Can Private Investigators Get Phone Records?

Private Investigator Do’s & Don’ts When It Comes To Phone Records

Understanding the do’s and the don’ts of a private investigator’s capabilities is pretty important, especially when it comes to getting your hands on some serious stuff like phone records. Now, thanks to TV and movies, you might think PIs have a “backstage pass” to everyone’s personal data, but the real deal is a bit trickier. PI’s operate under some tight legal rules to make sure they’re not stepping on anyone’s privacy toes while snooping around for pertinent case info. Private investigators DO have access to some information that is not readily available to the general public, but it is considered “sensitive” data, Not HIPPA-level sorts of access to people’s most personal information

Let’s talk about phone records a sec – they’re like treasure troves of personal info, right? That’s exactly why the law is super strict about protecting them. Private investigators have to tiptoe through these legal hoops, which mean they can’t just snap up your phone records without your say-so or a court’s permission. And even when they do need to dig into that data, they’ve got to go through all the proper legal channels to keep things on the up and up and avoid getting into trouble. Not only that, but when information is obtained in an illegal manner, it cannot be used in any court proceeding. It would be deemed inadmissible and legal action can be taken against the private investigator and their client. Of course, private detectives are not normally attorneys, so none of what’s written here should be considered legal advice.

What Can Private Investigators Do and Are There Limitations?

So here’s the lowdown on private investigators… They’re like the Magnum’s, Rockford’s, and the Sherlock’s of the real world, but with a bunch of legal rules to follow. These guys work hard to gather info while staying on the right side of the law and keeping things ethical.

Can private detectives get phone records
Private Detectives are required to be Licensed in most states

Licensed Private Investigator

First things first, your PI needs to be legit – licensed, insured and experienced. That means jumping through some hoops set by the state, which usually includes background checks, fingerprinting, and often times special training and a good grasp of the state and federal laws. This ensures they know the ropes when it comes to snooping around legally. If the private detective happens to operate in a state that does not require licensing, they should be vetted thoroughly before considering using them.

Now, when it comes to snooping, PIs have to play by the rules. They can’t just go all “Mission Impossible” on someone’s phone records without permission or a green light from the court. And forget about tapping into private convos or sneaking onto private property – that’s a big no-no.

Instead, they use legit methods like checking public records, chatting up folks for info, doing a bit of surveillance, and hitting up the internet for clues. Oh, and they can figure out who your phone carrier is, but anything beyond that without the right permission is a big-time federal offense.

Long story short, private investigators might be like modern-day detectives, but they’ve got a whole bunch of legal hoops to jump through to make sure they’re doing their job the right way – legally and ethically.

I say all of that to say this… There are opportunities when call logs, text messaging, email, images, and more can be obtained. Digital Forensics is another way to acquire this sort of data and information without having to formally request it from the carrier or service provider. Digital Forensics can also provide the ability to recover deleted text messages, call logs, email, images, etc. However, this must be performed in a legal and ethical manner as well.

Obtaining Phone Records – The Do’s and Don’ts

What is pretexting and is it legal?

Alright, let’s talk about pretexting – it’s basically using trickery to obtain personal and private information, such as phone records. In the modern cyber world it’s called Social Engineering. Hackers use social engineering every day to gain access to systems and information that they are not privy to. But I digress… Picture this: someone pretending to be you to sneakily snatch up your telephone info. Sneaky, right? How would they do it? All one would need is some of that sensitive information we spoke of earlier i.e. full name, date of birth, social security number, mother’s maiden name, etc. This sensitive information can be obtained from say, the client, if it’s their spouse. Or it can be obtained through specialized databases or even the Dark Web. Then the perp or hacker can call the phone carrier and gain access to records illegally. There are times when pretexting can be legally utilized, but that’s a whole different article. Here’s what you need to know:

Pretexting - Social Engineering
Pretexting & Social Engineering are tricks used to get personal information.

1. Legalities: Turns out, this whole pretexting business is a big no-no according to federal law, specifically the Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act of 2006. That means if you or anyone else tries to pull off this stunt, you’re looking at some serious trouble with the law and probably jail time.

2. Possible Consequences: If a private investigator gets caught using pretexting to dig up someone’s phone records without the go-ahead from the person or a legit court order, they’re in for a world of hurt – and anyone who hires them is in hot water too. So, if you’re thinking about hiring a private investigator, make sure they’re playing by the rules and not resorting to any shady tactics to get their hands on phone records or other confidential information. Trust me, you don’t want to get caught up in any illegal shenanigans.

Can Technology Be Used To Obtain Phone Records?

So, let’s discuss electronic surveillance a little bit – it’s basically keeping tabs on (intercepting) phone convos or the data zipping around on our phones. Now, while tech has come a long way, private investigators still gotta play by the rules.

Take wiretapping, for example. That’s when someone listens in on phone calls, and let me tell you, it’s no joke. You need to jump through some legal hoops, like getting a court order, before you can do that stuff. Messing around without one? Yeah, that’s a fast track to getting slapped with some serious legal trouble – a US Title 18 violation.

In essence, no one is allowed to grab information in motion without some sort of consent or warrant or legal order.

wiretap - bug - listening devices are used to electronically eavesdrop
Installation of wiretaps or “bugs” is illegal.

But here’s the deal and remember what I spoke of earlier (Digital Forensics) – investigators can still check out call logs or messages using some fancy tools. This information and data that is stored on the electronic device, NOT in motion. See the difference? But here’s the catch: they got to have the green light first. That means getting the thumbs-up from the phone owner or having some legal docs saying it’s all good.

Now, onto hacking. Trying to sneak into someone’s phone records? Yeah, that’s a big fat nope. Not only is it against the law, but it’s also a total invasion of privacy. So, if you’re thinking about getting your hands on some specific phone records, remember – hacking is a big red flag. Stick to the straight and narrow, folks, or you could find yourself in some serious trouble with the law.

Can Phone Records Be Used, Legally, In an Investigation or Court Proceeding?

Phone records can be like gold in legal battles and private investigations – they can tell us a lot about a person’s calling habits, which can be super helpful in cases of missing persons or suspected cheating. Imagine this: a private investigator tracking calls to show who someone’s been chatting with, or if they’re contacting the same number over and over again. What if you were able to get, not only the communications, but also the Call Detail Records (CDRs)? Now you have the communication and precise geolocations of the phone, at any given time. This rich set of evidence could be enough to solve the entire case.

Here’s the catch – you can’t just waltz in and grab those records without the right paperwork. Nope, you need proper authorization, like a subpoena or the account holder’s okay, to make sure everything’s on the up and up. And in serious situations like kidnappings or other major crimes, law enforcement might have a bit more leeway in getting their hands on those records to keep everyone’s personal information safe.

So, bottom line… If you’re thinking about snagging some phone records, best make sure you’re doing it the right way – legally and ethically. That means getting the go ahead from the phone owner or having the proper legal documents in hand. Otherwise, you could find yourself in some real trouble. Let’s say you or your investigator decides to get phone records by illegal means – not a smart move. Using shady tactics like pretending to be someone else to nab personal info? Yeah, that’s a big-time federal crime, no joke. Not only could you end up facing some serious legal trouble, but you’re also throwing trust in the investigative process right out the window. Plus, there’s a real risk of innocent folks getting dragged into the mess or evidence in legal cases getting all messed up.

Are People’s Digital Footprints Discoverable and Useful?

In today’s digital world, private investigators are basically online sleuths, sifting through digital breadcrumbs to uncover clues. And guess what? The internet is their turf, especially hangouts like Google and social media spots.

Here’s the scoop: PIs are hitting up search engines to track down web activities and diving into social media platforms to find all sorts of interesting tidbits – we’re talking profiles, posts, and connections. It’s like peeling back layers to get a sneak peek into someone’s life.

But they’re not just browsing Facebook for kicks. PIs are on a mission, analyzing internet footprints to see what someone’s been getting up to online – from their hangouts on different websites to their latest Instagram selfies.

And let’s talk social media – platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a goldmine of info. People spill the beans on there all the time, sometimes without even realizing it’s all out there for the world to see.

Savvy PIs can take their online digging to the next level, using all sorts of fancy techniques like OSINT expertise, Google Dorking, and even venturing into the Deep & Dark Webs to uncover the goods. But here’s the catch: PIs have to follow the rules. They’ve got to walk the fine line between what’s legal and what’s ethical, making sure they’re not trampling on anyone’s privacy or rights along the way. It’s all about doing the detective work while playing by the book.

FAQ’s Frequently Asked Questions:

Can private investigators access Snapchat messages?

Private investigators cannot legally access a person’s Snapchat messages unless they have either their consent or a court order. In addition, communications through Snapchat are usually deleted instantly after having been read. With that said, a digital forensics examination of a device could potentially recover logical and/ or deleted data.

How can private investigators conduct surveillance without being charged with stalking?

A private investigator is typically licensed by the state in which they conduct surveillance activities. As long as there is legal and permissible purpose and the private investigator isn’t trespassing, their surveillance activity is relieved from stalking.

Can private investigators obtain deleted text messages and browsing history?

If the private investigator is properly licensed and trained, there are tools and techniques that they can employ to recover deleted data from various electronic devices. These examinations must be performed with legal permissible purpose.

How do private investigators track cell phones?

Private investigators do not track cell phones. A common misconception is that private investigators can “ping” a cell phone. This is simply not true. Tracking or pinging of a cell phone can only be performed by law enforcement and under very specific circumstances. There are, however, programs (spyware/monitoring software) that can be installed on some devices. Although these programs are readily available, online, they are not legal to use without consent or permissible purpose.

