How to Run a Background Check for Rentals – Tenant Background Checks in Greensboro NC

how to run a background check on a tenant greensboro nc

Rental properties are an excellent source of passive income. However, managing them comes with a fair share of accountability, responsibility, and potential liability. If you want to manage rental properties successfully and ensure the safety, reliability and financial stability of your tenants, then engaging in robust tenant background checks becomes crucial. They are a way for landlords to examine prospective tenants, identify any potential red flags and choose the best renter for the rental property. A typical tenant background check includes the following –

  • Verification of the prospective tenant’s identity
  • Examining his/her criminal history at the county, state and federal levels
  • Checking for prior evictions
  •  Checking global watchlists
  • Check for liens or other indebtedness
  • Follow up with prior landlords – previous rental history – were they a problematic tenant

Importance of Rental Background Checks – A Concise Guide for Greensboro North Carolina

A rental background check is crucial for every landlord or property manager who is serious about the safety of his/her property and also about the well-being of other tenants. A rigorous tenant screening process helps identify the potential red flags of a potential tenant, such as criminal or anti-social behavior, and inability or unwillingness to pay debts, etc.

When you review the rental payment history of a potential tenant, it becomes easy to understand whether or not they will be able to pay their rent on time. So, you are saved from the hassle and headache of rental fraud. Likewise, a tenant application with a crystal clear record also ensures that the passive income you receive from your rentals is steady, smooth and consistent.

A tenant with a history could bring unwanted problems your way. You will want to speak with the previous landlord or have a private investigator in Greensboro speak with them, in addition to running a background check on a prospective tenant.

What Is A Tenant Background Check – Top 3 Components

 Before getting into the basics of how to conduct a rental background check, let’s examine some essential components of a rental background investigation.

 Eviction Records & Previous Rental History

One of the most important components of background checks for rentals is looking for eviction records. Eviction records are big warning signs that something is wrong with the individual who might become your future tenant. It might hint at the applicant’s inability to pay rent on time, misconduct, or any type of anti-social behavior. These types of records may be difficult for landlords and property managers to obtain on their own. Victory Investigations’ private investigators, in Greensboro NC, have access to information that is not readily available to the general public that can potentially help validate the findings of a reputable tenant screening service. 

Request a Criminal Background Check on Tenants

A criminal record check offers insight and details into the criminal history of the applicant, including convictions a person may have. They are important to ensure everyone’s safety and minimize your liability as a landlord. However, there are regions that have laws prohibiting landlords from asking prospective tenants about arrest or conviction records, such as Oakland and Berkley California. Landlords should always be aware of local laws and regulations when conducting criminal history checks.

It is important to note that there are NO central criminal databases available to anyone outside of law enforcement. However, background screening agencies and private investigators for Greensboro know how to locate and combine criminal records from all 50 states.

Another important piece of information is that PI’s and background screening agencies provide “human-audited” background information. You cannot rely on online, automated background reports. Although many many have useful and accurate information, more often than not, they are riddled with inaccuracies, stale data, and cross-contamination from others with similar attributes. 

Request a Credit Report Through the Three Major Credit Reporting Bureaus

Credit reports and scores provide invaluable insight into the financial stability and payment records of your prospective tenant. An assessment of the same is crucial to ensure that you are renting your property to someone who can pay the rent on time, something that can be easily analyzed by checking their credit report and scores. TLO’s SmartMove service can help determine whether the applicant’s credit behavior is aligned with their self-reported income. The three major credit bureaus  or major credit reporting agencies are:  Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. One or more of these are often used to screen prospective tenants. Just be sure to bone up on tenant rights before you run a credit report.

How to Run a Background Check on a Tenant in Greensboro NC – Four Best Practices

Get Written Consent to Run a Credit Check & Tenant Screening Report

The first and probably the most important step is to get written consent, from the applicant. You and the applicant should be aware of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and that he or she feels okay if you conduct their background check. You can provide them with an FCRA disclosure and it is best that they sign saying they have received it.

You may also want to have copies of the Fair Housing Act, printed off, to provide the rental applicant. Without written consent, rental background investigations could result in fines and other legal actions. All of this can be included in the complete rental application.

It’s probably not enough for them to verbally provide this information or just write it down. We suggest making copies of their driver’s license and social security card and keep them in their file.

If you do require their driver’s license information, it’s a good idea to provide them with Driver License Protection Act (DLPA) disclosure as well. Covering your bases will prevent a lot of potential future headaches – trust us.

Collect Required Information

Once you’ve decided to screen prospective tenants, for your rentals, you should ask for the right documents and information. This includes –

  • The full name of the applicant
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Income (possibly verification of income i.e. paystub)
  • Employment history
  • References, including previous landlord(s)

Choose Trusted Background Check Service in Greensboro North Carolina

The third and very crucial step of a rental background check is to choose the best screening service. A reputable tenant screening service, like E-Renter, adheres to federal and state laws and provides accurate and updated information promptly. Request a thorough background check, including checks on credit, income, rental history, eviction history, and criminal records to ensure quality assurance. Also, look into the services reviews and reputation. Make sure they’re on the up and up and have all the proper credentialing.

You should prioritize services that comply with FCRA regulations and also provide comprehensive reports, including credit history, criminal records, eviction history, and more.

criminal background check greensboro north carolina

Analyze the Results and Make an Informed Decision 

The fourth step of a tenant background screening is to analyze the reports fetched by the tenant background screening service and determine the applicant’s suitability as a renter. Some of the things you can do are – evaluate the debt-to-income ratio. It reveals how much of a person’s income goes towards paying debts. A low DTI reveals that the application has a good balance between income and debt and can probably clear its pending dues on time. A good DTI ratio is anything below 37 percent. Likewise, it is essential to consider the property type, the demographics, etc, while finalizing the suitability of a prospective tenant.

Wrapping Up – Background Checks on a Tenants 

….should always be considered before leasing your precious property. They should be considered a vital part of the rental application and it doesn’t just protect you, the landlord, but also the applicant. 

Once the applicant has been thoroughly screened, landlords need to take further action, like reaching out to references, confirming employment details, and ultimately determining the applicant’s suitability. This decision-making process should align with relevant laws and tenant rights.

