What are public records searches?The government creates public documents or records to record significant events in a person's life. Events such as a marriage, a judgment in court, a home purchase, and military service are common examples of public records. When investigating a company or an individual, consulting these records through searches can be one of the best ways to outline someone’s background and history.
What kind of records can I view or access via a public records search?Common searches in public records investigations include:
- Driving records
- Credit records
- Property records
- Court records
- Records relating to bankruptcies and judgments
- Criminal records
- Prison records
- Records that list assets
- Financial records
- Marriage records
What can public records searches do for me?There are many ways records searches can be useful. For example, public records searches are an important part of criminal background checks, background checks, and private investigations. They can reveal a person’s past and if they are really who they appear to be. Moreover, they can help you find out what others are trying to hide. These searches are also key in pre-employment screenings and criminal investigations. Any time you need to know about someone’s background, public records are a good way to get reliable information. They can even be used to research genealogy and family history.
Why hire a private investigator to do a records search?A private investigator can be hired for many reasons. Whether you are an individual, law firm, or corporation, a private investigator will know the best way to collect information and obtain original records. They use records searches in nearly all investigations types and will be able to quickly and efficiently gather information. Individuals may want to find out if a spouse is unfaithful, they may have private business concerns and want to check an employee’s background, or they may be an individual looking for their birth parents.
Law firms may want to locate a witness to conduct an interview or they may need to serve a subpoena on that individual. They may know about an heir that needs to be contacted. They might want to find assets and to also investigate the veracity of a claims in a lawsuit. Corporations may want to perform undercover fraud assessment or perhaps competitive intelligence. They hire private investigators to conduct pre-employment research for them. They may also use investigators to determine the compliance with governmental regulations as well as research copyright and privacy issues.
Can't I just use free records searches online?There are plenty of online companies that promise free records searches. Others offer very inexpensive records searches, sometimes for less than $20. All such free and inexpensive options promise to be fast and effective.While these options may sound tempting, there are plenty of reasons why you will want to avoid them. First, many of these companies rely on outdated or incomplete information, which means that you may end up with inaccurate or incomplete information. Second, some of these companies charge hidden fees or have poor privacy policies, which means that you may end up paying more for these free online records searches than you thought. Third, many of these companies use less than professional methods for gathering information. Fourth, and finally, all this means that you may end up with overpriced and useless information when using these online and free public records investigation tools. Worse, you may find yourself in trouble thanks to the less-than-scrupulous ways these companies look for information.
Do I need original records?Whether you are using it for a written research report or as a piece of the documentary evidence that may be used in litigation, the best evidence is in the original document. You will need a certified copy of the record in question, otherwise it could be challenged.
Brian Blackwell Investigations | Seattle, WA