The Information Age
And The Private Investigator

By Dean A. Beers
Pro-Serve Investigative Services
Email: dean@privateinvestigations.org
Web Site: http://www.privateinvestigations.org
(970) 407-0813 (970) 224-2203 or (800) 290-5434 Fax

For a period of time now, we have been told time and time again how the "Information Age" is upon us.  That just depends on who and where you are, as well as what information you are interested in.

What this usually means is how you get the information.  That is the technology that is upon us.  We have been using "on-line" services for nearly ten years.  Most people and businesses are just now exploring this area.  Libraries and businesses are using them and so are our children.  It is something that can be very beneficial and time saving - also very expensive.

Information comes from only two different sources, public and private records.  How this information is disseminated and later retrieved is what usually becomes the area of confusion and disillusionment.  Public records are simply records that are collected, maintained and provided by various agencies for the publics use and knowledge.  Private records are those that are maintained by individuals, businesses and agencies.  These are generally not meant for public view or use, and if so, only on a limited basis.

An example of public records are your property records and driver's license.  Private records would be your credit history and job application.  Everything is a record.  How that record is maintained, stored and possibly disseminated, varies and influences the accuracy of the information.

Today, most people are beginning to rely on "on-line" information.  We have been searching for people for over ten years and have always been cautious of this type of information retrieval.  Remember, garbage in and garbage out.  Any record that is kept or provided is only as good as the chain of actions involved.

At the beginning is the person that provides the information.  If they lie or fail to provide accurate information, then the information you have received is also inaccurate.  Have you ever fibbed just a little on your credit or job application?  Next is the person recording the information.  Any typos, misprints or other related mistakes also effect your record.  We have all seen these mistakes on our credit histories.  Following this would be the method of updating and record storage.  Your record is only as accurate as the frequency of updates.  Some records are never updated.  How often have you called a number in the telephone book to find it disconnected?  If the number (or address) is in the book, it should be current - is the book even current?  Finally, what about the provider of the information?  Is the provider primary (the original record holder), secondary (bought the information from a primary record holder) or is the provider even more removed from the original record holder?  The telephone book is a secondary repository of information.  Directory Assistance is a primary repository and distributor.  Last would be the retriever of the record.  Did they have accurate retrieval information and were they knowledgeable in how to obtain and verify the information.  Anybody can find information and present it to you, but can you rely on it?

Information Repositories

Records are stored and disseminated differently.  First, storage can be in written format (which is usually the originating format) and later transferred to computer databases and cd roms, as well as other related devices.  Records are disseminated in much the same manner and accomplished by personal viewing, photocopying, faxing, on-line, cd roms, books and other formats.  Generally speaking, this is where all the mistakes are made and misconceptions formed.

Remember, the best source is the primary source and after that is a very reliable (and verified) secondary source.  Much is being acclaimed for on-line information.  On-line differs with each provider.  Are you getting the on-line information from the proprietary database or a cd rom?  There is no way for you to know unless you ask the provider.  We use several means of information search and retrieval.  We are knowledgeable of how records are created, stored and disseminated.  Because of this, we know the direct route to the primary sources and the most effective to means verify the information. 

Probably the next most relied on source is the cd rom.  This is an inexpensive and fast source, but also the worst for accuracy.  The information you want is probably on a cd rom, but who put the cd together?  How often is it updated?  We have seen cd's that claimed verified accuracy, only to contain inaccurate and outdated information (even several years old) and then not contain the information that should be there!  This source is no different than the database, except it can not be updated with a key stroke.  You must purchase or access a current cd and still verify the results.

Just What Do We Do?

We eliminate all of this hassle.  We literally pour over source after source and research everything (including testing),  before we use it for business support.  A source is only a support or reference.  All the information must be verified and confirmed before we hand it to you.  We can tell you exactly where any other investigator or business gets their information.  We use almost exclusively, primary sources and only when necessary we will use a secondary source.  The key  is we always verify the information.  We will not waste your time.  When we do an investigation, a portion of the time and subsequently the estimate and cost, is allotted to verifying the information.

Information and record sources are only reference and support tools.  Caution must be used and verification measures must be used as well.

by Dean A. Beers, Owner and Investigator

Pro-Serve Investigative Services, LaPorte/Fort Collins, Colorado


Ways To Contact The Author:

By Dean A. Beers
Pro-Serve Investigative Services
Email: dean@privateinvestigations.org
Web Site: http://www.privateinvestigations.org
(970) 407-0813 (970) 224-2203 or (800) 290-5434 Fax

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