703-385-0336

The Attorney-Preferred Private Investigators

Insights of Investigative Techniques
What documents do we serve?2022-01-14T12:51:07-05:00

We serve a wide range of court documents related to local, state, federal, and international court cases. We also serve notices and letters that will later become part of a court case. We handle all types of service no matter how complex they may be. We can serve documents anywhere in the United States or internationally. We frequently serve Summons, Complaints, Writs and Subpoenas for members of the legal community and individuals all over the world.

How long does it take us to serve someone?2022-01-14T12:49:52-05:00

The time it takes to serve a subject depends on a number of factors: How easy the person is to locate; if it is a business, has the business moved or is there someone available to accept service. We frequently need to make multiple attempts and we can’t force people to open the door. Our turnaround time for service is between 3 and 5 business days. Once we receive the papers, they go out to our field agents immediately.

What happens if we cannot locate a subject?2022-01-14T12:49:00-05:00

We also offer skip tracing services, which can help find a new address or other contact information for the subject. We use databases that are available in a highly comprehensive interactive database. This database is highly secured, available only to pre-screened attorneys, investigators, process servers and similar individuals. This database is not available to the public and comprehensiveness and accuracy is extremely high, although care has to be taken to evaluate the data. Sometimes even the most thorough search isn’t fruitful. If this happens, we will work with you to discuss other options

How do I know my document was served?2022-01-14T12:48:17-05:00

Once service has been effected, you will get an automated notice that service has been completed. We will send you a notarized affidavit of service that must be filed with the court. Upon request, we will file your affidavit with the court. All affidavits are court compliant. This is an official document that shows that the person has been served. If we are unable to serve a subject after multiple attempts, we will send you an Affidavit of Non-Serve listing all or our attempts and showing our due diligence. This document should also be filed with the court.

What happens if I need immediate service?2022-01-14T12:47:08-05:00

If you need to serve a document to a business or residence on a RUSH basis, we can make our first attempt within hours of receiving the documents for an additional fee. Contact us for more information.

Will the person know that I am running a background check on them?2022-01-14T12:33:05-05:00

Our professional investigators always have the discretion of our clients in mind when conducting a background investigation. We perform “no-echo” research and the individual will not know a background check investigation has been performed based on our actions. Our investigators execute an excellent level of discreetness throughout all the investigations we perform.

Do I need permission to run a background check?2022-01-14T12:34:19-05:00

Usually not for non-employment related investigations. However, there are restrictions on what information we can provide without a release from the individuals being investigated.  There are different types of background checks. Most background checks do NOT need any type of permission or signed release from anyone. Our office can guide you through the process and provide the required release forms, if needed.

What if I need an investigation done in a different state?2022-01-14T12:29:23-05:00

We are experienced and well-sourced for conducting background investigations domestically and internationally. This is an absolute necessity given the transient nature of our society and mass, internationally immigration.

What if I need an investigation done ASAP?2022-01-14T12:28:44-05:00

We will work on a “RUSH” basis at NO EXTRA CHARGE.

How much does a background check cost?2022-01-14T12:28:01-05:00

The cost depends on the type of background check investigation and how in-depth the investigation goes. Please see our pre-Packaged Background Investigation for a guide concerning general pricing.

What information can you get in a background check?2022-01-14T12:27:09-05:00

There is a vast amount of information that can be obtained through backgrounds investigation. Please review our Pre-Packaged (non-employment) background Investigations or contact us for your unique needs.

What is domestic surveillance?2021-12-31T11:24:47-05:00

Domestic surveillance is the method used to discover if partners are cheating on each other. It can involve husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends. Also referred to as “tailing someone” it is the technique of putting an investigator out in the field that follows the suspected cheater to document their activities without their knowledge. This is accomplished by recording their activities on video.

Is domestic surveillance legal?2021-12-30T15:52:21-05:00

Surveillance is the process of documenting what is going on in the world of an individual. No laws are broken. It is 100% legal.

I feel embarrassed about even talking to someone about this.2021-12-30T15:57:22-05:00

We get calls every day from people in relationships who suspect their spouse or significant others of cheating. It is nothing to be embarrassed about. What you are seeking is peace of mind about something you are not sure of. It’s perfectly natural to want clarity as to why you have uncertainties, real or imagined. We invest a tremendous part of ourselves in relationships. Confirming the strength and integrity of the relationships are significant.

What documents do we serve?2022-01-14T12:45:18-05:00

We serve a wide range of court documents related to local, state, federal, and international court cases. We also serve notices and letters that will later become part of a court case. We handle all types of service no matter how complex they may be. We can serve documents anywhere in the United States or internationally. We frequently serve Summons, Complaints, Writs and Subpoenas for members of the legal community and individuals all over the world

I have never hired a private investigator, how do I start?2021-12-30T15:59:21-05:00

First you need to be sure you retain the services of a reputable, honest licensed detective agency. Make sure they are well established with a track record. Check to be sure they are fully licensed and insured. Do they answer the phone with a live person or do you get lost in voicemail box? Check with the Better Business Bureau to be sure there are no complaints about the company. Last of all do your own “gut check” about the agency you are talking to. Do they make you feel at ease? Are they using pressure tactics and hard sell techniques?

