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.
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:
- Real Property, Business Property & Personal Property
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.
- Cash, Income, Stocks, Bonds…
Salaries, retirement funds, pensions, bank accounts, stocks, annuities, dividends, residuals & royalties from contractual and licensing agreements, legal settlements, insurance proceeds, book sales, etc.
- Intangible/Intellectual Property
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.
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
- Divorce Assets
- Five Tricks To Finding and Executing On Hidden Assets
- Where To Look For Hidden Asset (Google)
- Where To Search For Hidden Assets During A Divorce
- Hidden Assets In A High-Income Divorce (Who To Depose)
- The Encyclopedia of Finding Hidden Assets (long but good!)
has model requests of info, and famous attempts to hide assets and how they were discovered.