The Raymond Chandler image of hard-boiled detectives sipping scotch and fighting in dark alleys gave way to James Garner’s character Jim Rockford on the television show “The Rockford Files.” But what does a real detective do?
For the most part, detective work involves locating people. It requires critical thinking skills, a great deal of computer searching (including familiarity with credit reports, Lexis/Nexis searches and internet resources), and excellent writing skills.
The internet has made background checks more accessible than ever before. But, it is important to understand how they work and the limitations of what they can provide.
A background check starts with verification of an individual’s identity based on their date of birth and Social Security number. Then, public records are searched to identify potential red flags that could impact an employer’s or landlord’s decision making process. This can include criminal convictions, bankruptcy, and foreclosures. Some searches may also require specialists to manually contact employers or other organizations to verify information.
In addition, a credit report is often run to identify possible aliases and to verify an applicant’s address history. The more sources a background check pulls from, the more comprehensive and accurate the final report will be. This is especially true for searches that include the SSA, FBI, and county court records.
It is important to select a provider that offers the type of searches your business needs and follows all legal regulations. Avoid services that only offer consumer searches, as these cannot be used for pre-employment or rental screening and can violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In addition, choose a service that can provide access to specialized resources and proprietary databases that most employers need. For example, some services will provide a database of over 132 million workers.
Observing a person or group of people in order to gather information is a crucial step in an investigation. Surveillance is done in a variety of ways, including using technology and physical observation. A private investigator may also use interviews to collect more information about a subject.
A professional investigator will first get to know their client’s needs and expectations for the case. This will help them determine the scope and depth of their investigation. It will also determine the best way to approach surveillance. They will need to take into account the subject’s schedule, habits, and other relevant information. They will then familiarize themselves with the area where their investigation will be taking place, both during the day and night.
Physical surveillance can involve using disguises or stakeouts, or simply following a subject. It can also include electronic surveillance, which involves utilizing devices like television or wiretapping to document activity. It can also include interviewing a person to observe their interactions with others.
Lastly, digital surveillance is the observation of a person’s online activities. This type of surveillance is often used by private investigators to uncover infidelity and other suspicious behaviors. It can also be used to track a missing person or locate assets. Digital surveillance can be performed using various tools, including social network people searches, public records, and more.
Whether we’re talking about TV shows like Unsolved Mysteries or real-life cases where someone just went off the grid, the ability to locate a person that has disappeared can be critical. This is where skip tracing comes in, and it’s something that can be done by a People search detective agency as part of a comprehensive investigation.
While the term “skip tracing” sounds a bit intimidating and is often used to describe the work that bounty hunters and private investigators do, it can be helpful in a wide range of professional situations. It can help find fugitives, for example, but it’s also useful when trying to serve legal documents or locate someone that owes you money.
Skip tracing involves the use of a number of different techniques, including scouring public records and online databases for information on a subject. It can also involve interviewing people who know the subject and conducting surveillance. In addition, it is important for professionals to ensure that the work they conduct complies with all applicable laws.
Many people who go off the radar do so because they know a summons is on its way or that they owe someone money. But sometimes, an individual simply moves without telling anyone or they’re undergoing a medical treatment and don’t want to be found. A skip trace can help identify these individuals and find out where they’re living or working.
Often, the most valuable information gleaned during an investigation comes from interviews with subjects. Interviewers who are able to listen carefully to their subjects and interpret important tells can make significant progress in closing cases. These tells can help investigators determine if a subject is lying and what they might be hiding.
When interviewing a subject, it’s best to have a thorough understanding of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it. This can guide investigators in what questions to ask and how to approach the subject. However, it’s also important for investigators to be able to read the subject. In addition to knowing what the subject has already told others, investigators should be able to pick up on subtle clues in the subject’s body language and tone of voice.
For example, one investigator noted that a “tough guy” demeanor can backfire and intimidate the subject from providing further information. Instead, he recommends that investigators practice good listening skills and allow for pregnant pauses in the conversation. This will prevent the subject from filling in their own answers and skewing them.
It’s also a good idea to have an interpreter present for any in-person interviews. This can be particularly beneficial for interviews in countries with a colonial past, where misunderstandings and cultural differences can have significant impacts on the quality of information gathered.