22 Dec 2017

Light Up Case Details by Being Your Own Detective

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You don’t need to climb down debtors’ chimneys to discover important case-related details; brush off your detective skills this season to light up information such as names of family members or other contacts, and even possible unreported assets!

BMS clients Steve Bridgett (assistant to Delaware Trustee Jeoffrey Burtch) and Christopher Williams (assistant to Washington Trustee Kathryn Ellis) presented the topic, “Conducting Searches in Cyberspace,” at the 2017 NABT Annual Convention in New Orleans this past September. Mr. Bridgett and Mr. Williams have shared their findings for this article series.

Don your detective apparel and learn how to better investigate your cases with the resources detailed below!

Web Searches

It can be frustrating not knowing a case-related individual’s name or contact informationespecially if you need to file a lawsuit or complaint against them.

Luckily, many websites can help you to identify these individuals and/or discover additional assets:

  1. Voter Registration Search: If you need the name of a debtor’s family member, you can find this information listed on the debtor’s voter registration form.
  2. Black Book Online: Search public records with specific names or keywords to find names of people related to a case or records of unreported assets.
  3. Telephone Spy Dialer: “Ghost dialing” contacts can be helpful to find out names or other information which may be contained in their voicemail message.
  4. Website Archive Search: If you suspect an asset or contact was listed online at one point in time, but that webpage no longer exists, you can search web archives to potentially uncover that information.
  5. Facebook: Facebook can be a very powerful resource to find contact information and even unreported assets.

Subscription or Pay Services

Besides the free web resources listed above, there are also pay-per-view or subscription services you can use to search for people or assets. For example, in some jurisdictions, the UST can provide a Choicepoint report on a case-by-case basis that lists a debtor’s addressesvehiclesbusinessesrelatives, and more.

If your search needs exceed the reports the UST will provide, there are many other subscription-based and pay-per-use search services you can use such as the LCI Consumer Information Report.

Professional Detectives

If you need to delegate your search, you can also hire a professional detective—just make sure to add this individual or service to your list of professionals in CaseLink.

With these tools, you may find just the morsel of information you’re looking for to spruce up your cases this season.