Can you trust what you find online?

Buyer beware: Can you trust your information sources?

In a recent post, I talked about the importance of verifying your sources, and, in response, many of you have asked me this: “How do I know if I can trust the information I find?” The short answer? You really can’t. Fake news and bad information are not new. Librarians have been curating collections for […]

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Trust, but verify

Due Diligence Hall of Shame: Trusting just one source

You’re looking for a financial planner, a trusted adviser and professional. Where do you go? Maybe you try LetsMakeAPlan.org, a directory operated by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. But, can you trust that your searches there will lead you to the right individual? According to a July 30th Wall Street Journal article, the […]

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Magnifying glass on laptop

Online public records: Top investigative challenges and what to do about them

In my experience as a librarian, business researcher, and private investigator, I’ve done a lot of online searching. I’ve reviewed, purchased, used, and taught others how to use all types of online databases. I’ve searched for all kinds of information. But the most challenging type of searching and the one topic that tests my fortitude […]

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Time to upgrade

Vendor wish list – Making sure an upgrade isn’t a downgrade

As an investigator, I rely on my collection of premium databases for hard-to-find information. You’d be surprised what you can’t find through Google. Over the years, I’ve worked with lots of different vendors who offer great products and customer service, and they’re well worth the investment. To their credit, database providers often upgrade their products […]

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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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Information sources-presidential election, campaign

Become an informed voter – it’s your right

It’s that time of year in the U.S. On top of  enduring one of the strangest presidential campaigns that anyone can remember, we have to put up with those mud-slinging political ads that tell us nothing about where the candidates stand on the issues or what they plan to do about them. So, to help […]

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Wish list for information vendors

My wish list For information vendors – Part 2

In my business, I spend a lot of time buying information and information-related products. A while ago, I posted a wish list for information vendors, which focused on issues that generally arise before the sale. In part 2 – again compiled with the help of my AIIP colleagues – I offer 10 suggestions for fee-based […]

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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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