Missing Person Private Investigator Services

Find a Missing Person

from America’s Top Private Investigator

Are you trying to find a missing person? Are you searching for a missing person with a drug or alcohol problem or mental illness? Has your subject been in prison? Is the subject a younger child or a missing adult child? If so, we have compiled a list of information that will guide you to finding your friend, family, or loved one. If, however, you are coming up empty based on your searches, it is necessary to call a private investigator sooner than later. 

As Thomas Martin, a California-based top Private Investigator, stated, “After 50 years of experience in searching for missing persons, you will want to have a private investigator right by your side from the onset.” Now, while you search for a PI, here at Martin Investigative Services, we have tips on choosing the right private investigator; we also compile other free methods where you can do the footwork the PI agency doesn’t do. Some may overlap, so ask your PI team what level of search they will be completing.

So, here they are:



How to find a missing person

20 Ways to finding a missing person

Number 1 File a missing person report:

You must file a missing person report within 72 hours of the missing person with the police department.

  • Contact the local police department or 911
  • Note: A private investigator may not work with you if you don’t get this first step done!

Number 2 Check with friends and family:

Today, most people are on social media, and friends could have seen a social media post about possible whereabouts. Note: If you only know some of their friends, a PI firm can help you connect with their remaining friends. 

  • Collect Photos, the last location seen, and media posts: Collect all information from their friends and family. Data may include their full name, date of birth, and other identifying information, such as their social security number or driver’s license number. 
  • You should also gather information about their whereabouts or clues that may help with the search. 

Number 3  Hire a private investigator:

Hiring a private investigator is almost essential because a PI can work closely with the law enforcement agency to which you submitted the case and helps to bring in front and center of their missing person cases.

  • Identify data: Share the collected photos and description of your missing person, and have it ready for emailing. PIs will post on their website and all other social media platforms.
  • Ask for a Press Conference: The PI may very well ask for a press conference with the family in attendance.
  • Give the investigator any tip straightaway: Time is of the essence. One tip can open up the case and help find your missing person.
  • Use Phone Records: Check their Phone’s Location. It would be best if you worked with the police and your PI to get the go-ahead to ping the phone or get the last time the phone was triangulated, as well as records. 

Number 4 Look to offer a reward:

You can use platforms like GoFundMe. GoFundMe is a popular crowdfunding platform that can be used to raise funds for various causes, including missing-person searches. Many families and organizations have used GoFundMe to raise money for search efforts and offer rewards for information about the missing person’s whereabouts.

Number 5 Contact Local television and radio stations:

If you can do so, you can reach out to the local television and radio stations. Type in “local television channels near me, or “local radio stations near me” to help start you in the right direction. 

Number 6 Contact jails, local hospitals, and coroners:

Our suggestion is to use the word “near me” in your search so you can find the local jails, local hospitals, and coroners list. 

Number 7 Use tracking dogs:

Contact a K9 dog sniffing team. Should the person be kidnapped, call for a K9 dog sniffing team before a mass search to reduce your cross-contaminate of the area. Type in “K9 search a missing person near me” and find a K9 team.

Here are some search and rescue dog groups and advice:
  1. American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-search-and-rescue-dogs-find-missing/ 
  2. CARDA: https://carda.org/ 
  3. Other: https://k9sardog.com/f/how-to-find-missing-persons 

Number 8 Do an Online Search:

There is various online search platforms to use. Here is a list below:

  1. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: https://www.missingkids.org/ 
  2. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs): https://www.namus.gov/ 
  3. The Charley Project: https://www.charleyproject.org/ 
  4. Missing Persons of America: http://www.missingpersonsofamerica.com/ 
  5. The Doe Network: https://www.doenetwork.org/ 
  6. FindThemMissing: https://findthemmissing.org/en/ 
  7. Project Jason: https://projectjason.org/ 
  8. The National Runaway Safeline: https://www.1800runaway.org/ 
  9. Black and Missing Foundation: https://www.blackandmissinginc.com/
  10. GINA For Missing Persons FOUNDation: https://www.ginamissing.org/Missing Persons Guide: http://missingpersonsguide.com/ 
  11. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Missing Person Resources: https://www.nami.org/
  12. LostNMissing: https://lostmissing.org/
  13. United States Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/

Number 9 Look into Online Directories:

Online directories differ from the online searches above. These are platforms where they have data but may have to pay a small fee to extract the information. These online directories can provide information on individuals, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and social media profiles, which can help locate a missing person.  

Number 10 Post Photos of the Missing Person in Local Places:

Posting photos in and around the area will further expand your search. You can also connect with the National Child safety council to join the Missing Children Milk Carton Program. https://www.nationalchildsafetycouncil.org/about/missing-children-efforts/228-missing-children-milk-carton-program   

Number 11 Utilize volunteer organizations:

Various volunteer organizations can help your cause. Many have other ancillary groups they go to, so tap into their connections! Here is a list:

  1. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: https://www.missingkids.org/home 
  2. Project Jason: https://projectjason.org/ 
  3. NamUs: https://www.namus.gov/ 
  4. Team Adam: https://www.adamwalsh.org/team-adam/ 
  5. Let’s Bring Them Home: https://www.lbth.org/ 
  6. Klaas Kids Foundation: https://www.klaaskids.org/ 
  7. The Polly Klaas Foundation: https://www.pollyklaas.org/ 
  8. Texas EquuSearch: https://texasequusearch.org/ 
  9. Missing Persons Advocacy Network: https://www.mpan.com.au/ 
  10. LostNMissing Inc.: https://www.lostnmissing.org/ 
These organizations offer services such as search and rescue operations, case management, emotional support for families, and public awareness campaigns.