Do You Need A License To Be A Private Investigator?

Private investigation is often portrayed as an intriguing and glamorous profession, filled with suspenseful stakeouts and clever sleuthing. However, the reality of becoming a private investigator often involves navigating a maze of legal requirements and regulations, including the question of licensure. So, do you need a license to be a private investigator? Let’s discuss this question further and explore the licensing requirements across different states.

do you need a license to be a private investigator

In the United States, the regulations regarding private investigator licensing vary from state to state. While some states require private investigators to obtain a license to practice legally, others do not have any licensing requirements in place. The decision to mandate licensure often depends on factors such as public safety, consumer protection, and the perceived need for regulatory oversight within the industry.

In addition to licensing, private investigation agencies and their investigators need to be insured or bonded. Investigators also will need to obtain continuing education to renew their credentials. The hours and means by which you obtain those credit hours will also vary by state. With that said, one can conduct private investigation services, without a license IF they are directly employed by an attorney. They will only conduct investigations for that attorney or firm.

States that Require A Private Investigator License

1. California:  California is one of the states that has strict licensing requirements for private investigators. To become licensed, individuals must meet specific education and experience requirements, pass a state-administered exam, and undergo a background check. Licensed private investigators in California are regulated by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).

2. Texas:  Texas also requires private investigators to obtain a license before practicing in the state. Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria, complete a state-approved training program, pass a licensing exam, and undergo a criminal background check. The Texas Department of Public Safety oversees the licensing process for private investigators in the state.

3. New York:   Private investigators in New York must obtain a license from the New York State Department of State. The licensing requirements include completing a state-approved training program, passing a written exam, and meeting certain experience and character qualifications. Private investigators in New York are subject to stringent regulations and oversight by state authorities.

In addition to CA, TX, and NY; the following states all have their own licensing and educational requirements:

Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

States that Do Not Require A License To Be A Private Investigator

1. Wyoming: Wyoming is one of the few states that do not have any licensing requirements for private investigators. As a result, individuals in Wyoming can practice as private investigators without obtaining a license or undergoing any formal training or certification. While there are no state-level regulations governing private investigators in Wyoming, individuals in this profession are still subject to federal laws and regulations.

2. Colorado:  Colorado does not require private investigators to obtain a license to practice in the state. While there are no state-level licensing requirements, private investigators in Colorado may choose to join professional organizations or obtain certifications to demonstrate their expertise and credibility in the field. However, without state licensing, there is no formal regulatory oversight of private investigators in Colorado.

3. Mississippi: Mississippi is another state that does not have any licensing requirements for private investigators. As a result, individuals in Mississippi can work as private investigators without obtaining a license or undergoing any formal training or certification. However, private investigators in Mississippi must still adhere to federal laws and regulations governing their profession.

4.  Alaska:  The state of Alaska does not require licensing, however, the state’s biggest cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks have requirements that must be met before anyone can provide private investigator services.

Additionally, Idaho and South Dakota do not require licensing.

Some states will off-set their hourly requirements for certain earned college credits and/ or investigative law enforcement experience.

What Is Required To Become A Private Investigator?

Requirements for private investigator licensure vary significantly from state to state. Some states have no prerequisites regarding previous experience, while others impose strict requirements. For instance, Nevada mandates 10,000 hours of experience, while Maine necessitates six years. North Carolina requires 3,000 hours of field work, under a supervising, fully licensed private investigator. It is important to note that if you want to be a private investigator in north Carolina, the state will often off-set a portion of the required 3,000 hour, if the applicant has college hours or a degree in a major, such as criminal justice. They will also off-set hours for prior law enforcement experience, as long as that experience was in an investigative capacity. In most states, aspiring private investigators must possess a minimum of two years of related experience before obtaining a license.

What Does A Private Investigator Do?

Generally speaking, private investigators provide investigative services to uncover the truth. They are not sworn officers and cannot enforce laws. They are held to a high-standard of conduct and are typically required to have extensive experience, in order to provide services. PI’s can be generalists or specialize in specific types of services. Some of the specializations that private investigators practice are:  surveillance, insurance fraud, electronic countermeasures, undercover operations, background research, skip tracing, witness locates, interviewing, service of process, digital forensics, and much more.

So, the answer to the question of whether you need a license to be a private investigator depends on the state in which you intend to practice. While some states have strict licensing requirements and regulations in place, others do not have any licensing requirements at all. If you are considering a career as a private investigator, it is essential to research the licensing requirements in your state and ensure compliance with any applicable regulations. Additionally, obtaining professional certifications and joining professional organizations can help enhance your credibility and expertise in the field, regardless of licensing requirements. Victory Investigations holds PI licenses in the following: Technical Surveillance Countermeasures and Digital Forensics, in addition to North Carolina Private Investigator License.

How to Tell If Your House and Car are Bugged

searching for bugs
Electronic Sweep

Are You Being Spied On With Listening Devices?

Have you ever felt like someone might be listening in on your conversations, even in the privacy of your own home or car? With advancements in surveillance technology, electronic eavesdropping has become increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect. Whether you’re concerned about corporate espionage, personal privacy, or simply want to ensure your security, learning how to spot surveillance devices is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to tell if your house and car are bugged, including common signs of electronic surveillance, types of listening devices, and strategies for combating electronic eavesdropping.

What Types of Listening Devices Are Common?

1.  Audio Bugs

Audio bugs, also known as covert listening devices or “bugs”, are small electronic devices designed to capture and transmit audio of conversations or other environmental audio. These devices can be discreetly planted in various locations, such as walls, furniture, or electronic devices, allowing eavesdroppers to monitor conversations remotely. Audio bugs come in a variety of forms, including miniature microphones, GSM bugs that transmit recordings over cellular networks, and Wi-Fi-enabled bugs that stream audio over the internet. There are also carrier-current type listening devices that enable the perpetrator to listen in through a building’s or home’s electrical system.

In addition to bugs, criminals may employ very small audio recording devices. These devices are typically used when the perpetrator has regular and consistent access to the area that the device is installed. These can also be voice-activated, which allows them to preserve battery life for extended surreptitious recording.

2.   Wiretaps

Wiretaps are surveillance devices that intercept and record telephone conversations or other communications transmitted over wired or wireless networks. These devices are typically installed directly on the telephone line or network connection, allowing eavesdroppers to listen in on conversations in real-time or retrieve recordings later. Wiretaps can be deployed by law enforcement agencies with proper authorization or by unauthorized individuals seeking to monitor private communications. As previously mentioned, these sorts of devices can take on various form factors. Even digital audio recorders can be a “wiretap”, if installed properly. We have found splice/re-splice taps and transmitters or recorders at the Network Interface Device (NID) and demark box of businesses and homes.

3.  GPS Trackers:   

While not strictly listening devices, GPS trackers are electronic devices used to monitor the location of vehicles or individuals. These devices use global positioning system (GPS) technology to track movement and transmit location data to a remote receiver. While GPS trackers are commonly used for vehicle tracking and fleet management, they can also be used for surveillance purposes, allowing eavesdroppers to monitor the whereabouts of a target discreetly. Like stated above, GPS trackers do not usually have listening/recording capabilities, however, there are some GPS trackers that will “listen in” on what’s being said or heard within a vehicle. These are commonly placed inside the vehicle, whereas your typical GPS trackers a normally placed somewhere on the outside or underside of the vehicle. We have found GPS trackers on motorcycles, cars and trucks, semi’s, children’s stuffed animals and car seats, backpacks and luggage, and many other applications. Indeed, we have installed and placed them as well.

What Are Common Signs of Electronic Surveillance – Bugs or Wiretaps?

1. Unusual Sounds or Interference

   One of the most common signs of electronic surveillance is the presence of strange noises or interference during phone calls or conversations. These noises may include static, buzzing, clicking, or other unusual sounds that occur consistently and cannot be attributed to normal environmental factors. If you notice persistent interference on your phone line or electronic devices, it could indicate the presence of a listening device or wiretap.

2. Unexpected Changes in Electronic Devices

   Another telltale sign of electronic surveillance is unexpected changes in the behavior or performance of electronic devices. This may include sudden battery drain on cell phones or electronic devices, unexplained changes in settings or configurations, or unfamiliar apps or software running in the background. If you notice any unusual activity on your electronic devices, it could be a sign that they have been compromised by surveillance software or malware.

3. Physical Signs of Tampering

Physical signs of tampering or intrusion in your home or vehicle can also indicate the presence of surveillance devices. This may include suspicious wires or cables, unusual markings or scratches on walls or furniture, or signs of forced entry or unauthorized access. If you notice any signs of tampering or intrusion, it’s essential to investigate further to determine if surveillance devices have been planted. Also, inspect screws… Yes, screws. So, when an “operative” or criminal installs a device or devices, they will often disassemble a lamp, piece of furniture, or wall sockets. They may chip a little paint off a screw or screws may be loose, when they’re normally very tight.

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) – Bug Sweep & Physical Searching

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM), also known as bug sweeping or electronic countermeasures, are specialized services designed to detect and neutralize surveillance devices. TSCM professionals use advanced equipment and techniques to conduct comprehensive sweeps of homes, vehicles, and other environments to identify and eliminate electronic eavesdropping threats. These sweeps may include physical inspections, radio frequency (RF) spectrum analysis, thermal imaging, and signal detection to uncover hidden listening devices and wiretaps.

In addition to detecting surveillance devices, TSCM professionals provide recommendations and guidance on improving security and mitigating future risks. This may include implementing encryption and secure communication protocols, conducting regular security audits, and training personnel on security best practices. By proactively addressing potential vulnerabilities and threats, TSCM services help individuals and organizations protect their privacy and confidential information from electronic eavesdropping and surveillance.

