How to Use Online Services to Run Background Reports and Retrieve Records


In the course of a typical private investigation case, private investigators may conduct database record searches, perform online research, public records, retrieve court records and present the findings of those searches in an investigation report for their client.  Private Investigation reports come in a variety of different forms, such as:

  • Full background check and investigations
  • Employment history verification
  • Financial reports including credit history
  • Real estate and property reports
  • Reverse lookups for phone numbers, addresses and emails
  • Date checkups (to learn more about the person you’re dating)
  • Criminal record and court record checks
  • Death record retrieval such as death certificates and obituary search
  • Marriage and divorce verification or confirmation
  • Miscellaneous public record retrieval

There are three sites that make pulling reports an easy process, U.S. Search, Intelius and PeopleFinders. The information and data provided by these three sites will satisfy the basic needs of most individuals. If you need more powerful options, check out our Background Investigations page.

U.S. Search

U.S. Search provides a variety of tools including: People search, reverse phone lookup, email search, social network search, property records, criminals records and background checks. at U.S. Search now.


Intelius offers a slightly more broad range of options, including: people search, email, property records, social network, background checks, employee screening, civil and criminal court records, reverse matches and more. Their Instant Background Checks include criminal background check, property value, lawsuits, judgments, bankruptcy, liens and much more.


Not as powerful as the first two, but still a good option, PeopleFinders offers products and services similar to U.S. Search. Options include: People search, background check, criminal records lookup, genealogy reports and reverse phone lookup. PeopleFinders is currently offering deep discounts on premium reports.

Other Resources and Tools

Another great option is to use a site called Spokeo is a new kind of search tool that aggregates information from a variety of different sources. It acts like a search engine to organize White Pages listings, Public Records and Social Network Information to help you safely find & learn about people. This is a new and interesting approach to background checks. We recommend checking it out.

In addition, private detectives are often called upon to locate or identify sex offenders. Currently, we don’t have any sex offender reports available. For more information on public records resources and sex offender search tools, visit our Sex Offender Search page.

Presenting the Information and Data to Clients

After retrieving the raw data on a private investigation report, private eyes should take the time to analyze the information and summarize the key information in the form of an investigative report.  It is the private investigator’s job to cull through the data an determine the facts that are relevant to the investigation. Once all of the relevant information and data is assembled, it should be presented in a format that is simple and easy to understand. Provide your own detailed descriptions for various data points to help your clients understand the information, what it is and why it is important.

Also, don’t simply email or mail the report to your client. Try to present the information in person. That way, you can review the information, have a conversation, answer any questions or concerns and agree what needs to happen next. Presenting what you found or uncovered in person is a professional touch that will go a long way toward earning your client’s trust and potentially, their future business.


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