In most countries of the world, a missing person is defined as anyone whose whereabouts are unknown, and remain unknown until located, whatever the circumstances of disappearance. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUS)
Over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year. Fortunately, many missing children and adults are quickly found, alive and well. However, tens of thousands of individuals remain missing for more than one year – what many agencies consider “cold cases”.
To have someone you know or care about reported as “missing” can definitely be a terrifying moment in life, especially when you don’t know whether or not they’re safe or even alive. That’s why taking action as quickly as possible can save their lives and help them be safe.
A common belief is thinking that only the police can be the key in finding a missing person, but in a lot of these cases, the support and help of family members, loved ones, and even acquaintances can be life-saving in finding those who are far away from their homes and in need to be found.
We’ve gathered a few steps and actions you can take to help find a missing person in your area, starting from contacting the police, to posting flyers, and even sharing a secure end-to-end encrypted platform that could be the key to resolving a missing person’s case.
If you think or are certain that a loved one is missing, please contact the police and report your loved one as missing as soon as possible because the first 48 or even 72 hours of disappearance are crucial in finding them. Gather as much information as possible and tell them all you know about the person missing.
Some people prefer to have their most private and personal information safe and ready at all times, which could mean they potentially have an “If I Go Missing” Folder. But, you may be asking yourself, what is an “If I Go Missing” Folder? Well, an If I Go Missing File or folder, is essentially a set of data that can be used to help locate you in the event you go missing, there you store your most valuable and personal information, like emergency contacts, physical characteristics, fingerprints, recent photos of yourself, medical and dental records, and so much more.
A common belief is thinking that a physical “If I Go Missing” folder is the way to go. However, picture this. You go missing and no one is sure what your most frequently visited places are or even your last location, no one knows your exact height and weight or social media accounts’ details, no one is even sure what you would want them to do if you ever go missing.
No one else can get access to that type of information other than yourself because you have that physically stored somewhere. And having that information in physical form can not only be extremely dangerous for you but for them as well, especially if you live far from family and/or you’re constantly moving from one place to another.
That’s why we highly recommend you and your loved ones, the people you care about, have a digital “If I Go Missing” folder. HelpYouFind.Me’s digital “If I Go Missing” File, is completely end-to-end encrypted, and only accessible to you and those you choose to share this sensitive information with. You set some rules that your loved ones have to follow in order to access your information, such as the period time they have to wait to get access to it.
The digital If I Go Missing File lets you securely share all your most valuable information through encryption keys and unique passwords only you know. However, once in the platform (which you can log in from your cellphone or computer), you choose who to share all the private data you periodically upload with, such as pictures, trip details, flight itineraries, digital files copies, and current location via our Telegram HYFM Bot.
Check out our blogs: “5 reasons why you should have and If I Go Missing” folder and “The ultimate "If I go missing" folder template and checklist” to know more in-depth about this life-saving important safety tool.
Getting the map of the last few days of someone who is currently missing can be really hard, that’s why, if possible, you can reach out and get in contact with other common friends, neighbors, relatives, and even acquaintances who may have or may have not seen that person in the last couple of days.
Visit the places they frequently visited over the past couple of months, and ask local businesses to hang flyers and information about that person missing. You can also print more flyers and posters to give out and hang on walls and light posts.
A more immediate way nowadays is to spread the word over social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where there are even accounts dedicated to finding missing persons. Also, contacting local news or local media could get help get more broad coverage and alert people in case they’ve seen them.
If a loved one is missing for an unknown reason, you can also visit nearby hospitals, churches, shelters, and libraries, they could be there, and if not, at least you let them know that person is missing so they can help if in the near future if the missing person end up showing up there.
There are a lot of organizations whose entire mission is to help find missing people, here we share a few of those with their corresponding website, where you’ll find further information.
- National Missing And Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) - Center for Missing and Exploited Children - National Runaway Safeline - Missing People UK
If you ever feel too overwhelmed or worried about a missing person’s case, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the previously mentioned organizations or even seek another professional help. We know being in this scenario is possibly one of the most terrifying and traumatic things you could go through as a family member, relative, friend, acquaintance, or even the missing person itself, that’s why it’s never too extreme to be ready in case it ever happens with an “If I Go Missing” file.
We hope this guide serves as a help to find a missing person in your area wherever you are or even bring comfort in knowing there are a few steps to follow and sites or platforms that are ready and focused to help you through this process.
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