It’s crucial for landlords to prioritize confidentiality and compliance with relevant regulations post-background check. Through vigilance and adherence to guidelines, landlords can effectively manage their rental properties while remaining lawful and respectful of tenant rights.

Just as an aside… Victory Investigations, in Greensboro, has assisted landlords and leasing agents with locating tenants that have “skipped-out” on their lease and payments and when they have left behind significant damages. Our private investigators have helped hundreds of landlords locate their former renters in order to have them served with legal process. If you have a situation that requires locating someone or skip tracing a debtor, former tenant and the like, reach out to our experts to assist.

Digital Forensics: Recovering Deleted Text Messages and Other Hidden Truths

digital forensics examiner gets deleted text messages
Digital Forensics Examiners North Carolina

Smartphones have become indispensable devices for communication and connectivity in our time. Almost everyone you see, at any given time, has one in their hand. They’re either browsing the web, making a call, texting a contact, or taking a picture. Smart cell phones are truly a wonder… One that moves data and information continuously. Voice calling capabilities on smartphones now encompass video calling options as well as traditional audio calls. Text messaging applications on smartphones allow for sending messages without strict character limits, incorporating graphical elements like emojis, customizing the appearance through features like handwriting fonts, and in some cases providing the ability to unsend or recall previously sent messages.

Recovering Deleted Text Messages an More

Our lives are intertwined with technology, which ultimately leaves behind a trail of digital footprints, with every interaction. From text messages and emails to social media posts and browsing history, our digital activities can provide valuable insights into our actions, relationships, and even thought processes. However, the deletion of data does not necessarily mean it is gone forever. Digital forensics, although not new, is constantly changing and getting better. Digital private investigators have developed advanced techniques and tools to recover deleted data, analyze it, bring it to light crucial evidence in various contexts, including criminal investigations, corporate disputes, and personal matters. Data that was once believed to be lost forever, can often times come back to haunt criminals, make dishonest employees sweat, and threaten secret affairs.

Recovering Deleted Data – Reveal Invisible Data to Bring the Truth Forward

The process of deleting data from a device does not erase it completely; instead, it merely removes the pointers or references that the operating system uses to locate and access that data. This means that the data itself still exists on the storage medium until it is overwritten by new information. Digital forensics experts leverage this concept to recover deleted data, employing specialized software and techniques to scour the nooks and crannies of storage devices, extracting valuable information that may have been thought lost forever. Some of these storage devices or containers of data have designated areas were deleted data is stored. Of course, this will vary depending on the device and/ or the operating system.  

Text Messages and Emails – Recovering the Crucial Conversations & Communications

Text messages and emails are among the most sought-after forms of digital evidence, as they can reveal critical communication patterns, timelines, and potentially incriminating or exonerating information. Digital private investigators can recover deleted text messages and emails from various sources, including mobile devices, cloud backups, and email servers. These recovered conversations can provide valuable insights into relationships, motives, and even alibis. Geo-location data is highly sought-after, revealing where the user may have been, at the time of a crime. Texting while driving is not only frowned upon, but is illegal in many states. We have been called to the defense of some folks that have been accused of using their phones when they’ve been involved in an accident. These can prove to be particularly difficult, as smart phones are constantly “talking” with the cellular networks and even exchanging data, behind the scenes with applications on the phone.

Images and Videos – Getting Deleted Pictures and other Media

Visual evidence can be equally powerful, and digital forensics has developed techniques to recover deleted pictures and videos from various sources, including smartphones, cameras, and computer hard drives. These recovered files can shed light on events, locations, and even emotions captured in those moments. Digital Forensics experts can also analyze metadata, such as timestamps and geolocation data, to establish timelines and verify the authenticity of visual evidence.

Other Online Activities – Show the Hidden Patterns

Beyond text messages, emails, images, and videos, digital forensics can also recover other forms of communication, such as social media activity, chat logs, and even deleted internet browsing history. These recovered data points can help piece together a comprehensive picture of an individual’s digital footprint, revealing patterns, associations, and potential motives. Virtual private investigators are experts in recovering the following”

Computer and mobile device forensic analysis can extract a wide range of data, including:

– Call logs detailing incoming, outgoing, and missed calls

– Contact lists/address books 

– Message content across SMS, messaging apps, and multimedia messages

– Multimedia files like photos, videos, audio recordings, and in some cases voicemail messages

Internet history including browsing activity, search history, cookies, analytics data

– Calendar events, task lists, notes

– User-created documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other files

Passcodes, passwords, unlock patterns, account credentials

– Historical geolocation data and cell tower location information 

– WiFi network connection details

– User dictionary/learned words

– Data from installed applications

– System files, usage logs, error logs

– Potentially recoverable deleted data

Mobile devices can contain a significant amount of personal information and data related to a user’s activities and communications. When such information is relevant to a particular matter, digital forensics investigators can provide data extraction and analysis services to recover and examine this device data.

Spyware and malware detection is another aspect of digital forensics investigations. Suspicious activities like unexplained device behavior, rapid battery drain, indications of monitoring, or coded/unknown communications could potentially be signs of spyware or surveillance software installed on a computer or mobile device. Virtual private investigator firms offer spyware detection services to identify if such malicious software is present and active on a system. Common capabilities of spyware include monitoring calls, texts, locations, app usage, multimedia files, internet activities, emails, contacts/calendars and enabling remote control functionality over the compromised device.

Top Digital Forensics Tools and Software for Deleted Data Recovery

To navigate the intricate world of digital evidence, digital private investigators rely on a range of powerful tools and software. Here are a few of the industry’s leading solutions:

Forensic Toolkit (FTK)

Developed by AccessData, Forensic Toolkit (FTK) is a comprehensive digital forensics platform that offers a suite of tools for data acquisition, analysis, and reporting. It supports a wide range of file systems and can recover deleted data from various sources, including hard drives, mobile devices, and cloud storage.

EnCase Forensic

EnCase Forensic, created by OpenText, is a widely used digital forensics solution known for its robust data acquisition and analysis capabilities. It features advanced search and filtering options, allowing investigators to quickly locate and examine relevant evidence.

