teach not sell

Vendor wish list – teach, don’t sell

In previous posts, I’ve written about my wish list for information vendors. After nearly 18 years in business, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate and purchase a lot of products, meeting lots of vendors along the way. I’ve also had a chance to notice some trends in the selling process. One nice trend is that […]

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online background checks

Online investigating myths

Using the internet for investigations, including due diligence background checks, is becoming more and more commonplace. Online works great in certain situations, such as when the client needs a quick first pass or you want to fly under the radar and can’t make calls to former co-workers. However, depending on budget, time frame, and level […]

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Aggregators or direct?

When buying information – public (and not-so-public) records, news, or legal filings – you have two choices: Buying direct from the sources or buying from information aggregators, firms that collect the data from the various sources and compile it into one database or product. I frequently use aggregated sources, including LexisNexis, Dow Jones Factiva, TracersInfo.com, […]

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Local news for due diligence

Local news – A searcher’s underused treasure

When you need focus and depth for online research, try local news. Long after the national news packs up and leaves after a hurricane, for example, the local press continues to delve into the storm’s aftermath. For due diligence background investigations this means that, as the hometown heroes (or villains), your subjects’ accomplishments and failures […]

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Social Security traces

Comparing Social Security traces

In a recent post, I discussed Social Security traces, including what they are, how we use them at Phelps Research, and the problems with these reports. This time, I’ll compare the differences between four reports I recently ran for two social security numbers. It’s not uncommon to run a report on your subject’s SSN and […]

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Anatomy of an SSN trace

Anatomy of a Social Security trace

One of the first steps in creating our background reports is to run what’s known as a Social Security trace or an SSN trace. It’s a report that lists names (including aliases, nicknames, and other variations), dates of birth, and address history associated with the provided SSN. These reports are commonly run when doing employment […]

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Wish list for information vendors

My wish list for information vendors

As an info pro/researcher/investigator, I use a lot of specialized database products for news, public records, and other info. As a result, I’ve had a chance to work with lots of database vendors, and, in my 15+ years in business, I’ve worked with some who are great at what they do and some who aren’t. […]

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Why I love Bing

Why I love Bing

In the business of background investigations, the goal is to find as much information as humanly possible on your subject, while respecting the client’s time frame and budget. That’s why I use professional online tools that help me quickly target what I need within a vast array of sources. I also use Google, and I […]

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