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We realize that some people can't get on line to get to the Internet, therefore, we have listed below ways to find someone, in addition to leaving them a message in The Seeker. Most libraries, however, are now on line with the Internet, as well as high schools, colleges, and even coffee shops. If you have a friend who is looking for someone, it would be helpful to them if you print this page.
The reasons people lose touch with other people vary from finding a missing relative or a lost friend, to finding a beneficiary of an insurance policy, to finding a dead beat husband, to finding a person who was paid for a roofing job but never did the work, to finding a witness to a car accident from Mexico, to finding a beautician someone knew 15 years ago, to finding a girlfriend from 51 years ago, etc., etc.
We put all of our private investigator/skip tracing/process server heads together, and came up with ways that would help you find your friends and relatives, without incurring the cost of hiring a professional. The cost will be as low as a few long distance phone calls, or a couple of $5.00 court costs.
This will be an ongoing list. If anyone has additional suggestions on how to help people for free, please e-mail us at Comments.
Helpful hints to find people
First step, try directory assistance. There are private investigators who will charge you $125 just to do that! Check it out first.
If you have the old telephone number, go to your library and use their Polk Directory (or it's equivalence) and get the old address. Try sending a letter to the old address, or a neighbor asking if they knew the person you are looking for and where they are now.
Send a letter to the last known address and ask for a forwarding address. Or try calling the Post Office in that zip code, or writing them directly and ask if they knew them and possibly where they moved to. Some are very helpful.
If you have time, visit the persons old neighborhood or office and ask neighbors or co-workers if they know where the person is.
If you know the high school or college the person graduated from, call the alumni association. Many of them are online.
If the person has a trade that requires a license of any kind, call the licensing agency. For example, if the person is a doctor, call the State Physicians Licensing Board, or whatever it is called in your State. If they won't give you an address, perhaps they will tell you the city he or she is licensed in. That would certainly narrow down your search.
Courthouses are a wealth of free public information (unless you have to write to them, then you will incur that $5.00 charge mentioned above.) You can pull up any civil or criminal lawsuits for practically any time frame. Your person could be a plaintiff or defendant, both have addresses listed. You can pull up city taxes; voter registrations; marriage licenses; divorce cases; business licenses (required in most places); assumed name certificates - sometimes called fictitious name (required if a person does business and doesnt use his exact name).
While you are at it, dont forget the Federal Courthouse. Bankruptcies are filed here, as are tax fraud cases, and other major lawsuits and federal criminal actions. These cases will have the last known address of the person you are looking for. If the address does not turn out to be current, you may be able to contact the attorney representing the person you are looking for and have the attorney contact your person. It is doubtful that the attorney will give out the address without the clients approval.
If a person owns a corporation, call the Secretary of State in the state capitol, ask for the Corporations Department, tell them the name of the corporation and give them the name of the person you are looking for and then ask for an address of your person. Most Corporations Departments do not provide phone numbers. They will always, and must always, have the address of the Registered Agent of the Corporation. That person may help you in your search. Many of these Corporations Departments are now online.
Military records, obtained through the Veterans Administration, are another source of information, but will more than likely be out of date, and more often than not, you need a social security number, and a real good reason to find the person. The Red Cross is helpful for family members. There are many sites on the Internet that will help you as well, but you will need the SSN or service number.
Genealogists can obtain information from their local libraries. Some of the bigger libraries are on-line with the Church of Latter Day Saints Library in Salt Lake City, UT (LDS). This is a huge library, and includes a zillion census reports, passenger lists, family books, a place to list your family name forever, photos of passports from Ellis Island, etc.
Lexis/Nexis has all the major newspapers and magazines. We now link to it on our front page. It only costs like $3.00 now to use it each time. If you are trying to find a death certificate on someone, but dont remember the exact date or place (and you will need that information in most cases), you can use their computers by typing in the persons name, and pull up the obituary report, which will give you the information you are looking for. Some newspapers list civil lawsuits filed, bankruptcies, DUIs (or DWIs), etc., which would also give you the city the person is living in, and narrow down your search.
Did you know that even YOU could have money coming to you that you never knew about!
We get many inquiries from folks saying that they have received a card in the mail telling them that someone knows where there is money waiting for them, and for a percentage, will tell them where it is.
I hate this question most of all because the people sending the cards are what I call Cadaver P.I.s. That is, they obtain the lists from the State Treasury Department, or HUD, or the IRS, or any of the other myriad of agencies who, by law, are required to give notification of some kind that they have money for you, and these "cadavers" go after you like vultures! Albeit not all of them. But if they charge you more than 15%, they are ripping you off!
They will try to find you, and since they (for the most part) have access to your SSN, they can pull your address up instantly using databases that they, as private investigators, have access to. Dont pay them! Keep your money, it belongs to you!
How do you find out where it is?
We first suggest contacting the State Treasury Department in any state that you have ever lived in, or have done business in, and ask them if you are listed. Most states will do it over the phone. We have included in our Seeking Beneficiaries section a list of all the State Treasury Departments and how to contact them and what each state requires. The State of Florida, for example, looks for over 3 million people on any given day to give them over $15 million dollars (the current list we have). Although you may sit on hold for a little while, its worth the phone call!
Money that escheats (goes up) to the State Treasury includes bank accounts, safe deposit box contents, utility deposits, final paychecks for someone who quits their job in a huff and didnt pick up their last check, oil and gas royalties, life insurance proceeds (insurance companies cannot keep this money. Once your biological clock ticks at 99 years of age, the money either goes to you, if you are still alive; your beneficiary; or the State.) You will see a partial list here in the Seeking Missing Policy Holders section.
People who get a loan through HUD must take out insurance through them. When they sell their house, they sometimes forget to get their deposit back. The cadavors will find you and try to split it with you or charge you a large percentage to tell you where your money is. Legally, this should never be more than 10%.
The IRS, believe it or not, also looks for people to give them money. They are required to put lists of names of who they are looking for in the main newspaper of the last known city the person lived in. In cases where these agencies are on line with the Internet, we will link to their site. The IRS doesn't forward checks, so if a person doesn't read that newspaper because they died or moved out of the area, that money also escheats to the Treasury Department.
Insurance companies must conduct a "due diligence" search to find beneficiaries of life insurance policies, over a certain amount. They want to try and find you, because after a certain amount of time, it will go to the State anyway. Insurance companies are invited, and encouraged, to list those names in The Seeker.
Insurance companies also look for missing policy holders. (This was an eye opener!) Back in the depression days (and still today), parents took out small life policies on their children because of the war. For whatever reasons, they forget to tell their child, (either they got a divorce, died prior to telling the child, or simply forgot, etc.). That "paid up" policy goes unclaimed, and escheats to the State. The insurance companies want to try to find the person before that happens and have begun listing the folks they havent heard from in The Seeker in the Seeking Beneficiaries section, subsection of Seeking Missing Policy Holders. They would rather find the person than send it up to the State Treasury Department.
Banks are required to send the proceeds of checking accounts, savings accounts and safe deposit boxes to the State Treasury after (typically) five years. This happens when people forget about an account; move to another state or country - forgetting the account; die - without leaving a current beneficiary; are too ill to manage their estate, etc. We encourage banks to post those names with us before the monies escheat to the State!
We will be adding to this page continuously, so keep checking back!
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