Use Google's Keyword Tool To See Searches For Your Name
The first question you should ask is whether anybody is searching for you online. The best way to find this out is to ask Google, or more specifically, ask Google's AdWords Keyword Tracking Tool. This tool won't give you specific information about who's searching for what term; that information is something Google keeps strictly private, as it's technically a corporate secret. But what it will tell you is whether anybody is searching for you on the Internet. You will need to get creative, especially if your name is fairly common; you might want to add the town you're currently residing in, for example, or the company you work for. If you're not seeing any search volume for the term at all, that tells you that nobody is looking for you. But if you do see any, somebody might be poking around.
Check LinkedIn For Profile Searches
LinkedIn is, of course, a commonly used website for professionals to network and to help people locate a new job, former coworkers, and other useful professional resources. It also offers, although this is less commonly known, a tool to find out who's looking at your profile. The key downside of this tool is that you have to hope that whoever is looking for you has specifically configured their profile so you can see their name. Otherwise you'll only see anonymous data such as their title and industry. Savvy users will configure it to show no information at all. So it's not perfect, but still a useful tool for seeing if you're being searched for online.
Set a Trap
One of the most specific ways to do this, especially if you think it's one person trying to collect information, is to essentially lay a trap. There are several ways to do this, but the most effective is to build your own site with information you think whoever is looking for you might be hunting for and to install some tracking code on the site, generally available for free from sites such as StatTracker. The information about yourself is the bait, and when they see you have a new website, they'll show up, and then you'll be able to collect IP addresses, browser information, and other data you can potentially use to find your would-be researcher. IP addresses can be easily tracked online, and can be used as part of legal proceedings depending on the circumstances.
Be aware, however, that these tools are commonly used and that a clever web researcher will have tools that will "spoof" their IP address, meaning that the information you collect will be worthless.
If you just don't want to be found, ReputationDefender can help you protect your privacy. For example, we'll show you how to reduce the size of your Internet "footprint," leaving behind less information when you use websites, and remove your personal information from sites that sell it to anyone with a credit card. People may be looking for you online. Take control of what they see with ReputationDefender