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Records Research and Private Investigators

During these unprecedented times where the world is faced with COVID-19, health and safety have been placed at the forefront of our concerns. As a result, many businesses have had to pause and either temporarily close or adapt to the circumstances. While many people are currently sheltering in place or maintaining social distancing, you may wonder how a private investigator continues to operate in these difficult times. One way a PI continues to work is through vigorous research, particularly records research.

Three core competencies of investigative work are surveillance, interviews and records research, and while not all cases will necessarily involve surveillance or interviews, it will undoubtedly involve some form of research.

What is records research? Records research is the locating and analysis of public and private records which can be used by a private investigator in order to support or oppose someone’s case. These records may include personal information on clients or suspects including birth date, marriage licenses, death certificates, education records, list of past and present addresses, ownership papers, credit history, court records and vehicle registration among others. A PI may be hired by many types of clients to conduct records research, including private citizens (i.e. background checks on a new employee, looking for their birth parents), law firms (i.e. locating a witness, locating someone in order to serve a subpoena) or corporations (i.e. fraud assessment).

One key component of a private investigator being successful at performing records research is becoming well versed in the different types of database available. A PI must operate within the boundaries of the law and must therefore be knowledgeable in what information pools they can tap into and how to do so.

How does a PI conduct records research? Private investigators follow several complex steps in order to conduct research that will best serve their clients:

1) Determine the needs of their clients. The main question are what are you looking for and who are you looking for? Individual cases will require personalized goals in order to ensure a PI obtains the information best suited to help them. Do they need information on one person? Several people? Marriage licenses? Employment records? A PI will do this by having an in-depth discussion with their client. 

2) Identifying the best investigative plan. This includes identifying which specific documents to look for, what the end product may look like, establishing a budget and presenting a proposal to a client.

3) Conducting research. A PI will use the internet to generate leads or follow leads provided by their clients in order to direct them to the possible original records that may exist in public or private databases.

4) Obtaining original records. Original documents may mean physical copies of marriage or birth records, business records, financial records, etc. Often times, a private investigator will hunt down the original records, which are the most valuable and can be the most important if a case is brought to an official court of law.

Depending on the type of investigation and the client’s involved, many different databases may be used to obtain information to either support or dispute an issue. Records research is an incredibly valuable tool that a private investigator can use from the comfort of their own homes so that there is no slow down in their ability to serve you. If you need more information or need help creating a clearer picture of your case, a private investigator can use these tools to help you out.

Read Investigation Hotline blogs to remain informed, especially during these uncertain times. Only hire the most reputable private investigators in Toronto and Investigation Hotline is at your service.