What to know about locating people

I have been in the investigative field for over 20 years, either as a law enforcement officer, detective, private investigator or a combination of both at the same time. In that time I have learned how to find people.

Would I say I am an expert, I am not sure. That seems like I have nothing to learn, and in this field there is always something new. I would say I am very good though because people usually come to me as a last resort or in a time crunch and I always get it done.

So what’s on the important list of need to know’s to find people?



I have had many skip tracing cases where I found someone in under an hour, under 30 minutes even. I have also had many cases where it took hours, days, even a week. The key was paying attention to all the clues along the way and putting it together. Had I just given up at any point I may not have located the person, which made the client happy, which paid the bills.



Time spent finding a person for business reasons, skip tracing or legal locates can be tedious, lengthy and sometimes a strong test of sanity.

You cannot sit and just type away at a keyboard all day for days on end trying to locate someone.

You have to make it fit your schedule in order for it not to seem like a chore but also so it doesn’t just burn a hole in your pocket.

If you finish another case and have 15 minutes free to work on it, that’s a good time. Then it becomes like you’re getting paid from another case or like it’s just free time. You can also just put in a few minutes at the beginning or end of each day so it’s not like that is all your doing.



If it is just you, you may not have a choice but to plug away at it and get it done.

However, if you have employees, especially some of the savvy, high tech youngins that know their way around the web, the dark web, “the force” and the ever growing world of apps you should let them try and find someone and see how they do. Over time, with some guidance they may save you much needed time and energy.

Then again, if you’re an attorney, business person or someone who values their time, it would likely be more cost effective to have an investigator find someone for you.



It is simple but true, if you don’t have the correct information or you type in the wrong information by mistake it is mostly all for not.

As an example, I spent two days searching for the wrong name, transposing the first and middle name. Needless to say it produced faulty results.

On another case I asked the client what information they had, which they stated was just a first and last name. After asking, re-asking and asking again the client finally sent over all the documents they had which contained the middle name, birth date and a previous address of the person we were searching for. Obviously that was a great help to locate someone’s current address.



Again, very simple. As an example, the State of Michigan does not record all arrest or charge information on the public access criminal history web site. So an arrest with no conviction won’t show, neither do what they were charged with without a conviction. This could be a huge deal if looking for charges or an arrest to link someone, not a conviction.

There are some investigative data bases that are better at addresses, some are better at criminal history, some are great at phone numbers but suck at vehicle history.

You have to be able to understand what is good, what works, what does not work, etc. Even a couple date searches that claim to have it all don’t actually have it all and they don’t help if you can’t put the pieces together.



Finding someone is a lot of effort if you don’t know your own limits, if you don’t know what you are looking for and if you don’t have the time to put it together. That is where a good investigator comes in handy.

My advice to you, instead of trying to always jump through the hoops and trying to do something you may not be suited for, or experienced enough to do, have a good investigator on speed dial to help you out, save you time and help you be cost effective.

As always feel free to call Paladin Investigations & Protection LLC with any questions you may have or should you need help.