What do I do once the surveillance is set up?2021-12-30T15:59:49-05:00

Once the surveillance plan is in place it is important that you do not do anything to tip off the subject to the investigation. Do not change your habits and do not ask too many questions about their activities. Leave the investigating to us!

What will I need to tell the investigator?2021-12-30T16:00:34-05:00

The following are some of the things that help us get the investigation started. You may not have all the information, however the more you have the better.

  • A photograph of the person being investigated.
  • A description of household members.
  • Description of vehicle utilized by person being investigated (make, model, color & tag#)
  • Any and all information you may have on the other party they are cheating with.
  • If we are following them from work, we will need to know the type of parking and where they park their vehicle.
  • We will also need to know the driving habits of the subject and the addresses of places you think they may visit.
What are the fees charged for domestic surveillance?2021-12-30T16:00:58-05:00

Surveillance is billed on an hourly basis. Before the project begins, a strategy is established depending on the circumstances and your needs. Once this plan is in place a budget will be established. Investigation services are payable in advance of the work being conducted.   Payment can be made by credit card (over the phone if you wish), or by cash, check or money order.

How is the surveillance plan established?2021-12-30T16:11:36-05:00

You will need to let the investigator know at which times you think the suspected activity is taking place.

  • What is causing your suspicions?
  • Will we need to follow the person from home or from work?
  • Does the person have a fixed schedule?
  • Do you know anything about the suspected other party?
  • These questions and more go into creating an effective surveillance strategy.
What if I am wrong?2021-12-30T15:56:46-05:00

If there is no evidence the subject is cheating, you will have gained peace of mind about your relationship. Since our investigations are 100% confidential, you will not have risked sacrificing the relationship if you are wrong.

How many agents are used on a domestic surveillance case?2021-12-30T16:14:46-05:00

The number of agents used depends on a number of factors. Basic surveillance on an individual being followed from home or an uncomplicated work situation can be conducted by one agent. More complicated scenarios, such as following someone from a high rise office building, or airport or hotel require an additional agent. Other factors in which we may recommend a second agent includes fast and aggressive drivers and extra alert drivers who always watch the rear view mirror. Of course an additional agent increases the cost of the surveillance. This situation should be discussed and will be considered in determining your budget.

How do you follow someone? (Mobile Surveillance)2021-12-30T16:11:17-05:00

The techniques of tailing someone are acquired skills. When following someone we are constantly weighing two factors against each other. First, we want to stay close enough to make sure we do not lose the subject at a traffic light or in heavy traffic. However, we don’t want to stay so close that we run the risk of being observed by the subject. The art of balancing these two factors in a variety of situations can only be executed by having an experienced investigator working the case. In some cases, a second agent is preferable or required which allows   us to keep safer distances while not minimizing the chance of losing the subject.

How will you contact me without tipping off my partner?2021-12-30T16:11:54-05:00

First, we will ask if the phone number you give is secure. Saying it is secure means that only you or someone you trust answers the phone and that we can safely leave a voice mail message if no one answers. If the number is not secure, we will discuss other strategies. When we  contact you the first thing we will say is “is this a good time to talk”. If the subject or someone else is present and you can’t talk; you can say “no” or you can say “you have the wrong number” or anything else. We will hang up and you can call us back when it is safe. E-mail and other forms of electronic media can be used if it is secure.

Will the suspected cheater find out that they are being watched?2021-12-30T16:13:57-05:00

Our surveillance investigations are 100% confidential. We do everything necessary to insure the covert nature of the investigation. If we ever perceive that the security of the investigation is threatened, we pull back and with your input reconsider the tactics being deployed. If the suspected cheater ever challenges you about being followed, completely deny it. Cheaters have guilty consciences. They will not know by on our activities and may only suspect; often for reasons unrelated to the surveillance. They will likely be asking in hopes of trying get confirmation based on your response. Again, deny. We have had clients admit to hiring a PI and the surveillance had not even started.

General Pre-Employment Background FAQ’s2021-12-30T12:47:29-05:00

Q:        Can I run an employee background check on someone who we have already hired?

A:        Yes, provided you have the required authorization in place.

 

Q:        Can I run a background check if we have information that our employee recently got into some type of trouble?

A:        Provided you have the required authorization in place, yes. You must be careful here, though, depending on the type of “trouble”, since you do not want to be seen investigating, for example, an employee’s real or perceived disability.

 

Q:        Can an employer inquire about a candidate’s personal habits and lifestyle, like sexual preference, marital status, etc.?

A:        As a general rule, no. Matters such as these are frequently protected by the state, local and federal anti-discrimination laws.

 

Q:        If we begin conducting pre-employment background checks, are we obligated to run them on our current employees as well?

A:        No, provided you are making the distinction for business reasons and not as a pretext for discrimination against a protected class of employees or prospective employees.

 

Q:        If we have a background check conducted and there are adverse findings in the report, can we ignore them and hire the candidate anyway?

A:        Yes, the information produced by a background check is just that; information. It is up to you to weigh the results of an investigation to determine whether it has sufficient weight to affect the hiring decision.

 

Q:        If an applicant is new to this country or here on a work visa, are we obligated to conduct a background investigation in their home country?

