Company | Business Sign-upClientsHow to Articles   |   Be Your Own Detective |  Public Records   |  Contact
  Home  |  All Background Checks  |  People Identifier  |   Complete  |  Extensive  |  Due Diligence  |  Criminal  |  Employee  |  Tenant  |  Business  |  Assets Searches  |  Bank Searches

Learn How To Locate Hidden Assets -  Be Your Own Detective



The easiest asset to attach is a bank account. Does the person who owes you money have an account at a particular bank? There is no central database that maintains bank account records for everybody in the country. Locating bank account information was the most controversial area in the asset search industry before 1999, when new banking regulations were signed into law.
Order an Assets Search
You can choose to "Add a Bank Search'" on the form for $199


Before then, various techniques were employed to uncover bank account information, including obtaining credit reports, forming collection networks, and using information subpoenas and pretext calls.

With the new law, pretexts may not be employed to obtain banking or financial account information. Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain information about a bank customer. If accounts are located, the court will enforce the provisions of your judgment. Bank accounts with a matching SSN or Federal Tax ID Number (FEIN) can be frozen. (When opening an account, the bank will require your SSN or FEIN. If it is an interest-bearing account the bank will forward a tax form to the IRS.)

Many Americans have more than one bank account, insurance policy, brokerage account, and safety deposit box. An individual's tax return can be a good source of information about bank accounts, limited partnerships, and investments paying dividends or interest. You can get the information you need with a subpoena. Without a subpoena. you may learn nothing. Ask for all the records: bank applications, mortgage details, etc.


Begin your search for hidden assets with a Ato ascertain if any aliases or multiple social security numbers are being reported to the consumer bureaus. Identify relatives and business associations. In a much-publicized case involving three individuals, their wives and a multi-million-dollar defaulted loan, many bank accounts were discovered, including several with names and SSN's not belonging to any of the subjects.

Hidden assets are mainly of the liquid variety: bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and mutual funds. A hidden asset is one asset that is moved or transferred intentionally to defraud, hinder, or delay a creditor. Less frequently, the subject will attempt to move assets out of the reach of creditors or litigants. Hidden Assets are mainly transferred to a spouse, friend or a business entity.

Hidden assets can also include real property and vehicles. When facing a lawsuit and judgment, people often attempt to hide expensive toys and bank accounts by transferring ownership and title to property to someone else.

The most common hiding places for assets are under aliases, with relatives, friends, and partners, and in home mortgages, universal life insurance, savings bonds, annuities, travelers checks, cashiers checks, safety deposit boxes, dissolved corporations, stockbroker accounts, mortgage and credit card pay-downs, collectibles, antiques, offshore accounts, foreign accounts, overpayments to the IRS, sweetheart lawsuits, cars, yachts, aircraft, and jewelry . . .

Hiding Assets Under Someone Else's Name

Most assets, from cash to real property, are moved over to the spouse, child or other relatives. For most asset search firms, fraudulent conveyance of real estate is easier to track than cash transactions. Real estate transactions identifying the buyer or seller can be found using online services or by searching records at the county assayer's office or the registries of deeds office. A fraudulent conveyance of real estate might be picked up as a transaction involving the subject as seller and the subject's mate as buyer. The date of the transfer might prove to be suspiciously close to the date of a loan default, or bankruptcy filing.

Note: Were assets moved to relatives, to the wife's maiden name, or to in-laws? Ascertain the mate's maiden name, if not already known. Start with marital records at the county courthouse where the marriage took place.

A transfer of assets to loved ones, whether outright or in trust, carries major risks: Wealthy people who give vast sums of money to a spouse and children may find themselves without assets, without a spouse, and with unsympathetic children.


The most sophisticated asset-hiding schemes involve transfers to living trusts or offshore trust accounts. Assets that are transferred deliberately to avoid payment to creditors, litigants or other parties are generally called "preferential" or "fraudulent" transfers. If these transfers occur in anticipation of or shortly before or during litigation or bankruptcy, they are reversible in most states.

People who hold substantial assets and are exposed to litigation and creditor risks may attempt to protect their wealth by making generous gifts to a trust like the Multi-Generation Trust (MGT). MGT grantors assign spouses and children as beneficiaries.

Hiding Real Estate in Real Estate Trusts

The majority of real estate trusts are created for legitimate reasons. However, as with hiding cash, some individuals use these trusts to hide real estate to conceal assets. They place property in trusts while acting as trustees of those trusts. Or they place property in real estate trusts with their spouses, children or friends as trustees. They have a beneficial interest in trusts without acting as trustees.

