5 Easy Ways to Find Out Who’s Looking for You Online
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Someone is searching for you online. The web is full of websites and services that provide your details to others, sometimes free, sometimes for a fee.

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It’s an uncomfortable sensation to know that your personal data can be used to track you. While unlikely anyone who has Googled you would intend harm, it is useful to know who they are.

It might be a potential employer, former lover, or even a long lost relative. If someone is searching for you online, these are the five most likely ways they have of finding you.

Who Is Searching for Me Online?

If you’re concerned that someone might be looking for you, there is sadly no way of knowing who they are.

In most cases, however, you probably have a good idea. Friendly faces will probably turn up via Facebook. Others, however, are likely to find another way.

While it’s not possible to reveal who they are, you can at least use the same tools they’re using. So, while you can’t find out who searched for you on Google, you can set up alerts whenever your name appears on a website, in a forum, or on social networks.

From there, you should be able to trace the message back to the original poster and find out who they are.

1. Use Google Alerts

Use Google Alerts to check for discussion of you online

Want to know who has Googled you? The first thing to do is to set up a Google alert. It might seem somewhat self-absorbed, but this is genuinely the first step in playing it safe.

Just don’t tell anyone you’ve got an alert for your own name on Google Alerts…

Sign into Google and visit google.com/alerts. Here, enter your name in the alert box at the top of the page and click Create Alert.

Use the Show Options link to expand the view. This lets you set how often email alerts will arrive and where they should be delivered. You’ll see a preview of your alerts too, to give you an idea of how they will look.

Now, whenever Google spots your name on a website, news page, social media, forum, or blog post, it will send you an email alert!

2. Look for Social Mentions

Use Mention alerts to see if someone is trying to track you down online

Like Google Alerts, but focusing on social networks that might see mention of your name is Mention.com.

This is a web-based alert system that offers apps for Windows 10 and macOS, as well as Android and iPhone. Signup is free for the standard service, while Mention also offers a 14-day trial of the fully featured service.

Once you sign up, sign in and create an alert. You can choose up to four additional alerts, which in this case might be the names of close family members.

Click Get Started to proceed. Mention will start scanning sources, including blogs, forums and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

A default selection of sources is scanned initially; click the Edit alert button in the Mention dashboard to edit this.

The Mention dashboard lists all occurrences of your alert, which by default is sent to your email inbox. When an email is received, click the notification to instantly find out what context your name has been used in.

Is someone looking for you?

3. Set Up a LinkedIn Profile

Use LinkedIn to check if anyone is looking for you

A LinkedIn profile is incredibly useful for finding a new job. You might be a freelancer, an expert in your field or if you’re simply looking for a change of career.

However, a presence on LinkedIn means that you can be found.

Signing into the service will display a total of profile views for the current period. LinkedIn Premium members will see full details of those viewing them; the free account holders will only see a handful.

If someone is using LinkedIn to track you down, there is a good chance that it is for work-related reasons. On the other hand, you might like to know just who is looking, and why. Using the LinkedIn Premium service is a good way to get a handle on this.

4. Is Long Lost Family Searching for You?

Genealogy and other records sites can be used to find your location

Mawkish long-lost family reunions are TV ratings gold. They’re also often responsible for people trying to track down distant (or estranged) relatives for a reunion after many years.

Various websites exist that can be used to track you and your family down under the auspices of “family research”.

For example, adoption search sites (such as www.adopteeconnect.com) can be used to trace you, or your remote siblings. While no adoption agency would allow contact with individuals without permission, registering with one of these sites involves submitting consent.

Meanwhile, genealogy research behemoth www.ancestry.com has a vast database that could theoretically be used to track your current whereabouts.

It is, of course, one of many excellent online tools for researching your family tree 7 Online Resources to Trace the History of Your House 7 Online Resources to Trace the History of Your House The history of your house could hold remarkable stories for a future fireside story. Start your research with the help of these seven resources and sites that focus on family history. Read More . But like many of the tools we’ve mentioned here, it can be misused.

As an Ancestry member you receive notification if you have been added to other family trees. However, you cannot tell if anyone has checked yours or your ancestors’ details. It is possible to put a lock on your record, however, to prevent access by unrelated parties.

5. Obituaries and Death Notices

Interestingly, a death and subsequent announcement can show people where you are. Too busy being dead to care?

What if it was the passing of a loved one? Your mention in their obituary or death notice in the local press, replicated for the online edition, could place a big “I am here” notice about your head.

