school reunion, or a reference to a relative of Billy Jones still living in SmallTown). Use those bits of information to continue your search (for example, contact the high school reunion committee and request they send a message from you to Billy Jones, or call directory assistance for SmallTown Nebraska and ask for Billy Jones’s relative’s phone number).  You might also get lucky and find a website for Billy Jones with an email address that you can use to write him directly.

Note: If you’re looking for a woman’s name, keep in mind her surname may have changed due to marriage.

Free Tip #2: Conduct a deep web name search using Pipl. Some statistics claim the deep web (also called the invisible web) is 500 times more comprehensive than the surface web because its web crawlers find information traditional web crawlers can’t.  One useful free deep web search engine is Pipl, which searches websites, social networking sites, online profiles, online news articles, and much more. Go to, enter the person’s first and last names, and a known city and state.  As in the above Google search, click on links in the results, and look for any relevant information that can help you find more contact information for the person.

Note: The results in Pipl are littered with pay-for research sites (usually highlighted in yellow).  Skip these and search the other, free links.

Free Tip #3: Check the name in Kgbpeople.  This search engine breaks down results in 4 categories: social networks, search engines, photo/video/audio, and personal.  As in the above searches, click on a link and review its contents for any relevant information that might lead you to contact information for that name.  You can also filter your search with keywords, or click on one of the tags associated with that name.

Free Tip #4: Check a local criss-cross directory. Did the person live in your city or neighboring region?  One free, and very handy resource is your local library.  Often, they maintain criss-cross directories (also called reverse directories) that go back a decade or more, and in which you can search by surname and other identifiers (such as occupation, former phone number, street address).  It’s possible a criss-cross directory reveals Billy Jones still lives in the region.  Or you might find a relative’s or former employer’s name who can provide you with current contact information for Billy.  Ask your reference librarian to show you where they keep their criss-cross directories.

Not a free resource, but the best way to locate a person if other attempts fail: Hire a professional private investigator.  At our agency, we’re often tasked with locating people not only in our region, but throughout the United States as well.  For our services, contact us at Highlands Investigations 303-500-9604 (

To find a professional private investigator in your state, contact your state professional private investigator association (for a listing of all state PI associations, go to (under “PI Links” in the top blue bar, select “State Associations – USA”).

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Who’s Calling Me? Or How to Find the Name Behind an Unknown Number

Posted by Writing PIs on November 19, 2010

Article now available in How Do Private Eyes Do That? available on Kindle and Nook.


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How to Cross-Reference Phone Numbers

Posted by Writing PIs on October 30, 2010

This article now available in How Do Private Eyes Do That? available on Kindle and Nook.

Posted in Cross-Reference Phone Numbers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reverse Email Searches: The Good, the Bad, and the Costly

Posted by Writing PIs on March 17, 2010

Sometimes all a person has is an email address and he/she would like more information associated to it (like a name, website link, maybe an address).  There are reverse email searches online that make you pay upfront–sometimes you get good info, sometimes it’s old, outdated, or just plain bad info.  Shame to spend that money when, instead, you can just run a free reverse email  search.  Let’s look at a few of those options. We’ve become fond of this free deep-web search engine (for those wanting to know what a “deep web” search engine is, in a nutshell: Its web crawlers find information traditional search engines miss). Go to, click the “Email” link, enter the email address, and press the “Search” button. This takes a little sleuthing on your part because you’ll need to check the information in those links to find other information associated with that email address. For example, one of the links might be a website where that email address appears–you’ll need to click on that link and review the website content for information (like a name, phone number, address) connected to that email address.

YoName: This searches several dozen social networking sites with one tidy search. Go to, enter the email address, and press the “Yo!” button (gotta love a search engine with a Yo! button). As with Pipl, you need to click on a link to review its content for information associated with that email address.

Google: Probably should’ve put this at the top of the list because Google still ranks as the most comprehensive, free, public search engine. Simply go to, enter the email address, and press the “Google Search” button.  It’ll display every online site and document where it finds that email address–like for Pipl or YoName, click a link to review its content for any information associated to that email address.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

Posted in PI Topics, Reverse Email Searches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Free Online Searches

Posted by Writing PIs on January 25, 2010

We’re like anybody else when it comes to spending money–we prefer the free stuff before we start shelling out the bucks.  Time to revisit some of our favorite, free public online searches.

Google.  Let’s face it, it’s becoming a Google World. It’s become the most comprehensive public search engine around, so we always go to it first when starting searches.  Enter information in the Google browser window, press the “Search Google” button and review the results. We once found a person who’d been “on the run” by an ad they placed in craigslist–they listed their location and phone number in the ad! And we found them by running the phone number in Google. If you want to read more about Google and its many search features, check out

Pipl.  This search engines prides itself on being a deep web search engine.  We like it ’cause it’s free and comprehensive and checks all kinds of places (archives, photographs, blog posts, etc.). Maybe someday Pipl will charge for its searches, but for now it’s still free.

123people. Another deep web search engine. After you enter a person’s name and city, all kinds of search results display. Side-step the ads that want to charge you money for additional searches and check the actual search results, such as the email addresses found for the person, phone number listings, web links, even where the person has registered their “wish lists” with amazon. 

Have a great week, Writing PIs

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