Locating people is an investigator’s job. Commonly called a “locate investigation” or just a “locate,” this type of work assignment represents one of the most common types of investigations received from lawyers, insurance companies and private parties.
Most locates involve serving legal papers. Everything from divorce papers and child support orders to insurance claims or an eviction or maybe a probate notices of someone’s inheritance. These locate investigations are requested by attorneys and law firms, so the investigator has little need to be concerned about the legitimacy of the investigation.
Sometimes the locate involves finding a family member or an old friend, an Army buddy or former spouse or significant other. These types of locates require an investigator to exercise a greater amount of caution. These require a stalker screening process. Where the client’s purpose is to reconnect with an individual, the investigator must be conscious that the request may come from a stalker.
Investigators need safeguards against potentially violating the privacy of the person being located. The most effective means of screening out potential stalkers is having the client write out a confirmation that they will not receive any information about the person being located until that person has been contacted by the investigator and given their approval for the client to make contact.
Potential stalkers will not, usually, accept the investigator’s conditions for the locate when the learn they won’t get the information unless permission comes from the person being contacted. This effectively screens out the majority of people attempting to hire a locate investigation for inappropriate reasons.
Thoroughness is the investigator’s safety net. Any locate warrants caution. Before locating the residence address of the subject, check the civil and criminal index under the names of both the client and the subject looking for any instance of restraining orders, domestic violence cases or other matters potentially involving stalking.
Even these precautions do not completely assure that an investigator is not being used to facilitate a stalker. Ultimately the best defense against investigators being abused by stalkers is to inform and encourage the public about the necessity and importance of making a public record to document instances of stalking or any kind of need for either a civil restraining order or domestic violence restraining order.
These leave an easily discovered public record documenting the actions of the stalker and make the investigator’s cautionary efforts more effective.
To learn more about locate investigations, please visit my website at www.jdstoneagency.com/services/locates