AXIOM

AXIOM, developed by Magnet Forensics, is a powerful digital forensics platform designed for both mobile and computer forensics. It offers advanced data carving techniques, allowing investigators to recover deleted data from various sources, including cloud storage and encrypted devices.

Oxygen Forensic Detective

Oxygen Forensic Detective is a specialized tool for mobile device forensics, capable of extracting and analyzing data from a wide range of smartphones and tablets. It supports over 36,000 device profiles and can recover deleted data, including messages, call logs, and location data.

These tools, along with many others, equip digital forensics experts with the necessary capabilities to uncover deleted data and unveil hidden truths, ensuring that justice prevails and accountability is upheld in the digital age.

How to Completely and Permanently Delete Text Messages and Other Data

So, if you want to completely and permanently delete your data, you will need to perform a factory reset of your device. Now you ask, how do I permanently delete ONLY specific items? Well, you would need to delete the target items, from your cell phone. Then make a complete backup of the phone. You will want to perform a factory reset, at this time. Once all of that is done, then restore the backup you made to the cell phone.

This does not cover you for any data that may be store in cloud backups. You would need to delete those backs to once and for all and forever get rid of the data you targeted for deletion. Couple of things to note, however…. IF your phone is subject to subpoena or you have been provided a notice not to alter, delete, compress, conceal, etc., and you do, you could be held in contempt or worse, charged criminally. These spoliation clauses are very commonly used in domestic divorce cases and other types of cases. And many many times we have had the opportunity to examine a spouse’s device to gather evidence of their illicit affair. It can be quite embarrassing, but if you do delete, we will either recover the evidence OR we will be able to tell if you’ve made attempts to permanently delete data. Ultimately, you will be held accountable, so chose your battles wisely.

Digital Private Investigators – Victory Investigations

If you feel that you are in need of a virtual private investigator that is skilled in recovering deleted text messages or other data, reach out to the digital forensics experts at Victory Investigations.

What is an Alienation of Affection Claim?

Private investigators are often hired to help obtain evidence of an extramarital affair. Victory Investigations specializes in infidelity investigations and has helped thousands of clients prove adultery in North Carolina.

Infidelity is like a wrecking ball to a family—it can tear down even the sturdiest marriages. While some couples weather the storm, many end up calling it quits, diving headfirst into separation and divorce. But it doesn’t stop there—cheating can also land you in hot water legally, with claims like “alienation of affection” and “criminal conversation,” also known as “heart-balm torts.”

What is Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation?

Alienation of affection is a legal concept, within family law, that allows a spouse to sue a third party who is believed to have caused the deterioration of the marital relationship. In essence, it refers to the interference of a third party in a marriage, leading to the loss of love, affection, or marital harmony between spouses.

To prove alienation of affection and criminal conversation, the jilted spouse has to show their marriage was all roses before the affair, and that the paramour’s actions caused the downfall. They can demand damages for everything from emotional pain to financial losses. And get this—even without getting physical, the claim still holds water, though it usually involves some steamy texts or secret meetings.

It is important to note that the term “criminal” is merely used as a label, as this tort is a civil action, not a criminal one.

What Type of Proof or Evidence is Needed to Prove an Alienation of Affection Claim?

alienation of affection north carolina criminal conversation
Adultery can lead to alienation of affection lawsuits.

How to prove alienation of affection against a defendant.

In order to assert a claim for alienation of affection, a plaintiff must prove that there was genuine love within the marriage prior to the wrongful act of an extramarital relationship. If genuine love and affection can be proven, then it may be possible to sue for alienation of affection. Ways to demonstrate that a loving and affectionate marriage existed could be pictures of the couple, together and showing affection; love notes and/ or diary entries, trips together, and testimony of friends and family.

If the betrayed spouse can establish that the relationship was indeed a loving one, then they can sue a defendant for emotional distress and alienating their spouse from them and seek punitive damages from the paramour. A family law attorney will file an alienation of affection claim on your behalf, within the statute of limitations.

Can a Private Investigator Prove Adultery and Provide Evidence for an Alienation of Affection Lawsuit?

Usually, evidence of the affair can be demonstrated through video and pictures and/ or explicit communications, such as text messages between the spouse and their lover. Often, a private investigator is hired by an individual that believes their spouse or significant other is . The objective is to document the adultery or infidelity, through surveillance activities, with video or pictures of the spouse and the spouse’s paramour. Ideally, the pictures and video should show affection between the spouse and third party (i.e. kissing, hugging, holding hands, etc.). Another crucial piece of evidence that should be obtained is “opportunity“. This would be the opportunity for the cheating lovers to act out on those affections, behind closed doors. Once the spouse and the paramour are demonstrated to be engaged in a sexual relationship, the plaintiff has a case for adultery in North Carolina.

At this point the jilted spouse and their attorney can file a cause of action for adultery and alienation of affection, as they have evidence that the loving marriage was destroyed, through the act of having the affair. The third party, through his or her actions is believed to have deprive the plaintiff of the affections of their spouse.  

Cheating Spouse and Their Lover… Considerations for Liability

A family law attorney in your area may advise not to pursue the defendant for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it can be expensive to pursue. It may also be that the defendant does not have the wherewithal to pay compensatory damages as a result of an alienation of affection case. Another consideration may be that the cheating spouse may make extraordinary claims that the marriage was far from perfect and begin angling to defend his or her lover. This can demonstrate that the marriage was perfect in only the plaintiff’s eyes. Which brings us to the defenses of this criminal conversation claim.  

What are Typical Defenses to an Alienation of Affection Lawsuit?

So, you have the evidence of explicit text messages and extensive telephone calls between the spouse and the third party. You have video and pictures of the couple’s love for one another used as evidence. And you know that you had a loving bond with your spouse before the sexual relations began with the third party, BUT all of a sudden your spouse claims otherwise. This is usually due to them coming to the defense of the third party. You may hear objections coming from the other side that the defendant may claim to have had no idea that your spouse was married. Your spouse may even state that they hid their marriage from the third party and they, indeed, did not know of the relationship prior to the civil claim.

