Find the Address of a Defendant
Updated: Oct 29
It is important to have an updated address for the person you are looking to sue, as that's where you will be sending your demand letter and serving your court papers.
If you don’t know the defendant’s (the person you are suing) address, try using one of the below methods, depending on what you know about the defendant.
If the defendant has moved: Address a letter to them at their last known address. Below your return address, write “Address Correction Requested – Do Not Forward.” If there is a new address on file with the post office, the letter will be returned to you with the new address. If you have specific questions regarding the change of addresses or forwarding addresses, call the U.S. Post Office Customer Service hotline: 1-800-275-8777.
If the person you are seeking owns property: A search of the tax rolls could help you find the defendant’s home or business address. Search for the defendant’s name with the recorder’s or the assessor’s office of the county or municipality where you believe the defendant resides. Some recorder’s and addressor's offices have online directories you can search without going to their office in person. You can find the address and telephone number of the recorder’s or assessor’s office for the country or municipality in the government pages of your phone book or by searching online.
If you have a post office box listing for the defendant: You can request the name, street address, and phone number of the holder of a post office box from the post office online at www.usps.com. (Click on “Locate a Post Office” in the upper right-hand corner. Under the drop-down menu for “What are you trying to locate?”, select the option “PO Boxes Available” and search by either ZIP Code or address. The website will produce a list of the closest post offices along with post office box information for each office. Information includes availability by box size and six-month box fees, as well as standard address and phone and fax numbers for each listed office. Click on “More Info” under each post office for additional details, including post office box lobby hours. If you cannot find the post office box information online you will need to go to your local post office and fill out a form to request the information.
If you have the defendant’s telephone number: A reverse telephone directory may provide the address. Reverse directories can be found at your local library and online through a variety of platforms.
If you have no other information, try to use the internet to find information on the defendant by typing their name into a search engine. You should be wary about obtaining information online, however, because more than one person with the same name may come up in a general search. There are also numerous specific online people finder platforms. The accuracy and quality of the information they provide vary wildly. Always try to confirm any information you find using one of the other methods listed here.
Finally, for a fee, private investigators can help you find information on the defendant. Many investigators are listed online or in the Yellow Pages.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR JUSTICE JOURNEY?
The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers resolve their dispute and get their money back, both in and out of court. The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court. JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:
Understand the legal process;
Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
Generate small claims court forms; and,
Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.
*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.