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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Locate Hidden Assets- How to do an Asset Search

My article Locate Hidden Assets- How to do an Asset Search has been picked up.

It's getting quite a bit of response.

Locate Hidden Assets- How to do an Asset Search
By: Ed Opperman

As a private investigator you may be asked to perform an asset search or an asset locate. This is when one person or business entity needs to determine the assets of another person. This would include bank accounts,real estate, businesses and much more.

There are many reasons why the client needs the asset search. It could be a divorce where one spouse suspects the other is hiding wealth or community property. It could be a business partner or investor. It could be a creditor that is ready to file a lawsuit and wants to know if it's worth the effort.

If the debtor has nothing no sense in proceeding with the suit. Can't get blood from a stone as they say.

How to perform an asset search?

Begin your search by delving into these records sources:

Court Records - Bankruptcy, Liens and Judgments - County Court House
Business Licensing - County Court House
Power Of attorney
Divorce proceedings records - State Vital Statistics
UCC filings - Secretary of State's Office
Corporation Records - Secretary of State's Office
Motor vehicle information - State DMV
Probate records - State Probate Records
Real Property Records - Assessors Office - County Court House

Be cautious when performing an asset search. In 1999 new laws were passed that made pretexting financial institutions a crime. You can no longer call a financial institutions and pretend to be the account holder to obtain the account holders information.

Wikipedia describes pretexting as :

Pretexting (sometimes referred to as "social engineering") occurs when someone tries to gain access to personal nonpublic information without proper authority to do so. This may entail requesting private information while impersonating the account holder, by phone, by mail, by email, or even by "phishing" (i.e., using a "phony" website or email to collect data). The GLBA encourages the organizations covered by the GLBA to implement safeguards against pretexting. For example, a well-written plan designed to meet GLBA's Safeguards Rule ("develop, monitor, and test a program to secure the information") ought[citation needed] to include a section on training employees to recognize and deflect inquiries made under pretext. In fact, the evaluation of the effectiveness of such employee training probably should include a follow-up program of random spot-checks, "outside the classroom", after completion of the [initial] employee training, in order to check on the resistance of a given (randomly chosen) student to various types of "social engineering" -- perhaps even designed to focus attention on any new wrinkle that might have arisen after the [initial] effort to "develop" the curriculum for such employee training. Under United States law, pretexting by individuals is punishable as a common law crime of False Pretenses.

However there are many perfectly legal methods to obtain this information. You are still able to use the normal investigative techniques routinely used uin any investigation. Interviews,surveillance,dumpster diving, database searches and sources (tipsters and informants).

Many times an investigator you'll be working on a complex case and in the course of your investigation you mat need an asset search. In many cases it may be wise to outsource the asset search part of the investigation to another investigator that routinely performs these type of investigation.

About the author: Ed Opperman is President of Opperman Investigations. If you need assistance with an asset search please visit his web site He offers asset searches as well and background reports and current employment locates.

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