Detecting surveillance devices in your house and car requires vigilance, awareness, and a basic understanding of common signs and indicators. By familiarizing yourself with the types of listening devices used in electronic surveillance, recognizing common signs of electronic eavesdropping, and considering the benefits of technical surveillance countermeasures, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your privacy and security in an increasingly interconnected world. Whether you’re concerned about corporate espionage, personal privacy, or protecting sensitive information, being able to detect and combat electronic surveillance is essential for maintaining peace of mind and ensuring confidentiality in all aspects of your life. If you feel you need professional help, reach out to Victory Investigations. We have all of the necessary electronic equipment and tradecraft knowledge to detect threats and nullify them.

Was Instagram’s “Let’s See You At 21” Challenge A Way To Mine Data For Facial Recognition And AI?

Do Viral Challenges Pose a Risk To Your Privacy?

You’re a forty-something, scrolling your Instagram newsfeed and start seeing younger photos of Jill, an old college roommate and Scott, an old co-worker from the Starbuck’s, where you both worked. A recent Instagram trend has people posting pictures of their former selves, as a throwback to a different time in their lives. Yes, the hair may be fuller and the pictures a bit more grainy, but the nostalgia of it prompts you to do the same. So, you scour the archives of your phone’s gallery for the perfect throwback of yourself. Perhaps you search your Facebook Memories for a flattering image of your face, but also demonstrate some of the trends of those times – the youthful idealism, sorority events skinny jeans, and the Twilight series.

The prompt “Everyone tap in… Let’s see you at 21” has had well over 4 million shares across Instagram and Facebook, the first being from Damian Ruff, who unsuspectedly started the massive movement. Ruff, a 43 year old Whole Foods employee, from Mesa Arizona, posted a picture of him and his mother, sharing a beer, on his 21st birthday. He created a shareable story template, a feature of Instagram, and it quickly went viral like many other hashtag challenges we’ve seen before. Reminiscent to Facebook’s ’10 Year Challenge’ a few years back, Ruff’s challenge got people engaged and eager to show themselves, perhaps in better times or to show how far they’ve come.

This brings me to why I’m writing this article.

We’ve all gotten used to these challenges and because of their popularity, we quite enjoy them. Throwbacks, like the ’10 Year Challenge’, ‘…. Let’s see you at 21’, ‘Top Nine Photos of the Year’, and others have drawn concern over the years. It has been speculated that challenges like these are being used to aggregate data for technologies, such as AI and Facial Recognition. Are these challenges being deployed on purpose? Maybe. Maybe not. BUT, one thing is certain… These viral challenges CAN be used to mine data for these technologies and others.

What if AI and Facial Recognition companies wanted to take all of this data and use it to teach their machine learning software and algorithms to adapt to age-related characteristics?

Right about now, I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms already have billions of photos to which these companies could do the same thing? Yes and no. Allow me to explain. So, yes social media is certainly flush with pictures, of us all, from various ages and stages of our lives; however, there are several factors to bear in mind. It is quite difficult, even for advanced technologies, coders, and aggregators to accurately determine when certain pictures were actually taken. Also, meaningful to note here is that all social platforms strip images of their meta-data upon upload. In addition, just because you posted a picture, say in 2020, it doesn’t mean that picture was taken in 2020. Many people don’t post pictures in chronological order. Also, let’s take the private accounts into consideration. A lot of people don’t even have a picture of themselves as there profile. It could be a pet, an avatar, or even another family member. Furthermore, what if there’s someone else in the picture or multiple people. These viral challenges offer an opportunity for folks to provide an “untainted” version of who they are. The entire context of the challenge dictates how one should present themselves and what to say… i.e. ‘Me 10 Years Ago’ or ‘Here I am at 21’ or ‘Nine pics of me in 2023’. And usually these pics will be just of you or where you’ve already cropped out any other people. This provides a broad, yet rigorous spectrum of data, loaded with people’s pictures and rich with age progression characteristics.

And then there’s the Hashtags… Hashtags, for lack of a better term, is the icing on the cake. The “#21years…” or “10yearchallenge” makes the aggregation like shooting fish in a barrel. It practically aggregates ALL the data that these Facial Recognition and AI algorithms need in order to learn how we all progressively age and change over the years. This makes a world of difference between just gathering images from user accounts and trying to put them in chronological order to attempt to reach the same goals. We are giving them the “cheat code” by using Hashtags. In essence, we are doing all the heavy lifting for these companies.

Meta, the parent company of both Instagram and Facebook maintain that they are not involved in starting any challenges and state that they get no benefit from any of them going viral. And that may be true to some extent. At least we do know for sure that the ’21 years old’ challenge was started by Ruff, himself, but that does not mean that Facebook doesn’t or cannot benefit from these challenges. We already know that Facebook “dabbles” in Facial Recognition and, of course, there’s the content itself, adding to the platform’s visibility and popularity. The most likely usage for this data, for Meta, is for advertising targeting purposes. The social media giant does say that they do not sell the data to outside companies. With that said, Meta doesn’t have to benefit for other companies to benefit. Any company that wants this data can grab it, utilizing sophisticated scraping software.

Damian Ruff – credited for starting the “Everyone tap in. Let’s see you at 21” challenge.

There are some great use cases to defend this sort of scraping, aggregating and implementing into Facial Recognition and AI, however. Take finding missing children or missing persons for example… Up until now, age progression pictures have been the work of sketch artists, graphic artists, and less sophisticated software. Now, with the emergence of AI and facial recognition, not only can these renderings be more accurate, but the technology will make them easier to create and update.

As with any new technologies that can be used for good, it can also be a double-edged sword. All of the innovation with AI and Facial Recognition, can be used by bad actors and hackers.

Hackers use AI & Facial Recognition for blackmail, scams, framing innocent people
Deepfake Hackers

It can and will be used in Deepfake Technology, where these hackers can use people’s images to blackmail, frame, and scam folks. Face swapping, using the combination of these technologies will far surpass what we commonly see as a “Photohopped” image or a manipulated video. The ability to make very convincing pictures and videos is here and one day, in the near future, these manipulations will be undetectable.

There has also been an uptick in the adoption of voice recognition, by banking and other institutions. There are now collecting voice patterns to allow access to your accounts. Imagine any of these companies or institutions getting hacked and now the hackers have, not only your likeness, from social media, but also how you age and how you speak and sound. Scary, scary times, indeed.

voice speech biometrics are being gathered by companies
Voice Biometrics to replace PIN Codes

In the image above, you will see what I’m prompted with upon logging into my Schwab account. Before it takes me to my account details it asks me I want to activate the voice biometric identification service. This is meant to replace those “pesky” personal questions and PIN’s you have currently setup. I get the same exact request when logging into one of my credit union accounts. Governments and institutions want every single identifying characteristic of you and I. And they will eventually find ways to obtain them, IF you’re not diligent.

Don’t get me started on those DNA profiling services.

Private Investigator Myths Debunked

private investigator myths

Debunking, Err, Rather Elaborating On 5 Myths About Private Detectives

In the vast landscape of detective stories, private investigators often strut onto the scene with a fedora, trench coat, and a magnifying glass, ready to solve mysteries in the blink of an eye, with style and swagger. However, the reality of private detective work is usually far from the glamorous and exaggerated portrayals we often see in literature and the movies. Let’s embark on a journey to dispel five common myths surrounding private detectives, separating fact from fiction.

Myth #1:  Private Detectives are All Sherlock Holmes Wannabes

While it’s tempting to imagine private investigators as modern-day Sherlocks, complete with a deerstalker hat and a pipe, the truth is far less theatrical. Private detectives are skilled professionals who utilize a combination of investigative techniques, technology, and legal expertise to gather information and solve cases. Sorry to burst your bubble, but most PIs spend more time sifting through paperwork than donning disguises and engaging in undercover operations. There are times, however, when private investigators will alter their appearance slightly. For example, if an investigator has been in the presence of their Subject, multiple times during a surveillance period, they might put on a ball cap or change their shirt, giving the appearance that they are a different person. Private investigators will sometimes change vehicles or even rent a vehicle, in order that the Subject won’t see the same vehicle behind them over and over. There’s actually many techniques private detective utilize in order to “hide in plain sight”.

Myth #2:  Private Detectives Always Work Alone

Contrary to popular belief, private detectives don’t always operate solo. While they may have moments of solitary stakeouts or deep investigative dives, collaboration is often key to cracking a case. From working alongside law enforcement agencies to partnering with other professionals such as forensic experts or legal advisors, private investigators understand the value of teamwork. So, sorry to disappoint the lone wolf enthusiasts out there, but private investigation is more about collaboration than solo heroics. With that said, there are times when a private investigator MUST go it alone. These sorts of cases require a certain level of discretion that could be difficult to maintain with multiple operatives. Wow, that sounded so “spook”… Spook is a term that has been given to certain government agency “officials” that conduct operations that are, well super secretive. I, however, prefer to work alone as much as possible. There’s many reasons for this, but mainly I want to keep all the praise for myself. Just kidding…lol

Myth #3:  Private Detectives Have Access to High-Tech Gadgets and Secret Government Databases

Ah, the allure of spy gadgets and top-secret databases! While it’s true that technology plays a significant role in modern-day investigations, private detectives don’t have unlimited access to futuristic gadgets or classified government databases. In reality, much of their work involves utilizing publicly available information, conducting interviews, and employing traditional surveillance methods. So, if you were hoping for a glimpse of James Bond-level gadgetry, you might be in for a disappointment. All of the gadgets that private investigators use are available to the general public. You can find the covert video cameras, secret recording devices, GPS trackers, and more all over the web. Most are made and come from China, BUT some of us know how to make or fashion some of the tools available into a form factor that fits our needs for a particular case. For example, we may need a camera that won’t be detected in a hotel hallway. A perfect camera might be one that is built into a smoke detector or a motion sensor. Well, if there’s not one, on the market, that looks like the one’s the hotel uses, we may just need to make one that fits in better. We no longer think of GPS trackers a being high-tech, but it is certainly one of the private investigator’s favorite pieces and most used.

