Guidance for a new PI

  • Crystal Hogan
    Participant

      I have been scouring this site as well as others and in need of guidance …. My business is based in Southern California. I feel as though I’ve hit a wall. I’ve decided that I’ll start with just doing background checks and missing persons cases. I am a retired law enforcement officer with over 20 years of investigative experience but this somehow has me perplexed. Maybe I am just making this harder than it really is….. any help or guidance is appreciated.

      1. How would you all verify information acquired by a paid site like TLO or Skopenow? Anyone have any report samples for background checks.

      2. How would you all start a missing persons investigation outside of gathering all possible info from the client?

      3. What software and OSINT websites would be beneficial for these two services.

      4. Can you recommend someone you think may be interested in mentoring me to help me bounce a few things off of to get started?

      Thanks in advance ☺️

      #5154

      Here are some answers from “Ask a PI Panel”. Make sure you visit community page to get more answers like this

      George Gergis

      Hi Crystal,

      You are on the right track seeking knowledge. The timing of your questions, are strikingly coincidental. Last week I assigned a locate investigation to one of our investigators that was brought in from the field to start doing more background and locate work. Our case involved locating a homeless elderly man gone estrange from the family. I asked the investigator for an update yesterday and she said she was stuck and asked for advice.

      The initial advice I offered was meant to be cruel and shocking for the specific purpose to jolt the mind or spirit of the investigator, by simply saying “you’re the investigator, investigate” then added to be smart and diligent in her efforts. (maybe I’ve been watching too much Hell’s Kitchen and adopting Ramsey’s method of training)

      We have all been there not knowing what to do next on a locate, a mentor of mine (many years ago) told me a locate investigation is to an investigator what a roux is to a French Chef, it is a complicated basic needed task for our profession. Instead of thinking about a locate investigation only mathematically, add art to it. It’s not just the ingredients in the roux, it’s also how it’s mixed, stirred, held over the heat etc.

      Use your analytical skills, research skills, experience to take known information, developing probable outcomes and following up on the probabilities, then developing leads from the probabilities until you locate someone. Attached is a section from our agency’s investigator guide for Analysis of Intelligence providing some insight to methods of analyzing collected data for developing probabilities worth pursuing. This is the same advice given to our investigator today, after she had some time to think about ways to force the art into her thinking.

      Also offered the simple version, a locate is gathering background information on a missing subject until you find a piece of information indicating where the missing subject is located, or finding someone that knows were the missing person is and then using your talents to convince that someone to tell you where your missing is located.

      The quality standards guide from the Indiana Society of Professional Investigators is in the forms section of the learning section on this site

      Hope this helps, please feel free to reach out anytime…. George

      GEORGE GERGIS, Legal Investigator | INVESTIGATIVE SUPPORT UNIT
      CERTIFIED LEGAL INVESTIGATOR | CERTIFIED CRIMINAL DEFENSE INVESTIGATOR |INSURANCE FRAUD CERTIFIED
      Email: ggergis@isu-net.com | Office Phone: 574.231.7104 ext 901
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      Assistant National Director, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LEGAL INVESTIGATORS

      #5163

      From Kitty Hailey

      Matt – I’m guessing you’d like our in put into these questions. Some of them are out of my ballpark but here are my answers:

      1. How would you all verify information acquired by a paid site like TLO or Skopenow? Anyone have any report samples for background checks.
      These sites get their information from public records and a variety of other sources. I would methodically go to the source or find an investigator
      in the appropriate venue who can confirm the information to be accurate. Sometimes a phone call to a rural court house will get you the info you
      want from a friendly clerk. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask. It’s big cities where problems arise. And NEVER give your client info that hasn’t
      been verified by at least two sources. So use two databases AT LEAST to see if they agree.
      2. How would you all start a missing persons investigation outside of gathering all possible info from the client?
      People are missing for different reasons. Some are young run-aways. Some are older and wish to start anew or have found a new love. Some
      have been taken and some have come to harm. Identify your age group. Gather as much information as possible. Check with local law enforcement.
      They will NOT cooperate but they may discuss the situation with you and give you a direction. Speak with the client, other family members, friends, etc.
      Do social media on the missing person, his/her friends, relatives, associates. Talk to people. Run databases. Find out the reason someone has left
      and it’s a good direction on future work. Don’t overlook drug use and abuse, family abuse (sexual and non), foul play, etc.
      3. What software and OSINT websites would be beneficial for these two services.
      Not my area of expertise.
      4. Can you recommend someone you think may be interested in mentoring me to help me bounce a few things off of to get started?
      I agree with the suggestion of California investigators. Someone local is beneficial as they know state laws and limits to investigative work.
      Also suggest she join her local association and talk to people at meetings and seminars.