A:        No, you are not obligated to conduct an investigation in a foreign country, which can often prove impractical or cost-prohibitive. One alternative is to request a prospective employee’s visa file under the Federal Freedom of Information ACT, which often contains a fair amount of background information.

 

Q:        Can we deny a candidate a position based solely on a poor credit record?

A:        The answer to this question may vary from state to state and from position to position. While some states allow the use of credit records as part of the screening process, other states have limited the use of credit to only positions where the applicant will be placed in a position of financial responsibility within the hiring company.

For those states that do allow the use of credit records, there is no express prohibition against denying an applicant based solely on a credit record, but the use of credit records alone has been challenged on the grounds that it is used as a proxy for other, clear discriminatory bases, such as race or sex. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they have filed for bankruptcy protection. Great caution should be taken when considering this category of information; the benefit of a complete background check is that it provides a multi-faceted picture of the applicant, allowing the employers to make a decision based on the entire record, not just one aspect of it.

 

Q:        What do we do if the candidate insists that the information contained in the background report is not accurate?

A:        If the candidate is denied employment due solely to the negative background check, the candidate should be given an opportunity to dispute the information and prove that it is incorrect. Typically, the candidate will dispute the information with a credit reporting agency or other source of the allegedly bad information.

 

Q:        I only have a few employees. Does the FCRA apply to me?

A:        Yes. The FCRA does not distinguish between a small business owner and large corporation. If the information you seek on an applicant or current employee meets the definition of a consumer report and the information is compiled by a consumer reporting agency, the FCR applies no matter how many employees you have.

 

Q:        Does the FCRA apply to current employees we wish to screen?

A:        Yes. The same law applies to ALL checks made for employment purposed. IT covers a report used “for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.” (15 USC §1681 a (h)) The same is true whether you are a California business owner or located in another state in which only the FCRA applies.

 

Q:        How long should it take for a background investigation to be completed?

This all depends upon the state or states that the applicant has resided in and the types of searches you request. Some states offer resources that produce same-day results. Others take additional time to search for records and return their findings. Typically, one to five business days are normal.

 

An additional factor to take into account is the verification of employment and or education. These types of verifications can take up to two weeks to complete in extreme cases because the cooperation of the past employer is required. After making contact with applicant’s previous employers, there may be some time for them to search their records or have the appropriate person call us back. In these cases, the screening agency often produces a report with the initial findings and then provides a supplemental report when the employment or education verification is complete.

 

Q:        Why do some employee screening companies offer Instant On-Line Results?

A:        Unfortunately, these Pre-Employment Background Checks companies are selling you free information that is very poor substitute for an actual investigations. What these firms do is collect old public record information on individuals or purchases it from some other firms that collect it, limiting their searches to just that data. The bad news is, these types of instant searches are almost always incomplete and usually outdated. Essentially they are trying to lure you into purchasing their “instant” turn around time, but they fail to tell you how poor the quality of information really is. With these companies, you are buying their disclaimer, not the background check.

 

Q:        How many years do criminal records go back?

A:        Each state, county and city is different. Some courthouses choose to only maintain seven years of records, some hold on to cases for ten years and others have no time limit to age of their records. Arrest records are often maintained the same way. Whereas one state may keep arrest and conviction data for seven years, some for ten and others have records that go as far back as they have been recording them. Unfortunately, there is no set rule, but seven to ten years is most common.

 

Q:        What are the costs involved with conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks on potential employees? Are there additional fees associated with these searches?

A:        This will largely depend on how much security you need in your hiring process. Legitimate background checks can cost as little as thirty dollars. For a more sensitive hire, you may elect to have a more comprehensive search conducted. Most employee screening firms offer packages searches and can customize those to save money.

Are Social Media Profiles Off-Limits For Background Checks?2021-12-27T16:32:22-05:00

This is a common misconception especially among job applicants with unsavory online habits. They assume that recruiters won’t check out their social media profiles. Although this may have been true in the past, recruiters are now sensitive about employees’ online behavior. They know this can impact their brand in one way or another.

Currently, most background checks focus on criminal records, education or previous employment. However, some recruiters now ask background vendors to perform social media background checks and comb through applicants’ social media profiles. Any questionable behavior such as abusive or profane posts and indecent pictures or videos can cause them to reconsider their hiring decisions.

In a nutshell, those are the six most common pre-employment background check misconceptions. For employers, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about criminal records and the power of applicants) can create avenues for getting sued. For job applicants, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about lying in resumes, and social media profiles) can cause them to engage in behaviors which can reduce their chances of getting hired. Therefore, both employees and job seekers need to seek factual information about pre-employment background checks.

Can Lying In A Résumé Cover Up Employment Background Information?2021-12-27T16:31:35-05:00

Some job applicants think that they can throw background screeners off-track by lying in their résumés. This is common among those who had not-so-good experiences with previous employers. It is also common applicants those which criminal records.

This approach may actually work if the background check is carried out by a sloppy vendor. However, any decent vendor will unveil the truth, and the applicant will be guaranteed not to get hired. The reason for this is simple: some employers can give even someone with a criminal record a benefit of the doubt. Almost no employer can even consider hiring someone who lied in their résumé.

