CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Internet

The amateur detective

Depending on what you're looking for, the kind of information available online can be broken down in a variety of ways. Here's how this case developed, with links to some basic resources.

    Searching the Net can be anything but elementary. But never fear: You can put some method in the madness. Here are the steps that our stealthy reporter followed and some links that could help jump-start a search of your own.

    Getting tipped off
    Pages that provide useful links and instruction on how to be a cybersleuth.

    The Stalker's Home Page: provides a wealth of tips and links to find and protect private information
    The Private Investigators Mall: an excellent starting point. It provides several links to PI home pages, referrals to investigators, tips on conducting searches, and a list of links
    Finding People on the Internet
    Sherlock@--The Internet Consulting Detective: a storehouse of tips and links
    The Internet Sleuth
    CNET's SEARCH.COM
    Yahoo's list of online investigators
    Back to infographic

    Just the facts
    Sites that allow free searches of publicly available addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

    Yahoo or Excite: if the person is a Net user
    Yahoo's people search
    InfoSpace
    DejaNews: a fully searchable archive of bulletin boards
    Switchboard: a popular nationwide telephone directory
    Four11 White Pages: telephone and email directory.
    Internet Address Finder
    Back to infographic

    Digging deeper
    Sites that allow more specific, free searches.

    Military City Online Web Outpost: to search out people in the armed services
    Gopher links to university and other directories
    ReuNet: The Reunion Network: billed as the original missing people's network, this site helps find long-lost family and friends
    Ancestry Search: includes a free Social Security search of deceased Americans and other links
    The Missing Persons Pages: search a database of missing persons or submit a report about a missing person
    Back to infographic

    Offline intelligence
    Sites that put you in touch with a human being. Keep in mind, you must generally pay for these services.

    1-800-U.S. SEARCH.
    Nationwide Investigations
    Pritchett Bureau of Investigation
    The Integrity Center
    Back to infographic

    On the record
    Sites that allow searches of record databases; a combination of free and pay services

    KnowX and the The American Information Network will do court public records searches for free; you have to pay for the information if it's found, but it's fairly cheap
    Confi-chek is a brand-new site that says it will allow limited low-fee automated checks of records
    CDB Infotek is one of the most popular Web databases used by investigators but requires membership
    WESTLAW is another subscription-based service
    Back to infographic

    When all else fails
    Sites that tell you where to write for information.

    Where to write for vital records
    Back to infographic

    (NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive list of all engines and services on the Net. NEWS.COM does not endorse the sites behind these links.)