Finding classmates online

By: Fred Appleyard

People are finding themselves frustrated and unsure where to turn when searching for old classmates, lost relatives, old friends or other people whom they have gotten out of touch with. The internet has certainly opened many new opportunities for finding classmates and other people. Back in the pre web days, prior to 1990, searching for somebody who's really hard to find would often require the expensive services of a private investigator, and even they weren't always successful and kept your money.

If you're like most people, you will probably first contact your old school or alumni association, except this is not always successful. People move, marry & remarry, or in some cases leave the country all together, and very few classmates who move far away keep in contact or leave forwarding information. Calling directory assistance is usually a waste of time. If the classmates are currently active in the work force, there's a chance they will have their resume posted somewhere online, so a search for their name at Google, Yahoo and MSN might find them. One of most common problems encountered in a person search is, not knowing the person's exact middle name. Many person searches turn up multiple people with the same first and last name and the same middle initial. You can try process of elimination and email or call each one individually, but this can be embarrassing for some.

Most people don't mind but be prepared to deal with some rude people. In extreme cases some have hired a private investigator but this is a very expensive option and there may not be a money back guarantee if unsuccessful, so this could be a big waste of money that's not even tax deductible.

Avoid the temptation of doing business with some of the popular classmate finder sites. Some of these use misleading or deceptive advertising, claiming a “Free" trial membership, and you're usually asked for your credit card as soon as you attempt to send a message to a classmate, or look up their information which may or may not yield any results. Upon creating your free account and answering a few questions, you are provided with a link to page where you see a list of familar names of old classmates, and sometimes teachers with an option to send them a message, except after having composed your message, and clicking Send, you are taken to page where you are asked for your credit card information. Some people, excited about making contact with long lost friends, against their better judgment, pull out their credit cards and give them what they want. Many people have found themselves being fraudently billed and ripped off.

A few of your old classmates from high school more than likely remained in your home town, but most have moved to other states, possibly other countries, or might be homeless, serving in the US military in Iraq or Afghanistan, deceased, or possibly doing time in jail or prison! The old high school bully who was captain of the football team might be sitting in jail or prison today.

Most of the popular people search sites access just a few public databases, so many person searches yield results for the wrong person, or else fail all together. There is literally an astronomical number of public records, located in thousands of public records databases throughout the country - court records, voting records, motor vehicle/aircraft/boat titles etc. just to mention a few, on every human being who's a citizen or legal resident alien. The problem is these are located in a patchwork of thousands of jurisdictions county, local, state, throughout America.

While the Internet has certainly opened many great opportunities for tracking down people, it remains nevertheless a daunting taskFree Web Content, without the knowledge or proper tools for conducting effective searches.

Your best bet may be to try an honest low-cost people search tool such as Net Detective. Visit http://www.beyourowndetective.com to learn more.

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