Do you know what it really means when you search for public records or even a private database and it comes back with, “no record found”?
This comes up because I recently opened my public records mini-course to the general public and I’ve been getting great feedback from that.
So when searching public records (or any source!) one thing I want to really emphasize is if you get a result that says, “no record found”, that’s all it means. Don’t read anything else into it.
I’m going to give you three examples, including the number three example which is right from my case files.
1. The first example seems really clear to me and it represents all your searches.
Let’s say you’re searching an online college directory.
You type in the subject’s name for skip tracing, background check, or whatever you’re doing and it comes back with ‘no record found’. You cannot infer from that that they did not go to school there or they’re not currently enrolled there! You just can’t!
There are a variety of reasons it might’ve come back with no record found.
Maybe they clicked the little button to “opt out” of the student directory. It comes back ‘no record found’, but they are a student there.
Maybe they registered too late to be included in the directory. Again it comes back with “no record found”, but they are there!
Don’t try to stretch out any more information or read into what it means. Literally, all it means is the search didn’t find a matching record.
2. Another example is for mostly my licensed brothers and sisters in private investigations.
If you’re doing searches in Bureau of Motor Vehicle records because you have permissible purpose for that, and run a check for a vehicle abstract or registration for a vehicle, and it comes back with, “no record found”, that does not mean that person does not own a car.
There’s a variety of reasons I can come back like that! Maybe it’s a state with community property. So the car’s registered in the wife’s name. When you search by his name, “no record found” does not mean he doesn’t own a car!
Maybe it’s “his daughter’s car”, so he owns it but it’s registered in her name. “No record found” simply means no record found.
3. From my case files I can share about a background check on a drug dealer.
I saw him one day in what I believed was a stolen vehicle.
I did a little bit investigating and found out it definitely was a stolen vehicle, so the next time I saw this dealer in this vehicle, I called the cops. He got arrested and he’s still in jail. Not specifically off of the stolen vehicle, but just from the accumulation of crime in this guy’s life.
If you look at his criminal record, it’s just theft, dope, and violence, over and over again. So now he’s locked up. I’m pleased about that. He really needs it. Society really needs it.
CASE UPDATE: While serving his time in state prison, he got busted again for trafficking dope – inside prison! The judge added 18 months to his sentence. Ouch!
But here’s the thing…
When I was investigating who this guy in the lower (misdemeanor) court records, he comes up with first name, middle name, and last name. It’s an easy search and there’s plenty of criminal history there.
But, when I searched in the Common Pleas or Upper Court for felonies, he came back blank. “No record found”.
Now, I know from vast experience there is no way this guy didn’t have a felony. He’s in there somewhere. As I started to experiment, I found out, for some reason, every time they charged him with a felony, they switched his middle and first name!
When I searched by switching his first and middle names, up came his felony criminal history!
Don’t make the very common mistake that people make. You punch them in to search felony records, get the result of “no record found” and you think he’s clean. He has no felonies. Nope. “No record found”, in this case, means they entered the information wrong or you searched wrong. Don’t be fooled by that!
Committed to your success,
Private Investigator (Ret.) &
#1 Best Selling Author
P.S. – And, of course, don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…