Private investigators need to have a lot of tools and resources. Relying on just one source of information can be debilitating for an investigation. Sticking to limited resources may not give you the information that they need or may even contain incorrect or outdated information. PIs therefore have to be skilled in using various resources to guarantee that they have the best information for the job at hand.
Many of these resources are actually available to the public. However, while a regular public user may have access to these resources, a good private investigator has the skills and knowledge of what to do with the information found in them.
The following are reliable resources that private investigators find useful.
Private Investigation Blogs
Like other industries and specializations, private investigators have blogs or have blogs dedicated to the profession. Some of them are free while others require a subscription.
The blogs offer a lot of information for private investigators. They can provide updates on techniques, tips, and even related legislature. Content like this may seem trivial to non-investigators, but they help PIs maintain their skills or help them gain new ones. Some blogs even publish news that are of interest to private investigators or contain links to resources that other PIs have found useful.
As an investigative tool, social media is becoming important to PIs. Whatever social media platform you use, you’ll find that people will often posts things that they think are quite innocuous – ticket information, location check-ins, and even selfies. These can offer a lot of information for private investigators. It also helps them confirm dates and whereabouts of people.
In some cases, people have posted incriminating photos of themselves: cheating spouses with their lovers, stolen items, or walking around when they were supposed to be immobile from an injury. Selfies can sometimes catch events or things in the background that can help PIs identify or locate people.
An old and reliable source of information is public records. If an individual is living or doing business in an urban area, there is a greater possibility that the person will appear in the public records. The records that are commonly searched are driving records, credit records, criminal or court records, marriage records, and listed assets. Not only will a resourceful private investigator know how to use these records to get the information that their clients want, but also how to use these to uncover other information.
Most government databases are also searchable online, allowing a private investigator to do a lot of their work even before they leave the office to do leg-work.
Private Investigator Subscription Databases / Information Providers
In the private investigation business, the importance of information cannot be discounted. It’s a PI’s stock in trade after all. There are providers whose main clients are private investigators and often have the information that they need for their case.
These providers collate information from various public and proprietary sources into easily searchable databases. Due to privacy concerns, their membership is usually restricted to licensed private investigators. And while these are good resources, PIs use these databases to jumpstart their investigation, not as substitutes for it.