Online detective 3.31.11


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Online detective 3.31.11

  1. 1. Be an Online Detective! Finding People and More Using Online Sources
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda <ul><li>The World of Online Public Records </li></ul><ul><li>Searching for People Using Online Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Protecting Your Personal Information Online? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Where Does FREE Online Personal Info Come From? <ul><li>Public Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drivers license records, campaign contributions . . . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Publicly Available Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone listings, professional directories . . . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Published Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Newspaper articles, death and wedding notices . . . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personally Provided Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog postings, social network sites . . . </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What Are Public Records? <ul><li>Public records are maintained by government agencies (federal, state, or local) as directed by law and made available to the public (e.g., occupational licenses) </li></ul><ul><li>Publicly available records are maintained by private agencies and made available to the public without restrictions (e.g., telephone listings) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Myths about Public Records <ul><li>All government records are public records </li></ul><ul><li>Certain categories of government records are always public records </li></ul><ul><li>All public records are freely and readily available to anyone </li></ul><ul><li>All public records are available online </li></ul>
  6. 6. Finding Illinois Public Records <ul><li>Few Illinois public records are available for free online </li></ul><ul><li>Private companies buy public records in bulk from Illinois agencies and resell them </li></ul><ul><li>Some resold public record information then shows up for free online </li></ul>
  7. 7. Illinois Public Records Available for Free Online <ul><li>Property Records (Cook County) </li></ul><ul><li>Business Registrations </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign Contributions </li></ul><ul><li>Sex Offenders and Inmates </li></ul>
  8. 8. Illinois Public Records NOT Available for Free Online <ul><li>Vital Records (Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates) unless 50+ years old </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal Records </li></ul><ul><li>Court Records, with minor exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Voter Registrations </li></ul><ul><li>Motor Vehicle Records </li></ul>
  9. 9. Property Records <ul><li>Cook County Assessor’s Office ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search by address to find PIN and photo of property </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cook County Treasurer’s Office ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search by PIN to find who owns a property </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. More Property Records <ul><li>Cook County Recorder of Deeds ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search by PIN to find mortgage information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search by name to see property owned by a person </li></ul></ul><ul><li> ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find estimated market values for homes </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Home Sales <ul><li>Chicago Tribune Home Purchases ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cook and surrounding counties only </li></ul></ul><ul><li> ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides home sale data to Chicago Tribune </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also has information on foreclosures, tax sales, bankruptcies, new businesses and homeowners </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Federal Campaign Contributions <ul><li>OpenSecrets Donor Lookup ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search by name for people who contributed $200 or more to a federal political campaign from 1990 to the present </li></ul></ul><ul><li>FundRace ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search by name or address for people who contributed $200 or more to the 2004, 2008, or 2010 federal elections </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Sex Offenders & Crime <ul><li>Illinois Sex Offender Information ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search for sex offenders by name or zip code </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chicago Crime Map ( ) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Vital Records <ul><li>Cook County Clerk’s Office Vital Records ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vital records can be requested in person, by mail, at currency exchange, or online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Request forms, fees, and ID required </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only related parties can request vital records less than 20 or so years old </li></ul></ul><ul><li>VitalChek ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Private company expedites records requests for a fee </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Old Vital Records <ul><li>FamilySearch ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good source for Cook County vital records 50+ years old </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Database of Illinois Death Certificates, 1916-1950 ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very basic information (name and date of death) for Illinois residents </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Why Are Some People Hard to Find? <ul><li>Some names are very common </li></ul><ul><li>Some people change their names or use variations on their names </li></ul><ul><li>Some people have unlisted numbers, nonpublished numbers, or just a cell phone </li></ul><ul><li>Some people are dead </li></ul>
  17. 17. Is Someone Dead? <ul><li>Social Security Death Index at Rootsweb ( ) or Ancestry ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unofficial Social Security Number Verification/ Decoding ( ) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Library Phone Directories <ul><li>ReferenceUSA ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stronger for business listings than residential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Residential information taken from print phonebooks—may be out of date! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for reverse look-ups and neighbor searches </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Library Phone Directories <ul><li>Masterfiles (ask at Reference Desk) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telephone numbers updated daily from phone companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes names and addresses for nonpublished numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must be searched by a Librarian </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Reverse Look-Ups <ul><li>Haines Criss-Cross Directories (print) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best source for reverse look-ups for Chicago and suburbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes names and addresses for nonpublished listings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phone Validator ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Indicates whether a phone number is from a cell phone or landline, its geographic area, and provider </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Melissa DATA ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do many different kinds of reverse look-ups from this page </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Cell Phone Numbers and Email Addresses <ul><li>No good way to get this information for free </li></ul><ul><li>Intelius ( ) sells email address and cell phone numbers on its website </li></ul><ul><li>Some people provide their email addresses on their own websites </li></ul>
  22. 22. Online People Finders <ul><li> ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides addresses, phone numbers, ages, and spouse’s names </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for reverse look-ups and neighbor searches </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Zabasearch ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides assorted addresses, phone numbers, and birth years from public record sources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Zoominfo ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides occupational info for people </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Fee Sites with Free Info <ul><li>Intelius ( ) and USSearch ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides ages, previous cities lived in, and lists of relatives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check Illinois ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preview search results for Illinois public records </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Spokeo ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes lifestyle information </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Major Social Network Sites <ul><li>Social networking sites allow people to post personal information with varying restrictions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MySpace ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friendster ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LinkedIn ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Professional and business oriented </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Meta Search Sites <ul><li>Search multiple public record and social networking sites at the same time from these sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pipl ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>iSearch ( ) </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Helpful Search Engine <ul><li>Yippy ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clusters search results into useful categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be helpful searching for people with common names </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Other Interesting Sites <ul><li>Teacher Salary Database ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See how much an Illinois public school teacher earns </li></ul></ul><ul><li> ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find someone’s date of birth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Smoking Gun ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>View public records on celebrity mishaps </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Collections of Useful Links <ul><li>Black Book Online ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many useful links for the amateur detective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BRB’s Free Resource Center ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collection of links to public record sites provided by major publisher of public records books </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Protecting Your Privacy <ul><li>Get a new phone number and make it unlisted or nonpublished </li></ul><ul><li>Check sites for their privacy settings before making personal posts </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware that anything you post online may be found by other people </li></ul>
  30. 30. Avoid Releasing Personal Information <ul><li>Be careful about releasing personal information to private companies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Warranty or product registration cards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sweepstakes or contest forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online coupon sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Read privacy policies of businesses and websites to see if they share your personal data </li></ul>