Compass and other navigation tools

Researching something new

Where to start? That’s one of the first questions investigators and researchers ask when faced with a research question. Sometimes we’re researching the same topics as usual, and sometimes we’re researching something new, but we always need some starting points. In the first case, when faced with a known topic, we have our standard sources, […]


Caution road sign

Comprehensive report: Investigator’s friend or foe?

One of the most popular resources in an investigator’s toolbox is the comprehensive report. Vendors like TLO, Tracers, LexisNexis, and others compile records on your subject from their database into one report. One search, and you have it all. It’s a busy investigator’s dream. Or is it? Unlike many other investigators, I don’t use comprehensive […]

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missing puzzle piece

5 things you can’t find online & what to do about it

As someone who specializes in gathering and analyzing online information, I’ll be the first to admit that you can’t find everything on the web. When you’re digging deep for hard-to-find answers to client questions, relying on just online research may leave gaps, which–in our business–can be costly. That’s why it’s important for researchers and investigators […]


Stack of newspapers next to laptop

Online news searching: Why?

Whether you’re conducting due diligence, finding hidden assets, or just digging deep into a company’s or person’s background, news searching is an important step in your intelligence-gathering process. I talk about it here a lot but realized that I’ve never really focused on the why. Why is news searching so important? Not a day goes […]


missing pieces in a puzzle

Online public records – What’s missing?

As a professional investigator, online public records are some of my go-to sources for information about people and businesses. But searching the public record through online databases has its challenges, especially when it comes to missing information. Online public records don’t contain everything, so, depending on your level of investigation – and your level of […]


Caution signs on laptop

Public records sources: What to know and what to avoid

When conducting online investigations, public records add valuable info about our subjects. Assets, liabilities, legal trouble, and much more. Public records are useful, but searching can be tedious and time-consuming, and our findings affect people’s lives and livelihoods. So, in addition to using quality information, we need to gather it efficiently. That’s why it pays […]


sign with two choices

Top post: Aggregators or direct sources?

This is an updated version of a post that was originally published in 2016. When buying information – public records, news, or legal filings – you have two choices: Buying direct from the sources or buying from information aggregators, firms that compile data from multiple direct sources into one database or product. These are usually […]

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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. […]


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. […]



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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