How Easy is it to Find Someone?

Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.
Last Updated: October, 1997

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How Easy is it to Find Someone?

Very easy. It can be cheap or expensive. Your preparation will affect your outcome.

Think for a moment about what you need to become "invisible" in the United States today. There are easy ways to create a temporary false identity. Illegal immigrants do this trick every day on street corners in Los Angeles. But to live in a normal community more than a few months at a time, you need to create a paper trail that will stand up to examination by folks who can trace where you've lived for at least seven years. If you can't pay for that kind of deep cover, then there are a lot of things you can never do again:

Any of these actions may require a social security number or cause the creation of a paper trail which a professional can use to find you. It is much harder to go underground now than it was in the 1960's. There are too many databases with your name and numbers in them. The more outwardly successful you are, the more numbers will trail you. Nobody living a normal life in an industrialized country today is hard to find.

I warn you as you begin, however, that you can't always trace somebody at a distance, in the anonymous comfort of your home. One private investigator has written about methods for tracing people by means of their paper trails. While reading Tracing Made Simple , think very hard before you decide to try this sort of thing yourself. The article prominently features the term "ruse." That's another way of saying that some PI techniques require your willingness to lie convincingly. Some techniques could place you in close physical contact with friends or associates of your search target. Not all techniques may be legal in all jurisdictions.

Go to "Good and Bad Reasons for Finding Someone"

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