Locating Assets

So he owes you money?  Or it’s a divorce or child support case where they’ve got to be hiding something!  Either way, you’ll want to know all about their assets.

Searching for assets can be tricky.  And there’s no guarantee you’ll find anything.  But this blog will show you some powerful places where to look.  And how to do it fast, easy and all for free!  In fact, while I urge you to read on, you can find all these links Here.

Why Look For Assets?
Here are the obvious and not so obvious reasons to look for assets.

Divorce and Child Support
Sadly, this is the main reason why people try to hide what they own.  See Tricks People Use To Hide Assets From Their Spouse

Someone Won’t Pay You
So they refuse to pay you? The good news is you found their boat, their car, their house and their tractor.  Do they want to lose these things?   Ask them.   Sometimes, a mere threat works wonders!

They’re Lying About Being Rich
Is little orphan Annie pretending she’s Daddy Warbucks?  People lie about their assets for many reasons.  Some do it for personal approval.  But others claim to be rich so you’ll invest in their Ponzi schemes. Think Gregory Crabtree and his association with University of Georgia  football coach Jim Donnan.

Spotting Conflicts Of Interest
People are influenced by what they own.  So knowing their assets can help uncover a hidden conflict of interest.  For example, a judge rules against your solar power company, but you later discover he owns stock in a competing oil company.  Or what about the
non-profit director who rallies against pollution while holding a majority interest in the notorious Smog R US, INC.?  Could assets in these competing ventures influence their day to day decisions?  Could it affect how they vote?  You bet.

Criminal Investigations
How do you know that scumbag A is connected to scumbag B?  Trace their assets!  Often shell companies lead to other shell companies which are held by friends, relatives and known criminal associates.

Wills & Probate
Are you sure their will is up to date?  What if they acquired new property, new stock options or a new company that the family never knew about?  This could happen by oversight. (The decedent was forgetful or never got around to revising their will.)  Or it could happen by design. (The secret car or house was for a mistress or baby mama.)

Assets Lead To Other Assets
The fact is that assets point to other assets.  Suppose for example,  that Company A and Company B have different owners, yet both share the same address and phone number.  Is Company B connected to Company A?   Maybe not on paper.  But what if you found both company owners were related to each other?  Could a friend or family member be hiding assets?

For more on why you should do an asset search, See 10 Reasons To Locate Assets

What Is An Asset?
Most people know why to look for assets.  But what exactly is an asset?  In the broadest sense, an asset is money or something that can be sold for money.  This includes anything from homes and cars to their used paper clip collection.

But don’t waste your time with paper clips.  Start with big ticket items such as their houses and companies. Then work your way down to smaller assets such as their stocks, cars and personal property.

3 Types of Assets:

  1. Real Property, Business Property  & Personal Property
    Examples include:
    Homes, buildings, parking lots, stores, boats, planes, tractors, cattle, cars, antiques, artwork, furniture, medical equipment, jewelry, collectibles & hobby equipment, corporations, partnerships, non profits, and the physical property associated with such.
  2. Cash, Income, Stocks, Bonds…
    Examples include:
    Salaries, retirement funds, pensions, bank accounts, stocks,  annuities, dividends, residuals & royalties from contractual and licensing  agreements, legal settlements, insurance proceeds, book sales, etc.
  3. Intangible/Intellectual Property
    Examples include:
    Copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents,  inventions, proprietary software, goodwill, client lists, buy out agreements, etc.   Like homes or businesses, these have value.  And like any other property, these can be sold to pay off debts.

How & Where To Look For These Assets (An Overview)
How and where you look all depends on what you know about the person.   You can search for assets based on:

  • Asset Types (What you think they own)
    This includes records on corporations, foundations, intellectual property, real property and cars, boats and planes. These can reveal the owner behind them.
  • Where The Person Works
    Often you can obtain salary, stock or pension information if they work for the government, manage a non profit or are an officer or director in a publicly traded company.
  • Their Hobbies, Licenses or Profession
    Many dentists have their own practice, and therefore, own expensive medical equipment such as dental drills and X-ray machines .  Same goes with cosmetic dermatologists who may own expensive lasers and dermabrasion equipment.  A person with a boating or pilot’s license could very well have a boat or small plane,  a gun collector, expensive guns, a sports hobbyist, expensive baseball memorabilia, a farmer, a tractor, a cyclist, a six thousand dollar bike, etc.
  • Usually you can get their profession or hobbies from LinkedIn, the Age & Relative lookup sites, or through Facebook, Twitter or ID Crawl.com.  But if you can’t, don’t despair.   Many states have occupational search engines where you can search by name just to see what license they have.  For example, in Georgia, you can find all the people in the state named “Adam Rosen” who have a professional license.  Just enter in their name without selecting a profession.  But don’t expect to find any Adam Rosens who are lawyers and doctors.  Typically those are found at the state bar and state medical board websites.
  • Key Events In Their Life
    Did they ever file for bankruptcy? (The bankruptcy petition may list assets.)  What about winning or losing a lawsuit?  (Assets could be listed in divorce, breach of contract, or personal injury claims.)  Did they ever receive insurance benefits from a death in the family or from a car accident?
  • Their Online Announcements
    Did they move and list items for sale on e-Bay or Craig’s list?  What about that new job they announced on LinkedIn or their vacation posts on Facebook?  Did they brag about their timeshare, boat or condo?

