Private Investigator buzz in 2011 – search strategies, public records, database pitfalls

I wondered what topics I covered this year in my posts so I thought you might appreciate a summary. Since the government agencies often don’t give a context for their online public records — inclusive dates, search function, excluded data — I investigated how this could mislead the researcher in Public records and newspaper databases – Are they what you think they are?.

Database resellers that provide online fee-based public records to the consumer often mislead the researcher and are not transparent about costs or data sources and limitations. I explored these concerns in Follow the identity trail of data brokers and Due Diligence on consumer data brokers.

You can Wildcard your county public record searches in the online public record databases and the computer index at the county court or county Recorder to enable more flexible searching of your terms. If you’re researching a birth, death or marriage at the county Recorder where the document was filed try the search techniques for finding someone in a public record. I gave some specific court examples in Research Tip: California Court Online Case Indexes.

The Social Security Death Index is falling victim to the identity theft scare, curtailing access to public records, even when the positive uses outweigh the destructive and the linkage between online public records such as the SSDI and fraud is slight. The Social Security Death Index is now restricted and will become more so in the near future.

Every month, I summarize the links I collected in the prior month on public record sources, Internet search techniques, legal news and online search tools and databases. You can read those at PIbuzz or search and subscribe to the links as I post them.

And you can add your comment to the discussion of the posts — look in the “Recent Comments” section in the sidebar at PI buzz.


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