Myth #4:  Private Detectives Spend Their Days Solving Glamorous Mysteries

Who wouldn’t want to imagine private detectives solving glamorous mysteries in exotic locales? While there may be occasional cases that offer a hint of excitement, the majority of a private investigator’s workload is far less glamorous. From conducting background checks for corporate clients to tracking down missing persons or gathering evidence for legal cases, the day-to-day reality of a private detective is often more mundane than thrilling. So, if you were expecting a constant whirlwind of intrigue and excitement, you might want to adjust your expectations. We have conducted investigations in many countries and in most of the states, within the US. It is always fun and a change of pace to work these cases, but it can still be rather boring. Remember, we are catching cheaters, finding skips, busting insurance fraudsters and the like… Their lives can be just as mundane as anyone else’s. The real thrills are in trying to get as close as possible without being detected and of course scoring the “money shot”. Surveillance can often be described as hours upon hours of watching and waiting, punctuated by seconds of extreme excitement and rushes of adrenaline.

Myth #5:  Private Detectives Always Get Their “Man”

In the world of detective fiction, the hero always catches the villain, justice is served, and the case is neatly wrapped up with a bow. However, real-life investigations are rarely so tidy. Despite their best efforts, private detectives don’t always succeed in solving every case or getting the “smoking gun” evidence the client expects. Factors such as lack of evidence, legal constraints, or the elusive nature of the Subject can all contribute to the occasional unsolved mystery. So, while private detectives may strive for a Hollywood-worthy resolution, the reality is often far more nuanced and unpredictable. More often than not, however, if there is wrongdoing, it will be detected, noted, and evidence collected. The #1 reason that a case goes unsolved is because there was nothing to be solved to begin with. For example, a man may come in for a consultation because he believes his significant other is cheating. He has no real evidence of it, but says somethings are just not right in his relationship. We’ll get to work on the case and soon learn that his significant other isn’t seeing anyone one else, rather has just checked out of the marriage or relationship. For whatever reason, this happens to be the case with more men clients than women. Women’s gut instinct – that 6th sense – seems to be right 99.9% of the time. Whereas with men, their suspicions are correct only 80%-85% of the time. This is just my observations over a 19 year career.

The #1 reason that a case goes unsolved is because there was nothing to be solved to begin with.

BONUS Myth:  All Private Investigators Are Prior Law Enforcement

Indeed many private investigators used to be police officers or federal agents, but that is not always the case. And it is important to recognize that just because a private investigator has a law enforcement background or a degree in criminal justice, it does not mean that they are good private detectives. Many prior law enforcement, now turned, PI’s have a hard time transitioning from their public personas to private ones. Private detectives have to be just that – Private. We can’t go around waving a badge and demand information or access to things like sensitive data or surveillance camera footage. It takes a certain finesse, a swagger, if you will. Convincing people to trust you is an art. Persuasion is a skill that is used frequently as a private investigator. Hiding in plain sight requires cunning and skill. The art of NOT being detected needs to honed. In my experience, the best private investigators are those that have no prior law enforcement experience. The best private detectives are unassuming, smart, and witty.

the best private investigators are unassuming
The BEST Private Investigators Are Unassuming

Women’s gut instinct – that 6th sense – seems to be right 99.9% of the time.

The world of private investigation is far more complex and diverse than the myths and stereotypes would have us believe. From debunking the notion of lone wolf detectives to dispelling the illusion of glamorous mysteries, it’s clear that private detectives are more than just characters in a novel or film. So, the next time you encounter a private investigator in fiction or real life, remember to look beyond the myths and appreciate the reality of their profession.

Do I Need To Hire A Private Investigator Near Me?

In order to determine if you need to seek out a private investigator in your immediate area, you’ll need to know what specific services your matter will require. Most private investigators provide a variety of service. Some of these services will require a “boots on the ground” approach.

How to Find Out Where Someone Works

For example, if you are trying to learn where someone works, it may require having someone follow the person. The reason for this is, is that there is no real centralized database for employment information (for most folks). That does not mean that the place of employment cannot be determined without hitting the field, but if your online efforts hit a brick wall, surveillance may be what you need. A private investigator near you or the Subject should be able to follow them, say in the morning, to their workplace. A savvy PI can also perform deeper and more intricate searches, using open-source intelligence (OSINT) techniques that most of the general public does not understand how to use. Again, if the investigator hits a dead end, then he or she might suggest following the person.

How To Locate A Private Investigator Near Me

The same strategies may be necessary when trying to locate someone or to confirm what may be learned online. Depending on various factors, locating someone may include some surveillance. This is when the client might be best served by asking a search engine:  “best private investigators near me”. This particular query should produce the top reviewed private investigators in your area. Why would you want to ask for the “best”? We believe it’s important that the investigative agency you chose has some online and social proof of their experience and credibility. This does not necessarily mean that the new guy on the block can’t help, but a track record of success is a good indicator that you’ll get your monies worth. Most professionally licensed private investigators have access to databases and other information that the general public does not. These sources are a fantastic starting point, but an experienced investigator knows that even these databases and information could have stale or old data. The professional investigator knows how to go about validating their findings. One way to validate someone’s location is to perform surveillance or sub-contract an investigator in the Subject’s area to perform a drive-by. In this scenario, you may have hired an investigator in the area where you believed the Subject to be, but it turned out that the Subject was outside of this investigator’s service area. Sometimes this cannot be avoided, as people are fairly transient these days. We get into more depth about locating people, skip tracing and what all you should know in another blog.

Background Screening and Background Research

We perform a lot of background research and for many different reasons. Whether we’ve been asked to locate all the criminal records for someone or just everywhere a person has lived, this is regarded as background research. If you think that most of this work is done behind a computer screen, you’d be correct. However, depending on the use of the information and certain circumstances, the requestor may want an investigator to visually verify and document some or all of the information. Again, part of the worked could be performed by one private investigator or several, depending on the number of locations the information, to be verified, resides. With that said, a private investigator nearby will usually suffice for background searches. Background research can be nearly limitless in scope. So many different things can be researched and some private detectives specialize in certain areas. The expertise of the private detective may be important to you when trying to determine if they are near you or not. You may want an in-person consultation, so that you can feel comfortable with whom you’re hiring. Heck, it may be that when you search for a private investigator or detective near me that there simply aren’t any. This is especially possible in rural or less populated areas. But generally speaking and when needing background research performed, most private detectives will be able to assist you.

Would There Ever Be an Instance When I would NOT want to Hire A Private Detective Near Me?

Yes, we can think of a few different reasons to go outside of your immediate area for investigative help. Just as previously mentioned, there may not be a licensed private investigator located in your area. There are usually several, however, located in a nearby larger metropolitan area. This is when you become the investigator because you are trying to locate the best private investigator, not only for your needs, but also for their reputation and experience. Most of these investigators that have their offices, in a larger city near you, will still provide services in the area in which you live. Their office may be in the bigger city, but they may live near you and are very familiar with your neighborhood and town. This is a good thing to know because it will help you feel confident in their abilities.

private investigators near me

What if a conflict of interest is discovered during your search for a private investigator or detective nearby? This, too, could mean that you should seek help outside of your immediate area. A conflict of interest could be that maybe your spouse has spoken with the same investigator about helping them regarding YOU. If you speak with a private investigator and this is the case, they may come right out and say that they have a conflict. They may opt to just brush you off by saying they don’t have the time or manpower to assist, at the moment. They may quote an exorbitant price to drive you away or they may state that they don’t provide the particular service or all the services you need. Regardless of how the conflict is discovered and if the investigator is aware of the potential conflict, they should not disclose it to the other party that they have entered in contract with.

As previously discussed, there may not be a private investigator nearby that provides the service or services you need. Although we have conducted investigations in over 20 different countries, we will often refer a colleague in the country in which you need services. Another reason to search for assistance in a different location would be to hire a specialist. An example of this would be Digital Forensics. Digital Forensics involves the acquisition and examination of data obtained from electronic devices. Cell phones and other mobile devices, such as tablets and laptops are the main targets for this sort of data and it requires someone to be extremely detail oriented and tech savvy. Specialized training is required and sometimes additional licensing, up and above a private investigator license is mandatory. Such is the case in our state of North Carolina. The state required that ANY person conducting Digital Forensic examinations be experienced, licensed and that they have testified as an expert in court regarding their findings. This field is so specialized that there are very few people that provide the service. As a result, you will likely have to look outside of your area for help. Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) and polygraph administrator services are a couple of other services that many people have to look elsewhere for.

Private Investigator Near Me For Service Of Process

Service of Process is where a person of interest, witness, or defendant is either hand-delivered (preferred) or through substitute service provided legal documents regarding a motion, a request to appear, or other demand(s). Private investigators are often asked to provide this service, particularly when previous attempts to effect service have failed. If you have already located the individual or entity that needs to be served, then you will know where you’ll need to hire a private investigator or private process server. However, you may need the person needing to be served to be located first, not only to know where they may be served, but also to be able to list an address on the process documents. Even if you intend on using a private process server, you may need to have the person located by a private investigator or a professional skip tracer. Ultimately, you need either a process server or private investigator near you or the party to be served. If the defendant, witness, entity is in your city, it would be a good idea to ask a search engine which is the best private process server or private investigator near me. The results will be targeted by proximity and popularity, which is important.