      Hope this is what you were looking for. Thanks for having the confidence in me to answer questions. Kitty

      Kitty Hailey, CLI
      614 South 4th Street #320
      Philadelphia, PA 19147
      http://www.kittyhailey.com
      office: 215-574-8127
      cell: 856-904-7845

      #5164

      Kelly Riddle:

      Crystal,

      Good advice already. I would add to that as follows:

      1. How would you all verify information acquired by a paid site like TLO or Skopenow? Anyone have any report samples for background checks.

      All information obtained from databases and records are treated as unverified information until collaborated. You have to understand where the information comes from (credit bureaus, etc) and then you can understand some of the issues with records. “Comprehensive” background reports thru databases really provided more information that typically needed. For instance, “Associates” listed in a report are simply people who may have rented an apartment after the subject of your investigation or they could have bought/purchased an automobile from your subject. They are linked together by common identifiers and they may in fact have no association with each other.

      2. How would you all start a missing persons investigation outside of gathering all possible info from the client?

      Depending on the age of the person missing, there are different steps to be taken. Kids and teenagers have now learned that if they want to run off and meet that “special someone” that they need to leave their cell phone, computer and credit cards at home. They also learn to stay off of social media. Depending on where the person was last seen, you should go to that area and check for CCTV cameras as well as along the routes coming and going from that area. You should check police calls for suspicious persons and cars on the date in question (as well as the week before in case they were checking the area).

      3. What software and OSINT websites would be beneficial for these two services.

      A PI really has to have 8-10 “go to” databases. Then you will build on those based on the need and specific tasks. Searchsystems.net has some unique searches when you get stuck. County Clerk records have a host of records that many don’t even know are included in “Deed” records such as liens, judgments, gifts, etc.

      4. Can you recommend someone you think may be interested in mentoring me to help me bounce a few things off of to get started?

      I believe you are in CA. They have a great mentoring program through NLITE. Reach out to Frank Huntington or Francie Keohler. You should join CALI if you are not a member.

      Hope this helps!

      Kelly

      ——————————————————————————————————————————————–

      Kelly E. Riddle, TCI, TPLI, CII, BAI (210) 342-0509 Corporate HQ: 23119 West IH-10 Bldg #6 San Antonio, TX 78257

      President: KelmarGlobal.com

      Director: RecordPros Background Screening Services RecordPros.net

      Director: PI Institute of Education (PIinstitute.com) / Founder: Assoc. of Christian Investigators (a-c-i.org) / Founder: Council of Association Leaders (coalpi.org)

      President TX. Assoc. of Licensed Investigators 2010-2012; President-Elect TALI 2009-2010, Board of Directors TALI 2007-2009; Advisory Board Member – Florida Assoc. of Private Investigators (FAPI); Board of Directors – Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas; Board of Directors – Can You Identify Me; Board of Directors – National Assoc. of Missing and Exploited Children (NAMEC); Board of Directors – National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS ) Region 4 Director – National Assoc. of Legal Investigators (NALI);

      Member: TALI,FALI,INTELLENET,NALI, FAPI, CALI,ASIS,NCISS,APIA,USAPI,COAL,ACI,NAIS,CII,NLLI,CTIP, CLEAR,IOPIA,TIDA, ASSIST,ISPLA,ERII, PBSA

      #5165
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