Anyone who is active online posting articles, stories, blog posts, pictures and even comments on social sites automatically creates a public profile. While it's nearly impossible to find out who has been searching for you online after a job interview, a date or a reunion with friends, it might be interesting to know if you were searched for and what the person viewed.
Google is one of the most popular search engines and will display everything you ever posted online. As an experiment, take a minute and use Google to search for yourself. Simply type your name in the search box and see what pops up.
What you'll find
If you've been active online for a while, there will be pages and pages of your publishing history. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. If your history is squeaky clean you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if anything in your history is on the dubious side, be aware that employers or potential employers can use it against you.
To enlist Google alerts to notify you that you've been searched, you need to set up an alert. To do this you must answer five questions:
If at any time you want to change your choices, you click the "Manage Alerts" button.
What Google alert provides
Whenever someone uses Google to search for your name, you will receive an alert. If you want to be more specific and be alerted whenever someone Googles a particular article, story or book you've authored, instead of your name you would specify that information in the first search box.
"Who Googled" helps
Using Who Googled is another way to find out who is interested in you. Visit whogoogled and type in your first name, your last name and your email address. If someone has been searching for you, what the person viewed will show.
Ziggs is a community network similar to Facebook but for professionals. To find out who has been searching for you, you need to create a profile including your name, email address, city and country. While Ziggs won't tell you who searched for you, the site will show you via a map where the searches are coming from.
If you ever feel threatened by someone or you suspect you have a stalker, the police can help. They have software that cuts through the red tape of privacy. If a computer was used to harass you, they can look up the IP address of the computer where the messages are coming from to determine the person's identity.
While you might not be able to obtain identities, you can control what you post. If you ever have second thoughts about any information, don't post it because it will be found and could come back to bite you.