In the last few months different people have approached our international private investigators team with a great concern: people search sites. For a long time we have advised people how important it is to research the company or website that you are hiring to get the evidence or information that you need. But, people search sites are not about getting evidence and they are certainly not private investigators. People search sites are essentially websites that offer a consolidated internet and database search service and nothing more. If you need evidence, such sites are not for you.
Many of the websites that offer information in exchange for a small fee are a complete and utter scam. While you are trying to find information to stay safe from scams and fraud, scammers have yet found another way to get you! Many of the people who resort to the use of people search sites are desperate for answers, but impatience is not a good ally.
The old adage ‘you get what you paid for’ is a good indicator of what you can expect when using these sites. People search sites can be a great tool when you’re looking for a phone number or an address and can’t seem to find one when searching DuckDuckGo or another safe search engine. After all, what can you really expect for $9.99 or $14.99? Not much, and not much is what you shall get.
The problem with many people search sites is that services are falsely sold as “background checks’ which confuse the public into thinking they are getting a real investigation, when in fact there is no investigation of any kind, and not even a single trained investigator employed.
A true background check investigation is a comprehensive verification process by a trained private investigator, where investigators review all the factual data and case information, and proceed to verify an individual or company in a detailed manner to gather clear evidence for clients.
The purpose of a real background check investigation is to mitigate risk for clients, and people search websites offer no such service, although many fraudulently claim to do so. Checking criminal records is not an investigation, but only a small part of a background check investigation or due diligence process. Checking domestic criminal records may be useful in some cases, but experts say many criminals have no criminal records, and for international cases, people search sites are of zero value.
Need to find a phone number or address or check a criminal record in Texas? A people search or “background check” website may be worth looking at. Need to verify an individual or company and get clear evidence, or need to verify someone you’ve met on the internet? Maybe you need to check an employment applicant or potential investment. If you need real answers, clear evidence, and true risk mitigation, then you’ll need to speak with a reputable private investigation company.
People search sites, in additional to misrepresenting their services, have come under fire for violating citizens’ privacy. Such sites put you and your family at risk by publishing and selling your personal data on the internet for all people and criminals to see, all without your consent. Some companies, such as Reputation.com, try to help people remove themselves from the sites. Some law firms are also taking notice to the privacy issue and responding to mass complaints being filed.
People search sites are typically built with information that nobody knows where it comes from, the sources are never mentioned and no one takes responsibility for the content. Users pay a fee to get information immediately, and although being able to get what you need right away is tempting, the truth is that reliable information requires research and investigation from a professional who will take time to verify the details and find the evidence you need. There is no magical database to provide such a service. In fact, in developing countries such as Malaysia, China, the Philippines, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Colombia and so on, many records need to be checked manually with government agencies, schools and employers, as there are no databases.
A real private investigator will check every piece of information directly at the source. A real private investigator will be discreet and confidential. A real private investigator will let you know where the information was checked and the people they talked to. Wymoo investigators include the source where evidence was obtained, including independent references from third parties, so you can be sure of not only identity, but also reputation.
Real and professional private investigation firms will make sure the information contained in an investigation report is accurate and reliable, not just something that was found online.
An important thing to mention is that in certain countries like Switzerland or Germany, the laws for data protection are very strict. Just thinking about finding a database or site that will help you search (and actually find) a citizen from such countries is far from reality. People search sites in many countries are not reliable by any means, and you would likely receive nothing of value.
Real private investigations and professional background check services are more expensive, but cheaper in the long run because they reduce your risk and keep you safe from fraud, scams and bad decisions. You get what you pay for. Don’t be fooled by a scam people search website offering “background checks” for less than $100 or even less than $20! You’d be better off searching the internet for free and keeping your money. The truth is that if you want reliable information, if you are really looking forward to locate a loved one with whom you lost communication, or are trying to find out whether you are a being victim of an online dating scam, paying for a fair and competitive fee is better than trying to save money with a generic people search site. Expert investigations are worth every penny if you need real help.
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