Your cheating spouse may state that, although you have been living under the same roof, that you’ve in essence have been living separate and apart by sleeping in separate bedrooms. We’ve also seen where the unfaithful spouse has claimed deprivation of sex from their husband or wife. Economic adultery and controlling claims have also been asserted in defense of a tort of alienation of affection. 

What States Recognize Alienation of Affection?

six states recognize alienation of affection - north carolina
North Carolina recognizes Alienation of Affection.

Can I sue for Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation?

There are six states that recognize alienation of affection:  Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah, and South Dakota.

In nearly every adultery case that is headed towards divorce, our clients want to pursue a lawsuit against the third party under North Carolina’s alienation of affection laws. It is a common law that is discussed between clients and their attorneys. Obviously, the harmed party must somehow provide evidence of the affair and must prove the following in order to have a legal claim: The loving marriage has suffered due to the actions of the cheating spouse and third party. The marriage began to suffer when and because of the illicit affair and cause harm to the faithful spouse. The mental anguish precludes the forgiveness and possible reparation of the marital relationship. As a result and due to the alienation of spouse’s affections, the faithful married spouse may be entitled to damages

We are NOT attorneys and this article should NOT be considered legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, reach out to an attorney OR call us so that we may refer you to one.

What Private Investigators Can and Cannot Do: Legal Limits Explained

what private investigators can do and can't do

What A Private Investigator Can Do and What PI’s Cannot Do

Private investigators, or PIs, are hired by individuals, attorneys, or corporations to gather information about people, businesses, groups, or locations. However, they must follow strict rules and regulations to avoid breaking local or state laws and causing undue harm to the Subject’s that are under investigation.

In this article, we’ll explore the roles and responsibilities of PIs, their permissible actions (i.e. what a PI can do and what a PI can’t do), and why their services are often necessary. PIs are skilled professionals who employ innovative techniques to investigate individuals, businesses, or locations, always staying within legal boundaries.

They can be hired for various reasons, such as investigating behavior, monitoring business activities, or uncovering fraud. PIs perform diverse tasks, including background checks, surveillance, providing reports with court-admissible evidence, and locating missing persons. However, they must adhere to state laws and ethical standards to avoid legal issues.

Although PIs gather evidence discreetly, they lack the authority to arrest individuals. They are NOT sworn law enforcement officers. They will, however, present evidence to law enforcement or clients while maintaining confidentiality and legal compliance.

PIs must respect privacy and avoid unauthorized surveillance or data collection, sticking to legal means like field surveillance or accessing public records.

In essence, PIs are essential for gathering evidence within legal and ethical boundaries. Their adherence to guidelines ensures valuable support in investigative matters.

What Do Private Investigators Do?

Private investigators and private detectives perform various services, such as surveillance, GPS tracking of vehicles or other objects, in-depth background research, social media investigations and monitoring, private security or executive protection, service of process and much more. Often times private detectives are specialists. They will chose to specialize in an area of expertise, such as criminal defense, skip tracing, surveillance, or workers compensation fraud investigations. Victory Investigations specializes in infidelity matters, technical surveillance countermeasures and digital forensics

Why Someone Hires A Private Investigator.

People hire private investigators for a variety of reasons. The reasoning usually depends on the information or evidence they seek to obtain. A private investigator must navigate the complex web of legal boundaries while conducting their private investigation. For example, a crucial aspect that a licensed PI is well-versed in is understanding when and how they can legally gather information about a person. Laws regarding what investigators can and cannot do vary from state to state. For instance, while it’s critical to know that a private investigator cannot break the law, such as by choosing to trespass on private property without consent, there are grey areas. They can utilize various database resources to find financial information, criminal records, and dig up assets, .

Furthermore, when it comes to surveillance, the rules about what private investigators can and can’t do are stringent. They cannot take photos in private places without the consent of the parties involved. Laws around audio recordings also highlight the differences between one party consent and two-party consent states, which means a private investigator may or may not be able to record a conversation without all parties involved knowing. Of course, this varies by state. Moreover, private investigators cannot hack into someone’s phone records or employ a wiretap without consent, showcasing the fine line private investigators must walk between gathering information and respecting privacy.

However, there are 5 things private investigators…

are proficient at, which include legally gathering vast amounts of information, tracking a person’s activities, conducting background checks, finding missing people, and uncovering potential fraud. These capabilities serve as reasons why individuals and corporations may hire private investigators. It is the precise knowledge of what private investigators can gain access to and the understanding of the limitations imposed on their operations that emphasize the importance of engaging a licensed private investigator. The adherence to legal limits emphasizes that while private investigators are able to provide invaluable services, they are bound by laws designed to protect the privacy and rights of all parties involved.

Can a Private Investigator Arrest Someone?

Private investigators must follow certain guidelines and laws when conducting private investigations. A licensed private investigator may gather information about a person without the consent of all parties involved, as long as there is one-party consent in the state. However, they cannot trespass on private property or break the law in the process.

Private investigators can provide security services, in some states, but they cannot arrest people. Arresting someone can only be done by a sworn law enforcement officer and within their jurisdiction. Even if a private investigator witnesses a crime, they cannot make an arrest. They must inform law enforcement, so that they may take action. Of course, if it is a life or death situation, anyone should act to protect the innocent.

Can Private Investigators Carry a Badge?

Some states allow private investigators to carry badges. Where problems can arise is when, how and where the badge is displayed. It is advised and often dictated that a badge NOT be displayed (in view) in public, by a private investigator or private detective. This is because it can be construed that the PI is attempting to impersonate a police officer or law enforcement official. Big no no. So, one might ask when and how could a badge be used or displayed by a private detective. One example would be, say the private investigator is working in an executive protection capacity or as private security, and a crime is being committed. The PI would, of course, attempt to protect his Subject(s) and contact law enforcement. When law enforcement arrives the badge could be displayed to the police to show that the investigator is one of the “good guys”. In reality, there’s very few permissible purposes for a non-sworn private investigator to display a badge.

Are Private Investigators Allowed to “Spy” on You?

