private investigators

How Does a Private Investigator Find a Person of Interest?

A private investigator may be called upon to help a client find a missing person for many reasons, whether it be searching for a lost family member, friend, spouse or even an adoptee or birth parents. A PI has many tools in his or her proverbial tool belt for finding missing persons and use several different tactics while doing so. While it may look glamorous and easy on television and in blockbuster movies, searching for a missing person requires a lot of heavy lifting through research. As a matter of fact, Investigation Hotline receives lots of missing persons and financial services requests that we must research and investigate thoroughly.

To get their search started, a client should disclose every piece of information they have on the person of interest (POI), which could be as simple as a name or as valuable as a past address. Some of the tools a private investigator will use to find a POI include:

1) Court records. Court records date back many years and can provide investigators with a wealth of information if the POI has been involved in a civil or a criminal case.

2) Internet search. While it may seem obvious, the internet is a private investigator’s best friend. PI’s have the skills and the knowledge to use the internet effectively to find related web pages, links, comments, resumes or search history that can be vital in finding someone. Information that has been deleted from the internet can still be found. A PI will often begin their search here.

3) Investigative databases. Private investigators have insider access to public and private databases that can provide details on public records, social network data and phone information all in one place. Public records often include valuable information on business details and records, property transactions and government records. Government records specifically can lead to security records, military records, lobbyist records and government contract information. A PI uses these databases frequently and is able to sort through them carefully.

4) Vehicle registrations. If this information is publicly available, a PI can learn what model and year of car a POI is driving, which can be very useful for surveillance.

5) Interviews. A PI will never fail to interview people related to the person of interest, including family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances in social groups or clubs, etc. An interview can generate invaluable leads or shed light on the POI that quite often results in the finding of this person.

6) Social Networks. There is much to learn about someone based on what they post or what people they know post on social media networks. These posts often create a cookie crumb trail for a private investigator to follow.

If you are looking for someone and you don’t know where to begin, contact a private investigator to get your search started. A PI will use all of the tools listed here to make sure that your POI is found.