The cost of investigating someone depends a great deal upon just how much you want to know about a person and how badly you want that information. It doesn’t cost much to find out the basics of a person – their phone number, cell phones, address, etc. Once you step outside the basics each layer deeper carries an associated cost with it.

For example, investigating someone for free with internet search methods will likely to turn up some internet postings, and in some cases a phone number, address, or email. There isn’t any way to verify this information but with a little luck one of the free search services might be able to turn something up for you.

The next layer of investigation involves more sensitive data, and as a result is more protected – and yes, it costs money to get it. The nice part about it is that the information comes from public records data sources – meaning there is some verifiable document out there that says, “John Doe lived here,” or “this social security number was registered in New Jersey and is valid.” This hasn’t really exposed any overly sensitive data at this point, and as you might expect this level of investigating someone is still very cheap and can be done in bulk (many searches for a single fee most likely). SSN verification at this level doesn’t tie a name to a SSN, but it does certify the existence of the number and where it was issued.

Digging deeper when investigating someone means prying where most eyes simply don’t belong. Frequently this third data layer will contain some information about assets and possibly arrest records or death records. It might contain liens or other cursory financial data about the person – income, assets, mortgages. Most people just have no business knowing this information but some (perhaps involved in a divorce or criminal investigation) might.

The next, and most sensitive layer of investigation involves deeply personal financial data, and is covered by specific laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This will include verifying (by name) a social security number, employer verification, eviction records, criminal background check, previous addresses all very much in specific detail. Needless to say this level of investigating someone always requires the consent of the person being probed – unless the search is being done by law enforcement involving a criminal investigation.

See what sort of results you can get by investigating someone, or try your hand at investigating someone free.