Will Having No Previous Conviction Lead To A Clean Background Check?2021-12-27T16:30:52-05:00

This misconception is common among job seekers. Some employers also harbor it. The assumption is that if someone has never been convicted, any criminal background check on them will be clean.

However, background check results sometimes reveal criminal records – even for someone who has never been convicted. There are two possible explanations for this. First of all, a background check can sometimes yield someone else’s criminal records – often someone with a name similar to the applicant. This is similar to the scenario in which innocent people sometimes find themselves on the “No Fly List”, simply because their names resemble that of a terrorist.

The second possible explanation is identity theft. An applicant may have been a victim of identity theft and not even know it. Someone may have stolen their identity and used it to commit crimes.

The bottom line is that a background check can reveal criminal records for someone who has actually never committed a crime. This is why employers are often cautioned to give applicants an opportunity to clarify the information in the background checks. Applicants are often urged to commission background checks on themselves, so that they can see what information comes up.

Are All Background Checks The Same?2021-12-27T16:30:02-05:00

This misconception is common among employers. In fact, it is often perpetrated by vendors of cheap background check services. The goal of such vendors is to convince employers that their services are as good as the more costly ones.

However, this is a fallacy. For starters, there are different types of pre-employment background checks e.g. criminal background checks, education verification, employment verification, and sanction checks. These are clearly not the same.

Even for the same type of background checks, the results are rarely the same. Take criminal background checks for instance. There are numerous sources of data e.g. national crime databases, FBI fingerprinting, state crime databases, international databases (e.g. INTERPOL’s database), court records, and even the DMV (for traffic crimes records). Not all vendors look into all these sources of data.

The bottom line is, not all background checks are the same. The checks are conducted depending on their intended purpose. Also, each vendor has their own approach to background checking. As a result, two background checks on a single individual can yield very different results.

Are Applicants Powerless?2021-12-27T16:29:16-05:00

Most job applicants believe that they are powerless when it comes to background checks. They think that employers hold all the cards. In fact, some employers and background check companies also think that job seekers have are powerless.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives job applicants a lot of power. For instance, a background check cannot be carried out without the applicant’s permission.

Also, FCRA mandates that, when the background check leads to a “no hire” decision, the employer is supposed to explain to the job applicant in writing, why the decision was taken. An applicant is also entitled to a copy of the background report, and can even challenge the contents.

The EEOC places restrictions when criminal background checks can be used during the hiring process. Many state “Ban the Box” laws place similar restrictions. A job seeker is allowed to sue any employer who conducts background checks outside the bounds of the law. Basically, job seekers aren’t as powerless as they imagine.

Does A Criminal Record Mean A No Hire?2021-12-27T16:28:30-05:00

Both employers and job seekers tend to have this misconception. Most recruiters think that by virtue of having a criminal record, an applicant shouldn’t be hired. Most job seekers also think that a criminal record means they won’t get hired.

The reality is seldom black and white. For starters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) places certain restrictions on when criminal records can be used to deny employment. One EEOC requirement is that the nature of conviction must directly affect the nature of the job. For instance, a DUI may disqualify someone applying to be school driver, but it cannot be grounds for disqualifying a would-be accountant.

Also, as most employers and staffing companies have realized, employment background checks sometimes return false results. Therefore, rushing to make decisions can lead to lawsuits. As such, most employers now offer applicants an opportunity to clarify their criminal records. In some cases, such a clarification can tilt the tide in the applicant’s favor. The bottom line is that a criminal record doesn’t automatically mean No Hire.

At the conclusion of an assignment will the investigator be available to testify?2021-12-27T16:26:14-05:00

Yes. Investigators will be available. Investigators are sometimes called to testify to evidence collected on cases years after the case is closed.

How long are reports and surveillance videos maintained?2021-12-27T16:25:20-05:00

All reports and videos are maintained permanently. We have all reports, videos, and case file contents dating back to April 1, 1989.

Are retainers refundable?2021-12-27T16:18:02-05:00

Retainers are refundable, partially or fully, depending on the number hours used within the terms of our agreement with each client. This is written in every agreement.

National Criminal Record Background Myth2021-11-17T14:13:04-05:00

Google it and you will find many sites offering a “National arrest and criminal check” for $12.95, etc. The problem with this is that no such search exists, regardless of the amount of money you spend. It is a myth.

The only national criminal check is through the National Criminal Information System. This system is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and accessible by all law enforcement agencies across the U.S. The same law enforcement agencies contribute to the system with criminals and crimes occurring in their jurisdiction. It is a wonderful system for a background researcher but a felony to access and use information from the system that is not official law enforcement business. Many law enforcement personnel have been charged criminally and lost careers for selling information from the NCIC system.

There are exclusive partial, national criminal databases that cover more than have of the country and we use this for our criminal research. They key is knowing what you are getting; which counties and states are in the system and whether it is current or historical records. We know.

In regards to any records research, keep in mind that there is a huge difference between No Record and “No Record Found.” Use only trusted sources for your research.

What information do I need to run a background check?2022-01-14T12:32:12-05:00

A:  Supplying accurate information is crucial for any investigation. This allows us to quickly confirm that information we are surfacing relates to the individual or company of interest. You will at least need the name of the individual or company you are researching. A date of birth, social security number, tax identification number or other identifying information will be helpful but not always necessary to complete an investigation as we develop this foundation information.

