Three Differences Between Database Investigations and Private Investigators

Picture of woman on laptop doing research

If you search “online background check” or “people finder” on Google, you might believe that you could have all the information you need for your investigation for as little as $40. However, there are major pitfalls to conducting a database investigation instead of using a licensed private investigator that could cost you more time and money in the long-run. Below, we discuss the problems associated with database investigations, including information access, accuracy and terms of use.

What Do Private Investigators Have Access To?

Private investigators have access to everything online databases have and more. As private investigators, we have access to public and private databases that may not be accessed without having a proper license. Online search databases generally pull their information from public records. This means that an online database could be missing information like phone numbers, work history and marriage licenses.

In addition, online search databases may not provide your subject’s social media account information. In a world where people post intimate parts of their lives online, locating their social media profiles could be crucial to your investigation. Even if a person’s online profiles are set to private or they don’t exist, our social media investigators have the technology and tools to find valuable information for our clients.

The reality is when you are conducting an investigation, you may not know which information will be important for your case. An investigator who understands the purpose of your investigation can focus on comprising information that aligns with your goals.

Are Database Investigations Legit?

How can you be positive that the information on online search databases is up-to-date and accurate? You can’t. Sites like PeopleFinder and TruthFinder admit that their information is not verified for accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you obtain information from an online search database, you assume the risk that the information gathered and used is incorrect.

In addition, people may send a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about their personal information found on the site. In consequence, the FTC can make the database limit access to that person’s information.

Database Investigations: Terms and Conditions

Again, when reading the fine print on an online database, you may learn that their data is for informational purposes only. You likely waive your right to use the information in a court of law. In addition, many search databases state that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), their information cannot be used to determine an individual’s eligibility for employment, credit, insurance or other business transactions.

If you need to use the information from your investigation for one of these purposes, we recommend that you speak with an expert in the field. At Bosco Legal Services, Inc., our private investigators help clients across the nation collect the information they need for their investigation. Call our team at (951) 289-5761 or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch with you soon.