An investigator will usually start a background investigation by speaking with the client and compiling a list of information that can be used to do an initial search.
Investigators also use public records such as court records and property tax records to find information about their clients' subjects.
A private investigator might uncover evidence including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, street address, email, phone numbers, social media accounts, domain name registration and other website information, IP address, Bitcoin or Ethereum address, and much more.
The investigator will then use this information to run background checks on databases used by the National Crime Information Center, Department of Motor Vehicles, or other law enforcement databases.
Private investigators often assist clients in finding people who they've been unable to locate themselves. Most often, these are individuals who are difficult to find due to their transient lifestyles or attempts to avoid being found by debt collectors or other pursuers.
The first place an investigator will look is social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter — many users list their current location on these sites for others to see. Another common method is to use a person's phone number or email