There is often some confusion about exactly what can be found in an asset search, and a lot of confusion as to the methodologies that can be used. This post provides you more definitive information in these two areas.
5 common reasons asset searches are performed
Here’s exactly what can be found in an asset search, and what methodologies can be used to discover the data.There are many reasons to conduct an asset search, and there are two reasons that are the most common:
- Pre-litigation: To determine if the subject or company has enough assets to file a lawsuit against them. Attorneys can be expensive and the legal process arduous. Determining what they have or don’t have can save thousands of dollars in not filing a lawsuit.
- When you have to obtain a judgment and you want to find assets that you can seize. A common scenario we see happens during divorce, when one person decides to discover if the other has been hiding assets.
There are three other reasons that are just as important – but they typically do not hold a high place in the minds of the public. These are:
- Determining the assets and worthiness of a possible financial advisor and/or company you are going to invest.
- You are thinking about going into business with a person and you want to know their finances, be they assets or liabilities.
- You are going to marry someone and you have no idea of their true financial picture.
What restrictions are there on asset searches?
Prior to 1999, asset searches were like the wild west. There were about 220 companies that advertised about conducting these searches. Everyone performed them and there were few restrictions, guidelines or rules to what you could or could not do. Subterfuge was used to “gag” banks for information and it was common for someone to run your credit reports and obtain valuable information under the “Inquiry” section.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB Act or GLBA) was a game-changer. The GLBA is also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999. It is a United States federal law that require financial institutions to explain how they share and protect their customers’ private information. It also set the standard for what private investigators and others can do with respect to legally gleaning financial data.
The rules are so tough that we are now down to about five companies in the country that do legitimate asset searches. The GLBA has severe prison time and financial penalties for non-compliance.
What data can be found in an asset search?
There are only three asset searches that can be legitimately conducted. They are:
- Basic Asset Search. This contains all personal data, twenty year address history, confirmation of SS# and date of birth, other numbers they may be falsely using, national property search, the U.S. Consumer Public Filing Index for bankruptcies, notice of defaults, judgments, tax liens and problems with the Internal Revenue Service, Corporate and Limited Partnership information, Uniform Commercial Code information, Civil and Criminal Index filings, Fictitious Business Name Index and professional licensing. This report should be sent to you in the form of court-ready documents. Although you may never need to use them in court, if the company you are thinking about using doesn’t have this standard, then don’t use them. This search should be completed within 24-48 hours. The “average” legitimate price for this product should be at or around $950.00.
- Bank, Savings and Checking Account Searches.
- Stocks, Bonds and Securities Searches.
Numbers 2 & 3 should take between 5-8 working days to complete. Pricing varies from state to state and also includes a more expensive nationwide search.
You can contact us for pricing for your specific case and area.