Googling Two Names Together To Find Hidden Connections
Key is to find as many names connected to your subject as possible.  For example: Plug the name Graham Firestone into the various international  company databases such as the Panama Papers or Off Shore Data Leaks. This may unearth other connections to the subject, such as new companies or the names of their officers.

So you think Graham Firestone owns the company but you only get the name of the Secretary Paula Saunders? Great! Now try Googling them together as shown below. This could reveal they went to the same school were involved in other companies or went to prison together.

Examples of Googling Both Names Together
“Graham Firestone” Paula Saunders” (both names in quotes)
Graham Firestone Paula Saunders (no quotes may reveal a middle name)
“Graham Firestone” “Fennan” (a rare first name)

Age, Middle Name & Close Friends & Relatives
You might think you need their Social Security number to find their assets.  But it ain’t so!  There are three things far more important.  And yes, these too can be found for free online.

Before you do an asset search, you should know their age, middle name or initial and their close relatives and associates.   You want the first two to make sure you have the right person.  But close friends and relatives are almost as critical.  If someone wants to hide their assets, guess who they’ll do it with!

Age/Relative lookups are not the only place to find relatives.  Checkout Facebook as well.  Make sure to  look for all “friends” with the same last name as your subject.  And then add these to your list of their close friends and associates.

You’ll want to look for the son, daughter, spouse or live-in girlfriend who suddenly acquires a new house, plane or boat!  Same goes with their business partners and close associates.  It’s easy to find out when they got the new house. The online property tax records will show you exactly when they started paying the taxes on it!

Plane and boat registrations are also helpful.  These often list the exact date when the new owner acquired the property.  And the timing matters!

Was it just before or during the divorce? Or right before the bankruptcy?  This is something your lawyer or a judge might find mighty interesting!

What If I Don’t Know Their Middle Name?
If you don’t know their middle name, at the very least, you’ll want their middle initial.  This is critical when searching for a common name.   For example: There may be 1000 John Smiths, but only 25 John R Smiths.

A middle initial is your best friend in Google searches.  It’s also useful when searching the corporation and real property databases.  Sometimes these databases will cut off results after the first 100 returns.  If this happens, add their middle initial for more targeted results.

Test Bookmark
How & Where To Look For These Assets (Specific Links)

Find Assets Or Asset Holders Through Their:

Real Property (Who Owns What & Where) Relatives & Associates
Private Corporations (By Individual or Company Name) Intellectual Property (Websites, Patents, ©,® and ™)
Public Corporations (Look up Companies, Officers, Their Stock & Salaries) Foundations & Non-Profits (By Individual or Company)
Personal Property & Fixtures (Boats, Planes, Cars, Equipment…) Life Events (Bankruptcies, Lawsuits)
Government Employment (Salaries & Retirement Funds)

Related Links On How To Find Assets

Background Check 101

Here’s how to search fast and smart without pulling your hair out!

    1. Don’t Look For It All In One Spot. The free links have valuable information. But it’s not a ready made background report. Expect to visit a bunch of sites to get what you want. Use the pay sites for all the free information they give upfront, and then move onto the next one!
    2. Criminal Records: Less Is More. Try a first and last name and maybe their state. Do not put in race or age or middle initial unless you’re swamped with too many hits. The reason? You will over exclude records if they didn’t include the middle name or made a data entry error on race or gender, etc. Same goes with searching any other database.
    3. Use The Age Relative Lookups Before Googling.
      Before you Google, you need to know enough to distinguish your subject from others with the same name.  Age lookups will provide age, their relatives, addresses, phone numbers, middle names and initials, and sometimes even their company, license or profession.
    4. Use The Special Databases to find criminal records, bankruptcies, age, contact information, death records, neighbors, property, their profession and salaries, etc.
    5. List What You Know About The Person. You know far more than you think you do.  Include past and present contact information, hobbies, schools, profession, relatives and anything that could identify your subject in a Google search or reverse lookup.
    6. Set Google To 100 Hits Per Page. Search faster and smarter not harder! (See Google Like A Pro)
    7. Test Each Database With A Common Name. Some sites are designed badly and have only one field to enter in the name. But do you enter it as Smith, John or John Smith or Smith John (no comma)?  Experiment. If it won’t pull up a common name, you’re probably doing something wrong. Check spelling, word order syntax, and if you’ve entered in too much information. Test also with your own name so you know what information is probably right and probably wrong.
    8. Search By Their Contact Information: Use Reverse Lookups & Google to find more information about them from their address, email address, phone number or dating profiles.
    9. Copy & Paste All Potential Leads Into Word or Notepad. Include all past and present contact information, new facts, relatives, hobbies, etc.  You’ll need it later for Googling.

