Investigating someone may seem extreme, but there are many different situations where you may need to do this for yourself. Researching new employees or verifying that your online date is a real person are examples of ways people use investigations in today’s society.
There are also more challenging situations, such as criminal acts or unethical behavior at work. These will require an investigation, along with legal advice from a professional criminal lawyer. Knowing where to start can save you a lot of trial and error. Check out the following 8 tips that will help you learn how to investigate someone.
1. Investigate with Search Engines
Google is one of the most popular search engines that can be used to investigate someone. A simple Google search can reveal a lot about a person, especially if you’re able to include multiple details in your search. You can also use Boolean search logic techniques to get more specific results on your search. However, Google doesn’t necessarily pull up everything that’s on the Internet.
Sometimes by using lesser-known search engines, you’ll find some unique results that can help your research. All search engines have different search algorithms, which means it’s likely you can gain unique nuggets of information from each search engine. Check out lesser-known search engines such as Duck Duck Go, Bing, Peekier, or Qwant.
2. Investigate with Copyright Records
If the person you’re investigating is involved in the arts, a copyright search may prove fruitful. Being an artist, writer, or musician may require a person to file for copyright on their work at some point. The United States Copyright Office has these documents available for search online.
Sometimes searching by business name instead of an individual name can give you the results you’re looking for. The Government of Canada offers a copyrights database that you can use to conduct your search. Most countries have some type of publicly available equivalent to these databases.
3. Investigate with White Pages
The White Pages are another great tool you can use to investigate someone. White Pages may seem outdated, but it’s a large database of publicly available information that you can use to find a specific person or narrow down people with their last name.
On whitepages.com, you can get detailed information just from a name search. White Pages can reveal first and last names, cities associated with the name, and possibly an address. White Pages also offer a premium service that may disclose more information about your target.
4. Gather Investigation Documents
If you have decided that a situation is worthy of an investigation, start by documenting everything you know about the current state of affairs. Write out the situation in your own words and use documents like receipts, phone bills, internet history, or whatever else you can find to corroborate what you’re saying. Taking the time to organize your thoughts will make it easier to figure out the next logical step in the investigation.
5. Evaluate Quality of the Evidence
Evaluating the quality of your evidence is an important step to take before escalating your investigation. If you have weak evidence, it may just cost you time, money, and aggravation to pursue your investigation. In most situations, it’s your word against the other person, so you’ll need some compelling and verifiable evidence on your side. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but in some situations, you’ll have to admit you don’t have enough information to pursue your case.
6. Take Action with Your Investigation
If your research leads you to believe you have enough evidence to pursue a formal investigation, then it’s time to take action. Hiring an investigator can be a good investment if you already have a foundation of evidence for them to analyze before beginning their case. A professional investigator will help you conduct interviews, organize evidence, and, if necessary, testify in court.
7. Search Public Records
Many different sites allow you to search public records for free. A quick google search will bring up websites you can use to help your investigation. Keep in mind; some sensitive information may require getting an appropriate permit. Permits cost time and money, and the process can be complicated, which is where a professional investigator can help you out. Public records include sex offender registries, criminal records, court records, marriage licenses, or business registrations.
8. Investigate with Social Media
Many people unwillingly put a lot of information about themselves on social media. Filling out a social media profile may seem innocent, but if that information is publicly available, it can cause trouble. If the person you’re looking for has the schools they attended, the year they were married, or their birthday on their profile, you can use these data points to accelerate your investigation.
Simply knowing where someone went to high school can help you track them or people that know them down. If your target has personal information available for everyone to read on social media, your investigation becomes that much easier. Using social media is one of the best tools you can use when learning how to investigate someone.