The holidays are a time of celebrating with friends and family, a time when people often grow nostalgic about those with whom they’ve lost contact. Sometimes people try to look up missing loved ones (who aren’t always missing, btw, just their contact information fell through the cracks years ago), but they only find old, outdated information on the Internet. That’s when they call a private investigator.
If you’ve been searching for contact information for a missing loved one on the Internet, and you’re only finding old, outdated contact information, that’s no surprise. A lot of those Internet ads promise to locate people for $19.95, $24.95, or more, but unless that person has stayed put, living in the same residence for at least two or more years, those Internet databases probably aren’t going to help you. Instead, you’ll end up paying good money for old, wrong, or irrelevant information.
A lot of people will stop there and end the search. That’s a shame because a qualified private investigator can often locate people efficiently and quickly. That’s because a private investigator not only has access to information not available to the public, but has the background and expertise to sift through information and pinpoint relevant data. When we talk about information not available to the public, we’re referring to proprietary database companies whose clients include professional private investigators, law enforcement, law firms, collection agencies and others who are professionally qualified. In addition, each client must pass a background check before allowed to access the database.
If you contact a PI to help you find a missing relative, keep in mind that a professional investigator won’t simply hand over others’ private contact information. After the PI locates the relative/loved one, the PI will:
- Inform the person (through a phone call, letter, in person) that he/she has been hired to locate them by their client (and provide the name).
- Provide means for the person to locate the client (a phone number, address, email address).
A professional PI will have discussed this with you before accepting the case. The PI will also have informed you that he/she will do an initial screening to verify your identity, review your criminal background, and check the legitimacy of your request. You’d want the same privacy protection and options if someone was wanting to locate you.
It’s our experience that most “missing” family members are delighted to have been found by their loved ones. And it’s rewarding to the investigator to have brought families together again.
Happy holidays, Writing PIs