7 Easy Ways to Find Out Who’s Searching for You Online
Someone is looking for you online – and they’re probably going to find you. The web is full of websites and services that provide your details to others.
It’s an uncomfortable sensation to know that your personal data can be used to track you. While it is 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. But how would you know if someone is searching for you on the internet?
Who Is Searching for Me Online?
Wondering how sites like MyLife and PeekYou know who is searching for you? Simple: they don’t. It’s just a collection of aggregated data, pulled from various sources. The data is presented as “who is searching” but really, MyLife does nothing you can’t do yourself.
To learn who is searching for you online, use these methods:
- Set up a Google Alert
- Look for mentions on social media
- Set up a LinkedIn profile
- Check Facebook interactions
- Use Twitter Analytics
- Check genealogy sites
- Consult recent obituaries
Let’s look at each of these in more depth, so you can find out if someone is searching for you on the internet.
1. Who Has Googled You? Use Google Alerts
There is no way to know if you’ve been Googled, and you can’t know how many times your name has appeared in search results. However, you can use Google Alerts to find some answers.
An alert looking for your own name might seem somewhat self-absorbed, but it’s the first step in playing it safe. To do this:
- Sign in to Google
- Visit google.com/alerts
- Enter your name in the alert box
- Click Create Alert.
- Click Show Options to expand the view
Here you can 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.
As mentioned, Alerts won’t tell you how often your name has been Googled. However, whenever Google spots your name on a website (including news pages and social media), it will email an alert.
2. Look for Social Mentions
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 desktop and mobile, and offers a free 14-day trial. Once you sign up, sign in and create an alert (tracking your name).
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, but alerts can be edited.
The Mention dashboard lists all occurrences of your alert, which by default is sent to your email inbox. This will show mentions of your name and help establish if someone is looking for you.
3. Set Up a LinkedIn Profile
A LinkedIn profile is incredibly useful for finding a new job or career.
However, a presence on LinkedIn means that you can be found. Signing in to the service will display a total of profile views for the current period. Additional features for LinkedIn Premium members include the ability to see who has viewed their profile. Free account holders are limited to just a handful.
LinkedIn will display your profile views with the following information:
- Profile picture
- Job role
- Company/Business name
- Connection type
- Time since they viewed your profile
So, if someone is using LinkedIn to track you down, it is probably 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 do this. Unlike other options, it will display who has searched for you, provided they are a LinkedIn member.
4. Check Facebook Interactions to Learn Who Is Looking for You
Facebook doesn’t tell you who has viewed your profile, right? Well, that’s half right. While there is no obvious, explicit way to spot who has checked you, Facebook does provide clues as to who has searched for you.
While Facebook’s algorithm for displaying which friends have viewed your profile, elements like photo tagging, profile views, and currently online contacts are all believed to impact who is displayed.
It’s imprecise, but you can at least discern which contacts are interested in looking for you online.
Meanwhile, if you use the Facebook Story feature, you can check who has viewed the post. After posting a story and waiting for it to collect a few views, open the story post and click the eye icon. This will list the names of the friends and other connections who viewed the post.
Sadly, it can’t tell you how many times your name been searched on Facebook.
5. Learn Who Is Searching for You With Twitter Analytics
You can also go in-depth on Twitter to find out who is looking for you online. You probably already know that you can check the usernames of people who like or retweet your posts. Unless they have their account locked or hidden, those interactions are recorded for you to check.
But what about beyond that? Other interactions, such as people searching for you or browsing your record of tweets are not recorded. However, you can use the Twitter Analytics screen (More > Creator Studio > Analytics) to learn more. This displays your top tweets and top followers. While not hugely revealing, it might be useful to spot a follower you were otherwise unaware of.
It could perhaps be an indicator of someone who is searching for you online…
6. Is Long Lost Family Searching for You?
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.adopted.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 is a site intended for researching your family tree. It has a vast database that could theoretically be used to track your current whereabouts.
Sadly, Ancestry 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.
As a security measure you can lock your Ancestry record to prevent access by unrelated parties.
7. 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 over 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 searched for you, so the smart option is to manage all interest in you. Several options are open to people trying to find you:
- Google search
- People finding websites like PeekYou
- 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, if you’re looking for someone online, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps. If the person you’re looking for is online, you’ll probably find them.