What documents do we serve?2022-01-14T12:51:07-05:00

We serve a wide range of court documents related to local, state, federal, and international court cases. We also serve notices and letters that will later become part of a court case. We handle all types of service no matter how complex they may be. We can serve documents anywhere in the United States or internationally. We frequently serve Summons, Complaints, Writs and Subpoenas for members of the legal community and individuals all over the world.

How long does it take us to serve someone?2022-01-14T12:49:52-05:00

The time it takes to serve a subject depends on a number of factors: How easy the person is to locate; if it is a business, has the business moved or is there someone available to accept service. We frequently need to make multiple attempts and we can’t force people to open the door. Our turnaround time for service is between 3 and 5 business days. Once we receive the papers, they go out to our field agents immediately.

What happens if we cannot locate a subject?2022-01-14T12:49:00-05:00

We also offer skip tracing services, which can help find a new address or other contact information for the subject. We use databases that are available in a highly comprehensive interactive database. This database is highly secured, available only to pre-screened attorneys, investigators, process servers and similar individuals. This database is not available to the public and comprehensiveness and accuracy is extremely high, although care has to be taken to evaluate the data. Sometimes even the most thorough search isn’t fruitful. If this happens, we will work with you to discuss other options

How do I know my document was served?2022-01-14T12:48:17-05:00

Once service has been effected, you will get an automated notice that service has been completed. We will send you a notarized affidavit of service that must be filed with the court. Upon request, we will file your affidavit with the court. All affidavits are court compliant. This is an official document that shows that the person has been served. If we are unable to serve a subject after multiple attempts, we will send you an Affidavit of Non-Serve listing all or our attempts and showing our due diligence. This document should also be filed with the court.

What happens if I need immediate service?2022-01-14T12:47:08-05:00

If you need to serve a document to a business or residence on a RUSH basis, we can make our first attempt within hours of receiving the documents for an additional fee. Contact us for more information.

Will the person know that I am running a background check on them?2022-01-14T12:33:05-05:00

Our professional investigators always have the discretion of our clients in mind when conducting a background investigation. We perform “no-echo” research and the individual will not know a background check investigation has been performed based on our actions. Our investigators execute an excellent level of discreetness throughout all the investigations we perform.

Do I need permission to run a background check?2022-01-14T12:34:19-05:00

Usually not for non-employment related investigations. However, there are restrictions on what information we can provide without a release from the individuals being investigated.  There are different types of background checks. Most background checks do NOT need any type of permission or signed release from anyone. Our office can guide you through the process and provide the required release forms, if needed.

What if I need an investigation done in a different state?2022-01-14T12:29:23-05:00

We are experienced and well-sourced for conducting background investigations domestically and internationally. This is an absolute necessity given the transient nature of our society and mass, internationally immigration.

What if I need an investigation done ASAP?2022-01-14T12:28:44-05:00

We will work on a “RUSH” basis at NO EXTRA CHARGE.

How much does a background check cost?2022-01-14T12:28:01-05:00

The cost depends on the type of background check investigation and how in-depth the investigation goes. Please see our pre-Packaged Background Investigation for a guide concerning general pricing.

What information can you get in a background check?2022-01-14T12:27:09-05:00

There is a vast amount of information that can be obtained through backgrounds investigation. Please review our Pre-Packaged (non-employment) background Investigations or contact us for your unique needs.

What is domestic surveillance?2021-12-31T11:24:47-05:00

Domestic surveillance is the method used to discover if partners are cheating on each other. It can involve husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends. Also referred to as “tailing someone” it is the technique of putting an investigator out in the field that follows the suspected cheater to document their activities without their knowledge. This is accomplished by recording their activities on video.

Is domestic surveillance legal?2021-12-30T15:52:21-05:00

Surveillance is the process of documenting what is going on in the world of an individual. No laws are broken. It is 100% legal.

I feel embarrassed about even talking to someone about this.2021-12-30T15:57:22-05:00

We get calls every day from people in relationships who suspect their spouse or significant others of cheating. It is nothing to be embarrassed about. What you are seeking is peace of mind about something you are not sure of. It’s perfectly natural to want clarity as to why you have uncertainties, real or imagined. We invest a tremendous part of ourselves in relationships. Confirming the strength and integrity of the relationships are significant.

What documents do we serve?2022-01-14T12:45:18-05:00

We serve a wide range of court documents related to local, state, federal, and international court cases. We also serve notices and letters that will later become part of a court case. We handle all types of service no matter how complex they may be. We can serve documents anywhere in the United States or internationally. We frequently serve Summons, Complaints, Writs and Subpoenas for members of the legal community and individuals all over the world

I have never hired a private investigator, how do I start?2021-12-30T15:59:21-05:00

First you need to be sure you retain the services of a reputable, honest licensed detective agency. Make sure they are well established with a track record. Check to be sure they are fully licensed and insured. Do they answer the phone with a live person or do you get lost in voicemail box? Check with the Better Business Bureau to be sure there are no complaints about the company. Last of all do your own “gut check” about the agency you are talking to. Do they make you feel at ease? Are they using pressure tactics and hard sell techniques?

