OSINT Tools for General Research, People Investigation, Background Checks

Dawn Lomer, a communications manager at i-Sight Software, recently compiled a list of open-source intelligence tools for a variety of applications.

For general OSINT research, she recommends using search engines. While she notes that Google is a great starting point, there are other search engines to choose from, including Ask, Bing, Dogpile, Gigablast, Mozbot, Sputtr and Yahoo.

Some alternatives such as Oscobo, Qwant and StartPage allow users to stay anonymous while they conduct their research.

To dig more information about certain people, Lomer suggests using Black Book Online, which hosts free public records like arrest warrants, cell numbers, court records, property records and criminal records.

An online tool, called Phonebook of the World, has a database of residential and business numbers and a listing of businesses while BeenVerified has options for reverse phone number search and email, address and vehicle lookup.

For searching social media profiles, Lomer points to Blogspot, Chatty Heads, Classmate, Flickr, LinkedIn, Instagram, MySpace, OurTime, Pinterest, ReverbNation, Sportstats, Tagged, Trendsmap and WordPress.

There are tools for searching classified listings as well. Such tools can help out in theft investigations when a target may be trying to sell a stolen item online, for instance, Lomer said. Some examples are Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, VendAnything, SaleSpider, OLX and PicClick.

Lomer’s list also includes tools for performing background checks. 

BRBPublications is a portal for public records with free resources in all U.S. states. LittleSis, on the other hand, has a database detailing the connections between powerful people and organizations. 

When conducting due diligence, investigators can look at OSINT business search sites. The Securities and Exchange Commission website has a search option for looking up company filings. Another website, called Corporate Information, has financial information on over 35,000 companies worldwide. 

For specialized searches, Lomer recommends tools such as CourtReference, dnsLytics, EarthCam, National Sex Offender Registry, PageGlimpse, What Is My IP Address, Webboar and Whoisology.