Basic ways to find someone

To sue someone in small claims, you need to know where they are. You will need their address to put on the small claims forms and to have a place where someone can give them the court forms after they're filed.


Check with people they know

  • Family, friends, people they used to live or work with

Try to get their last address from the Post Office

  • If the person filed a change of address with the United States Postal Service (USPS), the USPS may give you the new address if it's only to be used to serve the person in a lawsuit. You will need to fill out a form with the USPS to ask for this.

Search online

  • Online phone directory (
  • Reverse phone directories (if you know their phone number)
  • Search their name online (Google, Facebook,, etc.)

Research county records

  • County Clerk-Recorder

    This county office keeps records about people and businesses in that county. You can find records on who owns a property or a business, or birth, marriage, and death certificates. 

  • Voter registration records

    If they registered to vote, the registrar of voters will have their address from when they registered to vote. If they later moved within the county, they may have the new address.

  • County Assessor's Office

    If they own property (real estate) in the county, that county will have a tax roll with the name and address of property owners.

Check jail and prison inmate locators

  1. Look up the inmate locator for the county where they may be in jail
  2. California prison
  3. Federal prison 
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