What do I do once the surveillance is set up?2021-12-30T15:59:49-05:00

Once the surveillance plan is in place it is important that you do not do anything to tip off the subject to the investigation. Do not change your habits and do not ask too many questions about their activities. Leave the investigating to us!

What will I need to tell the investigator?2021-12-30T16:00:34-05:00

The following are some of the things that help us get the investigation started. You may not have all the information, however the more you have the better.

  • A photograph of the person being investigated.
  • A description of household members.
  • Description of vehicle utilized by person being investigated (make, model, color & tag#)
  • Any and all information you may have on the other party they are cheating with.
  • If we are following them from work, we will need to know the type of parking and where they park their vehicle.
  • We will also need to know the driving habits of the subject and the addresses of places you think they may visit.
What are the fees charged for domestic surveillance?2021-12-30T16:00:58-05:00

Surveillance is billed on an hourly basis. Before the project begins, a strategy is established depending on the circumstances and your needs. Once this plan is in place a budget will be established. Investigation services are payable in advance of the work being conducted.   Payment can be made by credit card (over the phone if you wish), or by cash, check or money order.

How is the surveillance plan established?2021-12-30T16:11:36-05:00

You will need to let the investigator know at which times you think the suspected activity is taking place.

  • What is causing your suspicions?
  • Will we need to follow the person from home or from work?
  • Does the person have a fixed schedule?
  • Do you know anything about the suspected other party?
  • These questions and more go into creating an effective surveillance strategy.
What if I am wrong?2021-12-30T15:56:46-05:00

If there is no evidence the subject is cheating, you will have gained peace of mind about your relationship. Since our investigations are 100% confidential, you will not have risked sacrificing the relationship if you are wrong.

How many agents are used on a domestic surveillance case?2021-12-30T16:14:46-05:00

The number of agents used depends on a number of factors. Basic surveillance on an individual being followed from home or an uncomplicated work situation can be conducted by one agent. More complicated scenarios, such as following someone from a high rise office building, or airport or hotel require an additional agent. Other factors in which we may recommend a second agent includes fast and aggressive drivers and extra alert drivers who always watch the rear view mirror. Of course an additional agent increases the cost of the surveillance. This situation should be discussed and will be considered in determining your budget.

How do you follow someone? (Mobile Surveillance)2021-12-30T16:11:17-05:00

The techniques of tailing someone are acquired skills. When following someone we are constantly weighing two factors against each other. First, we want to stay close enough to make sure we do not lose the subject at a traffic light or in heavy traffic. However, we don’t want to stay so close that we run the risk of being observed by the subject. The art of balancing these two factors in a variety of situations can only be executed by having an experienced investigator working the case. In some cases, a second agent is preferable or required which allows   us to keep safer distances while not minimizing the chance of losing the subject.

How will you contact me without tipping off my partner?2021-12-30T16:11:54-05:00

First, we will ask if the phone number you give is secure. Saying it is secure means that only you or someone you trust answers the phone and that we can safely leave a voice mail message if no one answers. If the number is not secure, we will discuss other strategies. When we  contact you the first thing we will say is “is this a good time to talk”. If the subject or someone else is present and you can’t talk; you can say “no” or you can say “you have the wrong number” or anything else. We will hang up and you can call us back when it is safe. E-mail and other forms of electronic media can be used if it is secure.

Will the suspected cheater find out that they are being watched?2021-12-30T16:13:57-05:00

Our surveillance investigations are 100% confidential. We do everything necessary to insure the covert nature of the investigation. If we ever perceive that the security of the investigation is threatened, we pull back and with your input reconsider the tactics being deployed. If the suspected cheater ever challenges you about being followed, completely deny it. Cheaters have guilty consciences. They will not know by on our activities and may only suspect; often for reasons unrelated to the surveillance. They will likely be asking in hopes of trying get confirmation based on your response. Again, deny. We have had clients admit to hiring a PI and the surveillance had not even started.

General Pre-Employment Background FAQ’s2021-12-30T12:47:29-05:00

Q:        Can I run an employee background check on someone who we have already hired?

A:        Yes, provided you have the required authorization in place.

 

Q:        Can I run a background check if we have information that our employee recently got into some type of trouble?

A:        Provided you have the required authorization in place, yes. You must be careful here, though, depending on the type of “trouble”, since you do not want to be seen investigating, for example, an employee’s real or perceived disability.

 

Q:        Can an employer inquire about a candidate’s personal habits and lifestyle, like sexual preference, marital status, etc.?

A:        As a general rule, no. Matters such as these are frequently protected by the state, local and federal anti-discrimination laws.

 

Q:        If we begin conducting pre-employment background checks, are we obligated to run them on our current employees as well?

A:        No, provided you are making the distinction for business reasons and not as a pretext for discrimination against a protected class of employees or prospective employees.

 

Q:        If we have a background check conducted and there are adverse findings in the report, can we ignore them and hire the candidate anyway?

A:        Yes, the information produced by a background check is just that; information. It is up to you to weigh the results of an investigation to determine whether it has sufficient weight to affect the hiring decision.

 

Q:        If an applicant is new to this country or here on a work visa, are we obligated to conduct a background investigation in their home country?

A:        No, you are not obligated to conduct an investigation in a foreign country, which can often prove impractical or cost-prohibitive. One alternative is to request a prospective employee’s visa file under the Federal Freedom of Information ACT, which often contains a fair amount of background information.

