Investigation and Security Blog

Information Sources of the Private Investigator

Private_Investigator_Resources_cropped Knowing where to find information is only the first part of developing an intelligence picture

A large portion of investigative work today is done online, making use of various databases and services to put together a picture before initiating interviews or some form of surveillance.An experienced analyst will ferret out small items within these online resources to separate the signal from the noise, and provide a thoughtful report upon which the investigation can be built upon.

As an example, let's say we are trying to locate the home address of a retired medical doctor.It is well known where his practice was, but his home address is not immediately available online Like most prominent professionals, he preferred to separate his professional and personal lives.In reality, the more successful a person is, the easier it is to locate them.Throughout their career, small pieces of data is recorded which creates an easy trail. Knowing only the person's name and the fact that he is retired, search engines don't reveal anything to reveal his home address.

County property records are very helpful and usually are available online to the general public.Entering the person's name with the middle initial, three results with the same name are returned to us, along with addresses and assessed tax values.The middle initial can make a big difference, in this case it whittled the potential results from 44 to 3.

Guess which one is the doctor's house?

A retired doctor would likely reside in a higher end house, so either the $810K or the $602K would be possibilities in Texas.The property records also list the property's co-owners, such as the spouse.One of the properties is associated with a name that would have been popular for someone in their 60s, so we examine that property first.Placing the person's name along with the spouse into a search engine leads us to a speaking engagement that person was participating in, which posted the person's biography.Suddenly we have a lot more information about the person: the associations they belong to, career history, where they went to school, even the names of their spouse and children.We also confirm which property our person resides at!

Most investigations to locate people are not nearly so straightforward. Harder to find people will require more extensive online searches and analysis, and even proactive methods which will be discussed in a future post. 

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