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Perform a Web-based Investigation

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This will give you some insider tips that investigators use to find people or to find out as much information about a person as possible. Oddly enough I wrote this article for wiki how, but they have not credited me for any of the content.

STEPS:

  1. Information - First, decide what it is you need to find out about a person. Common information obtained from public records can include simple things such as name, address and phone numbers. In addition, birth, death, marriage & divorce records and criminal, court, sex offender registries can be searched in some areas. Licenses, property information and a number of other records are kept by the government and certain organizations.
  2. Location - Find out what state, country, city, etc. you believe have records on the person of interest.
  3. Free Searches First - Try whitepages and/or 411 for your basic information like phone numbers or address. Most of the information found at 411.com is free. For a paid service use DigitsDetective to perform a reverse phone search and find out if any records exist. 
    • You may have to pay to see the results, but if a record comes up, at least you know the data is available.
  4. Government Pages - Visit USASearch to search 30 million government pages. This won't give you access to private records, however it will help you find the agency with the data you are looking for. (e.g. If you want to find sex offender information about someone from Arizona for example, you should arrive at this page Arizona Offenders and you will find that there a lot of specifc information about registered offenders upon conducting a search.
    • A web site called SearchSystems is probably the best source for public records and online registries and databases.
  5. Let's say you want to find driver's information in California. You should visit California DMV where there is a request for records form. In this case you will notice a mere $5 fee to apply to search The National Driver Register, which is is a computerized database of information about drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations such as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  6. If you live in Ontario, Canada, check out this page Ontario Portal you can literally buy copy of car accident reports and license history searches for $12.00. Each state or province (especially in North America) has government web sites with these types of records.
  7. For more driving record information, try OnlineDMV.

TIPS

  • Most records are held at the state or provincial level. Each state has different levels of access for different records. Try using a search engine to type "*State Name* *Record Type* Record Search" (e.g. "California Birth Records Search")
  • Try searching each database using only last name (if it is not a common one like Smith)
  • Searching through public records can cost a lot of money. You can also hire and investigator, which is probably better suited to do the job, but that will probably cost you even more.
  • Most local police departments have records available for viewing. However, most of them are not available online. State and federal governments usually have records search available online.
  • Ancestry.com has many genealogy databases that can be searched through.
  • There are many sites that have a membership and give you direct access to many searches or databases. DetectiveData
  • Don't give up your search just yet. Write a list of all the important things you do know about the person and then what you don't know. Try to make a checklist, or in other words, create a dossier on the person so you have ample information on the individual.

WARNINGS

  • When legal matters are at hand, leave the authorities and law enforcement to take care of it.
  • WHAT YOU KNOW CAN HURT YOU! Be warned finding out certain things about people can be really scary and can create a lot of trouble.
  • Be careful when signing up for a so called "detective sites" they can cost money up front then even more later on as each search can cost you more any more.
Resources:

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