I'm a former librarian, now a private investigator and Certified Fraud Examiner, sharing my tips for investigative research.

dog dressed as private investigator

How to become a private investigator

How do I become a private investigator? People often ask me this question, and I generally offer some standard advice, but I decided to tap into my network of fellow PIs to see what else I should be  telling others about breaking into this exciting and rewarding profession.  Many thanks to all who responded to […]

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Too much information

Top post: Too much information – Now what?

This post was originally published on September 16, 2019. TMI. Too much information. Can the results of an investigation or research project provide so much information that it’s overwhelming? To you and your client? A recent question from a colleague reminded me that it’s not always about finding too little or, worse, no information. Here’s […]

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Mind the gap - What's missing

What’s missing from your research?

As an investigator or researcher, what you don’t find is often as important as what you do find – if not more. To be thorough, you need to be mindful of what you can and can’t deliver to your client. A recent case reminded me of this important lesson, and I’d like to share what […]

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separating fact from fiction

Fact or fiction? – How to avoid misinformation on the web

It’s nothing new. We’ve been relying on the web and social media for the information we need for a long time. In the age of self-isolation, uncertainty, and new threats, though, we’re doing it more than ever. These days, it seems that the web has become our primary source of news and other critical information. […]

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Newspapers and tablet with business news

What sources do I use for searching news?

I’m frequently asked about what I use for news searching, so I thought I’d share my sources and why they’re so important to my investigations. Note that these include free and fee-based sources, because – with online information – you definitely get what you pay for. You can’t do a thorough job with just free. […]

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Word cloud for due diligence

What is due diligence?

In looking over past blog posts, I’ve realized that I frequently write about due diligence, but I’ve never really explained what it is. Also, judging by the questions I get, there are lots of misconceptions about what it really is, what it’s used for, and why someone would bother taking this step. So, what follows […]

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Text sign showing Are You Ready Question. Conceptual photo Be Prepared Motivated Warned Readiness Aware written on Notebook Book on the Green background Marker and Pen next to it.

Searching online public records – How to prepare

Searching public records such as corporation filings, recorded documents, and court records can be the most challenging type of online research – even for the professionals. I’ve been searching online information for more than 20 years, and public records never cease to amaze me. No uniformity among jurisdictions, missing records, clunky search tools, and other […]

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Go the extra mile for your clients

After the background investigation: What’s next?

You’ve finally completed the due diligence background investigation. You’ve gathered your findings, analyzed the results, and written and sent your report. Time to cross this one off your to-do list and bask in that wonderful feeling of a job well-done. Or maybe not – because due diligence background investigations don’t end here. What else could […]

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Choices - Google alternatives

Time for a change: Google alternatives

Looking back at some blog statistics, it seems that readers can’t get enough of Google alternatives. Google is great, and – I must admit – it’s my usual starting point. But Google has its limitations, and sometimes we need more. Maybe it’s more privacy. Perhaps you need something more specialized. Or maybe you’re frustrated with […]

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Currency

Why it pays to pay for online information

If you read this blog, you know that I frequently advise others to conduct a background investigation on themselves. It pays to know what others find when they search for your name on Google or another search engine. But what if the news isn’t good? What if, among your results, you discover information that you […]

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