There are many reasons why you might want to get someone’s financial records. You might be trying to collect on a judgment, prepare for an upcoming trial, or you might be a suspicious spouse who wants to see what your partner is hiding. Whatever the reason, it’s relatively easy to gather someone’s financial records and find out where their hard-earned money is being spent.
One of the most common types of investigations according to Active Intel Investigations is an asset search. An asset search aims to uncover and analyze all assets, liabilities, and income sources of an individual or company to determine overall wealth. In an asset search, there are three different categories of finances that are examined:
- Income source(s)
What are the wealth holdings of the subject? An asset is anything of value, tangible or intangible, that can be converted into liquid cash. A good asset search not only uncovers all types of assets but also looks for connections between them to determine if any assets are poised to be hidden. The most common types of assets found in an asset search are:
- Real estate/property
- Bank accounts (known accounts and hidden accounts)
- Digital investment accounts (cryptocurrencies, etc.)
- Stock holdings
- Corporate or business interests
- Intellectual property (trademarks, patents, etc.)
- Digital assets (logos, websites, etc.)
Liabilities are also known as debts. When determining someone’s financial status based on their financial records, you’ll want to subtract the total amount of liabilities from the total net worth of assets. The most common types of liabilities found in an asset search are:
- UCC filings
- Back taxes owed
- Other legal claims
- Vehicle loans
- Vessel loans
While income will typically convert into assets or be considered an asset once it’s received, it’s analyzed separately from other assets. Income can come from a variety of sources and be deposited to the subject in many different ways. It’s important for the investigator to analyze the income versus the financial records of the subject to look for areas that could possibly hold hidden assets. When determining income sources, look for where the funds are deposited. Are they transferred to a bank account, PayPal account, or another third party? Where do the funds go after they’ve hit the account? By looking at income sources and where the funds travel after deposit, you or your investigator can understand the full financial status of the subject and notice any discrepancies.
The most important part of investigating someone’s financial records is to make sure that all methods being used are legal. Federal laws such as Gramm Leach Bliley and the Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibit acts such as pre-texting, hacking, and improper access to credit information. Not only can you be held liable for these illegal actions even if it’s done by your investigator, but you also will not be permitted to use any of the information found because it was obtained illegally.
Finding out the financial records of someone else can be crucial to your investigation. If you’re looking to collect on a judgment, an asset search can help you determine your overall probability of being able to collect. Alternatively, an asset search can help you if you’re considering legal action. If you uncover the financial records of someone and they have millions of dollars allocated to fight legal battles, you might reconsider taking them to court. Before proceeding with any investigation into financial records, make sure to get good advice from a private investigator familiar with your jurisdiction or legal advice from a qualified legal professional if needed.
Ready to get started with an asset search? Active Intel Investigations can provide you with the type of searching you need from a do-it-yourself asset search to a full investigation.