“Who is looking for me online?” is a question that’s asked more and more these days. And it makes total sense. It has become normal that someone looking for you online for one reason or another. He/she might want to do business with you, hire you, or go on a date.
Despite the promises of many websites, there is no easy way to determine if someone is looking for you online on. A personal site or profile with a social network may give some information about searches for you. If you’re seeking Internet publicity, you should promote yourself through a unique name in online activities such as blogging, a personal site and public membership in social networks.
The web is full of websites and services that provide your details to others, sometimes free, sometimes for a fee. 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 Looking for You Online?
1. Is Long Lost Family Searching for You?
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. 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.
2. Use Google Alerts
Want to know who has Googled you and looking for you online? 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.
3. Set Up a LinkedIn Profile
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 for you online, and why. Using the LinkedIn Premium service is a good way to get a handle on this. If for any reason you faced a problem and you wanted to delete your LinkedIn account, read our article to know how to do it.
4. 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 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 online?
5. Obituaries and Death Notices
Interestingly, a death and subsequent announcement can show people where you are. 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.