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3 Reasons Why Investigators Need to Master Online Research

Some investigators shy away from online research, concerned over the ethical implications of this type of investigation. Others embrace the availability of information on the internet, believing anything can be found online. While excluding other resources may not be the best approach either, using the internet to fuel an investigation can make investigators more efficient and more successful.

Accessibility
One chief reason investigators can and should use the resources available online is because it makes a great deal of information readily available. In trying to size up a potential partner for a new business venture or an investment opportunity, it may be necessary to find out as much information about that individual as possible. While that does mean learning more about their professional past and financial status, it can also help to learn about the individual's personal life, social affiliations, and any controversial events in which he or she may have been involved.
Between publicly available official records and social media posts, most of that information can be quickly discerned through a brief internet search. Provided the investigator is familiar with the most useful online sources, pretty much anything can be discovered about an individual. Their professional and private lives are documented in the digital world to an extent that might have seemed impossible only a few years ago.

Confidentiality
Some investigators argue that nothing takes the place of real world investigations. Speaking directly with personal or business associates can help an individual discover a great deal, as can conducting physical surveillance on their subject. While these classic investigative tactics are time-tested and still worthwhile, they have the drawback of revealing that the subject is under investigation.
In some instances, the investigator may want to keep his investigation quiet and not tip off the subject. In that situation, turning to online research may be the best option. Most of the same information can be discovered by a few internet searches. The investigator can also employ methods to keep his research covert, such as using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.

Economics
Finally, online research can save a client a great deal of money. The investigator bills by the hour, so, even when he's just sitting in his car or driving from location to location, the client is still paying the hourly rate. When that results in a productive investigation, the cost becomes worth it, but, other times, the investigator wastes time and the client's money through fruitless prospects. Instead, a 30 minute internet session can turn up much of the same information, while also saving on the expenditure of fuel and without wasting the client's money.

Online research can turn up details about an individual's financial status and history, as well as help the investigator discover important details about the subject's personal and professional lives. A thorough online search can turn up details about past or pending lawsuits and criminal records, as well as news of any controversies that may have affected the subject. Gathering this same information through other means might have required multiple phone calls with plenty of time spent waiting on hold. In other cases, traveling to city hall or courthouses could have wasted time, money, and fuel that might otherwise have been better spent in conducting more worthwhile tasks.

While real world investigative tactics still have their value, much of that research can be conducted online through simple searches. Utilizing this tremendous resource helps the investigator gain access to vital information more easily and cost-effectively than with the real world "grunt work" of past decades. Additionally, a little online research can save the client money and can free up the investigator to take on additional cases.

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