“What does a comprehensive background investigation consist of?” and/or “What is involved in the background investigation process?” are customary questions repeatedly asked by prospective clients. Just as there are typically many ways to perform any given task, the attached infographic and accompanying material below provide insight into a Diligentia Group background investigation to assist clients to understand some of the information that can be identified during the process.
What does a comprehensive background investigation consist of?
The idea that a professional private investigator can identify anything about anybody, is a long-held myth. The fact is that there is an enormous amount of public records, or “open source” records which an Investigator can uncover which may identify potential “red flags” as to a subject’s personal history, business dealings or financial status (see related post: 5 Myths: What a Private Investigator Cannot (Legally) Get).
What “Open Source” Records are Available?
While conducting a domestic-based background investigation, unlike international due diligence or background investigations (which will be further analyzed in a future post), there is a vast amount of information that is widely available through regional agencies and third-party aggregators, who gather information from a variety of sources. A background investigation or due diligence investigation on an individual typically commences with identifying appropriate open source records which can be identified through online suppliers, local government facilities, regulatory agencies or archive warehouses. While many source documents are generally available to the public, the most pertinent include the following:
- Civil litigation
- Criminal Records
- Corporate Affiliations
- Judgments, Liens and Bankruptcies
- Tax Courts
- UCC filings
- Employment history
- Educational credentials
- Professional licenses and affiliations
- News media and Internet
- Assets (i.e. real property, watercraft, motor vehicles, etc.)
- Driving records
- Voter registration records
- Political contributions
Connecting the Dots
So what does it all mean and how does it relate to my problem? The short answer is that the information uncovered may have different effects on different problems. While a convicted felon is typically a significant red flag to any client, a prospective employer may be also concerned about hiring someone for a finance/accounting position with a checkered past such as a bankruptcy filing or finding that a potential senior executive knowingly falsified his/her education credentials.
In addition, an attorney client may be equally concerned about a “serial” plaintiff or an “expert witness” who had never testified in open court. A professional private investigator with extensive experience in conducting due diligence investigations and comprehensive background investigations can put these records into context to assist clients with making better informed decisions.
A comprehensive background investigation of open-source records can identify substantial information about a subject’s past, but the findings (good or bad) don’t always tell the whole story. Thorough analysis of this data by only a trained professional investigator can assist you to understand the findings to help you make informed decisions or avoid disastrous ones.
graphic by BuzzMachine Studios