Quick Search (Within Pages) With Ctrl F & Command F  (latter is for Macs).  If your page is 50 screens long this cuts down on a lot of reading! (See Google Like A Pro)

  1. See Old Versions of A Website with Google Cache and The Wayback Machine. Good if the link is dead or the website has recently changed and no longer lists the person you’re looking for. (See Google Like A Pro)
  2. Narrow Your Google Searches with quotes around phrases. For recent phone numbers or the latest news, set Google to pull up results from only the last year. (See Google Like A Pro)
  3. Use Near Duplicate Records to Gather More Information. So you got his name and age from the age lookup sites.  But scroll down the page for other results like his name and age and middle initial, or his name and age and cities he’s lived in. Check more than one site and gather the new information you find.
  4. Verify Info From Several Sources. Nothing is perfect. Sometimes these databases have the wrong age, the wrong relative or the wrong middle name. Background yourself so you can get a good feel for the type of information that could be wrong.
  5. Google Names, Phone Numbers and Addresses in the various ways they’re most likely to appear.

Related Links:
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check
Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips & Tricks)
People With Common Names-How To Background Them
Are They Married? Find Out Without Even Their Last Name!

Sex Offender Lookup

Every state defines sex crimes differently.  But even so, you can find all the registered sex offenders at a single website!

The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) lists pedophiles, rapists, sexual predators, flashers, stalkers and molesters.  To search the sex offender database by state or nationwide, see the Sleuth For the Truth video Find Sex Offenders.  The blog below verbally tracks this video.

The three most reliable ways to search for sex offenders are by:

  1. Jurisdiction (which is usually a state or territory)
  2. Name (a National Search) or by
  3. Zip Code (Not covered in this blog)

A Name Search By Location
At the top left, enter a first and last name in the box called National Offender Quick Search. Then click on Search by Location.  Later if you need to search nationally, you’ll go back to this box and click on the big red search button instead.

Either way, you must agree to their terms and conditions page.  Just check the box where it says .

Next, you must fill in the correct Captcha code to convince it you’re not a robot.  These are often difficult.  If you can’t read the code, use the two buttons to the right to get something more understandable.

Once on the search page scroll down to the bottom left
and enter in a first and last name but nothing else.  Less is more here.  Don’t add in the county or town.  If someone wrongly listed where the sex offender lives, you won’t find them there.

Now select state/territory and use the drop box to make your choice.  Notice you can search for sex offenders in all 50 states, the various US territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico and even the Indian tribes.

Now let’s test out the database with a common name and select the state of Georgia.  Here you can see 12 records.  If you scroll down you’ll be able to view the photos of all John Smiths along with their age and address.  If the photo isn’t there, click on the link anyway, and often a photo will appear.

But on the first link, why did it also pull up Francis Nelson?  Click on his name, and you get the answer.  In the past, he was using “John Smith” as an alias!  Pretty sneaky.  But not too surprising.

Can’t find the guy you’re looking for?  Don’t relax just yet.  To be safe, you’ll also want to search for his mugshot nationwide.

With a national search for John Smith, you have to scroll through about 300 photos.  But most in most cases you’ll be dealing with a name far less common than John Smith, i.e. fewer photos.

Why Do A National Search If I Can’t Find My Creepy Neighbor in GA?
I’m always surprised how trusting people are.  No one trusts the big bad wolf to count the chickens.  And if he claims to have moved out of town,  we’d still look for signs of him nearby.

Not so with sex offenders.  For some reason, we trust they will honesty report to the government exactly where they’re living, all the time!   After all, why would a sex creep lie?

But in all fairness, most people don’t realize how the government keeps track of sex offenders.  There is no micro chip transponder that hones in on their every location.  Rather it’s up to the individual to self report on their own whereabouts.  So please be safe.  If you can’t find them in your state, do the national search as well.

Related Links
Is The Crime Still Online?
Arrests & Mugshots
Federal Prison Records