A reader recently posed a question that is often the first in a long line of questions that arise when one’s life is touched by INTERPOL.  The question:

How could one verify and check whether he has a red notice issued by Interpol against his name? I check the Interpol site but I feel information is not accurate or updated. Please advise.

The answer is, of course, it depends.  A very small percentage of INTERPOL’s Red Notices are actually published on INTERPOL’s website.  The reason for this is that many of INTERPOL’s 190 member countries choose not to publish the majority of their Red notices.  Bear in mind that the member countries own the information, and INTERPOL is the temporary keeper of the information for purpose of providing assistance to law enforcement officials who seek to apprehend the subject.

While some individuals will find themselves on the website, the majority do not.  They become alerted to the Red Notice when they travel or attempt to travel, apply for immigration benefits, or receive a notice of account closure from their financial institutions.

The reason for the non-publication of most notices is that a wanted person is less likely to travel if he is aware of a Red Notice, and therefore the person is more difficult to apprehend.  When a Red Notice subject travels, it becomes more likely that identification checks at ports of entry to member countries will result in a “hit” in INTERPOL’s databases, thereby alerting authorities to his presence and providing the opportunity for detention.

If the notice is not published, then INTERPOL’s rules do provide for the provision of this information in limited circumstances.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.