For years, most private investigators spend a huge amount of time investigating in the field. They use the tried and tested traditional methods of collecting evidence, from taking photos, conducting surveillance, visiting dusty storage rooms to uncover records and interviewing key witnesses.
Although there is no substitute for hiring a well trained and professional private eye to gather information in the field, nowadays, with the advent of new technology, the preliminary investigation can be conducted with just a trusty internet connection, a decent laptop and a cellphone. These 3 key things can generate a lot of evidence and leads before the private detective steps out of the field.
In this short article are tips on how to conduct a preliminary online investigation to gather anything from evidence to leads about the person you are investigating.
Be thorough in taking down notes.
During your online investigation, you will encounter a lot of data. You will never remember most of them, and it is important to jot down any relevant pieces of information. You can use a traditional pen and paper, or simply write it down using any of the popular word processors that are available. Remember to catalogue pieces of data that you deem important or interesting.
Use the major search engines first.
There are 2 search engines that come to mind, Google and Bing.These are the best free internet search engines available today. Use them first in gathering information and possible leads during the course of your preliminary investigation.
Google is a powerful search tool if you know how to use it, but you don’t have to know fancy hacking techniques to use it effectively. Start with just putting in the name in the search bar and if possible, their job title. For example, instead of searching for “Matt Smith” search instead for “Matt Smith Chiropractor”. This will narrow your search and maybe you can get a hit. Also remember to use a variety of flexible keywords, this will ensure a wider scope of results. Be diligent in combining keywords to minimize excluding potentially valuable search hits.
If you have the person’s email address, you’d want to search for it in quotes, using this technique may yield good results about their commenting habits, in blogs and other sites. You can also find search results for social media sites that they use, which is good because…
Check their social media.
Ahh social media, you can know a lot about a person just by looking at their wall or profile. A lot of people share too much publicly, it is like they want to be stalked. But this is great for you because it’ll make your job a lot easier. Finding information about a subject online has never been this easy before. From here you can track who they are with at a certain time, where they are currently, what they are eating. It is great for a private investigator. They can also search their family members, friends and that unusually hot girl that keeps popping up on his feed, commenting on almost all of his posts. Searching for personal tags is also a great way to find out what they are interested in.
Facebook alone lets you search people by filling their search forms with any of the following: Name, hometown, current city, employer, college, highschool or mutual friend. If you know any of this or a combination of it, you can narrow your search significantly. You can also browse for any other photos and post that pop up as it may contain some valuable information.
Use free online services like Intelius
Is your subject one of those people who is not on social media? Don’t worry there are other ways to track them down. Intelius is a public records business that provides information services, including people, properties, reverse phone lookups and even background checks.
So if all you have is a complete name, these types of services can really help you gather information about the target’s age and names of potential relatives.
Use the maps.
Google Maps have street views, satellite views and you can get directions to and from any location that they might frequently take. You can check these routes and maybe you can see something that is worth exploring.
Check websites and domain names that are owned by the subject.
If your target owns a website, chances are you can search for additional information about them by using sites like Domaintools.com. They provide detailed registration information on any website including related mailing address, email and other related contact information.
Use your phone.
Picking up the phone and calling the business that your target is associated might be all you need to find out where they are or simply to gather more evidence. You can also call the business licensing and regulatory agency to find additional information.
Search in the obituaries
Your subject’s name may pop up in obituaries if they have a deceased relative. They usually list a wealth of information about the decedent. Things like last know address, next of kin, educational history, employment history as well as dates of birth and death.
Sites like backgroundchecks.org will help you check their background, including the target’s name, alias, age, date of birth and relatives. They can also provide you with criminal records, arrests, marriage and divorce records, bankruptcies, civil records, traffic tickets and a lot more.
For over 20 years, RQ Investigations has offered comprehensive and discreet private investigations for all of its clients in and outside of New York. Our private investigators in Brooklyn, NY are all professional and trained to handle a wide variety of tasks, including child custody investigations, insurance fraud Investigations, background checks, as well as missing person searches. For more information, visit our website at rqinvestigations.com, or call (212) 729-7798