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Old 03-18-2004, 04:07 PM   #1
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How much information do you need to track someone down?

Let's say I had a friend (yes, the pretense is necessary) who used to have a thriving correspondence with someone of whom she was quite fond. Let us suppose that this friend had something like a mid-life crisis a few years early, and eventually sort of wrote her this one long, ambiguous letter, and never really got in touch with her again. Let's say he deactivated his e-mail account and that was the ony way she had to get in touch with him.

Let's say he's American, probably living in a major metropolitan area (which she knows) and working in a certain industry (which she also knows). She knows his first name, his wife's first name, and the names of his children--but no last name, no address, no phone number, no permanent e-mail address. Only:

--a metro area
--an occupational industry
--a former e-mail address and IM name
--a bunch of first names
--some cities in which he used to live
--some interests and likes

Would my friend theoretically be able to track him down merely by googling, or would she--or could she, and how much would such a service go for--have to hire a private investigator?

And is it even worth it?

My friend wants to know.

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Old 03-18-2004, 04:17 PM   #2
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Without a last name, the chances are pretty slim. A private investigator will charge $50 to $60 per hour plus expenses and even then, there is no guaranty he can be found. The search criteria I always use starts with the last name and metropolitan area...there would be nowhere to start without a last name.
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Old 03-18-2004, 10:06 PM   #3
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Evwn with all the other info, you'd really need a last name?
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Old 03-18-2004, 10:19 PM   #4
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Most people in cases like this are found through computer searches, which can't be done with just a first name. You would need at the very least a former address or actual employer name. For instance, if I tried to run a first name of John in a city like Los Angeles, I would probably get thousands of hits and have to sort through each and every one.

There are people out there who can probably do some shady searches of his old email address but that will cost your friend a pretty penny.

I guess its not totally impossible but at the very least would be time consuming and expensive. Someone would have to personally call or visit all of the places he might have worked or hung out in and even then, with just a first name, you'd probably hit a brick wall.
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Old 03-19-2004, 02:40 AM   #5
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if your friend knows the guy's age and even the high school he went to, she might be able to start her search there. if she knows what he looks like, she could look up year profiles on any of the school sites, for any name applicable to the age he would have been and track him down that way. it might be a bit of a brick wall, but a school and age should narrow it down. sites like schoolfriends.com are free there, yeah?
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:23 PM   #6
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Sorry to say this but I think the chances are very slim. Unless you friend actually met him and can confirm the info provided (names, jobs, etc...) tell your friend not to waste her money. There are many people on the internet who use false information simply because they can.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:35 PM   #7
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Well, I dont really know if its even worth it... but, from what your friend has; the chances are quite slim.

There are few interfaces that allow you to search based on first name, and interests... and the ones that do, will probably come up with an unending list of people...


If you had a phone number, an address... you could probably use an online phone directory/reverse phone directory and have a good starting point, and a few phone calls would probably be able to track this guy down quite quickly... But... really. Like Fah said, even if you had those, theres no assurance that what he told you was ligitimate and accurate I wouldnt hold much hope out for this one
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:48 PM   #8
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Re: How much information do you need to track someone down?

Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora
Let's say I had a friend (yes, the pretense is necessary) who used to have a thriving correspondence with someone of whom she was quite fond. Let us suppose that this friend had something like a mid-life crisis a few years early, and eventually sort of wrote her this one long, ambiguous letter, and never really got in touch with her again. Let's say he deactivated his e-mail account and that was the ony way she had to get in touch with him.

Let's say he's American, probably living in a major metropolitan area (which she knows) and working in a certain industry (which she also knows). She knows his first name, his wife's first name, and the names of his children--but no last name, no address, no phone number, no permanent e-mail address. Only:

--a metro area
--an occupational industry
--a former e-mail address and IM name
--a bunch of first names
--some cities in which he used to live
--some interests and likes

Would my friend theoretically be able to track him down merely by googling, or would she--or could she, and how much would such a service go for--have to hire a private investigator?

And is it even worth it?

My friend wants to know.


I think your friend knows more about this person than he/she is letting on...there's alot of information written between the lines - I just can't crack it without more detail....

And thanks to that fucking lunatic who shot and killed Rebecca Shaeffer (My Sister Sam), we PI's are NOT allowed to take cases and track persons down just for the $$$$$. Many legitimate database searches are strict and cost me $$ to run the information.... that jackass PI in Arizona really screwed it up not only for PI's but the police and others who were able to delve into a thousand search directories...No more!

I get many calls asking if we can find a "lost love", find my "ex-wife, she has my kids", "can you run my girlfriends Social Security number..." we just say no. We don't want any blood on our hands from the idiots who want to harm others.

I'm certainly NOT suggesting your friend has mal-intent; its just that we professionals have our hands tied by the powers that be; one slip up, and its good bye PI....

Good luck.


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Old 03-20-2004, 10:54 PM   #9
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okay, what about if you knew someone's name, old address/phone number, etc., and could possibly even find a social security number (not illegally or anything of course)? how much would it run you to find current contact info basically?
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Old 03-20-2004, 11:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by KhanadaRhodes
okay, what about if you knew someone's name, old address/phone number, etc., and could possibly even find a social security number (not illegally or anything of course)? how much would it run you to find current contact info basically?


For the general public, probably $20 or so...but I normally charge friends what it costs me, $5 to $8

*as long as its for a legitimate reason
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Old 03-20-2004, 11:10 PM   #11
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Re: Re: How much information do you need to track someone down?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. BAW



And thanks to that fucking lunatic who shot and killed Rebecca Shaeffer (My Sister Sam), we PI's are NOT allowed to take cases and track persons down just for the $$$$$.
that was so awful.
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Old 03-20-2004, 11:23 PM   #12
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You're right,,,,that was killing in the coldest-of blood....too bad that SOB is still alive and cut that little girl's life so short...it impacted the entire private sector of professionals who use database in our business.

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Old 03-20-2004, 11:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's American Wife




For the general public, probably $20 or so...but I normally charge friends what it costs me, $5 to $8

*as long as its for a legitimate reason

*with Mr. BAW's permission
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Old 03-21-2004, 04:07 PM   #14
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What - the BAWs are PIs?

Oh wow. What do you know about me? What could you find out about me if you had my last name - everything? Im interested if a good PI with enough $$ could find out most of my secrets. Like, can a PI check all the police files, f.e. containing info which protests I went to? No paranoia there - just interested.
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Old 03-21-2004, 04:29 PM   #15
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If you really must know, we're run backgrounds on all of you here!








NOT!!!!

If you believe that you have an FBI file, you can access that information through the Freedom of Information Act; once your file is "cleansed", you're entitled to access it...
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