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How to Track Down an Old Flame

Are you curious about the one that got away? Find out what happened to that long-lost love, and maybe even rekindle your old-school romance.

Instructions

  • : Stalking is a serious offense that is punishable by jail time.
  • Step 1: Contact their friends or family If you've still got connections to your flame's friends or family, drop a respectful letter or make a polite phone call. You never know -- they may just be willing to help you out.
  • Step 2: Optimize your Google search Go to Google to start your online research. Did you know you can guarantee a word will be included in your search results if you put a plus sign in front of it? Review Google's advanced search tips to optimize how you target your information.
  • Step 3: Troll the social sites You're probably already looking for your old flame on social- and business-networking sites like MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and ZoomInfo. Search multiple sites at the same time by using an uber-search engine like wink.com.
  • TIP: Messaging someone through a social-networking site is much less stressful than making cold calls.
  • Step 4: Try school-related spots Do you know the name of your long lost love's high school or college? Use a school-themed social-networking site like classmates.com or reunion.com.
  • Step 5: Search the "invisible web" Most search engines won't automatically look through databases and private sites, also known as the "invisible" or "deep" web. To access these deeper results, try searching with the keyword "database," or using a site like "pipl.com":http://pipl.com, which automatically combs the invisible web.
  • Step 6: Delve into the personal information sites If special someone is proving to be untraceable, try "zabasearch.com":http://zabasearch.com, an unbelievably thorough people finder that accesses listings for current and former addresses and phone numbers.
  • Step 7: Use a Firefox add-on Firefox offers a free add-on called "Who Is This Person?" Download the extension and highlight any name on a webpage. The program allows you to search that name on sites like Technorati, Yahoo, and Wikipedia.
  • Step 8: Hire a private detective If you keep hitting dead ends, consider hiring a private detective. Get recommendations, and make sure the PI is licensed, bonded, insured, experienced, and discreet. Also, be prepared to fork over a wad of cash.
  • Step 9: Make contact You've finally got the contact info! Now what? Writing an email or note gives you the time to plan out what you'd like to say, and has much less potential for disaster than an out-of-the-blue phone call.
  • FACT: A survey by classmates.com showed that 39% of its users have gone online to try to find an old flame.

You Will Need

  • Pen and paper
  • Firefox
  • Chutzpah
  • A private detective

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