Find People -> Phone

How To Find People

By: Steven Gillman

How do you find people? That depends on whether they are trying to hide or not. Even if they don't want to be found, most people are creatures of habit, and so they leave clues.

For example, even if a man is willing to give up his name, and move far away, he is rarely willing to change who he is. If he is a bowler he will still want to bowl. Thus, if you have an idea about which city he moved to, you can call bowling alleys there to get information on new league members. If I were to move and change my name, you could still probably find me where people gather to play chess. Habits can predict behavior and location.

However, most of the time, people aren't really trying to hide - or not trying very hard. They may have left town and keep their phone number unlisted, but didn't changed their name. How do you find such people quickly? Here is one technique.

Find People With Phone Pretexts

Suppose you want to find John. Start by call any phone numbers you have for him. If you get an answer, ask for John. If he has moved, you want to get any information you can from the person on the line. To do this, use basic phone pretexts.

Phone pretexts are useful stories, otherwise known as lies. A pretext could be as simple as "Hi, this is Max. I'm a friend of John's from work. Do you know where I can find him, or a number where I can reach him?" Of course, you will have to be prepared for a question or two, like "What do you need to reach him for?"

Have a story ready, using whatever you know about John to make it as plausible as possible. If, for example, you know where he worked, and that he was always listening to music, you might say that you have a pile of borrowed CDs to return. Practicing your story, and considering other questions that may arise from it helps too.

Then there are the more complicated pretexts. One of these might involve a temptation like, "I have a check for $500 John. He won the contest here in our store and I can't seem to find him. If you have his address, I can just drop it in the mail today." Again, have a story ready that answers the likely questions.

If the person you are talking to refuses to help or claims not to know where John is, give them your number. Tell them to have John call if they see him or talk to him. If the story is plausible, John may wonder if there really is a $500 check, and he has to call to find out. Even if he blocks caller ID, he may tell you where he is or drop clues once you have him on the phone.

Always try to get any information you can while you have someone on the phone. John's brother may refuse to give you an address or phone number, but he might mention the city that John has moved to. Keep him talking, and ask him who else might help you. Then call those people.

You have to decide for yourself when a phone pretext is justified. If you are not comfortable with an outright lie, you could just mysteriously claim that "I need John to call me. here is the number." (Be sure it isn't one he'll recognize if he is hiding from you). Any way you do it, using the phone is one of the easiest, fastest and least expensive ways to find people.

Copyright Steve Gillman. Discover more ways to find people in Chapter 11 of You Aren't Supposed To Know - A Book Of Secrets. For more information, and to get a free "secrets" course, visit:

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