I am sick and tired of rip-off, so-called “public records websites” trying to sell old, bad or bogus information to private investigators and the public in general so today I’m going to teach you how to find the authentic, real (and frequently free!) public records websites for property records, criminal histories and address information whether you’re working a skip trace, background check, fraud or any kind of case!
There are legitimate sites that compile and sell public records and I don’t have a problem with them or how much they charge. However… most of the decent sites require you to have a private investigator’s license form the state to gain access and that’s a deal breaker for a lot of aspiring P.I.’s.
Also, let’s face it, we are trying to solve cases and turn a profit in the process. That means keeping overhead low. So why subscribe, pay monthly fees and “per search” fees to a bunch of database companies and info brokers if you can easily do it yourself for free.
Really the reason to pay is to save time.
Let me give you this example… You could build a bookshelf for yourself with no power tools (if you have the skills!). But, isn’t it so much faster and nicer if you have power tools?!? Of course it is.
Same with information. You CAN get most or all of what you need without fancy, expensive data providers, but it’s nicer and quicker with them. And let’s face it, solving a case, pre-employment screening or skip trace fast may be important to your client.
Pro Tip: If you do know how to work without the database services, you will have monster size success when you add a good database service! Just like if you can build the shelves without power tools, you’ll be even better with power tools!
Warning: But… If you don’t know what you’re doing, access to a data provider will cost you more and provide you with a TON of false leads to get lost on! Just like working with power tools can cost you a finger if you don’t know what you’re doing!
Tip #1: Know the real name of the office that holds the public records you want.
For example, if you’re looking for property records, your local (county) office is probably NOT called the Property Records Office. It’s much more likely it something like the Assessor’s office or Auditor’s Office.
Searching by the REAL name of the office is likely to lead you to their website rather than a scam “lookalike” site.
Tip #2: Many (but not all!) of the legitimate, primary sites (like your local courthouse) will end in “.gov” and not “.com”. Yes, there are plenty of exceptions, but be careful before you send money off to one of the “.com” sites.
Bonus Tip: Bookmark the authentic site when you find it because you’ll be coming back to it over and over again in course of your investigative career.
If you like these helpful tips, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. If not, you can get it right here…
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.