Perceptions of a Private Investigator and The Reality

While private investigators are commonly associated with uncovering infidelity or sneaking around corners in a trench coat, their services extend far beyond these perceptions. In reality, they provide a diverse array of offerings that cater to clients’ varied needs.

Whether you require background research, assistance with a legal matter, or seek reassurance through the discreet observation of a spouse, a private investigator is equipped to address your specific needs. Prior to engaging their services, it is crucial to comprehend the range of services offered, understand associated costs, and ensure the selection of a qualified professional suited to your requirements.

Acknowledging the inherent risks associated with private investigations, the benefits often surpass the incurred costs. If contemplating the hiring of a private investigator, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced professional today to explore the services tailored to your unique situation. In closing, I would reiterate that it really depends on the objective of the case as to what service you will need and where the private investigator you hire is located. It can get quite nuanced, but the search engines and your discernment will guide you to a good decision and strategy. If you live in our area, we would love to help you. If you are not located near Victory Investigations’ private detectives, we can still offer assistance and we are happy to do so. Call us today at 1-888-482-6273 or message us through our website or Facebook. We are very responsive and look forward to hearing from you.

What Is Skip Tracing and How Does Skip Tracing Work?

If you’ve ever owned a business, been a landlord, a freelance service provider or you’re an attorney, you’ve probably had a client or tenant that has refused to pay for the goods and services you’ve provided them. So, you do what you think you should and that is to reach out to the person, in an attempt to remind them of what they owe you. Perhaps they’ve overlooked the invoice or maybe they’re just ignoring you. You’ve tried numerous times to contact them, using the information they provided you, and have failed over and over. When you’ve exhausted, what you believe to be every option available to you, and it has become increasingly clear that this person is avoiding you and payment, it may be time to call in some reinforcements – the Skip Tracer.

skip tracing

What is Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is the process or practice of tracking down a person or persons whom are unresponsive, missing, or very hard to find. Skip tracing is an investigatory course of action that is commonly used to pinpoint an individual’s whereabouts and/ or workplace. It is usually used as a last resort in trying to make contact with debtors for unpaid debts, witnesses, or even long-lost relatives or other contacts. The person who attempts to locate people that are hard to find or attempting to avoid being located is known as a skip tracer.

The noun “Skip” is jargon for someone that has “skipped town”, which basically means to leave from a place hastily, leaving as few clues as possible as to where they went. Trace or “Tracing” is the act of tracking down the contact information and/ or whereabouts of the person of interest.

Who uses Skip Tracing Services or Skip Tracers?

In short, anyone that needs or wants to locate a person of interest. In addition to debtors or witnesses, clients have asked us to find relatives, whom they’ve lost contact with or perhaps an old college roommate or maybe a person with whom they had served in the military. And even people that have passed away… That’s right, we have found loved ones, for family members, that were looking for where either the decedent last lived or are now buried.

Other’s that hire Skip tracers, regularly, are:

Banks and financial institutions

Repossession agents

Collection agencies

Tenant verification services

Bail bondsmen 

Genealogists

Journalists

Credit card companies

Lawyers and paralegals

Insurance adjustors or investigators

Private investigators (many of which perform skip tracing services themselves)

Sworn Law enforcement officers or detectives

Process servers (for purposes of serving legal documents i.e. Summons & Complaint, Subpoena, or even important letters that need to be hand delivered)

Real estate agencies, agents, and brokers

Landlords

How Does Skip Tracing Work?

The process often begins with collecting basic information about the Subject, such as their last known address, phone number, or workplace. Verifying the outdated data is a best practice and first step in attempting to locate any person or skip. We have also found that skips know what they plan to do, well in advance of doing them. Often they’ll provide a mixture of real and accurate information with completely made up information. The skip tracer can identify this and will hopefully replace the old and inaccurate information with current and true details about the skip.

Skip tracers leverage a range of tools and proprietary databases, including public records, social media platforms, and credit report information (credit headers), to gather clues about the person’s current location. They may also interview friends, family members, and acquaintances to obtain leads. Advanced skip tracing techniques involve data analysis and pattern recognition to predict where the individual might be based on their past behaviors and connections.

These tools, techniques and databases can reveal A LOT of information, such as:

Address history

Current & past property records

Court records

Credit header data

Criminal records

Federal court records

Civil records

Driver’s license history

Current and past vehicle information

Vehicle sightings

Employment history

Phone numbers

Property tax records

Utility information

Social Media

Deep web data (it is believed that the Deep Web curates 80% of the internet – only accessible through specialized tools and techniques)

Contact Friends & Family (this is really one of the last resorts to employ – we do not want our skip to be tipped off to our efforts, if we can help it.)

The data obtained by the skip tracer from the aforementioned records and resources might be sufficient for locating the individual. However, if it proves insufficient, the tracer often reaches out to the skip’s friends and family. In the event that the person has relocated, it is likely that they shared details about their departure and future whereabouts with close associates. These individuals may offer the skip tracer valuable information aiding in the location process. It is essential to note that if the skip’s relatives and friends are unwilling to provide information, an ethical skip tracer refrains from using intimidation or coercion. Instead, a skilled skip tracer relies on refined persuasive skills (Social Engineering), recognizing that cooperative efforts are in everyone’s best interest for the individual to be located amicably.

What is Batch Skip Tracing?

Batch skip tracing is usually used by real estate companies, real estate agents, and investors to gather basic contact information of multiple people, at once (bulk), for business to business (B2B) purposes. It is also used to uncover contact information for the true owners of a given property. Many properties are rented and the client would like to know the real owners name and contact information. Also, the target properties are sometimes owned by a company and the client would like to know who owns the company or who runs the day to day operations of the company. This may include phone numbers, email addresses, mailing address, etc. Append Services attempt to match particular data sets with other data and characteristics. In theory, this technique provides a more accurate result, based on the criteria of the client (real estate company or agent). In simple terms, this service will acquire the information needed to contact targeted groups of people – real estate buyers, sellers, and investors. However, this type of service often gets things wrong and the data provided can be misconstrued or cross-contaminated with inaccurate data. Batch skip tracing is cheaper and as a result, be prepared for the data to be no more than 40-50% accurate.

What is the difference between a Bounty Hunter or Bail Bondsman and a Skip Tracer?

Many people associate skip tracing with bounty hunting. Of course they both have similar objectives – locating their Subject (and usually one that does NOT want to be found). But more often than not, bounty hunters, themselves, turn to private investigators or professional skip tracers to locate fugitives that have failed to appear as promised. These fugitives have “skipped” on their bail. With that said, bounty hunters can often perform skip tracing for their own purposes, but typically, skip tracers are NOT bounty hunters.   

The job of the bounty hunter is to find criminals who are “on the lam” to avoid going to jail. This is when they’ll normally contact and hire a skip tracer to obtain information that can aid in the location and apprehension of the fugitive. Skip tracers can be employed to track down subject matter experts, witnesses, missing persons, long-lost relatives, and more.

Why Skip Tracing is Considered a Vital Service?

Skip tracing extends beyond apprehending criminals and debtors. There are literally dozens of reason why a person or an entity would want to locate someone or multiple people. I’ve listed some below:

1.  Job Applicant Evaluation:

Recruiters and hiring managers may employ skip tracers to conduct identity verifications and criminal background checks on job applicants, ensuring the authenticity and accuracy of the information provided by an applicant. We have also provided post-employment background checks, when an employer failed to proactively conduct one at hire. These are normally performed due to a disgruntled employee that has made threats to upper management, co-workers, or the facility, itself.

2.  Legal Case Assistance:

Professionals such as lawyers, journalists, law enforcement agents, and private investigators can utilize skip tracing services to locate individuals involved in criminal investigations or civil lawsuits, either as witnesses or persons of interest. We are often retained to obtain contact information for witnesses. Sometimes, we are asked to interview the witnesses, we locate, as an add-on service.

3.   Finding Family and Friends or Past Classmates:

Skip tracing aids individuals in locating missing relatives, friends, or those with whom they’ve lost contact. Common cases involve reconnecting with friends and family over the years, childhood or college friends, adopted individuals seeking to connect with their biological parents, and locating missing parents or spouses due to various circumstances.

4.   Real Estate Transactions:

Real estate agents and investors leverage skip tracing to identify potential sellers and buyers. By tracing property owners, they build prospect portfolios, facilitating business expansion and deal closures. This batch tracing service is not very accurate. We suggest smaller scale searches to ensure quality over quantity.

5.   Debtor Tracking:

Debt collectors employ skip tracers to locate debtors for the collection of owed funds. This includes tenants with outstanding rent or property damage, employees involved in fraud, embezzlement, or violations of non-disclosures (NDAs), employee theft (potentially company proprietary information and secrets); clients indebted to a business, contractors who abandoned projects, and landlords (some real and some that pose as landlords) who vanished after receiving money from potential tenants. Skip tracers will locate these persons for purposes of serving process – hand delivering legal documents and actions. Skip tracers normally hand the locations over to a private process server or private investigator to effect service on the debtor.

6.   Locating Court No-Shows or bail/bond skips:

Bounty hunters tasked with apprehending individuals who fail to appear in court may enlist skip tracers or private investigators to track down the fugitive. Once a location has been confirmed, bail agents will attempt to apprehend the criminal.

