Locating Lost or Unresponsive Witnesses and Clients

unresponsive witnessesLet’s face it, in today’s day and age, everyone is a little more suspicious of people they don’t know. There are constant news stories about scams, fraud, and people being taken advantage of; many of these issues involve suspicious telephone calls (sometimes of the Nigerian Prince variety). Add into the mix the number of people with financial and legal issues who are regularly on the lookout for collections calls, bill collectors or legal representatives; finding and talking to people over the phone can become a real challenge.

It is very common for our clients to come to us looking for help getting ahold of their own clients, witnesses, and even various hired experts involved in their cases.

Sometimes this is a direct result of call screening. A law firm coming up on your caller ID might mean a number of different things and even if the number is “unknown” to your phone provider, a quick Google search usually reveals the name of the large anonymous law firm that can scare people into avoiding their phones. Sometimes attorneys simply don’t have the current telephone number for the person they are trying to contact.  Even more frequently, the number from that police report from two years ago is now disconnected. 

Data Matters, But It’s Only The Start

There is no question that as Licensed Professional Investigators, we have access to a tremendous amount of data that is not available to the general public or legal professionals. Yes, there are times where this data alone can get us in contact with a witness relatively quickly, but the majority of the time, these investigations require more than just a couple of clicks of the mouse. Our trained investigators don’t just stop with one telephone number or address, we often look into various avenues that can be used to contact someone in order to confirm their personal information, relay a message or take a statement. This may include reaching out to relatives, neighbors or close associates. We also deploy a method of “consistent” contact, which may include multiple calls from various phone numbers, text messages, and even social media contact.

Is Seeing a PI Company on Your Caller ID Really Any Better? 

That all depends of course if we want them to see our name on their caller ID. Using various outbound telephone numbers, usually masking our identity, we have a better chance of getting people to pick up the phone. If that doesn’t work, we have the option to reach out to people that are familiar with the person we are trying to speak with. This helps tremendously when we are trying to get a message to someone that we need to speak with them. It allows us to relay what the conversation will be about and that the person we seek is not in any trouble, regardless of whatever else they may have going on in life. Imagine getting a call from your neighbor, friend, brother or parents that a friendly investigator needs to speak with you about the accident you witnessed a couple of years back. Very specific messages can be left with trusting associates of the person we are looking to speak with, which is usually more successful than leaving voice messages at just one phone number that may or may not still belong to that witness.  Armed with complete information about their involvement in a case, an investigator can tactfully explain the entirety of the situation and work to confirm their best contact information and setup a call between our client (usually an attorney) and the people they need to speak with.

Top Tips of Locating Witnesses:

  • Ensure we have the best available phone numbers for the target we are looking to speak with.
  • Regular calls from various outbound telephone numbers, ensuring maximum likelihood of someone picking up the phone.
  • List of people close to the target that we can speak with to help relay a message.
  • The ability to text those millennial targets who prefer to communicate in that fashion.
  •  Social Media messages for additional points of contact.
  • Utilization of Field Investigators for in-person contact if necessary.


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