Seven Tips for Using Public and Private Records

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you’re in an industry in which you need to perform investigative research about a person, whether you’re a legal professional, a private investigator, or you work in collections or repossession, you know that even the smallest pieces of information can matter. But with so many records out there, it can be difficult to know where to start, and searching can be time-consuming, tedious, and costly. When armed with the right strategies for searching in a public and private records database, however, you can gather all the data you need to perform investigative research without wasting time sorting through irrelevant records. Here are 7 tips for using a public and private records database to gather the information you need quickly and easily.

Perform a criminal history check

A criminal history check allows you to gather a full profile on someone’s past criminal history. For legal professionals, past arrests or convictions may make a witness partial to the case, or could negatively reflect their character. For example, if they have a history of lying to law enforcement, this could allow you to impeach a witness for credibility. Businesses may also need to do criminal history checks to perform risk assessment. With a public records search, you can view a person’s entire criminal history in order to better understand that individual and know if they’ve had any run-ins with law enforcement.

Utilize a financial background check to assess financial history

Similar to a criminal history, financial history also shows you a lot about who someone is and their past behavior so you can make more informed decisions. For example, in financial services, you may need to research someone’s financial history in order to perform customer due diligence or vendor risk assessment. An investigative research software like Tracers can uncover bankruptcy records, tax liens, and financial relationships that will help you understand someone’s financial history to build a more comprehensive profile on who they are.

In order to understand someone as a whole, you need to get a full picture of their hobbies and activities. A social media search can also reveal a lot about someone’s interests and lifestyle. For example, do they frequently write on political web forums, or post photos of themselves skiing? Researching activities is important for legal professionals who are gathering information about a witness or client before putting them on the stand, as well as for businesses who want to better understand what their customers like so they can target potential customers with list generation. No matter what hobbies or interests a person has, using a social media search will help you better understand what that person is interested in or frequently does.

Use a business records search to uncover any affiliations

Understanding a person’s business affiliations is important, particularly in situations involving business or financial matters – such as personal injury cases or in business due diligence investigations. Is a person still tied to a specific business, or do they know any important information about that business? Did an executive of a business not pay out their loans to the right creditors? With a business records search, you can uncover workplace records, corporate records, authenticate businesses, see business credit history, and more. 

Discover relationships to other people

Whether you’re in investigation or you’re a legal professional, knowing a person’s relationships is vital to understanding who they are and where they might be, especially if public records are outdated or the person doesn’t want to be found. You can perform a Comprehensive Person Search in Tracers to uncover information about friends, relatives, aliases used, known associates, or business relationships, which could help you get in contact with those people so you can skip trace someone, locate a witness, or ensure right-party contact.

Assess behavior and locations

Let’s say you’re working in law and a witness claims they were in a certain location or behave a specific way, but public records or their social media profile says otherwise. For example, in a criminal case, if a person says they were with the person who committed the crime but in fact posted a photo in another location at the same time, this could entirely discredit their testimony. You can skip trace someone and confirm their location with license plate recognition, or use a social media search to pull mentions, locations, and dates so you can cross-check information and be sure that their behavior and locations actually align with what they claim.

Expose any hidden or fragmented information with asset searches and unbanked data 

No matter the reason, you may not have a full picture of someone – whether it’s because they’ve intentionally tried to hide things or certain public records don’t match others or are incomplete. With Tracers, you can perform an asset search to uncover any assets a person may have hidden, which could help in family law settlements or in repossession. You could also utilize utility listings data to uncover and cross-check information about a person that wasn’t available in public records, which would allow you to build a more comprehensive profile of that person’s history.

Research can be overwhelming, but with the right strategies for searching public and private records, you can gather the data you need in less time. Tracers public and private records searches make it easy to build a full profile on any person, from their history to their current behaviors and relationships, so you can use that information in whatever way you need – from building a case to tracking down someone to performing due diligence. Ready to see what the right data can do for you? Try Tracers today.