Unfortunately, ordinary people are capable of terrible things, especially when those things involve money. The power of money is well-documented, and studies show that even the mere act of thinking about money can corrupt us.

So it’s no surprise that many people take care to hide their assets. Maybe they do so to protect those assets from others — even when justice is on the other side of the issue. Or perhaps these actions are motivated by the aim of hiding criminal activity. The bottom line is, the assets that a person self-reports may not be the full extent of that person’s wealth.

There are, however, ways to find the truth. The best way is to hire a private investigator to perform an asset search. Finding out the truth about someone’s assets isn’t something that only a government investigative agency can do — you, too, have the power to discover what’s really going on. And here are a few reasons that you might need to.

You’re going through a divorce (or are about to)

Divorce is a common thing — nearly half of all first marriages end in divorce, and figures are higher for subsequent marriages. But divorce’s regularity does not make it any less traumatic, and the things that people are capable of when tensions are high can be shocking.

Divorce involves allocating assets between two people. But greed, anger, and selfishness can inspire one person in a divorce to try to hide assets from another. Your soon-to-be-ex may even have had hidden assets for years! There are all sorts of reasons that they may have stashed cash away, ut whatever the reasons and whatever the reality, you need to be sure that you’re getting a fair shake in your divorce. It is well worth investing in an asset search in order to get to the bottom of things.

When you’re considering a lawsuit

Lawsuits aren’t cheap, but they’re worth it if you are able to get the justice you deserve and the payment that you need in order to rebuild your life. But what happens when you win your court award and find that the losing party can’t pay? Your options may be limited, and you could find that your court case was more trouble and expense than it was worth.

You can avoid this unhappy ending by investing in an asset search before you file your suit. That way, you’ll know whether or not your target has assets worth going after before you commit yourself to the time and expense of launching a lawsuit.

You think someone is stealing from you

Embezzlement and fraud are real concerns for small business owners, investors, and others who rely on people to handle financial concerns on their behalf. But proving that someone is embezzling your money or pocketing cash out of the register can be tough to do without forensic accounting services of various kinds — including an asset search.

An asset search could help you find where your money is going. A secret stash of cash under the name of someone who you think has been thieving will go a long way toward helping you make a case that you can bring to the police or to civil court.

You’re making a business or investment decision

If you’re looking to invest in a company or bring in a partner, it would surely help to know exactly how much cash they have. When someone pitches you on a business opportunity and supplies you with financial figures, don’t just take their word for it. Get an asset search done and see how much money they really have before you commit.