Private Investigator Tips — How to Solve Cases Quicker

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As a private investigator, you know the key to solving cases is being able to track down the facts you need and find connections between different pieces of information. Depending on the investigation, there are a number of different actions you may need to perform. Sometimes, you need to be able to skip trace hard-to-find individuals and get in contact with them. You may also need to gather comprehensive information on a person and take a deep dive into their backgrounds. Often, you need to be able to uncover connections and patterns that aren’t initially obvious and turn small amounts of information about these connections into actionable intelligence. In any situation, utilizing the tools available in a public and private records database can help streamline and speed up your investigation. Here are 3 tips for private investigators to help solve cases quicker.  

Private investigator tips for skip tracing

If you’re wondering — What is skip tracing?” — you’re at the right place. Skip tracing is the act of tracking down people that don’t want to be found, and investigators are often all too familiar with this. Whether you’re handling a forensic investigation or trying to solve a cold case, you need to be able to track down involved parties to gain information from them, even if they’ve tried to go off the grid. This requires being able to pinpoint a location at which they are likely to be at or extrapolate to potential future locations if they are on the move.

 One key way to skip trace individuals for an investigation is to perform an address search. An address search not only provides you with information about current addresses, but it also provides you with a full address history. This allows you to glean insight into a person’s past living patterns, which can be useful for making predictions about where a person might go in the future. If someone is on the move, utility listings data can also be helpful in tracking that person down. Most individuals pay some sort of utility, and if a person turns on a utility in a new place, you can get the address of the place they turned on a utility at and locate them at that new location. 

Another useful tool for private investigators is vehicle information, like motor vehicle registration and license plate recognition systems. For example, if you’ve used a property records search to gain information about people connected to a specific property, you could run license plates around that property through a license plate recognition system and use that data to then pinpoint and track down specific individuals. Using a combination of tools for skip tracing helps you save time tracking down individuals so you can then get the information you need more quickly, and investigation agencies can even perform batch skip tracing to search many records at once and locate multiple people in less time. 

Perform comprehensive background investigations with public and private records

Performing a complete background investigation on someone means you need a full 360-degree view of that individual. Sometimes you need to perform background investigations for insurance investigations, fraud investigations, or for general business investigations. To deep dive into individuals, you can search a variety of public and private records and learn a lot about who that individual is, their history, and their behavior.

The first step to a background investigation is ensuring you’re investigating the right person by performing ID verification. ID verification can be performed with a public and private records search that pulls from multiple data points to cross-check the information you’ve already found or that’s been provided for you. For example, you can pull information from both credit header bureaus and unbanked data, to match records (like an address or phone number) to an individual for verification. 

Once you’ve verified an individual’s identity, you can gather more information about that person through a criminal records search, which will tell you if an individual has had any run-ins with law enforcement. For example, if you’re performing a fraud investigation, a criminal records search will bring up any past convictions of fraud or other financial crime. You can also gather information about financial history like past tax liens, civil judgments, or bankruptcy records with a people search, as well as perform an asset search to uncover all the assets belonging to an individual – even hidden ones. These assets could include property, vehicles, aircrafts, and more, all of which may provide you with more insight into who that individual is and what their habits are. 

In some situations, like a cold case investigation, you may need to gather background information on a person who has passed away. This can be difficult, but a database with deceased records will provide you with comprehensive information about an individual, like assets and addresses, even after they’ve died. And to learn more, read our article with tips for using public and private records

Uncover connections and patterns for private investigation

One of the most important parts of an investigation is connecting the dots between individuals and uncovering patterns that may relate to a case. This can be difficult, particularly if you’re working with limited information about an individual or case. However, uncovering these connections can help you turn small amounts of information into larger amounts of information, which could be the key to solving your case. So how do you go about building a web of connections?

A public and private records search engine can provide you with the names and contact information for family members of a specific individual. These family members might have insider information which you weren’t able to gather from your own investigative research, or they might be able to provide you with insight into a person’s whereabouts. 

Another useful search to uncover connections, particularly in fraud investigations or for business due diligence investigations, is a business records search. Business records can provide you with names of business associates of a specific individual, as well as other businesses they might be associated with, both of which could be useful in uncovering patterns of payment and employment. 

If you need to dig a little deeper and find connections that may not be readily available in public records, you can perform a social media search. So, what is a social media search? A social media search will scan social profiles, websites, and web mentions affiliated with an individual and compile any information found into one easy-to-read report. A social media report can provide you with information about people a person has affiliated with online, as well as show you a history of the locations of they’ve been tagged in, which can help you uncover hidden connections and give you a look into a person’s behavioral patterns. 

Looking for more resources to help your investigation agency? Check out our private investigator marketing tips here. And if you’re ready to see how the right database can streamline your investigations and help you solve cases quicker, get started with Tracers today.