Privacy laws are hotter than a jalapeño on a summer day, and private investigators better be on their toes to stay out of legal troubles with federal law enforcement, the state regulatory departments, and the local law enforcement. You might think private eyes are all about snooping in the shadows like they do in the movies (we do some, btw, the correct ways), but NO trespassing. Let me tell you, that’s a one-way ticket to legal trouble! Everybody’s got a right to their own space, whether it’s their home sweet home, their backyard oasis, or someone else’s private pad. Cross that line, and it’s cuffs faster than you can say “private eye.”

surveillance video and pictures
Private investigator taking video during surveillance

But hey, if you’re out in the open, fair game, right? Private detectives can snap pics and keep tabs on you in public areas as part of their services. Still, they better brush up on their local laws ’cause they don’t wanna end up on the wrong side of the law with their camera in hand. It’s all about playing by the rules when it comes to using those snapshots and recordings for their investigations.

Wiretapping, “bugs”, cell phone monitoring and compromising a persons network or computer is illegal without consent. A PI should not provide these services.

Are Private Investigators Hackers?

Let’s dissect this often misused and misunderstood term, “Hacker” and “hacking”. Virtually anyone can poses the skills and knowledge to perform hacking activities. Private investigators are not hackers, simply by being private investigators. Remember earlier when we mentioned that PI’s may chose to work within a specialty? Same thing here… A private investigator may specialize in certain areas of investigation that demands the knowledge and skills that a hacker would need. For example, penetration testing or pen-testing is a “white hat” hacking activity or service. This is where a company or institution would hire a pen-tester to come in and test the security of their network(s). The private investigator pen-tester would deploy exploits towards the company’s IT infrastructure to see if there are any vulnerabilities and then make recommendations for patching these threats to their security. One does NOT need to be a private investigator to be a penetration tester and vice versa, but they do exist and this is just one example of a type of hacking a private investigator may do. At Victory Investigations, we are a more technology forward private investigation agency, focused on digital forensics and advanced OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) services. We do not perform pen-testing, however, we hold Certified Professional Ethical Hackers (C|PEH) designation. With that said, we do not provide that service, rather we use that knowledge to better serve our clients in regards to their digital forensics needs.

Black Hat Hackers are what most folks think of when they think of hacking. These sorts of hackers do exist and use their knowledge to do harm, usually by stealing proprietary or sensitive data to later use against the person, company, or institution from which they stole the data. People ask us all the time if we, as private investigators, will do something nefarious to gain some insight or knowledge into a competitor of theirs, their spouse, or maybe even a neighbor. Our answer is always the same…. Can we do things like that? Maybe BUT, we won’t. Private investigators in North Carolina are licensed, by the state, and regulated by general statute. We are also bound to certain ethical standards. Now, are there unscrupulous investigators out there? I’m sure there are, but we are not one. Black hat hacking are not things that legitimate and respectable private investigators do. 

Can a Private Investigator Video or Take Pictures Through A Window?

Generally speaking a private investigator can video or take pictures of people in public and from a public position. A PI should not take pictures through a window of a home – to the inside, where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, anything visible, outside the home, on a deck, in the yard, or even a screened porch would probably be fair game. Private investigators are not allowed to trespass, so their vantage point should be from a public position. What about inside a car or other vehicle? We have taken pictures and video through the windows of vehicles. We have captured affection between adulterers and drug use most often, while filming into a vehicle.

Can a Private Investigator Record Audio Conversations?

Private investigators can record audio conversations that they are a party to, without disclosing that they are recording to the other parties, in North Carolina. With that said, the legalities of audio recording of conversations vary from state to state. Be sure you are following your state’s laws regarding recording conversations, before taking that action. You could get in a lot of trouble AND whatever you record may not be admissible in court. Here is a link that may help you learn about what your state allows:  Laws Regarding Recording Audio

Can a Private Investigator Confidential Banking Information?

No, private investigators cannot legally obtain confidential banking information without either consent or court order. There is certain information that can be obtained, but there must be a permissible purpose to do so. One such permissible purpose would be to obtain asset information for a collection action or child support action. But again, the information obtained would be limited and not include sensitive data.

Can Private Investigators Access Other People’s Social Media Accounts?

Yes. Private investigators access public facing social media accounts and use the information gleaned from posts, comments, and images to assist in their investigations. Private social media accounts cannot be accessed despite popular belief. There are some that will create fake accounts and attempt to befriend their target on social media. However, this practice goes against the terms of service of the social media platforms and information obtained in this way would likely not be admissible.

Are Private Investigators Allowed to Serve Legal Documents? Service of Process Explained.

Yes. Service of Process is a service that is often provided by private investigators. Usually, however, this is only after attempts have failed by the sheriff or other law enforcement. Again, a PI may not trespass to effect service and it is important that the investigator follow their state’s laws regarding serving legal documents or risk the job as being regarded as “improper service”. In North Carolina, an investigator must personally deliver a subpoena, but a summons and complaint can be sub-served or substitute service can suffice. It is always optimal, however, to deliver the legal documents to the specific person(s) named. Many people will attempt to avoid being served and in this situations a private eye is usually called in to assist. A PI will use “wait time” or surveillance to their advantage in order to get the person served. Or they may discover where the person to be served is employed and serve them there. Private investigators do not wear a uniform, so the defendant or person of interest will not suspect a plain clothed person to walk up to them and hand them the documents they’ve been avoiding to receive.

Can a Private Investigator Trespass to Serve Legal Documents?

As mentioned previously, no a private investigator cannot trespass

Where Do Private Investigators Get Their Information?

Private investigators have a wealth of resources at their disposal. In addition to these resources, many PIs have become very savvy at obtaining hard to get information, through becoming experts in OSINT. From detailed and advanced queries to accessing the deep and dark webs, investigators can acquire more information than most of the general public. Public databases are fantastic resources, but a lot of people do not know where to look and more importantly how to look or use these sources effectively. There are also databases that someone without a license cannot gain access to. Many p-eyes have access to one or more of these databases. The will include more sensitive data and other credit header information. Do not discount the skills and access that a private investigator can have.