 

Q:        Can we deny a candidate a position based solely on a poor credit record?

A:        The answer to this question may vary from state to state and from position to position. While some states allow the use of credit records as part of the screening process, other states have limited the use of credit to only positions where the applicant will be placed in a position of financial responsibility within the hiring company.

For those states that do allow the use of credit records, there is no express prohibition against denying an applicant based solely on a credit record, but the use of credit records alone has been challenged on the grounds that it is used as a proxy for other, clear discriminatory bases, such as race or sex. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they have filed for bankruptcy protection. Great caution should be taken when considering this category of information; the benefit of a complete background check is that it provides a multi-faceted picture of the applicant, allowing the employers to make a decision based on the entire record, not just one aspect of it.

 

Q:        What do we do if the candidate insists that the information contained in the background report is not accurate?

A:        If the candidate is denied employment due solely to the negative background check, the candidate should be given an opportunity to dispute the information and prove that it is incorrect. Typically, the candidate will dispute the information with a credit reporting agency or other source of the allegedly bad information.

 

Q:        I only have a few employees. Does the FCRA apply to me?

A:        Yes. The FCRA does not distinguish between a small business owner and large corporation. If the information you seek on an applicant or current employee meets the definition of a consumer report and the information is compiled by a consumer reporting agency, the FCR applies no matter how many employees you have.

 

Q:        Does the FCRA apply to current employees we wish to screen?

A:        Yes. The same law applies to ALL checks made for employment purposed. IT covers a report used “for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.” (15 USC §1681 a (h)) The same is true whether you are a California business owner or located in another state in which only the FCRA applies.

 

Q:        How long should it take for a background investigation to be completed?

This all depends upon the state or states that the applicant has resided in and the types of searches you request. Some states offer resources that produce same-day results. Others take additional time to search for records and return their findings. Typically, one to five business days are normal.

 

An additional factor to take into account is the verification of employment and or education. These types of verifications can take up to two weeks to complete in extreme cases because the cooperation of the past employer is required. After making contact with applicant’s previous employers, there may be some time for them to search their records or have the appropriate person call us back. In these cases, the screening agency often produces a report with the initial findings and then provides a supplemental report when the employment or education verification is complete.

 

Q:        Why do some employee screening companies offer Instant On-Line Results?

A:        Unfortunately, these Pre-Employment Background Checks companies are selling you free information that is very poor substitute for an actual investigations. What these firms do is collect old public record information on individuals or purchases it from some other firms that collect it, limiting their searches to just that data. The bad news is, these types of instant searches are almost always incomplete and usually outdated. Essentially they are trying to lure you into purchasing their “instant” turn around time, but they fail to tell you how poor the quality of information really is. With these companies, you are buying their disclaimer, not the background check.

 

Q:        How many years do criminal records go back?

A:        Each state, county and city is different. Some courthouses choose to only maintain seven years of records, some hold on to cases for ten years and others have no time limit to age of their records. Arrest records are often maintained the same way. Whereas one state may keep arrest and conviction data for seven years, some for ten and others have records that go as far back as they have been recording them. Unfortunately, there is no set rule, but seven to ten years is most common.

 

Q:        What are the costs involved with conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks on potential employees? Are there additional fees associated with these searches?

A:        This will largely depend on how much security you need in your hiring process. Legitimate background checks can cost as little as thirty dollars. For a more sensitive hire, you may elect to have a more comprehensive search conducted. Most employee screening firms offer packages searches and can customize those to save money.

Are Social Media Profiles Off-Limits For Background Checks?2021-12-27T16:32:22-05:00

This is a common misconception especially among job applicants with unsavory online habits. They assume that recruiters won’t check out their social media profiles. Although this may have been true in the past, recruiters are now sensitive about employees’ online behavior. They know this can impact their brand in one way or another.

Currently, most background checks focus on criminal records, education or previous employment. However, some recruiters now ask background vendors to perform social media background checks and comb through applicants’ social media profiles. Any questionable behavior such as abusive or profane posts and indecent pictures or videos can cause them to reconsider their hiring decisions.

In a nutshell, those are the six most common pre-employment background check misconceptions. For employers, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about criminal records and the power of applicants) can create avenues for getting sued. For job applicants, some of the misconceptions (e.g. about lying in resumes, and social media profiles) can cause them to engage in behaviors which can reduce their chances of getting hired. Therefore, both employees and job seekers need to seek factual information about pre-employment background checks.

Can Lying In A Résumé Cover Up Employment Background Information?2021-12-27T16:31:35-05:00

Some job applicants think that they can throw background screeners off-track by lying in their résumés. This is common among those who had not-so-good experiences with previous employers. It is also common applicants those which criminal records.

This approach may actually work if the background check is carried out by a sloppy vendor. However, any decent vendor will unveil the truth, and the applicant will be guaranteed not to get hired. The reason for this is simple: some employers can give even someone with a criminal record a benefit of the doubt. Almost no employer can even consider hiring someone who lied in their résumé.

Will Having No Previous Conviction Lead To A Clean Background Check?2021-12-27T16:30:52-05:00

This misconception is common among job seekers. Some employers also harbor it. The assumption is that if someone has never been convicted, any criminal background check on them will be clean.

