Since most people have some level of debt, most of them show up in our databases. Therefore, when an investigator like me searches for your name, I can usually find your last known address in about three or four clicks of the mouse. Other searches can determine if you own your house, have any criminal or civil records, and whether you have any liens or judgments against you.
Due to the economy in part, it is much trickier when we are trying to find that 7.7 percent of the population that does not have any debt. These are the people on the edge, usually working for cash under the table,or homeless people, or immigrants. Sometimes, they are just people who have learned how not to be found,avoiding debt and/or family by taking on new identities or keeping their money tucked away in their mattresses.
However, there tends to be a reverse correlation between the extent that people show up in databases and their criminal history. In other words, homeless people and people who don’t want to be found typically have more contact with law enforcement, which makes it more likely that they’ll have arrest records that may indicate their whereabouts.This is less true for recent immigrants.
I get asked to find people all the time. Some of them are not so easy. Given a name only at times, some are so far “off the grid” they are like Ghost.
Ghosts are people who are apparently alive and walking among us but who fail to show up in any significant way on anything that is connected to a computer. Ghosts live paycheck to paycheck, if they even get a paycheck. They eschew contact with the police. Any money they have is spent immediately in the form of cash or it is hidden in a mattress. They generally don’t drive, relying on public transportation or the kindness of cohorts to get them around. They exist in a purgatory between the legitimate world that we know and the netherworld.
Finding a Ghost is sometimes the measure of the Private Investigator. It is not about the technology. It is about “old school”, a tank of gas and knocking on doors. Talking to this person which leads to this person which leads to this person and if no one is lying to you, you may get a lead. The Investigator who turns off the computer and gets out of the office is often your best bet.
Can Ghost be found? Yes I really believe so. Im reminded of that game “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”. In six actors or less, you can connect anyone in Hollywood to that actor. I believe that works on a larger scale too. You just have to find that one person to connect you to your Ghost.
How many doors are you willing to knock on?