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How Do Private Investigators Find Someone Who Is Missing?

Have you ever wondered how private detectives can conduct a background investigation to locate people who are missing such as a long-lost friend or any lost person from the past like a biological parent or missing sibling? The truth is hiring an investigator is a great way to gather information on friends or relatives that are missing because these trained experts (and usually ex-law enforcement) have access to tools such as computer forensics, data sources, and background check data that can help anyone with finding people. So how exactly do private detectives find people? Let’s take a closer look at why people hire private investigators and learn more about how a trained expert conducts a missing persons investigation!

Today, many institutions like financial institutions, debt collection services, and security agencies utilize the skills of a PI for corporate investigations ranging from workers comp fraud to intellectual property disputes. Although corporate and cheating spouse investigations are the most common reasons to hire a private detective there is a myriad of situations where someone would rather hire a private investigator than report to the police. The primary reason for this preference is how private investigators conduct their investigations.  A case in point is where a private investigator is hired to find a missing person or a suspect in a crime. Finding someone who doesn’t want to be found is not entirely an easy job, it involves progressive information gathering and analysis over time. Here are five proven steps that a private detective will implement to narrow down to a person of interest.

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5 Ways Private Detectives Locate Someone

Normally, when you call upon a private investigator to find someone, they might first want to know why you are interested in finding the character in question. Albeit conducting their investigation privately, they are still bound by the law to acknowledge work ethics. Therefore, someone trying to reconnect with a lost family member or a crime suspect might be asked some questions to make sure laws are being abided by especially if in a child custody case or with infidelity investigations. Here are the 5 ways private detectives typically begin an investigation and locate a missing person.

  1. GPS Tracking: Hidden GPS tracking devices are constantly utilized by private investigative companies to gather detailed evidence about a person. By secretly tracking someone’s vehicle with GPS, a PI can
  2. Gathering Information. This is the most interesting part as it is where the real work begins. Getting information about someone involves looking into databases that can document information about people. There are many ways to get such information and the most obvious is by asking the people within the social circle of the person of interest and this includes family members and friends. However, it’s not all the time that people are willing to talk to a detective about someone they know very closely. Therefore your best bet is to search in a database. There are various databases that a private investigator would look into and these include:
  3. Investigative Database: License private investigators have access to an investigative database where they can find private information such as location address, telephone information, crime records, and other information of interest. A private investigator uses this information to know the probability of crime tendency in regards to the character in question. From the database, the private detective can also know the location and people that the person of interest has come into contact with recently.
  4. Social Network: Social media has primarily become the backbone of social network information about almost everyone in this digital age. Facebook and Twitter are some of the social media pages that are registering millions of users every day. Therefore social network is another database that a private investigator would love to visit to know the date and nature of posts of the person of interest. Information from social media is always very resourceful in finding a missing person since it provides a lot of details about your social circle.
  5. Public Records: Though finding information from the public records database might take time, it always comes in handy. It gives information about transaction records, property records, and other government records.

With all that information, a private investigator will most likely get the job done in most cases. The final step while signing a contract with a private investigator involves the cost of the service.

How Much Do Private Investigators Charge For Finding Someone?

The budget for finding someone always varies with the nature of the job. For instance, looking for a crime suspect might cost you more than simply looking through public records to quickly locate a lost family member or friend. So the amount of time, resources used, and of course the location of the PI (Expect to pay more in Beverly Hills and New York City vs somewhere more remote). However, on average, most people can expect to invest between $100 and $150 per hour for private detective services to locate a missing person.