As I’ve written before, we spend a lot of energy trying to track down defendants. Not in most cases. But when our lawyers can’t find someone with relative ease, it can be a big hassle. In 2020, people are moving more quickly and leave fewer tracks when they move.
One effective weapon we have used over the years is Accurint which provides access to over 34 billion current public records that you can utilize to find your man or woman.
Accurint is a service offered by LexisNexis that provides comprehensive information about individuals and businesses for various purposes, including risk management, fraud detection, and legal investigations. Accurint offers access to public records, proprietary data, and advanced analytics to help users locate people, assets, businesses, and more. It is primarily used by law enforcement, private investigators, financial institutions, law firms like us, and other organizations that require in-depth information for their work.
But Accurint’s target audience is insurance companies where they market their ability to validate claims and combat fraud, waste, and abuse. What you do not want is for the insurance company to have more information about your client than you do. Yes, sometimes our clients do not tell us the truth. But, more often, they forget prior claims. Either way, the failure to provide accurate information about prior legal claims you have made in interrogatories or deposition can be fatal to your case.
Apparently, whoever started Accurint sold out to Lexis and this same person (obviously, I’m using hearsay here) started a new company called TLO that is has gathered a ton of market share. TLO is for “The Last One” because it claims to have 100 times the search power of its competitors. I like the moxie.
TLO is a service provided by TransUnion that offers investigative and risk management tools for law enforcement, government agencies, and businesses. TLOxp provides access to public and proprietary data, including criminal records, property records, social media activity, and other information that can help with background checks, asset investigations, and fraud prevention. TLO is designed for professionals who need to conduct in-depth research and analyses.
Some plaintiffs’ lawyers are saying that it has just a ton of information (and, apparently, is free for law enforcement officers). We have not tried it out yet because we are chickens that are set in our way. So, changing from a product you trust is hard. But you can find TLO – which is what is called – here. If you are using it, leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Wherever Lexis has a product, Westlaw has one. Its product, CLEAR, is being used for skip tracings, fraud investigations, etc. CLEAR is an investigative and risk management platform offered by Thomson Reuters. It provides access to a wide range of public and proprietary data, including criminal records, property records, financial information, and more. CLEAR is designed for law enforcement, government agencies, and businesses that require in-depth research and analysis to make informed decisions or conduct investigations. The platform offers advanced search and analytics capabilities to help users locate people, assets, and businesses efficiently.
We have not had a great deal of experience with CLEAR other than hearing that some lawyers are using it. One thing Westlaw claims, and I would not be surprised if it was true because this is a Westlaw strength, is that CLEAR has intuitive navigation and easy filtering parameters.
White Pages Premium
I originally wrote this post eight years ago. Not a lot has changed from our vantage point except for one new weapon we are using. White Pages Premium has proven to be incredibly useful when tracking down car accident defendants. At only $9.95 a month, with just a first and last name, you can access not only a mailing address and phone number, but alternate phone numbers, prior mailing addresses, and names of relatives who may be a source of additional insurance coverage. Honestly, it’s a little scary how much information you can pull with a White Pages Premium account.
Frequently Problems in Search
These are answers to some of the hurdles people face when trying to get the information they need.
What basic information is most useful when conducting a search?
- First and last name
- Age range
- City, State (within 25 miles)
My searches are coming up empty. How can I try to get more information?
Don’t be afraid to try social media. Search their name on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Sometimes just a “John Smith – Baltimore, MD” can pull up some leads.
My search says the defendant may be deceased. How can I confirm that?
Make sure you find an obituary. Then, you want to see if an estate has been opened. You can easily find out that information by going to Maryland’s Register of Wills.
My searches pull up multiple people with the same name. Now what?
The process of elimination is your friend. How did your client describe the defendant? For example, if they told you it was a white male in their mid-to-late 60s, you can eliminate the searches that are pulling up with a date of birth May 8, 1990.
- Using Maryland case search to track down information