There are many people who share names, common and uncommon. Perhaps it won’t matter. But it’s worth taking care. After all, this information might be the last piece in the puzzle for someone trying to track you down.

It’s worth considering that the announcement of births and marriages in the press can also alert people to your location.

Use Alerts and Stay Aware!

People are always looking for you, be it friends, family, even fans. On the other hand, it might be debt collectors, potential employers, or even criminals.

There is no way to know who they are, so the smart option is to manage all interest in you. Five options are open to people trying to find you:

  • Google Alerts
  • Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Professional networking tools such as LinkedIn
  • Public record and genealogy sites
  • Obituary and death notices of relatives

Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to take advantage of your own website (should you own one) to direct contact attempts. Don’t have your own site? Use one of the many free services to create a modest homepage.

In the opposite situation and looking for details about an individual you know? Here’s where to find information on someone online How to Find Information on Someone Online: 7 Simple Steps How to Find Information on Someone Online: 7 Simple Steps Want to track a person down? The web has several powerful search tools and networks to help you find someone online. Read More .

Explore more about: Online Privacy, Online Security, Web Search.

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  1. Glenn
    October 29, 2018 at 10:10 am

    "Mention" isn't really a good one since it wants you to input a brand to monitor. This option should only be for professional purposes, NOT for personal motives.

    • Dan Gilliam
      March 8, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Yes,
      I just tried this. Mention WOULD NOT allow me to enter my name, it would only accept a business name so this is a bad resource.

  2. Soniya Siva
    June 5, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for this article. I am going to try all of these out! Academia.org gives you updates when you someone looks you up and sees your profile there too.

  3. Aluko Bukola
    May 6, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Google Alerts won't tell you if someone is searching for you using Google search or any other browser tool. Steph is right. You could try brandyourself.com

  4. Shannon Byrne
    November 3, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Hey Christian! Great article. Thanks so much for including Mention. Mention also actually catches web alerts, much like Google Alerts. :) Let me know if you have any questions!

  5. GDNY
    November 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    These are not bad if you are looking for "easy ways" of finding out if people are looking for you. But it does seem like a pretty light weight way of using the term. I wouldnt really suggest these tools as the most reliable if I knew situation consisted of someone being stalked, as in a domestic violence situation or identity theft. More serious circumstances would require more sophisticated notifications.

  6. Saikat Basu
    November 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    The first question you should ask is why is someone looking for you. It could be an endorsement for something you are doing right. Someone is searching for your specific skillsets. Someone likes your social updates.

    I am looking at it positively. It can also be a telltale sign of cyberstalking. So, investigating that is important and these tools help.

  7. Steph
    October 30, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    What an oddly misleading article title and into. Setting up a Google alert does not alert you if someone is *looking for* you. If anything, it would be a tip for keeping tabs on your online mentions and reputation... but that's not quite the same.

    I think this article seems to be more about who is actively trying to contact you and how to make it more easier to allow them to or for you to find out that they are. via automated services. In which case, you should possibly mention sites like "classmates . com" and the 'long lost relations' and 'missed connections' sections of classifieds and how to set up rules/subscriptions/feeds for those.

    You nearly were onto something good when you mentioned a personal website. You can use cookies on a personal website to find out who might have googled you. 'Cause your ex (or whoever) googling you might not think to go be on Tor when casually searching for you whilst they're sitting on teh can taking a dump and and they'd possibly not think that they'll be tracked if they click on the personal website of the person they're google stalking.

    Also, if you want to know all of the info about yourself being posted online, those Google alerts should not only be set to your name, but variations there of, usernames, email addresses and phone numbers. And be careful about how you share any of that info in the first place.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 31, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Setting up a Google Alert *would* tell you if someone was looking for you, assuming quite reasonably that they asked around on forums and community boards using your name. :)

      (And, actually, it does.)

    • myggirl
      November 1, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      I agree with you Steph. While Christian is technically correct, the most common form of searching for someone is a browser search tool. Oh wait, Google has one of those too. I am not aware of any tool outside the NSA :) that alerts you when a search engine queries specified parameters.

    • Anonymous
      December 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Google alerts will only tell you if someone writes about you. That's it.

  8. dragonmouth
    October 30, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Will Google Alerts alert you to Google looking at you?

    • Joe
      November 1, 2014 at 12:02 am

      Probably not, else it'd be notifying you every time you stepped near any Google service. ;)

  9. Mustafa Gaziani
    October 30, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Google alert is one of the best service of Google that alert us about new articles of targeted keyword.

    You've shared such a valuable post :)