Number 12 Utilize Social Media:

If you are not tech savvy, have a family, friend, or your private investigator, use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, and Snapchat to see if the missing person had posted in social media. Utilizing social media is key!

Number 13 Look at financial transactions:

Check the missing person’s bank and credit card statements for any recent transactions or withdrawals that may give clues about their location.

  1. You must work with the jurisdiction to access the person’s bank records. You must have a missing person report, legal authority, work with the bank, and follow applicable laws and regulations.

Number 14 Search public and state records:

It’s important to note that the specific public and state records available vary depending on the jurisdiction and the particular circumstances of the case. It may be helpful to work with a private investigator or legal counsel to determine which records are most relevant to your search. Here are some options:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Voter registration records
  • Property records
  • Driver’s License records
  • Court records
  • Birth, death, and marriage records
  • Professional license records
  • Business records
  • Military Records
  • Contact schools and workplaces: 
  • Check transportation hubs

Number 15 Utilize drones:

Drones can search large areas quickly and efficiently and may help locate a missing person who is lost in a remote location.

Number 16 Contact the embassy or consulate:

If the missing person is traveling internationally, contact the embassy or consulate of the country they are in to see if they can offer any assistance in the search.

Number 17 Consider cultural or religious institutions:

If the missing person is a member of a cultural or religious institution, reach out to leaders or community members to see if they have any information.

Number 18 Use billboards:

Consider placing a billboard or large advertisement with information about the missing person in a high-traffic area to increase visibility and reach more people.

Number 19 Stay positive:

Finally, it’s essential to stay positive and not give up hope. Keep searching and spreading the word until the missing person is found. Persistence is essential, and keep going until the missing person is found. Every effort made can bring us closer to finding them! File a report, then contact us.

Number 20 How to select a Private Investigator

If you are considering hiring a private investigator to help with a missing person’s case, choosing a reputable and experienced firm is crucial. Our PI firm’s investigators include former FBI, DEA, IRS, and Secret Service agents. Contact us at 1-800-577-1080 or fill out our web form for help with your missing person’s issue. We can help you throughout the continental USA. Call our PI today. We can help!

We offer a free consultation. No risk. Our friendly staff can help with your issue or point you in the right direction. The consultation is free and confidential. Ready? Call (800) 577-1080.

We look forward to helping you!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I find someone who disappeared online?

You can search public databases, social media, and online directories to find someone who disappeared. You can also hire a private investigator to assist with the search.

Can you track a missing person by their cell phone?

It may be possible to track a missing person’s cell phone if it is turned on and has GPS capabilities. However, legal requirements and limitations may apply.

How do I find a missing person with Social Security?

You can search for a missing person using their Social Security number through various public databases and services, such as the Social Security Administration or credit reporting agencies.

How long before a person is considered missing?

A person is generally considered missing when they have disappeared and their whereabouts are unknown, and there is reason to believe that their disappearance was not voluntary. The length of time may vary depending on the circumstances and local laws.

What is the fastest way to find a missing person?

The fastest way to find a missing person may be to hire a private investigator who has the expertise and resources to assist with the search. However, searching public databases, social media, and online directories may also be helpful.

How do I trace a long lost friend?

You can use social media, online directories, and public databases to trace a long lost friend. Additionally, you can hire a private investigator to assist with the search.

What makes someone a high risk missing person?

Someone may be considered a high risk missing person if they are vulnerable due to age, illness, disability, or mental health issues. Other factors, such as the circumstances of their disappearance or history of criminal activity, may also increase their risk.

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I’ve represented individuals and businesses (international and local) for close to fifty years, and I’ve called on Martin Investigative Services more times than I can count, often on a rush basis, for help throughout the world, on a number of different types of assignments.  I’ve never been disappointed.  I’ve always received swift, cost-effective and USEFUL information, which has wound up “saving the bacon” of our clients and making us shine in their eyes.  I recommend them without any reservation.

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Attorney at Law Callahan Thompson Sherman & Caudill, LLP

Martin Investigative Services is truly one of the best run organizations we have worked with. Fair, efficient and professional. Tom Martin in particular exudes confidence and experience and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. That’s something we can rely on.

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Organizational Resources Specialist, Kreative Webworks, Inc.

Successful people know that to be the best, you model the best. I cannot recommend Martin PI any higher! In a five-minute conversation with experienced people you can save thousands by bypassing sales types. They do this by cutting directly to the heart based on years and years of passionate pursuit of best practices and adding massive value to their clients. They are an invaluable part of my team and Tom is my most valued mentor!

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Author of Destiny's Doorstep

Martin Investigative Services has performed background checks, private investigation, surveillance and bug sweeps for our clients.  They have also served difficult process in lawsuits.  They have performed unquestionably and unfailingly to perfection.  We will always call Martin first – and hope he hasn’t been called yet by the other side!

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Hughes and Hughes, LLP

We have used Martin Investigative Services for three decades. Their work is exemplary; reports are perfect and their testimony is very professional, with great judge and jury appeal. We will not use anyone else for our investigations.

Steven Silverstein

Former Orange County Trial Lawyer, Association Trial Lawyer of the Year

It has been my pleasure to work with Martin Investigative Services over the past 30 plus years on many investigations as well as other security related matters.  When I need answers and I need them fast I know that a simple call will get me answers that are succinct, current and coming from a supremely knowledgeable source.

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