Find Missing Person: Comprehensive Search Tools & Resources

Find Missing Person: Comprehensive Search Tools & Resources

Did you know that over 100,000 individuals go missing each year? People who have vanished for an extended time, often for unexplained reasons, are considered missing.

A frequent misconception is that someone must be absent for 72 hours to be legally considered a “missing person.” When there is evidence of an unusual disappearance or act of violence, law enforcement authorities recommend starting an investigation immediately. The initial 48 hours after a person goes missing are pivotal.

A missing individual can be deemed legally dead if they have been gone for over seven years and there isn’t evidence to suggest otherwise.

This article will walk you through tracking down a missing person and the resources available. A missing person search is what private investigators call it. If your loved one has disappeared, you’re probably freaking out. This guide will help you know how to handle the situation.



Find Missing Person: Comprehensive Search Tools & Resources

How to Begin a Missing Person Search

A calm mind is required to begin an investigation into a missing individual. You may panic, but you want to ensure you get all the hints and save time looking for suitable locations. The first step is determining whether the person is lost or has disappeared intentionally.

In some cases, people intentionally vanish. For example, some disappear to avoid paying child support or alimony. Or they could be running from an arrest warrant. In other cases, individuals who have had run-ins with gangs, mobs, drug cartels, etc., go into hiding for their lives.

Only a tiny fraction of the time do people get lost. For example, when hikers become disoriented in the woods, mentally-ill individuals forget their location and get lost.

In either case, you may need to use all of their resources to track down the missing individual and locate them alive. Here’s how to get started on a missing person’s investigation.

Gather Information

The initial step in searching for someone is to gather as much factual information on the individual as possible. Arming yourself with the information allows you to rapidly distribute it to anyone who wants to help with the search. Some of the details to gather include the following:

● Full name

● Birth date (current age)

● Addresses, both current and former

● Height, weight, and hair color

● Their eye color

● Tattoos, scars, birthmarks, scars, and other distinguishing marks

Social media and other online handles

Collect any necessary identification. These include:

● Employee identification badge

● Certificate of Birth

● Other forms of identification, such as school or work ID

● Driver’s license

Get in touch with anyone familiar with the person.

 After gathering information, you’ll no doubt find information on the people who know the individual and can help with the investigation. These include

● Members of their family

● Friends

● Classmates

● Co-workers

● Roommates or neighbors

Talk to each of them to see if they know where your person is. If they do not know, find out when they were last in touch or where they last saw the individual. Record everything they tell you and move on to the next step.

Examine nearby clinics and hospitals.

The individual you’re seeking could have been hurt and unable to contact loved ones. Examine all nearby clinics and hospitals. If you can’t find them by name, find out whether they’ve had any “John Does.”

Check the local jails and prisons.

Your subject might have been detained and is now incarcerated. Check with the local jails and prisons to verify if they are there. Call your local police station to determine if the individual is there.

Check their social media accounts.

If the person utilizes social media, conduct a comprehensive investigation of their profiles. Examine their activity stream, friends list, status, stories, photos, and everything else. Examine each connection’s feeds for any comments, photographs, or other content that may feature you.

Drive or walk around your neighborhood.

If you’ve got reason to believe that the individual you are looking for is still in the neighborhood, begin canvassing—request help from family, friends, volunteers, and the local police agency. Drive around the area, ask questions, look for clues, and post missing person signs. Collect and organize all of the clues uncovered during the effort.

Investigate financial transactions

Get into the person’s financial accounts and look at their transaction details. Use the location and timing of financial transactions to construct an activity chronology.

Involve the media.

The media can help spread the news and get more people involved in the missing individual’s search. Share information, photographs, and clues with local radio and TV stations. Try to do an on-camera interview.

Work with a private investigator.

Different approaches may be needed if your person has been AWOL for an extended period. Private investigators come in handy when you’re freaking out and don’t know what to do.

Private investigators use various skills, strategies, equipment, and technology to locate missing individuals. Among the techniques used by PIs are:

Looking through public records

A private investigator can assist you in your search for a missing person. When searching for a missing individual, PIs begin by searching databases, government records, and other information banks. They use information from birth certificates, school or work IDs, marriage licenses, etc., in their search.

Checking social media

Social network platforms can help PIs learn further about the missing person. They can communicate with the individual through their accounts on numerous sites to acquire vital information.

Social media also helps connect with people who might know information relevant to the investigation. These include the missing individual’s lifestyle, beliefs, and connections. A private detective, for example, can use Facebook or Twitter to reach out to people who’ve been in touch with or seen the missing person.

Examining cell phone records

Private detectives can discover more about a missing person by analyzing the individual’s cell phone history. Modern cell phones are more than simply a means of communication; they can reveal information on the person’s frequented locations, who they were talking to, what they were looking at online, and much more.

A PI can also do digital forensics to recover data from the MIA individual’s cell phone and other electronic devices they left behind. They can also check up on everyone with the same first and last name in the city and state. They usually broaden their search to other states and cities if the initial results could be better. They often pay special attention to regions where the individual has family, friends, business contacts, or other ties. They then compile a list and contact these individuals for information.

Conducting an Internet People Search

If you know the MIA person’s first and last name, a private investigator can assist you in conducting an internet people search on sites such as BeenVerified. Places like this house massive public records that PIs can search in seconds.

SSN Trace

Credit bureaus are the best places to look up someone’s current phone number and address. According to PIs, this is often the best way to unearth a missing person’s current details.

Most consumers must know the many transactions that trigger bureaus to update their information. For example, just looking for a new house or switching on the utilities in your new home starts the system to update information. However, it is critical to understand that such PIs can only do SSN traces if they get the institutions’ permissions. Furthermore, they must state the legal reason for the search.

Searching for UCC filings

Uniform Commercial Code filings are lien details filed locally and stored by each state. They are records of properties that lenders have seized until the owner fully pays their debts. PIs can search UCC filings to find businesses that have had dealings with the MIA individual and help track him.

North American Child Protection Watch

Child Watch of North America has a toll-free hotline for anyone with information about missing children or follow-up calls from parents looking for them. PIs can also inquire with the Nation’s Missing Children Organization and the National Missing Children Center for more information.

Examining bank account details

Private investigators may learn more about individuals by looking into their financial details. Financial institutions usually allow PIs to review an MIA individual’s bank account activity, which may reveal where they’ve gone. For example, bill payments or ATM withdrawals in parts far from the person’s home may mean they’ve moved away.


There are many tools and resources available to help with the search for missing people; these are frequently the most highly recommended. Pay attention to the role of private investigators. Private investigators use their forensic and technological expertise and a broad network of educational resources to assist clients in locating MIA individuals.

It is painful to have a missing loved one; you shouldn’t have to wonder where your friend or family is. We can help. Our investigators are former federal agents (FBI, IRS, DEA, Secret Service) and will employ a wide range of tools and skills to find the whereabouts of your loved one. Contact us at 1-800-577-1080 or fill out an online form, and we’ll be glad to help.


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