How to Pair Research Skills with Investigative Software

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

This is part 2 of a 4-part series on using public and private records for private investigation.

A key problem attorneys run into when conducting investigative searches is that there is too much information out there, and having good research skills is just one piece of the research puzzle.

The second part is having the right resources. Having the right resources means having the right software — and not all public and private records databases are created equal. Attorneys need software that pulls from multiple data sources and utilizes unbanked data not found in credit header data.

How investigative research software will find the right record

There are many different systems within each state, city, and county. A record that happened in a local town might be available at the sheriff’s department, but nowhere else. A bigger criminal charge, monetary record, or docket number might be available online through the right state department.

Of course, knowing which system to use can be complicated and takes critical research skills. Thankfully, attorneys have just that. With resources like Tracers, attorneys can rely on investigative software that pulls records in from multiple sources at once, and in so doing saves time, money, and resources. This can include data from utility companies or data from credit agencies. The key is to utilize a software that pulls from multiple credit bureaus as well as unbanked data resources. 

How to use research skills as an attorney

Attorneys hone very specific critical research skills. When handed a case, an attorney might have to backtrack and figure out what evidence they might need, investigate an individual to figure out if there are any known addresses where they can be contacted, any potential accomplices or relatives, or perhaps a history of specific behavior.

Even the most skilled attorney can research where a person has lived, check for local records on criminal activity or businesses, find new addresses, and refocus the search for the same details but in another town, city, or state.

Of course, all this takes time. A lot of time. That is where investigative research software from Tracers comes into play.

How investigative research software will save valuable time

Manually going to court houses, searching the web for social media accounts and activity, etc. can be done by a skilled attorney but takes time (and time costs money). This can be streamlined with legal research software that aggregates data from all these sources and provides search history, utility records, and more.

Tracers can take the input from attorneys, the what and the where, and zip through billions of public and private records in minutes, saving valuable time. Attorneys might be able to manually insert the search parameters, but that requires knowing which place to look, knowing which databases are available for states and districts, and regularly refining that information when changing the search to focus on a different city or different demographics. For example: attorneys who want to look for local arrest records need to know where an individual lived to narrow down the search by county. 

With Tracers investigative research software, attorneys can enjoy access to a robust records retrieval system that filters this automatically (based on previously known addresses that also come up in the search) and expands the data to include relatives or known associates on whom you can also conduct investigative searches. Moreover, Tracers accesses credit header and unbanked data concurrently.

What is the difference between credit header and unbanked data?

Credit header data is the most common data you will find. Credit header data is simply identifying information that you might get in a credit report such as:

  • Full name.
  • Name variations.
  • Current address.
  • Former addresses.
  • Telephone numbers.
  • Unlisted telephone numbers.
  • Typically incomplete date of birth. 

Credit header data stretches across multiple areas and isn’t regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This type of information can help you better understand someone’s past and predict a little bit about their future. 

But there can be problems with credit header data. Namely, it can be out of date. So if you are trying to find data on someone who doesn’t want to be found, chances are they don’t have up-to-date credit header data. 

This is where unbanked data comes into play. Unbanked data is that which is not housed in a storage bank or system somewhere, like a collated credit report. It is more individual, like utility listings, which are maintained in a private utility system but not in a collated public system.

Utility listings data can be an extremely useful tool when locating a witness or finding someone, and it isn’t something most people think of as “public records”. But with the right software, you can get these records. 

Investigative research software from Tracers can find customer data from utility companies like phone companies, gas, and electric to let you know when the electricity is turned on or when an internet connection is set up. Utility listings data is an extremely unique set of data and even if you are unable to find public records on someone, utility data is sure to give you something; it’s extremely rare for any adult to leave no history of ever paying a phone bill, water bill, or electricity bill.

How batch processing allows you to search thousands of records at once

Batch processing is another function that only the best investigative research software has. Batch processing allows you to conduct as many searches as you need at any given time. Rather than doing one search at a time for every person on whom you need to gather information, you can use batch processing to access a handful of information types for 10 or 10,000 people all at once.

You can filter and transmit as much or as little data as you want such as:

Saving time like this is not only expedient for attorneys who can reserve billable hours for more important tasks, but it can also make the difference between winning and losing a case.

Deadlines for filing documents, discovering evidence, and presenting information mean time is of the essence. Investigative research software that can instantly search through millions of public and private records at once is invaluable, especially for attorneys who work on their own or in a small firm with limited resources. 

Ready to try it out for yourself? Get started with Tracers here.