Locate investigations are a broad category that encompasses a wide range of situations and investigative purposes. Private investigators use this term to refer to cases involving finding anyone, including: runaways, someone who is lost, relatives and friends that someone has lost touch with, and people who don’t want to be found. Whether you are looking for someone who owes you money, or a lost relative or friend, Trustify’s network of investigators can help.
What is a Locate Investigation?
A locate investigation's purpose to find someone’s current location for whatever reason. There are a number of subcategories of locate investigations:
- Missing persons: According to the FBI, approximately 650,000 persons were reported missing in the U.S. in 2016 alone. Generally, a missing person refers to someone who has disappeared quickly or suspiciously and whose whereabouts and fate are unknown by those closest to them as well as law enforcement.
- Persons who are hiding or avoiding discovery: This may include individuals who are running away from obligations (family, financial, legal), suffer from addiction or psychological problems, or simply prefer to disconnect from family and friends. Many times it’s a runaway child. Clients often seek out information on individuals in this group to recoup a financial or legal loss, but also may simply be concerned with an individual’s physical or mental well being.
- General locate. Often investigators are asked to find someone important to the client for whatever reason. This may include a distant relative, former neighbor or work colleague, old high school friend, or birth parent or child.
- For surveillance. Sometimes a client just wants to know where someone is going, or where they're spending their time.
Most people confine their search for missing persons using an internet search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), online public records, or “people search” resources. These sources may provide you with some usable basic information – like old phone numbers, old addresses, or (sometimes) old court records. However, the information found on these sites is more often than not inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date, or concerns someone else entirely. In addition, persons who are attempting to hide can have information deleted from those sites. Using a trained investigator with access to restricted tools and databases, and with strong interviewing skills, is the surest way to locate someone.
Who are Locate Investigations For?
A locate investigation is for anyone seeking to find someone for whatever reason - for example to reconnect with them, return them to their family, or to get payment.
Starting a Locate Investigation
Starting a locate investigation through Trustify is quick and simple. Here’s how it works:
1. Request a Consultation: Submit your case online or by phone to schedule your consultation. We'll ask for the details we need to get your case matched with an investigator and provide cost estimates.
2. Consultation with a Private Investigator:A licensed private investigator will contact you to talk to you about the purpose and goals of the investigation, and to collect any relevant information about your case. Please be ready to discuss the details of your case, including:
- What is the reason for locating this person?
- How long has the person been missing?
- What information do you currently possess that might help us in locating the missing person?
- Have you contacted law enforcement? If so, is there a police report?
3. Investigation in Progress: Once approved by you, your investigator will begin the investigation. Methods and techniques employed during the investigation will vary depending on the specifics of your case and the laws of the applicable jurisdictions, but often include:
- Records Search: Investigators typically begin by accessing a variety of records resources, such as court (criminal and civil) records, marital records, business and financial records, online and offline databases, as well as a number of specialty databases not available to members of the general public
- Background Investigation: Along with a records search, a background investigation of the subject may include interviews with family members, friends, neighbors, business associates, and others.
- Surveillance: In some cases, investigators may conduct physical surveillance of locations frequented by the investigation target in the past or where the target may likely be.
- Interviews: interviewing friends, family, and other relevant people and witnesses is often the surest way to find runaways and other people who are actively hiding, or who have recently gone missing.
- Social Media: Social media is an excellent way to locate someone. Often people missing or in hiding stay active on social media, even creating new profiles.
4. Case Updates & Final Report: Your private investigator will keep you informed of any and all important developments throughout the course of your investigation, and provide you with a final written report summarizing all findings. In addition, your private investigator may be available to testify on your behalf in court, if necessary and agreed-upon before the start of the investigation.
What Investigators Will Not Do
Private investigators will not violate the law or the ethics standards of the profession at any time. For example, investigators will never trespass onto private property without the permission of the owner during the course of the investigation, and will not turn over information about someone if that person does not wish to be found or contacted, and the client does not have a legal reason to locate them. Investigators will do everything possible within the law to successfully complete missing persons investigations.