Tips for Finding Long Lost Friends of the '80s

Whether it’s to laugh about those funny neon jumpsuits you wore in the '80s or simply to sing along to some old pop music, bumping into an old friend is always entertaining. There’s always that one friend that you haven’t seen in years and wish you could reconnect. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. Without creating the opportunity to reunite with the person, chances are you may never get the chance to reconnect.

Fortunately, with the internet and other tools at your disposal, finding an old friend may not be as challenging. If they have a particularly unusual name, you might get away with just searching their full name, but with common surnames like Smith, you’ll have to add some other keyword to the Google search box. You can always try their husband or wife, children, their occupation, the company they last worked with or even a regular activity you recall them doing, such as bowling or dancing. Different combinations of these keywords might help.

There's a huge amount of online information that Google can't see, because you need to log in or because the designers have deliberately made it hard for a search engine's 'spiders' to crawl through it and see what's there.

Pipl catalogs this information and concentrates on people, so all you have to do is enter a name and location to see what comes up. The location is really helpful, because like a lot of personal search tools it has vastly more data about people in the USA than anywhere else.

Try a reverse image search with Google or TinEye

Google’s reverse image search may also bring up some results if you have a photo of them. This feature looks for similar photos on the internet and shows you the website it is taken from, which could lead you closer to finding them.

Go to Google Images and click on the camera icon. Click on Upload an image, select the image and click the Search by image button. Google will then try to find any photos that match or look similar.

TinEye is another reverse image search tool with an index of more than three billion images that can also give you alerts if it finds your image or something similar.

Use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 

Facebook has more than 2 billion users, so it’s well worth using it to find someone. But remember some people keep their profile private, so they may not come up in searches.

Start by simply typing their name in the top search bar on Facebook. Depending on how many results appear, you can scroll through the list, paying close attention for a familiar image of the person.

Narrow the search down according to any mutual friends, location, education or workplace. Do this by clicking on People in the top menu.

Conduct a background check 

When buying a background check, it’s important to get the most complete information possible, and Intelius’ reports are some of the most comprehensive and accurate we saw. It also has reasonable prices and subscription and single-report buying options, making it a better option than Spokeo for complete background checks and our choice for the top company overall

Founded in 2003 by former InfoSpace executives, Washington-based Intelius provides information services like background checks, reverse phone lookup, and criminal records searches. The company holds an A grade with the BBB and has fulfilled orders for over 50 million background reports over its history. Intelius provides services online and via apps for Android and IOS.

Intelius offers several different services that typically report on the same information, with some variation. In general, we found that the information in an Intelius report is basic and less extensive compared to the reports from many other services, including our top three choices—BeenVerified, Truthfinder, and Instant Checkmate. That difference, especially in combination with the more expensive services, is why Intelius is not one of our top recommended background check services.

Intelius has one of the largest selections of search options on the market, great if you want your report to contain a very specific data set. People search, background check, criminal check and reverse lookup are further subdivided into even more specific types of search, from criminal court records checks to social media checks and everything in between.

The majority of customer complaints about Intelius seem to revolve around billing problems. Although the company clearly states on its billing page that customers will be charged on a monthly basis if they do not cancel after the trial, many report not being aware of this before purchase. Intelius has a detailed and searchable help section on its website where customers can get answers to questions about their reports, accounts, website features and billing. The company's customer service phone number is listed in the checkout process. It is also on the receipt email and in the "how do I cancel my membership" Help section.

Intelius' screening services are second to none. The company is able to search literally billions of public records and provide some of the most comprehensive and accurate background checks out there. The company's database is routinely updated to ensure information is up to date. What's more, Intelius' reports have an extremely intuitive layout and are easy to read and reference. They can include a person's detailed criminal history, tax liens, bankruptcies, court rulings, education and employment history, marriage and divorce records, aliases, relatives, and associated phone numbers and emails if the information is available. Intelius provided the most detailed background reports of all the companies we evaluated.

The information in Intelius’ database comes from various data sets sourced from federal, state, county and local records. The system is unable to turn up information about people outside of the US. However, if someone did spend time in the US at some point - even for a short period - and there’s a record of it, Intelius should be able to find at least some information for you. What’s more, it can also turn up unlisted numbers, as these may still form part of public records even though they’re not on the phone directory.

Good luck with your search!

Headline image via Planetottertail

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