Monday, February 25, 2002

Tricks of the Trade

by Private Investigator Michael T. O'Rourke

Question: I am a Paralegal with a law firm that occasionally utilizes to locate media articles pertaining to individuals or corporations.. The site is expensive. Are there any free sources on the net we could check out?

Answer: Yes, is a great site, and it's free! The web site is a collaboration between LookSmart and the Gale Group. Although the site isn't as content rich as Nexis, it is very useful, and the cost makes it worth a look. Findarticles provides access to 300 publications (Nations Business, Chicago Reporter, PR Newswire, etc.).

Question: Anything new to help a paralegal working in the real estate law arena?

Answer: Absolutely! Check out These people have optically scanned over 800 million deeds, mortgages, and other public filings and delivers them instantly to you for about 3 dollars per document. Coverage areas include California, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington State. In addition, the 5 counties in the Philadelphia metro area (Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware) are included. To entice you to check out their site, datatree is offering 25 free searches. I have found this site very helpful in skip tracing as well.

Question: A copy of a defendant's credit report would be helpful to our case. How could I obtain a copy?

Answer: You should be aware the release of credit information is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and various state statutes. Understand the law before attempting to obtain this information. The best way is to obtain a copy is with a signed release from the defendant. If that is not possible you may mail a subpoena (signed by a judge) to the addresses below. The report is free. You must provide a ssn and current address. There are three major sources:

Attn: Custodian of Records
1600 Peachtree St.
Atlanta GA 30309
Ph: (770) 375-2613

Attn: Custodian of Records
P.O. Box 1240
Allen TX 75013
Ph: (972) 390-4016

Attn: Custodian of Records
555 W. Adams St.
Chicago IL 60661
Ph: (312) 466-6401

Det. Michael T. O'Rourke is a Member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, The National Association of Professional Process Servers, and Sustaining member of the Delaware Paralegal Association.

A Court Certified Special Process Server, and a Licensed Private Investigator in DE and PA, Michael specializes in Insurance and Criminal Defense. He invites your questions to:

Loss Solutions, Inc.
824 N. Market Street, Suite 425,
P.O. Box 368,
Wilmington DE 19899-0368.
(302) 427-3600.

Or you may e-mail him at DE Irish