What’s the cheapest way to conduct a USA People Search?

When you consider what the cheapest way to conduct a people search is there are a number of different ways to try. We’ve outlined some of the most common approaches and their various pros and cons below.

Search Engine Searches

Cost: Free
Reliability: Fair
Difficulty: Easy
Time Involved: Sometimes instant, but can vary

GoogleRunning a USA people search seems like a pretty simple proposition in the internet age.  Pop their name in Google, maybe include a city/state and go. And, sometimes that works – Google or Bing complete your USA People Search in just a click.

Or, you might try social media – such as Facebook or Instagram – to run your  Free USA people search.  Lots of people seem more than happy to open up their lives to the internet in this way and – one friend request later – you’re reconnected.  Even for those not particularly interested in sharing their personal lives, a business-related social media site, like LinkedIn, may net you pictures and a basic resume.

The problem is that not everyone uses social media and even those that do may not include any personal information (or even use the same name you know them by). Other Google and Bing results are also clouded with tons of competing “noise.” There’s so much information on the internet and so many people in the world. Trying to sort through it to find the correct information can be challenging and time consuming.

Government (Public) Records

Cost: Free – $100+
Reliability: Good
Difficulty: Hard
Time: Varies, but typically time consuming

cheapest way to conduct a People SearchThere is a lot of information about most people in the US that are stored in county or state government records, some portions of which are a matter of public record.  The information is generally very reliable and is often used as a basis for credit checks and other legally permissible background information uses.

As far as USA people search results go, the records themselves are pretty much the gold standard. The problem is getting your hands on this information – or even knowing where to start. If you knew the county to start searching in, you probably wouldn’t need to be using a people finder website to begin with!  On top of that, many county records are not available online, which means a physical trip along with the administrative costs associated with that. Unless you’re a private investigator, you’re probably not going to want to touch this route.

Private Investigators/Lawyers

Cost: $100-$300
Reliability: Very Good
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: Varies, but often weeks – if not months

cheapest way to conduct a People SearchMany private investigators specialize in finding people – also known as “skip-tracing.”  They typically utilize certain specialized investigative databases that draw on public records and other sources of people information and utilize other investigative techniques to gather as much information as possible about the whereabouts – and background of your subject.

The USA people search results you’ll get may vary depending on the skills of your investigator/lawyer but will generally be extremely comprehensive (as you would expect it to be for the price!) yet we remain one of the cheapest ways to conduct a People Search.

People Finder Websites

Cost: Around $10 and up
Reliability: Very Good
Difficulty: Easy
Time: Instant

cheapest way to conduct a People SearchPeople finder companies specialize in delivering the USA people search results most people need.  This includes everything from a current address and phone number to criminal records, to certain types of property/asset information.

Many will even include neighbor and possible relative information so you can have more leads in your search if your USA people search subject has recently moved.  The results delivered are based on available public records, so it’s similar to what private investigators use and what you would get by checking government records.  Most offer preview information so you can be sure you’ve got the right person before ordering your report – and the USA people search report is generated instantly.


While there are a number of different options out there for running a USA people search, if a simple Google/Bing search doesn’t do the trick, the most efficient and cost-effective way is to use the People Finder Websites. No, it’s not free, but they are an unbeatable value when you absolutely have to find someone.

Through our partnership with PeopleFinders.com USA Trace delivers our Customers Industry-Leading data by combining over 43 Billion Verified Public Records giving you the most comprehensive Background, Criminal, People, Marriage and Divorce Checks available Online.

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Cheapest People Search FAQs

How can I find someone for free without charges?

The easiest way to find someone for free is first to determine what state they’re in.  To do this, you can run a public records search and take a look at the free preview results (you can do this right here at USA Trace).  The top city and state listed is the most recent location associated with the person.  Then, Google the person using the name and city and state (e.g. John Smith Boston Massachusetts).  You may be able to find a phone number or place of employment based on your search.

How do I find someone for free on the Internet?

Most people have some kind of online footprint – and the most likely source for this is social media.  Facebook tends to have older people (40+), Instagram tends toward a slightly younger demographic, and LinkedIn is best for any kind of white collar professional person.  Don’t forget Pinterest and Twitter as they are also widely used and – if you don’t have any success searching for the person directly – try social media for someone that you know is close to the person and try asking them for leads.

How can I find someone with just their name?

We recommend trying our public records search or a background check to start with, using the last state you know that they lived in (even if it’s been 20 years or more).  With the preview results, between the person’s age and the people associated with them (which includes relatives and roommates), you should be able to to confirm the profile related to the person and can download a report, which includes current contact information (and much more).

Can someone tell if you look at their Facebook pictures?

No – the only way you can give away that you’ve been looking at someone’s Facebook pictures is if you react to the photo (e.g. with a “like”) or comment on it.  Facebook business accounts can see how many people have viewed a particular post, but it is anonymized by Facebook, so even they don’t know exactly who has engaged with their pictures.

Can you see who searches for you on Google?

Unfortunately not.  If there are people searching for you enough on a regular basis, Google may start to register statistics so you can see how many times you’re being searched per month.  However, you will not be able to see exactly who is searching for you on Google (or other search engines).

Related Posts
1. Is it possible to run a Free USA People Search?
2. Why do people finder websites charge so much to run a USA people search?
3. What will I get with a USA people search by address?