7.  Locating Military Members or People that served, together, in the past:

Private investigators and skip tracers are sometimes asked to locate a member of the military that the client knows, personally. Some people are looking for old friends and colleagues that they served with, while in the military.  

8.  Locating deceased person’s last known whereabouts or burial sites:

We, as private investigators and professional skip tracers have been asked to research people that have passed away. Some of the reason for this is that the client or family member may not know where the deceased is buried or their circumstances at the time of their death. Sometimes we are asked to track someone down, and in the process, discover that the person has passed away. This sort of information could prove vital for an ongoing case. Helping a family member find the gravesite of a loved one is particularly rewarding.

9.  Finding a contractor that has disappeared:

We get this one a lot. A client hires a contractor to do a job and they don’t complete it, after being paid upfront for their service and material. We’ve had some contractors that had taken the client’s money and never even began the work. Obviously, people should not pay for a job that has not been completed. Often, the best one can do is to have a private investigator research the service provider, upfront, and see if there any red flags. But also, only pay for material upfront and perhaps pay the labor each day that the contractor shows up. Almost every time we take on a skip trace like this, we find that the contractor had done the same thing to numerous people.

10. Adoption and biological parent location and locating heirs:

There are private investigators, skip tracers, and genealogists that specialize in this type of locating. We have looked for heirs many times over the years. Most of the time the persons we are locating and ultimately have found, had no idea they were even considered in a will or named as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

Can anyone skip trace or locate someone?

Absolutely! However, it takes years of experience to become really good at locating people, especially those that don’t want to be found. People that don’t want to be located usually work just as hard at hiding their whereabouts, as you will to try to find them. This can prove to be very frustrating, as you to hit wall after wall. The information available to the general public can be very good or it can be very stale and/ or heavily cross-contaminated. Resources that can be found online are wrought with inaccurate information. Believe me, we’ve tested it. It’s not unusual for these providers to give you information that is several years old. And if you’re trying to find someone with a common name, be ready to sift-through all the persons that share the same name as the person you’re looking for. Trying to match up addresses, emails, phone numbers, criminal records and more to the “John Smith” you’re looking for is going to drive you a little mad. I say all of that to say this, it is probably best to leave the skip tracing to the skip tracing professionals. If you do find yourself taking on the task and hitting dead ends, you might want to consider hiring a skip tracer or private investigator to finish the job. You’ve heard what I have to say about taking on the task yourself. But, if you’re hard headed (no fret, I am too) and still want to give skip tracing a go, I am giving you some resources, below, to begin your quest. Don’t get upset when you fail. After all, that’s how we all learn some of our most important lessons. But, if you do find yourself not really gaining traction, give us a call. We’ll be glad to assist you in your search.

Where Do Skip Tracers and Private Investigators get their information?

We’ve alluded to a few of these resources before and many of these are mentioned in other articles we have written. Licensed private investigators and professional skip tracers may (most do) have access to databases that the general public does not have access to. These database providers require credentialing to be provided, by the private investigator or skip tracer, before they allow access to their data. This is because some of the information they provide is considered sensitive and is regulated by local, state, and federal laws, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) and the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). Also, these databases are subscription based and skip tracers can rack up a significant cost, while researching their skips. This is one of the reasons why skip tracers charge a premium for their services. And remember, you’re also paying for the years of experience and the war chest of knowledge the skip tracer has. There’s an excellent quote about why one should not skimp on professional services. It goes like this:  “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”. In other words, you get what you pay for. In addition to the paid resources skip tracers use, they are well versed in OSINT or Open Source Intelligence. This includes every open source of information imaginable, including public records, such as arrest records, social media, business filings, property records, employment and marriage information, and sometimes even scouring the deep and dark webs.

What are the best resources for locating people, without having access to a paid database?

Google

You’ve heard the phrase “Google it”. Well, it should come as no surprise that Google has most of the world’s market share when it comes to online search queries. I believe Google is used for literally 80%-85% of all searches worldwide. Regardless of the Mega-giant’s search popularity, there are dozens of free resources for open source information, many of which you may not have heard of. With that said, Google does have a fantastic library of images, so don’t just rely on results comprising of just text or documents. Images, reverse image searches and video can help when attempting to locate someone.

BeenVerified, People Finder, TruthFinder, and the like…

These type of websites typically have some upfront, free information and then promise more detailed results behind a pay wall. The information these services provide is oftentimes outdated and horribly cross-contaminated. Cross-contamination, for example, is when results show that the John Smith you are looking for includes addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. that actually belong to another John Smith. Look, even paid database contain some of this. The difference is when you’ve hired a professional skip tracer or private investigator, they will attempt to validate their results. Now don’t get me wrong… These machine powered information providers can provide some great nuggets of information. You just have to try and figure out which nuggets are true and which ones are old or may be associated with another person.

Social Media

Social media sites are a wealth of great information. People literally cannot wait to talk about themselves, their activities, and friends. There are very powerful ways to leverage search within social media platforms and every one of them are a bit unique in functionality.  And don’t just consider the most popular ones when looking for someone. We all have different tastes and there are a ton of social media platforms to look through. Some of the social sites that are not often regarded as “search engines” are:  LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube and more. More ways for people to connect are developed every year. Threads (Facebook’s answer to Twitter/X) was just launched in 2023 and already has over 160 million users. Again, knowing how to properly search these sites is the key to success.

Genealogy Websites and Archive Sites Everyone has heard of Ancestory.com, but have you heard of the Wayback Machine (web.archive.com) or FindAGrave.com? We use sites, like these, regularly for familial connections and regional pointers. The Wayback Machine archives past versions of websites and web pages, going back as far as 1996! Now, that’s a powerful tool. Don’t forget about obituaries. We find ourselves reading a lot of obituaries to link people together.

When Should You Hire a Skip Tracer?

Only you can truly answer this question. But generally speaking, if you’ve tried and failed to locate the person, you may want to consider reaching out to a professional. Maybe time is of the essence and you need the information as quickly as possible. In that case, you should forego doing the research yourself and hand the task directly over to a skip tracer or private investigator. If you don’t have the money, but have a lot of time on your hands, then perhaps you should try locating the person on your own. You never know, you may just hit pay dirt and quickly. Skip tracers will usually know exactly where to begin their research and the best strategy to employ. They develop a plan of action based on the already known data and attack the task vigorously… Time is money. One thing you don’t want to do is put yourself in a position where you might be accused of stalking. If the person you’re looking for is hiding from you specifically and intentionally, you are on their radar. You may want to reconsider a “boots on the ground” approach, if you find that the person is nearby. Instead, hire a private investigator to perform some surveillance to confirm your information. If you are trying to serve the person with a legal action, the private investigator can do that as well. When a trail grows cold, a skip tracer may reach out to friends and family for information. As mentioned earlier, this should be a last resort or near last resort, as friends and family try to protect the one you seek, by giving false information and notifying the skip of your efforts.

How Much Does Skip Tracing Cost?

Ha! That’s a loaded question. Every professional charges what they believe their time and efforts are worth. They also take into consideration the costs of their paid databases. The costs can vary greatly, depending on difficulty and other factors, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $250 and $500 for locates that don’t take a lot of time or resources. The more difficult and advanced research may be billed at an hourly rate. These can range between $85 per hour to $200 per hour and some professionals may require a retainer or deposit. This can also depend on where in the world the services are contracted. Since skip tracing doesn’t usually require that the skip tracer to be in the same state as you, so feel free to shop around. But remember, You Get What You Pay For.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Skip Tracing:

How Long Does it Take To Skip Trace Someone?

This too can vary, depending on the difficulty. The difficulty depends on how much and what sort of information is already known. It can be more difficult if the Subject of the skip trace has just “skipped” or left town. Common names with lack of other identifying information can make the skip trace more difficult thus taking more time. As a general rule, you can expect a properly conducted skip trace to take between 1 to 2 weeks. It could take longer, particularly if the skip tracer has several locates going at once.

Is it Legal to Skip Trace Someone in the US?

In short, Yes. But be aware that it is illegal to use methods such as coercion or threats to obtain information. It is also illegal to use a “pretext” to obtain financial information. It can also be illegal to share certain information, which is deemed sensitive, and violates the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and/ or the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). There are other protections against using information, derived from public records, to make employment eligibility decisions.

How Do I Find A Skip Tracer Near Me?

That’s an easy one! A skip tracer does not have to be near you to assist you. Simply call Victory Investigations at 1-888-482-6273 and we will be happy to help. We provide skip tracing, hard locates, asset searches, and more all over the United States. Not only do we have the skills and experience, we also have access to many proprietary databases that we’ve mentioned previously.

Advanced Google Searches, “Magi” & Alternative Search Engines

Google, The Search Engine GIANT and their new AI project Magi

Ever ask someone a question and they respond, snarkily, “Google it”? It’s time to venture beyond the giant search engine and delve into a curated list of alternative search engines from the perspective of a private investigator, leveraging open-source intelligence (OSINT). The fact of the matter is that Google is NOT the end all be all. Other options exist that will enhance your researching endeavors.

Reflecting on the evolution of search engines, initiated by the founders of Yahoo, it’s intriguing how these platforms set the stage for future competitors, including the formidable Google, now equipped with artificial intelligence integration.

Numerous search engines have emerged and faded over time, each contributing significantly to the evolution of the search engine landscape. Their influence persists, inspiring the development of a new generation of search engines.

The exciting news for folks exploring the expansive realm of open-source intelligence is that alternative search engines offer unique features and strengths. Whether one seeks region-specific results or a global search experience, diverse options cater to varied preferences.

