Private investigator: what can they find out? 10 things!
You’ve seen them on TV shows and you’ve seen them in movies. You may even have read about one or two private investigators in the newspapers or online.
You may have seen them jump onto or into or out of speeding cars all while trying to save some poor damsel in distress. You might have sent them shoot at “bad guys” and maybe even get shot themselves in the process. And in the end, they survive and win over the poor damsel’s heart and all is well that ends well. That’s the movies. Reality is another deal entirely.
Your friends (or your brain) might tell you that you’re very inquisitive and you have a knack for finding things. “You’d make a great private detective”, they say, and you think to yourself, “Why, yes! I would!”. And you go about your day thinking you’re the next great private detective and you’re ready to solve all the problems in the world. Not so fast, skippy.
While there’s the small (ok, not so small) issue of licensing, you might want to consider the real job of being a private detective. Most private detectives don’t carry firearms or carry a badge. In fact, most competent, professional private investigators look down their noses at those that do carry a badge. Many private investigators never even leave their desks and make a fine living just conducting searches online.
But if you’ve decided that a private investigation career is a career for you, you might ask yourself:
Private investigator: what can they find out?
Here’s a small, but not a complete list of the basic things a private investigator can find out about you:
- Subject Information – private investigators have access to databases that will display your date of birth and your social security number. These are the basic items that a private investigator uses to identify a person.
- Criminal Records – if you’ve ever been arrested or incarcerated your records are usually public information and private investigators have immediate access to this information and use it for background checks.
- Address Details – every address you’ve lived at for the past 20 years (give or take) is available to a private investigator, especially if you’ve ever received mail at that address.
- Cities & Counties History – along with address information, the city and county the address belongs to are immediately available to the private investigator. This aids the private investigator in knowing which jurisdictions to contact to find out more information about you and also which courthouses to search to see if your name pops up.
- Driver’s License Information – many states sell driver’s license information to data brokers and if your state is one of these that does sell driver’s license information, then the private investigator will have immediate access to this information about you.
- Utilities – if you’ve ever had electric, cable TV, gas, or water service then it’s very likely a private investigator can find this out about you. Utility companies sell their data and with the proper licensing from the state a private investigator can get access to this data. If you’re paying utility service at a residence then it’s highly likely you live there. A private investigator will use this data to find where you live.
- Professional Licenses – if you’re a doctor, lawyer, nurse, or have any other license issued by the state, a private investigator will have immediate access to this information.
- Current Property Deeds – if you’ve ever owned a property, your personal information is available from the tax assessor’s office in the county you’ve owned the property in. Private investigators will use this information to locate people.
- Past Property Deeds – even properties you’ve owned in the past are available to the private investigator who’s trying to find information about you.
- Current Vehicle Information – even the vehicle you drive is available to a private investigator in most cases. This information isn’t available in every state, but many states do make this information. The private investigator can drive by in the middle of the night and see whether your car is in the driveway. Hint: park in the garage.
- Past Vehicle Information – vehicles you’ve owned previously are also available to the private investigator in some states. This information is used in accident investigations and sometimes used in litigation over ownership of assets.
- Voter Registrations – yes, how you voted in the last election is available to the private investigator.
- Possible Relatives – some data sources used by private investigators include lists of potential relatives and private investigators use these lists when searching for heirs and when searching for witnesses.
- Likely Associates – the company you keep may also be readily available to a private investigator looking to find out information about you. The private investigator may contact these people when conducting background checks to get their opinion of you.
- Neighbor Phones – usually a list of your neighbors and their phone numbers are available to the private investigator and they use this information to find out about you by calling then neighbors or even visiting them in person to ask their opinion about you. They may also interview them if there’s been an incident involving you in the neighborhood.
- Potential Subject Photos – if you’ve put pictures of yourself on social media the private investigator can usually easily find them. Be careful what you post online!
- Possible Employers – a list of your current and past employers is useful data for a private investigator. They will use this information in locating someone and will also use it when searching for ways to collect money from you if you owe someone money.
- Bankruptcy Records – if you’ve ever filed bankruptcy this information is readily available to a private investigator and can be used to conduct a background check on you.
- Liens – if liens have been filed against you these are also public record and are easily located by a private investigator who’s looking into your financial affairs.
- Judgments – a private investigator will often collect judgments for individuals who are owed money. If a judgment was awarded against you in court you owe that money. A private investigator is often hired to make sure you pay that money.
- Property Foreclosures – have you ever had a bank foreclose a property on you? If so, the private investigator has immediate access to this information.
- Evictions – have you ever been evicted? If you have, then this information is readily available to the private investigator as it’s public information.
- Global Watch Lists – this is a relatively new area of research for a private investigator but Global Watch Lists are a new area of interest for private investigators who regularly conduct background checks on individuals.
- US Business Affiliations – if you’ve ever been affiliated with a business entity or have been listed as an officer of a corporation, or have been listed as a registered agent for a corporation then your information is readily available to a private investigator who might be conducting a search about you.
- Aircraft Records – if you’re lucky enough to own a plane or other aircraft then the ownership registration details are available to a private investigator who is licensed to access this kind of information. The private investigator can also use the aircraft number to track travel itineraries.
- Pilot Licenses – maybe you’re not lucky enough to own an aircraft but you do have a license to fly an aircraft. This information is readily available to a private investigator in most cases.
- Hunting & Weapon Permits – if you have either of these permits a private investigator can find this information if your state makes it available. Private investigators will use this information to gauge how to approach someone who has either of these permits as a safety precaution.
Most of this information can be found out in minutes without the private investigator leaving his/her desk and this is not all they can find out. Private investigators are masters at digging up information.
If you are looking for an affordable licensed private investigator, with 20 years of experience assisting individuals, attorneys and corporations feel free to contact us here. You can also view a portion of our extensive client list here, and see what actual clients say about Eagle Investigative Services a private investigator in Atlanta, Georgia.