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How to Find Assets That Someone's Trying to Hide...

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Important Disclaimer: The following article contains tips and suggestions for conducting an investigation. Laws vary from one region to the next, and what is legal in one state/country may not be in another. Therefore, this article should be considered for entertainment purposes only. Please see our complete disclaimer & EULA for more information.

Preliminary facts regarding an asset search:

Now there may be a number of reasons someone is hiding his or her assets from you. One of the biggest reasons may be in order to con you, by taking charity or loan that they have no intention of repaying. Another common reason would be in the event of a deadbeat parent or spouse who owes child-support or alimony payments.

The easiest way is to locate assets via public records, however you will need to know a little something about public records.

You will need a person’s name and address at least before you start searching public records. In many European countries, just the name of the person will suffice. The first step is discovering the person’s real identity, knowing who and what he or she really says they are. It is only then will you be able to find out what they own. The best way is to start gathering intelligence.

You will need to find out what work your subject does and where he works as well as where he or she really lives. You can often find out this information via a pretext telephone call, however before making such a call, verify if making such calls is legal in your area - in the United States pretexting is illegal. Deadbeats are no longer able to hide from courts. However people who are deliberately hard to find and don’t want to repay their debts have improved at hiding without leaving a paper trail.

Many of these people will usually put the assets in to a relative’s name such as in their son’s name or mother’s name, or even at times in the name of people whom they think they can trust, which will make it near impossible to trace any ownership to these people. If you suspect a deed transfer then a country civil search should be conducted to find out about any transfers.

Knowing where and how assets are located have been valued by many people such as investors, creditors, government entities as well as potential lenders. The IRS or Internal Revenue Service is the largest creditor in the United States, their field agents along with CID agents work to locate assets in order to satisfy liens, tax, levies fraud as well as tax evasion matters. It is the job of these and other similar organizations to know your worth before they deal with you.

Professional skip tracers begin their investigation of a subject by first compiling and gathering data about the person’s identity, as well as employment history as well as living and dead relatives etc. in order to profile the subject’s financial character and status. In initial searches they may locate credit as well as mortgage data.

Check the National Death Index

You will need to start by first checking death records to find out when an individual passed away. Because if an estate was filed it is very likely that it was filed where the person passed away, you may need to visit the court house for details. You will need to find out if there was a will, if there was then it should be on file, and would be filed at the local courthouse.

Discover your subject’s Income or Wages

Income is another asset, so you will need to discover a person’s income. Now whether your subject is filing for divorce or is going to collect a judgment or even child support, you will need to find out exactly how much property and possessions your subject has. You need to know that a judgment passed is not a debt, it is a court order to pay and holds the power of the court order, but it is still just a piece of paper till the subject collects the money. The court does not hold the responsibility to collect the money for you.

Find out where your subject works

This is probably the easiest but will take a little practice though. So follow what the pros do, get up early and wait for your subject to get ready to go to work then follow them to work. However be aware, however don’t use your own car, if the subject knows you, try to get an unknown vehicle.

Now in order to verify your subject’s employment you might ask the person’s employer, for instance “he is purchasing a house from me, and I would like to know the money he makes.” Or “Does the person get paid weekly or biweekly”. You need this information in order to know when paychecks are issued if you any intention of garnishing wages. You will also need to ask “Does he receive any bonuses?” or “how long has he been employed in this job”, etc.

Passive Income

There is also a category of income known as unearned income, which does not come via a paycheck. This form of income is earned via rentals or dividends and from interest earned from owning stock.

Subpoena Business Records

You can also choose to subpoena a subject’s business records if his employer is known. By serving a Business Record Subpoena you can get a hold of the subject’s payroll checks that the person has cashed. If you take a look at the back of the check you will see the subject’s account title as well as the name of the bank.

Going through public records

Public records hold millions of filings as well as estate and property transactions, as well records of new businesses which can be looked through at a country courthouse. This is publically available information, and hence accessible by everyone.

Real estate property is some of the most well documented assets and valuable of all assets. The records of these real estate transactions are easily available at the country recorder’s office as well as the registrar of deeds office. The records are indexed by the property owner’s name which are cross indexed by the address location of the property. The documentation will include the jurisdiction, deeds of trust, property address, mortgage lender etc.

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