However, background check results sometimes reveal criminal records – even for someone who has never been convicted. There are two possible explanations for this. First of all, a background check can sometimes yield someone else’s criminal records – often someone with a name similar to the applicant. This is similar to the scenario in which innocent people sometimes find themselves on the “No Fly List”, simply because their names resemble that of a terrorist.

The second possible explanation is identity theft. An applicant may have been a victim of identity theft and not even know it. Someone may have stolen their identity and used it to commit crimes.

The bottom line is that a background check can reveal criminal records for someone who has actually never committed a crime. This is why employers are often cautioned to give applicants an opportunity to clarify the information in the background checks. Applicants are often urged to commission background checks on themselves, so that they can see what information comes up.

Are All Background Checks The Same?2021-12-27T16:30:02-05:00

This misconception is common among employers. In fact, it is often perpetrated by vendors of cheap background check services. The goal of such vendors is to convince employers that their services are as good as the more costly ones.

However, this is a fallacy. For starters, there are different types of pre-employment background checks e.g. criminal background checks, education verification, employment verification, and sanction checks. These are clearly not the same.

Even for the same type of background checks, the results are rarely the same. Take criminal background checks for instance. There are numerous sources of data e.g. national crime databases, FBI fingerprinting, state crime databases, international databases (e.g. INTERPOL’s database), court records, and even the DMV (for traffic crimes records). Not all vendors look into all these sources of data.

The bottom line is, not all background checks are the same. The checks are conducted depending on their intended purpose. Also, each vendor has their own approach to background checking. As a result, two background checks on a single individual can yield very different results.

Are Applicants Powerless?2021-12-27T16:29:16-05:00

Most job applicants believe that they are powerless when it comes to background checks. They think that employers hold all the cards. In fact, some employers and background check companies also think that job seekers have are powerless.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives job applicants a lot of power. For instance, a background check cannot be carried out without the applicant’s permission.

Also, FCRA mandates that, when the background check leads to a “no hire” decision, the employer is supposed to explain to the job applicant in writing, why the decision was taken. An applicant is also entitled to a copy of the background report, and can even challenge the contents.

The EEOC places restrictions when criminal background checks can be used during the hiring process. Many state “Ban the Box” laws place similar restrictions. A job seeker is allowed to sue any employer who conducts background checks outside the bounds of the law. Basically, job seekers aren’t as powerless as they imagine.

Does A Criminal Record Mean A No Hire?2021-12-27T16:28:30-05:00

Both employers and job seekers tend to have this misconception. Most recruiters think that by virtue of having a criminal record, an applicant shouldn’t be hired. Most job seekers also think that a criminal record means they won’t get hired.

The reality is seldom black and white. For starters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) places certain restrictions on when criminal records can be used to deny employment. One EEOC requirement is that the nature of conviction must directly affect the nature of the job. For instance, a DUI may disqualify someone applying to be school driver, but it cannot be grounds for disqualifying a would-be accountant.

Also, as most employers and staffing companies have realized, employment background checks sometimes return false results. Therefore, rushing to make decisions can lead to lawsuits. As such, most employers now offer applicants an opportunity to clarify their criminal records. In some cases, such a clarification can tilt the tide in the applicant’s favor. The bottom line is that a criminal record doesn’t automatically mean No Hire.

At the conclusion of an assignment will the investigator be available to testify?2021-12-27T16:26:14-05:00

Yes. Investigators will be available. Investigators are sometimes called to testify to evidence collected on cases years after the case is closed.

How long are reports and surveillance videos maintained?2021-12-27T16:25:20-05:00

All reports and videos are maintained permanently. We have all reports, videos, and case file contents dating back to April 1, 1989.

Are retainers refundable?2021-12-27T16:18:02-05:00

Retainers are refundable, partially or fully, depending on the number hours used within the terms of our agreement with each client. This is written in every agreement.

National Criminal Record Background Myth2021-11-17T14:13:04-05:00

Google it and you will find many sites offering a “National arrest and criminal check” for $12.95, etc. The problem with this is that no such search exists, regardless of the amount of money you spend. It is a myth.

The only national criminal check is through the National Criminal Information System. This system is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and accessible by all law enforcement agencies across the U.S. The same law enforcement agencies contribute to the system with criminals and crimes occurring in their jurisdiction. It is a wonderful system for a background researcher but a felony to access and use information from the system that is not official law enforcement business. Many law enforcement personnel have been charged criminally and lost careers for selling information from the NCIC system.

There are exclusive partial, national criminal databases that cover more than have of the country and we use this for our criminal research. They key is knowing what you are getting; which counties and states are in the system and whether it is current or historical records. We know.

In regards to any records research, keep in mind that there is a huge difference between No Record and “No Record Found.” Use only trusted sources for your research.

What information do I need to run a background check?2022-01-14T12:32:12-05:00

A:  Supplying accurate information is crucial for any investigation. This allows us to quickly confirm that information we are surfacing relates to the individual or company of interest. You will at least need the name of the individual or company you are researching. A date of birth, social security number, tax identification number or other identifying information will be helpful but not always necessary to complete an investigation as we develop this foundation information.

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