Private Investigator For Cheating Spouse Near Me

Infidelity in a relationship can be a highly distressing situation, and suspicions of a cheating spouse can lead to a multitude of emotions. If you find yourself in a position where you suspect your partner of being unfaithful, it may be time to seek the assistance of a private investigator to help you find the truth. Adultery or infidelity cases will necessitate the use of surveillance. It is our recommendation that you use a search engine, such as Google, and input “private investigator for cheating near me“. This will bring up a list of private detectives nearby that not only offer cheating spouse investigative services, but also possibly some reviews to help you make a decision on who to speak with. Obviously, we encourage you to reach out to us, Victory Investigations, as we are a little biased…lol – Plus we offer a FREE and completely confidential consultation.

So, if you find yourself seeking a private investigator for your cheating husband or wife, you WILL want a private detective near me and one that is trusted and competent. Later, we’ll discuss a bit about how to locate a nearby professional investigator, learn how to go about hiring one and what to expect when working with one. Contact Us Today!

What are the Signs of a Cheating Spouse?

Common Signs of a Cheating Spouse

There are several common signs that may indicate your spouse is being unfaithful. These signs can include sudden changes in behavior, increased secrecy with their phone or computer, unexplained expenses, and a lack of intimacy in the relationship. Other signs include:

  • Going into work earlier or staying later
  • Unexpected or last minute “business trips”
  • Changes in their appearance, clothing style, new clothes, and perhaps new cologne or perfume
  • Starting arguments, so that they can leave the home
cheater text messages - recover deleted text messages
Wife discovers text messages from husband’s mistress on his phone.

How to Suspect Your Spouse is Cheating?

If you suspect your spouse is cheating, it’s essential to pay attention to your intuition and any suspicious behaviors. Trust your “gut”… It’s usually spot-on. Keep an eye out for inconsistencies in their stories, changes in routine, and unusual phone activity that may raise suspicions of infidelity. It is vital that if you suspect your husband is cheating or your wife is cheating that you do NOT confront them before speaking with either an attorney or a skilled private detective to ensure you have enough evidence to take meaningful action. Not all states recognize adultery. Many are no-fault states. But our experience is that regardless of the state’s laws, the betrayed want solid proof to gain peace of mind to help themselves move forward. Again, do NOT confront your significant other of cheating, as this will make them become even more secretive, making more and more difficult to gather the evidence you will need.

Seeking Evidence of Infidelity If you suspect that your partner may be unfaithful, there are several signs to look out for that could indicate infidelity. 

Obtaining concrete evidence of your spouse’s infidelity is crucial, not only for your peace of mind but also for any potential legal proceedings. A private investigator can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to help you make informed decisions about the future of your relationship. 

Again, look for some of these and then reach out to a PI for some additional help and advice:

1. Changes in behavior: Pay attention to any sudden changes in your partner’s behavior, such as being more secretive, distant, or defensive.
2. Changes in routines: If your partner suddenly starts working late or spending more time away from home without a reasonable explanation, it could be a red flag.
3. Increased secrecy: If your partner becomes more protective of their phone or computer, or starts deleting messages or texts, they may be trying to hide something.
4. Changes in appearance: If your partner suddenly starts paying more attention to their appearance, such as dressing up more or wearing cologne, it could be a sign of trying to impress someone else.
5. Unexplained expenses: If you notice unexplained charges on credit card statements or receipts for gifts or meals that you didn’t receive, it could be a sign of infidelity.
6. Gut feeling: Trust your instincts. If you have a gut feeling that something is off, it’s worth investigating further.

If you are still unsure and want concrete evidence of infidelity, you may consider hiring a private investigator or using technology to track your partner’s movements or communication. However, it’s important to approach the situation with caution and communicate openly with your partner before taking any drastic measures.

Why Should You Hire a Private Investigator?

Benefits of Hiring a Private Investigator

When dealing with suspicions of a cheating spouse, hiring a private investigator can provide you with the expertise and resources needed to uncover the truth. They can offer a neutral perspective and conduct a thorough investigation to help you find the evidence you need. Private investigators have access to various tools and databases that the average person does not, allowing them to gather information efficiently and effectively. They can conduct surveillance, background checks, and gather evidence such as photos, videos, and witness statements to support their findings.

Additionally, private investigators are trained in laws and regulations surrounding surveillance and evidence gathering, ensuring that any information obtained is admissible in court if needed. They can also provide expert testimony and support throughout legal proceedings if necessary.

Overall, hiring a private investigator can provide peace of mind and closure in a difficult situation. They can help you make informed decisions about your relationship and future, and provide you with the proof you need to move forward. 

Obtaining Peace of Mind through Investigation

One of the most significant benefits of hiring a private investigator is the peace of mind it can offer. Knowing that a professional is handling the infidelity investigation can alleviate stress and uncertainty, allowing you to focus on moving forward, whether that means reconciliation or separation. Additionally, private investigators have access to resources and technology that the average person does not, which can significantly increase the chances of obtaining concrete evidence of infidelity. This evidence can be crucial for making informed decisions about the future of the relationship.

Private investigators are also trained in conducting discreet surveillance and investigations, ensuring that the process remains confidential and does not impact your personal relationships or reputation. They can gather information in a legal and ethical manner, providing you with peace of mind that the evidence collected will be admissible in any potential legal proceedings.

Overall, hiring a private investigator can provide you with the clarity and closure you need in a difficult situation, empowering you to make informed decisions about your relationship and your future.

Importance of Confidentiality in Investigations

Confidentiality is paramount in private investigations, particularly when dealing with sensitive matters such as infidelity. A reputable private investigator will prioritize confidentiality to protect your privacy and ensure that your investigation remains discreet.

How Can Private Investigators Near Me Help in Infidelity Investigations?

Uncovering the Truth about Infidelity

A private investigator is skilled at uncovering the truth behind suspicions of infidelity. Through various surveillance techniques and investigative methods, they can gather evidence to either confirm or dispel your concerns about your partner’s fidelity.

Gathering Evidence for Legal Purposes

In cases where infidelity may have legal implications, such as divorce proceedings, having concrete evidence of the affair can be crucial. A private investigator can assist in gathering evidence that may be necessary for legal purposes. In North Carolina, very specific evidence is needed to assert adultery. Affection and Opportunity are the key ingredients necessary to pursue an adultery case. The explicitness of the evidence can dictate how much evidence or how many events the should be captured, before filing a lawsuit. North Carolina is also one of the few states that recognized Alienation of Affection.