However, it’s imperative to acknowledge the fluid nature of search engine popularity over time. Therefore, staying informed about the latest updates and exploring alternatives to Google becomes essential in the dynamic landscape of OSINT.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about Google’s latest foray into artificial intelligence….

Magi: Google is developing a New Artificial Intelligence Search Engine

Amid the ongoing AI race, Google has plans for a new search engine loaded with fresh AI features under a project named Magi. This new search engine is expected to offer a more personalized online search experience to users by anticipating their needs. Based on what users have searched for, Google’s Magi will “learn” what the user wants. It will return lists of preselected options for products or information to purchase, more topics to delve into, relevant documents, and additional data relevant to the initial search. The search is going to be more conversational based – meaning, users will have the feeling that they are speaking to another person rather than a machine. And what’s even cooler is that Magi will allow you to directly carry out financial transactions related to your search…. from buying your favorite product to booking  travel tickets to determining what subscription streaming service best fits your tastes.

Apart from generating text-based responses, Magi will also write codes based on users’ requests. Google is also likely to place ads beneath codes (ads? No way…lol). Well, after all, Google is a business and has to generate value for their shareholders… A topic for another time, I suppose. So… Google reportedly has 160 people on the job, including designers, engineers and executives working full-time on the Magi’s features. These AI features will be available to one million users initially and expand to 30 million users later this year. However, there’s no timeline specified regarding the rollout of the new AI version.

Google’s Other Projects:

  • Google Earth’s mapping will soon use a chatbot to help users search for music.
  • GIFI- A new tool that will leverage AI to generate images in Google Image search results.
  • Tivoli Tutor- This product will enable users to learn a new language by having open-ended AI conversations.
  • Searchalong – Searchalong will allow users to ask questions to the chatbot while surfing the web using the Google Chrome browser.

Lara Levin, a Google spokesperson, says, “We’ve been bringing AI to Google Search for years to not only dramatically improve the quality of our results but also introduce entirely new ways to search, such as Lens and multi-search. We’ve done so in a responsible and helpful way that maintains the high bar we set for delivering quality information. Not every brainstorm deck or product idea leads to a launch, but as we’ve said before, we’re excited about bringing new AI-powered features to Search and will share more details soon.”

As you can see, Google plans to be around for a LONG time. The saying “no one is king forever” just doesn’t seem to apply to Google, who maintains over 80% of search market share.

So, how can we as Google users improve our searches? Well, below I have provided 30 different operator that you can include in your searches to bring you more success in discovery the information or products you want to learn more about. Give’em a try sometime!

Boolean Google Search Operators:

“ ”

This command operator forces Google to search for results that mention a specific word or phrase/whatever is placed within the quotations.

“taylor swift”

OR

This is a broad search operator to obtain results related to either of the targeted words. 

swift OR kelce

|

Same as OR:

swift | kelce

AND

This operator narrows the search for results containing both targeted keywords. 

swift AND kelce

-

Search for results that don’t mention a word or phrase eg. Taylor Swift results WITHOUT mention of “kelce”

taylor swift -kelce

*

Wildcard – matching any word or phrase.

steve * apple 

( )

Group multiple searches.


(ipad OR iphone) apple

define:

Search for the definition of a word or phrase. 

define:solopreneur

cache:

Find the most recent cache of a webpage.

cache:samsung.com

filetype:

Search for particular types of files (e.g., PDF).

apple filetype:pdf

ext: 

Same as filetype:

apple ext:pdf

site:

Search for results from a particular website/URL.

site:apple.com

related:

Search for sites related to a given domain name.

related:apple.com

intitle:

Search for pages with a particular word in the title tag.

intitle:samsung

allintitle:

Search for pages with multiple words in the title tag. 

allintitle:samsung galaxy

inurl:

Search for pages with a particular word in the URL. 

inurl:4runner

allinurl:

Search for pages with multiple words in the URL. 

allinurl:samsung galaxy

intext:

Search for pages with a particular word in their content.

intext:apple iphone

allintext:

Search for pages with multiple words in their content.

allintext:apple iphone

weather:

Search for the weather in a specific location. 

weather:new york

stocks:

Search for stock information for a specific ticker.

stocks:goog

map:

Force Google to show specific map results.

map:silicon valley

movie:

Search for information about a movie.

movie:one flew over the cuckoo’s nest

in

Convert one unit of currency to another.

$675 in JPY

source:

Search for results from a particular source within Google News Network.

apple source:the_verge

before:

Search for results from before a particular date.

amazon before:2007-06-29

after:

Search for results from after a particular date.

amazon after:2007-06-29

intitle:   AND  intext:

Combining operators will refine your results further.

Intitle: hacking AND intext: “unethical”

AROUND

The AROUND operator is used to create a proximity search – finds web pages where the search terms are within a specified distance from each other.

“Ponzi”  AROUND (3)  “insurance”

+

Using the + operator will ensure that your target terms are definitely returned in the search results.

+desert  +party

*NOTE:  You can also use the _ operator, which acts as a wildcard in Google Autocomplete.

Alternative Search Engines To Google

Now that we’ve covered Google pretty well (except for Google Dorking/Hacking – I will write more on that in an upcoming article), let’s explore alternatives to Google that can greatly improve your research results.

Listed below, I have provided a comprehensive list of various search engines. There are a total of 45 and they are all linked for easy access. I’m willing to bet that you have never heard of some of these, much less used them. There are some really great resources here, many of which provide for safer browsing, securing your information and protecting you from tracking. Private Investigators, like me, use multiple search engines, especially when the objective of our research is from or located in another country. We also use The Onion Router (TOR) to access the Dark Web. The Dark Web really requires some study to enable you to protect yourself. It is not a place for just playing around, unless you really know what you’re doing. Perhaps I’ll create a course on that one day.

Yippy is a search engine that will allow for Deep Web searching. The Deep Web mainly consists of pages and directories not indexed by the regular search engines.

You’ll also notice that I have included some sites that you are very familiar with. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more are VERY powerful search engines. Yes, not only are they social media sites, but they are also search engines. Investigators use these every single day to not only research people, but also other things. These social media search engines get billions upon billions of interactions daily. All of which are curated in some way by the companies that run them.

I encourage you to try some of these search engines out and see how you like them. You will likely discover that you will add 2 or 3 more to your regular searching activities.

Baidu

AOL

Gigablast

Lycos

Swisscows

Searx

Naver

DuckDuckGo

Yandex

Ecosia

Qwant

Seznam

WolframAlpha

Brave

Gibiru

Yahoo

Ask

Startpage

Excite

Mojeek

HotBot

SearchEncrypt

Amazon

CC Search

Yippy (deep web)

WebCrawler

MetaGer

Quamu

You

Oscobo (software that allows for secure browsing)

InfinitySearch

Yep

Anoox

Lukol

BoardReader

X (formerly Twitter)

Facebook

LinkedIn

Flickr

Pinterest

YouTube

Perplexity AI

Waldo

Disconnect Search

A Complete Guide to How Utilizing Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) aids in Investigations

In the ever-changing world of investigative techniques, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) has emerged as a potent tool, revolutionizing the way professionals gather information. OSINT involves collecting and analyzing publicly available data from various sources to derive valuable insights on individuals, subjects, companies, and more. In this article, we will explore the processes, sources, and significance of OSINT in investigations, emphasizing its vital role in background research.

What is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)?

Open Source Intelligence refers to the process of gathering information from publicly available sources to support intelligence and investigative activities. Unlike classified or confidential data, OSINT relies on publicly accessible information, making it a valuable and legal resource for investigators, law enforcement, intelligence, and government agencies. OSINT encompasses a broad spectrum of data, including online content, social media, public records, academic publications, news articles, reviews, and more.

What is the Process of Gathering of Open Source Intelligence?

1.  Data Collection:  OSINT begins with the collection of data from a wide variety of sources. Investigators employ advanced search techniques, leveraging search engines, online databases, social media platforms, and other web-based resources to compile a comprehensive dataset. This phase requires a meticulous approach to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the gathered information.

2.   Verification and Validation:  Once data is collected, the next step involves verifying and validating its authenticity. Investigators cross-reference information from multiple sources to confirm its accuracy. False or misleading data can compromise the integrity of an investigation, making validation a critical aspect of the OSINT process.

3.   Analysis and Correlation:  OSINT data undergoes a rigorous analysis to identify patterns, trends, and correlations. Investigators use specialized tools to process and visualize the information, enabling them to draw meaningful conclusions. This phase often involves connecting dissimilar pieces of information to unveil hidden relationships or uncover potential leads. 4.  Reporting:  The final step in the OSINT process is the creation of a comprehensive and detailed report. Investigators present their findings in a structured format, highlighting key insights, potential risks, and depending on the objective, investigators will recommended courses of action. Clear and concise reporting is crucial for decision-makers to understand the implications of the gathered intelligence.

Where Do Private Investigators Go For Open Source Intelligence?

1.  Social Media Platforms:  It should be no surprise that digging into social media profiles is the first stop for most private investigators. Social media platforms are rich sources of information, offering insights into individuals’ activities, connections, and interests. Investigators can extract valuable data from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, and more to build profiles and understand the online footprint of a Subject or group.

2.  Public Records and Government Databases:  Accessible government databases and public records provide a treasure trove of information, including court records, property records, business registrations, and other documents that contribute to a comprehensive background check.

3.  News and Media Outlets:  News articles and media reports contribute real-time information on events, incidents, and individuals. Monitoring news sources allows investigators to stay updated on relevant developments and gain a broader perspective on the subjects of their investigations.

4.  Academic and Research Publications:  Academic journals, research papers, and publications offer in-depth insights into specialized subjects. Investigators can tap into this source to gather expert opinions, industry trends, and scientific knowledge relevant to their cases.

