Going Online to Find Offline Offenders
by Julie Posey



 My primary area of expertise is locating pedophiles that lure children into
meeting them face-to-face with intent to molest them. Lately I have been
getting a lot of e-mail and a lot of phone calls from parents involved in
custody battles, concerned about a friend, teacher, neighbor or someone that
their child is associated with. They are telling me, "I know this person is
a pedophile but I can't prove it. Is there a way that he could be on the
Internet doing something illegal?"

The Internet has unquestionably become a widely used method by offenders of
all types to make contact with others sharing his or her same interests and
it enables them to have easier access to victims. In my undercover
conversations with sexual offenders, many of them describe details of
experiences they have had with children that they know. Some have told me
that they have abused the paper girl, the babysitter, the boy who mows the
lawn and others they have come in contact with.

When I receive information about a person that is possibly involved in
illegal activity offline, I go to the Internet to see what information if
any, is online about them. The first thing that I do is try to locate an
e-mail address or a Web page. I know of police officers that receive a
report of a child being assaulted and they go to the Internet to see if
there is any evidence of more victims.

Check to see if they are the owner of a domain by going to Network Solutions
at http://www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois You can search by an
individual's first and last name or by company name.

Many Internet service providers include a certain amount of space for a Web
page with the user's account and there are also numerous places where one
can set up a free Web page. Check some of these links:

Angelfire Member Pages http://www.angelfire.lycos.com/
Search by username or keyword to find a user's home page

Tripod Member Pages http://www.tripod.lycos.com/
Search by keyword, username or real name

Prodigy Members http://pages.prodigy.com/
Searchable by keyword

Geocities Members http://geocities.yahoo.com/home/
Often people use the same user ID in Geocities that they use in Yahoo!

AOL Members http://hometown.aol.com/
Search by keyword, username or real name

If you have the person's street address or telephone number, you can do a
reverse search to see what names are associated with that phone number or
see what phone number is associated with that address. Here are some links
that offer reverse phone and address searches:

Infospace http://www.infospace.com

WhoWhere http://www.whowhere.lycos.com/

World Pages http://www.worldpages.com/

5551212.com http://www.555-1212.com/

WhitePages.com http://www.whitepages.com/


Using a person's e-mail address, real name or phone number, you can search
to see if he or she has posted any articles to Usenet Newsgroups.
One of the best sources for searching within the Newsgroups is DejaNews.com
at http://www.deja.com/usenet/ Many times people will post items that they
would like to sell or information about their interests in newsgroups.

Try searching in the meta search engines for a name, phone number or e-mail
address. Many companies, organizations, associations and clubs post
membership information or directory information online and include an e-mail
address. Frequently information can be acquired about a person by using the
tools available at the major search engine sites. Here are some sites to

Altavista http://www.altavista.com
Google http://www.google.com
Dogpile http://www.dogpile.com
Populus http://www.populus.net/
Internet Address Finder http://www.iaf.net/
Starting Point http://www.stpt.com/
World E-mail Directory http://www.worldemail.com/
Bigfoot http://bigfoot.com/
Metacrawler http://www.metacrawler.com/index.html
Ahoy http://ahoy.cs.washington.edu:6060/
Six Degrees http://www.sixdegrees.com
Mamma http://www.mamma.com/


Many Internet users will use some form of chat software. Search the chat
member directories to see if the person has any information about themselves
in an online profile. Here are two of the popular chat programs and links to
search those directories:

ICQ http://www.icq.com
Yahoo! Instant Messenger http://profiles.yahoo.com

One last thing that you might want to try is using one of your public record
databases to do a Social Security Trace and search for an alias. I had
trouble finding a man one time and found out that he was using a completely
different name and a mail drop in another state.

Copyright: 2000, Julie Posey
All rights Reserved.