Assisting in Child Custody Cases

Infidelity can have a significant impact on child custody arrangements during a divorce. A private investigator can provide evidence of a spouse’s infidelity, which may influence custody decisions in the best interest of the children involved. An example of how infidelity or adultery findings can effect custody is, lets say that the person your husband or wife is cheating with has a criminal past. What if they are drug users or heavy drinkers? Do they have a child from a previous relationship that they are not allowed to see? Why? Who the child is being exposed to is very important information to know.

What to Expect During a Cheating Spouse Investigation?

Initial Consultation and Free Consultation Offerings

When you engage the services of a private investigator for a cheating spouse investigation, you can expect an initial consultation where you can discuss your concerns and objectives. Many investigators offer free consultations to assess your case and provide guidance on the investigation process. Options and opportunities for catching a significant other or spouse that may be cheating

Surveillance Techniques Used by Private Investigators

Surveillance is a common method used by private investigators to monitor the activities of a suspected cheating spouse. Through discreet observation and advanced technology, they can gather valuable information to support your case. Investigators may use various surveillance techniques such as video recording, GPS tracking, social media monitoring, and undercover investigations to gather evidence of infidelity. They may follow the suspected spouse to different locations, document their interactions with others, and provide detailed reports of their findings.

Surveillance can help confirm suspicions of cheating, provide evidence for divorce proceedings or custody battles, and give you peace of mind knowing the truth about your relationship. It can also be used to verify alibis, track movements, and collect information on a spouse’s behavior and habits.

It’s important to hire a professional and experienced private investigator to conduct surveillance, as they have the skills, tools, and training to gather accurate and admissible evidence. They can protect your privacy, maintain confidentiality, and ensure that the process is legal and ethical.

If you suspect that your spouse is cheating, consider hiring a private investigator to conduct surveillance and gather evidence that can help you make informed decisions about your relationship. With their help, you can uncover the truth and take the necessary steps to move forward with confidence. 

Ensuring Discretion and Confidentiality Throughout the Investigation

Throughout the investigation, maintaining discretion and confidentiality is essential to protect the integrity of the process. A professional private investigator will handle your case with the utmost care and ensure that your privacy is preserved.

How to Choose a Trusted Private Investigator?

Best Private Investigators -Victory Investigations
Victory Investigations is a Top-rated Private Investigator Agency

Experience and Expertise in Infidelity Investigations

When selecting a private investigator for an infidelity investigation, it’s crucial to consider their experience and expertise in handling similar cases. Look for a professional PI with a proven track record of successful investigations in matters of infidelity. Ask how long they’ve been in business. Also, as k how communicative they are. Some investigators will not provide updates, unless you reach out to them. Others won’t provide any updates at all, until the end of the investigation. At Victory Investigations, we believe an open line of communication with the client is critical to the success of the objective of the case.

Confidentiality and Discretion

Hire someone that understands the delicate and sensitive nature of your matter. This comes with experience, but not always. So, ask the private detective what their policies and procedures are when handling personal and private information. 

Licensing and Insurance

Be sure that the private eye that you hire is licensed and insured in your state. Now, not all states require licensing, but most do. If you happen to live in a state where the investigator is able to operate without a license, fall back heavily on reputation, experience, and word of mouth. Additionally, some states, like North Carolina, require multiple license types to be held, along with a PI license to perform certain services. Those services include, but are not limited to:  Digital Forensics, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM), Armed Protection, and others.

Background Checks, Investigative Capabilities, Tools and Technology

A reputable private investigator should have the tools and resources to conduct thorough background checks and possess strong investigative capabilities. These skills are essential in gathering the evidence needed to uncover the truth about a cheating spouse. Do they have various types of cameras? Covert cameras, in varying platforms, will provide more opportunities to capture the action. GPS trackers are not always legal to use, but can often be deployed and are a fantastic tool to assist in surveillance. They also help mitigate live surveillance costs. Digital Forensics can recover deleted and logical data from cell phones and computers. Being tech savvy is a very important characteristic of a good private investigator near you.

Considering Testimonials and Recommendations

We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating…. Before hiring a private investigator, take the time to research their reputation and seek out testimonials or recommendations from previous clients. A trusted private investigator will have positive feedback and a reputation for professionalism and integrity. Also, you may want to see if their license is still in good standing. Unlicensed activity is very common. These unscrupulous actors not only give the industry a bad name as a whole, but they can also put you in a legal predicament.

Top Reasons for Hiring a Private Investigator

Private investigators serve a crucial role in uncovering information, solving mysteries, and providing peace of mind to individuals, businesses, and legal practices. From tracking down missing persons to conducting thorough background checks, private investigators offer a wide range of services tailored to meet the unique needs of their clients. In this article, we will explore some of the top reasons why hiring a private investigator may be the best course of action in various situations.

Top reasons for hiring a private investigator

Infidelity / Adultery Investigations

Suspecting that a partner may be cheating can be emotionally distressing. But hiring a private investigator can provide clarity and peace of mind. Private investigators are skilled in conducting discreet surveillance and gathering evidence to confirm or refute suspicions of infidelity. Whether it’s monitoring a spouse’s activities, tracking their movements, or uncovering communication with a third party, private investigators can provide irrefutable evidence that can inform decisions about the future of a relationship. Suspecting infidelity can wreak havoc on a relationship, breeding emotional turmoil and eroding trust. Engaging a private investigator can offer the impartiality necessary to unveil the truth. One major risk of forgoing a PI’s assistance is the potential for baseless accusations, exacerbating relationship strains. Without concrete evidence, suspicions can spiral, further damaging trust. A private investigator adeptly gathers evidence, providing clarity to either confirm or dispel doubts. Armed with this information, you can make well-informed decisions about your relationship’s future. Conducting your investigation could inadvertently lead to legal complications, but private investigators are versed in legal boundaries, ensuring the admissibility of collected evidence in court. Suspect your wife, husband, or significant other of cheating? Reach out to us for some advice.