Real Estate Trust Records

These trusts are not a good method of hiding real estate in some states. Records of deeds, mortgages, declarations of trust and other real estate documents are maintained at registries of deeds in towns or counties throughout the USA. Records are cross-referenced from the real estate trust names to the names of the individual trustees in more than half of these registries. A check of the records at most registries of deeds will generally reveal property owned by a subject as trustee just as such a search would reveal property owned by the subject individually (or jointly with a wife, partner, etc.). The same is true of real estate ownership records at town assessors' offices as most assessors' offices cross-reference information.

Another method of concealing assets in real estate trusts involves "trust" on the part of the individual concealing the assets. An individual can finance the purchase of property by a real estate trust with a spouse, child or friend as trustee. The individual would then have to trust the other party or parties to funnel money back in his or her direction. Since the individual would not be a trustee in the trust, the trust and trust property would not be cross-referenced to his or her name at the registry of deeds. Proving that the assets belong to the individual would be difficult at best.

In some states, real estate trusts offer a very effective method for hiding assets. One may hold an interest in a trust but not be a trustee. The trust can be set up so that one individual holds 100 percent of the interest in the trust. If the individual is not a trustee, the trust and trust property will not be cross-referenced to that individual's name. Rarely will a registry of deeds cross-reference beneficial interests to individual names. In many states, trusts are not required to reveal the names of individuals holding beneficial interests. The trust documents may be recorded in the registry of deeds with no list of beneficial interests. In this way, tying individuals to property can become very difficult.

Hiding Under a Corporate Umbrella

Limited partnerships offer essentially the same opportunities for concealing real estate assets as real estate trusts. Also, as with trusts, many registries of deeds cross-reference information to individual partners' names when those partners sign the real estate documents.

The agent is the person listed to receive service and may be an attorney who has no connection with the owners of the corporation. You'll be told the dates of incorporation and the dates of any amendments, such as name changes. Some states list the address of the registered agent. Any information you are able to acquire from corporation applications and associated records may be useful. Discussions with business partners and corporate associates may shed light on the bigger picture. Write or call the corporate headquarters to request an annual report or financial statement. You might ask that your name be added to the mailing list of those who are to receive corporate reports

Hiding Personal Property

Frequently, asset searches discover personal property of significant value. One has several options if hiding personal property like automobiles, boats, aircraft, jewelry or art. While state and federal agencies keep records of auto, boat and aircraft registrations, the amount of information contained in those records varies significantly. State records may enable asset search firms to identify the make, model and year of autos, boats and other vehicles in a subject's name. Records are limited to property presently registered to a subject. Records of transactions - changes in ownership involving autos, boats or aircraft - are not generally available. Tracking and proving fraudulent conveyance of personal property is much more difficult than locating real estate.

Hiding Assets in Exempt Plans

People with litigation risk sometimes invest in assets which are exempt from creditors' claims. Plans that qualify include pension, profit sharing, 401(k) and Keogh plans.

Hiding Assets as Gifts

Investments in exempt assets, giving gifts and fraudulent conveyances are commonly used as a means to hide assets.


Writ of Execution

This a common judicial order directing the enforcement of a judgment. The writ instructs the sheriff or constable to seize the Debtor's non-exempt property, sell the property at auction, and deliver the proceeds to you.

Turnover Order

Orders Debtor to turn all non-exempt property over to the judgment holder. This remedy allows a judgment holder to spread a wide net to catch all available assets when the Debtor's property cannot readily be attached or seized by the ordinary legal process. This remedy is usually used when no other means to satisfy the judgment are available, but it does not require that a judgment holder exercise all other post-judgment remedies before seeking the order.

Blanket Levy

This technique involves serving a Writ of Execution and a Bank Levy on every bank in the area. This procedure assumes that Debtor banks within a few miles' radius of home or work.

Debtor's Examination

At this proceeding you can demand that the debtor tell you where his or her bank account is. The unfortunate effect of this procedure is that the Debtor will take money out of the account before you can get to it. If you locate a bank account with even a few dollars in it - or one that has been closed - get microfilmed or database records, which the bank retains.

State Sales Tax Permits

Clue: An application for Sales Tax permit requires you to list your bank account.


Database Information Providers

Online database Information Providers have experience with the intricacies of accessing public records and can conduct all or part of your asset search, saving you the time and trouble of a paper document search. Ask about areas of coverage, techniques, fees, and methods of payment. sample Report
Investigative Professionals Background Checks Investigative Professionals Background Checks
Our Search Experts tap connections to a far-reaching network of massive databases containing more than four billion records to run background checks and criminal records reports. Our staff will immediately go to work for you, to quickly return real, meaningful results. Search results are regularly returned within hours.
See ALL Background Checks
  Company - Investigative Professionals | News | Private Investigator Course | Privacy & Agreement | Laws | Releases | Site Map & 1994-2021  All rights reserved. - Tuesday, July 12, 2022