I was struck today by the jam in which private investigators find ourselves, trying to locate witnesses, heirs or separated family, in the current environment of suspicion that pervades the release of personal identifiers. The dilemma for the public (of which they’re mostly not aware) is how to keep away the unwanted advertisers and would be fraudster but still be reachable by the PI (“all loveliness and goodness” we are!), who is bringing good news or money. And the legislatures should make exceptions in all cases of information access for private investigators and attorneys, in order to uphold the smooth and effective functioning of the courts.
I finally reached a woman yesterday who’s moved and changed her telephone number a dozen times in the past few years (she’s poor, not running from an abuser). I reunited her with her birth child, for whom she had relinquished parental rights 30 years ago. She spent the first 10 minutes on the phone crying with joy that I had found her. This gets to the point of this post. She only had a cell phone, increasingly common, according to the Pew Internet Study. Many data collectors are now able to provide legal, non published and cell phone reverses, mostly from the number to a name or address.
Merlin has a phone break search that is pricey at $10.00 but is free if complete results can’t be returned. Both IM411 and SkipSmasher will reverse unlisted /nonpublished numbers, IM411 being the best deal (no monthly fee). Some cell phone numbers are included. These searches are only available for investigations or debt collection by authorized or licensed companies.
I found the name of the owner of a business that was shuttered 20 years ago by running the telephone number through a locator database, limited by state. You can do this type of search through Link to America.