Missing Persons Investigations

One of the primary reasons individuals seek the services of a private investigator is to locate missing persons. Whether it’s a long-lost family member, a runaway teenager, or a friend who has seemingly vanished, private investigators have the expertise and resources to conduct thorough investigations and track down individuals who have gone missing. With access to databases, surveillance techniques, and extensive networks, private investigators can often succeed where others have failed in locating missing loved ones. When considering the services of a private detective, it may be best to locate one near where the disappearance took place. Perhaps also hiring a private detective near where person is now believed to be. This in an attempt to confirm the person’s whereabouts through visual confirmation.

Background Checks

It’s essential to know who you’re dealing with, whether it’s a potential employee, business partner, or romantic interest. Private investigators can conduct comprehensive background checks to verify someone’s identity, employment history, criminal record, financial background, and more. By uncovering any red flags or discrepancies in a person’s background, private investigators help clients make informed decisions and protect themselves from potential risks or liabilities. We exist in a cutthroat business environment. Having a comprehensive understanding of the individuals and companies you engage with is paramount. By enlisting the services of a private investigator, you can rest assured that they will delve deep into the backgrounds of parties involved. They meticulously scrutinize potential partners, employees, or investors, providing you with vital information to make informed decisions. Business background checks are a popular choice, as they unveil any potential criminal activities or red flags. Private investigators excel in uncovering concealed criminal records, financial improprieties, or unscrupulous business behaviors. Furthermore, a private investigator can authenticate the legitimacy and reputation of a business, ensuring they possess the requisite credibility to meet your requirements.

Surveillance Services

Surveillance is a critical tool in various investigations, from gathering evidence in legal cases to monitoring suspicious activities. Private investigators are trained in the art of surveillance, using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to discreetly observe individuals and gather valuable information. PI’s documents a cheating spouse’s behavior or they will monitor a subject’s movements for legal purposes, or conduct corporate surveillance to prevent theft or fraud.

following someone surveillance

Private investigators play a very important role in obtaining actionable intelligence and evidence. In the case of domestic adultery, a PI would want to get irrefutable proof, in the form of affection and opportunity. Opportunity is when the two people (lovers) are behind closed doors, alone. Once affection has been obtained, opportunity brings the affair full-circle, providing the betrayed client with pertinent evidence to assert their rights.

Legal Support

Private investigators often work closely with attorneys and legal teams to provide support in civil and criminal cases. Private detectives conduct witness interviews, gather pertinent evidence, and help preparing for trial. Private investigators will assist in building a strong case and uncover facts that may be crucial to the outcome of the legal proceedings. With their expertise in gathering information and conducting investigations within the bounds of the law and ethics, private investigators serve as valuable allies in the pursuit of justice. Digital forensics is one such specialty that Victory Investigations has and has assisted with, many times, in court. Digital Forensics has been utilized in texting while driving cases, attempted murder and murder cases, child custody cases, and many more. Our investigators are Certified in Digital Forensics and licensed in North Carolina to conduct such examinations.

Asset Searches

In cases involving financial disputes, divorce proceedings, or business litigation, private investigators can conduct asset searches to uncover hidden assets or financial discrepancies. By tracing financial transactions, examining property records, and conducting thorough investigations, private investigators help clients gain a clear understanding of their financial situation and ensure that they receive their fair share of assets in legal proceedings. Often times, private investigators will work hand in hand with forensic accountants to help clear the trail of money movements and hiding of assets.

Corporate Investigations

Businesses often turn to private investigators to conduct internal investigations, uncover corporate espionage, or address issues such as employee theft, fraud, or embezzlement. Private investigators can conduct undercover operations, employee interviews, and forensic analysis to identify wrongdoing and protect the interests of the company. By uncovering internal threats and vulnerabilities, private investigators help businesses safeguard their assets, reputation, and bottom line.

Peace of Mind

Ultimately, hiring a private investigator offers peace of mind to individuals and businesses facing uncertainty or adversity. By resolving a personal matter, protecting valuable assets, or seeking justice in a legal dispute, private investigators can provide reassurance and confidence that diligent efforts are being made to address the situation effectively. With their expertise, professionalism, and commitment to client confidentiality, private investigators offer a sense of security and empowerment in navigating life’s challenges. What should it cost for YOU to gain peace of mind? We contend that there is no price too great, but be confident in the private investigator that you hire to help you.

What Is A Private Investigator?

A private investigator, in North Carolina, is a seasoned expert dedicated to conducting thorough and discreet investigations. These professionals boast a diverse skill set, adept at surveillance, research, interviewing, and evidence gathering to unveil concealed information. Hiring a private investigator offers numerous advantages. They adeptly navigate complex scenarios, offering invaluable insights that may otherwise remain elusive. Drawing from their wealth of experience and expertise empowers you to make informed decisions and safeguard your interests, especially in personal, business, or legal affairs. Contrary to popular belief, enlisting the services of a private investigator is straightforward and accessible.

The decision to hire a private investigator is often driven by the need for answers, clarity, and resolution in the face of uncertainty or adversity. Whether it’s locating a missing person, uncovering infidelity, conducting background checks, or obtaining evidence for legal proceedings, private investigators play a vital role in helping individuals and businesses navigate complex situations and achieve their objectives. With their expertise, discretion, and dedication to client satisfaction, private investigators serve as trusted allies in the pursuit of truth and justice. Hiring a private investigator near me is usually needed when the particular service that is needed is a local matter, requiring, at least, some boots on the ground activities.

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 cell 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. Most of this sensitive data is provided to licensed investigators, debt collectors, attorneys, and others by data brokers.

Let’s talk about phone data 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 no longer being admissible in court.

An example of using cell phone records for an investigation, in a child custody, matter would be to look for evidence of inappropriate communications or viewing of material that is dangerous for the child’s wellbeing. These sort of domestic investigations can be very complex and can prove to be very difficult to get access to cell phone records or the device itself for a cell phone forensics examination.

We won’t dive into the specifics, here, but cell phone records, call detail records, cell phone data and more can be very useful in infidelity and adultery matters.

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.

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