5.  Online Forums and Communities:  Online forums and communities often contain discussions and shared experiences that can be valuable for investigations. Monitoring these platforms helps investigators understand public sentiment, uncover hidden connections, or identify potential threats.

6. Deep Web & Dark Web: The deep web is characterized as the section of the internet that remains unindexed by web crawlers. In contrast, the dark web is specifically identified as a subset within the deep web, accessible only through specialized tools. While the deep web is predominantly utilized for legitimate day-to-day online activities, the dark web operates with a higher degree of anonymity and is notorious for facilitating illegal transactions.

Why OSINT is Vital to Background Research?

1.  Cost-Effective:  OSINT is a cost-effective method of gathering information as it relies on publicly available resources.

2.  Real-Time Intelligence:  In a rapidly changing world, real-time intelligence is crucial. OSINT allows investigators to stay updated on developments, ensuring that the information used in investigations is current and relevant.

3.  Global Reach:  OSINT transcends geographical boundaries, enabling investigators to gather information from around the world. This global reach is particularly valuable in cases involving international connections or when investigating individuals with diverse backgrounds.

4. Versatility and Flexibility: OSINT is a versatile tool that can be adapted to various investigative scenarios. Whether conducting due diligence on a potential business partner or monitoring online activities, OSINT offers flexibility and adaptability.

5.  Enhanced Decision-Making:  The insights derived from OSINT empower decision-makers to make informed choices. Whether in the realm of corporate risk management, law enforcement, or cybersecurity, having a thorough understanding of the Subject through OSINT aids in crafting effective strategies and mitigating potential risks.

Can the average person conduct an OSINT investigation?

Yes. The capabilities are available to uncover A LOT of information on an individual or group. Resources exist that can empower the average, everyday internet user to gain insight into specific people, companies, or organizations. With that said, regardless of the tools available, nothing replaces experience and trade-craft knowledge. Victory Investigations’ Private Investigators have been conducting OSINT investigations for over 17 years. Not only do our Greensboro Private Investigators have access to databases that the general public does not have, we are also experienced in accessing Deep Web and Dark Web resources for the not-so-easy to find information. In addition, if Dark web activities are not conducted in a proper and safe manner, one opens themselves up for a myriad of dangerous attacks and exploits. One must know where to go, where and when to interact, and take the necessary precautions to protect their personal and business assets.

In conclusion, Open Source Intelligence has become an indispensable asset in the realm of investigations, offering a wealth of information that was once challenging to access. From social media platforms to government and proprietary databases, OSINT provides a holistic view of individuals, events, and entities, contributing to more informed decision-making. As technology continues to advance (take AI for example), the role of OSINT in investigations is poised to expand, offering new avenues for professionals to uncover the truth in an increasingly complex world.

How Much Does Hiring a Private Investigator Cost?

Is your wife, husband, or partner displaying suspicious behavior? Despite your attempts to uncover answers through their social media, email accounts, and cell phone are you still hitting a dead end? If there are signs or indicators present, it’s time to dig deeper, and that’s where the assistance of a professional adultery / infidelity investigator in Greensboro, NC becomes crucial!

Determining the exact cost of hiring a private investigator can be challenging due to the unique aspects of each situation. The story may be the same – someone’s cheating – but, the circumstances are always different and unique for everyone. While it may seem like you’re losing your sanity, don’t be discouraged – trust your intuition. Your gut instinct is likely accurate! Keep pressing forward; researching these matters, online, may be arduous, but with patience and persistence, you may just discover the approach that suits your specific circumstances. There are tactics that can be used to determine, if your wife, husband, or significant other are on a dating site or multiple dating sites. Its not easy and takes some work, but you may just find them seeking a extra-marital affair, fling, or companionship. The key is to be patient, but also diligent.

Infidelity / adultery investigators possess the essential skills and tools to uncover the truth. Operating with discretion and expertise, they safeguard your privacy. Armed with advanced tools such as GPS tracking devices, hidden cameras, and other technological surveillance devices, these investigators can trace and track activities that are indicative of potential infidelity.

Exploring the Financial Landscape of Private Investigation Services – Discover the Costs!

Private Investigators that are professionally licensed typically charge between $75 and $150 per hour, with an average rate of around $100 per hour. Additionally, be prepared to cover any expenses incurred by the investigator incured during their investigation, such as airfare, out-of-town hotel stays, fees related to court documentation and appearances, and even meals when it is important for the investigator to be near the Subjects, in a restaurant.

Private investigators commonly require a retainer, which can range from $1,500 and upward, depending on the nature of the investigation and resources associated with the particular investigation. This retainer is more like a deposit, from which the investigator will deduct hours worked and equipment rental and monitoring fees. These can include, but are not limited to: information gathering or research, tailing or mobile surveillance, covert cameras, reviewing footage, key evidence documentation and report writing.

While many private investigators specialize in surveillance related to issues like infidelity, gambling, drug use, criminal defense, or situations involving children, others, known as forensic investigators, tackle more intricate cases such as asset location and tracking; and probing suspect business practices or due diligence; or digital forensics examination of a cell phone, tablet or computer.

When seeking a private investigator, it’s crucial to keep in mind that costs can vary significantly based on the type of case. For instance, if you require an extensive forensic investigation, a task more intricate than confirming spousal fidelity, anticipate higher hourly fees and a need for more substantial monies upfront.

How much do private investigator services cost?

A typical surveillance investigation will cost somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000, while more intricate cases can run higher. The exact amount depends on the specific circumstances, underscoring the importance of consulting with a seasoned family law attorney before making any decisions. This ensures that your financial investment is judiciously spent.

If you have pressing questions that demand answers, don’t hesitate to enlist the assistance of a skilled private investigator. Their professional expertise guarantees a meticulous and discreet investigation, providing assurance that your money is being well utilized.

Through diligent research and commitment, these investigators offer invaluable support in uncovering facts while maintaining transparent communication throughout the process. When it comes to safeguarding yourself or others, the investment is worthwhile, and no cost should be considered too high. You get what you pay for and not every investigator is qualified to handle the task you need resolution on. In North Carolina for instance, private investigator must be licensed to perform surveillance. However, that does not mean they are good at surveillance. Other licenses that private investigators in North Carolina must possess to do the work are: Digital Forensics, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures, Executive Protection (armed), and more.

To determine the cost of private investigation services, it’s advisable to reach out to experienced professionals in your locality specializing in such cases. They can furnish detailed estimates based on their rates and the intricacy of your situation. Inquire about flexible payment options, including installment plans, to make these services more financially accessible.

Whether grappling with suspicions of infidelity or clandestine activities, or if you need to unveil concealed information, private investigators are ready to assist. Their qualifications and experience are invaluable in uncovering the truth while prioritizing your privacy.

Don’t let potential costs prevent you from reaching out to a professional investigator, as your intuition is likely correct. It just may be MORE costly, in the long run, NOT to enlist the services of a private detective.

“If you think its expensive to hire a professional. Consider what it might cost you when you’ve hired an amateur.”

Top 10 Reasons To Hire A Private Investigator

  1. Uncovering the Truth: Private investigators specialize in discreetly and accurately obtaining information. Whether it’s revealing a cheating spouse or investigating employee theft, they can help you uncover the reality of a situation or individual.
  2. Fraud Investigation: Private investigators excel at identifying signs of fraudulent activities, such as financial mismanagement or insurance fraud. By engaging their services, you can swiftly and efficiently delve into the matter, allowing for appropriate action to safeguard yourself and your business interests.
  3. Locating Missing Persons: Losing contact with a close person can be distressing, but private investigators can use their expertise to find missing individuals, facilitating reunions with their loved ones.
  4. Obtaining Crucial Evidence: Private investigators leverage specialized databases and resources to unearth vital evidence that might otherwise remain hidden. This evidence can play a pivotal role in legal proceedings, increasing your chances of success.
  5. Security Services: Private investigators are adept at providing personal protection services, including bodyguard duties and event or premises security. Hiring a private investigator ensures the safety of yourself and others.
  6. Background Checks: Understanding someone’s past is crucial. Private investigators conduct detailed background checks to inform decisions about hiring, business partnerships, or monitoring individuals when necessary.
  7. Asset Recovery: Private investigators specialize in tracking lost property and recovering stolen or forgotten valuable items, providing peace of mind by reclaiming what is rightfully yours.
  8. Access to Public Records: Private investigators have access to various resources for quickly and easily uncovering public records, including court documents and medical records, making them invaluable for obtaining critical information promptly.
  9. Digital Forensics: Private investigators in NC must have experience, training, and licensing to perform forensics on electronic devices such as, cell phones, tablets, computers, drones and more. This is a very specialized service that requires the examiner to have the proper court-cited software and techniques for recovering deleted data and substantiating their origins.
  10. Technical Surveillance Countermeasures: TSCM is another specialized service for which private investigators in North Carolina must possess a license to provide. This service involves the detection, location, nullification and documentation of any surreptitious monitoring of an individual or entity. Devices such as covert cameras, listening devices / “bugs”, recorders, spyware, monitoring software, GPS trackers, and much more can be detected by a knowledgeable private investigator, with tradecraft experience.

When seeking a private investigator, especially for matters like infidelity, it’s essential to choose a qualified and experienced professional. Look for someone willing to collaborate on flexible payment plans or other financial arrangements to make their services more affordable.

Victory Investigations offers a range of competitive services with years of field experience. Committed to helping clients uncover authentic facts while ensuring confidentiality, we invite you to contact us today for more information or to initiate your investigation.

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