Saturday, February 25, 2006

Searching For Inmates

Where To Find Inmate Locator Websites

Most states have online searches for inmates through their Department of Corrections websites. Here is the complete list (also includes county jail rosters) - Inmate Locator.

For California, the Department of Corrections has a 24-hour inmate locator telephone number of (916) 445-6713. You must have either the inmate's CDC number, or the inmate's full name and date of birth to receive information. The Inmate Locator will provide an inmate's location, mailing addresses and relevant phone numbers. They will not provide any future release date information.

Vinelink is another database that provides inmate information at the state and county level for most states.

If you are trying to locate an inmate at the Federal level, try the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator page.

If the county or state department of corrections you are looking for does not have an inmate locator on the web, I suggest you call the prison directly. They will tell you if the inmate you are looking for is incarcerated in their facilty.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

How To Choose A Polygraph Examiner

The results of your polygraph test may change your life!

When choosing a polygraph examiner, price is the last thing you should ask about. In the polygraph profession, affordability does not always equal quality. Remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for."

It's up to you to be a smart consumer when choosing your examiner. When selecting someone to do your polygraph test, ask the person the following four questions. If the examiner doesn't answer "Yes" to all four questions, you may want to look for someone else.

1. Are you a member of one of the following National professional associations?
APA - American Polygraph Association
AAPP - American Association of Police Polygraphists
NPA - National Polygraph Association

2. Are you a member of a State professional association?
CAPE - California Association of Polygraph Examiners
List of All State Association Websites

3. Are you Certified? (In California, CAPE certification is best)

4. Do you attend at least 40 hours of continuing education seminars each and every year?

If a polygraph examiner does not answer "yes" to all four questions, he may not be good enough for you.

Additional questions to ask when selecting an examiner:

5. Have you testified in court about polygraph tests?

6. Are you an Officer or Board Member of a Professional Association?

7. Are you a teacher at an accredited polygraph school (accredited by APA, AAPP or NPA)?

8. Have you written articles about polygraph testing?

9. Do you have one or more college degrees?

Remember, your polygraph test may be a life-changing event. Don't put yourself in the hands of anyone but a highly-qualified professional!

Our polygraph services page

Friday, February 17, 2006

Finding Hidden Assets

PayPal - A Viable Source

If you have a judgment against an individual, most likely you are not going to find any attachable assets by searching public records. Judgment debtors are smart. They know you are looking for their bank accounts. Most of them do not have open checking/savings accounts in their name.

In recent years, the internet has been a great place to hide money. PayPal for example allows individuals to have online accounts to either store funds or make business transactions. A high percentage of Ebay users have PayPal accounts. Many online businesses use PayPal as a form of accepting credit cards. If you believe your debtor has a PayPal account, here is what you do:

Have your attorney send a letter via U.S. Certified Mail or by courier service (Fed Ex, UPS, etc..) to PayPal with a subpoena (or writ of attachment if you have a judgment) to the following address:

Attn: Legal Dept. - Civil
2211 N . First Street
San Jose, CA 95131

Make sure the subpoena/writ includes the debtors full name, address, social security number. It wouldn't hurt to include the email address of the debtor.

Another way to search for someone assets is to check their trash. I always tell my clients to shread their personal information before they throw it away. However, there are still many careless people out there who just throw away their bank statements, stock portfolio, telephone bills, etc...

In most cities it is legal to search through someone's trash as long as the containers are on the street or in the alleyway. I suggest checking with the city regarding their laws before you take someone's garbage.

There are many other creative ways to find hidden assets. I won't list them all here. The above steps are probably the best way to start when you need to collect on a sizable judgment.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What are the Best People Finder Sites?

I thought I would post this on Valentines Day because this is the time of year I receive many requests to find "lost loves" or childhood sweethearts.

First, here is my disclaimer: I will not locate anyone unless there is a legimate purpose. Married people (and I get a lot of them ) should have no reason to find their high school boyfriend/girlfriend.

Okay, with that out of the way, let me tell you that the best FREE people finder site is Zabasearch. You can find the link at's people finder page along with all the other free people finder links. Zaba publishes all of the listed addresses for an indivual for at least the past 10 years.

To be honest, as a private investigator, I rarely find updated addresses using Zaba or any other free search. For the general public, I suggest Intelius. For under $30, they will provide you with the most recent updated address of an individual.

The absolute best site to obtain adrress information and background information is Merlin Information Services. However, Merlin will only sell their data to companies such as private investigation firms, government agencies, collection agencies, large corporations, law firms, insurance companies, repossessors, process servers or any other business with a legitimate purpose under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

If you do not qualilfy to have an account with Merlin, then I suggest you contact a private investigator. My firm charges a flat fee of $250 to locate a person (higher for missing persons). Many times I receive calls from people who spend more than that using several online services and they come up empty.

All in all, I suggest you follow the above steps and if you strike out, contact me.



Friday, February 10, 2006

Fingerprint Examination

The other day I received a call from a company that wanted to hire me to lift fingerprints off one of their laptop computers. I told them that I don't offer that service.

After I hung up the phone, I thought about it and said, "Why Not?" So, I did some research and contacted some of my colleagues, and I found the #1 fingerprint and document examiner (in my opinion) in all of Southern California. Kurt Kuhn, retired from the Beverly Hills Police Department will now offer his services to our clients. Please read our page on Kurt Kuhn- here


Monday, February 06, 2006

How Can I Find Warrants?

I receive many requests to find arrest warrants. Unfortunately arrest warrant information in California is not public record to a 3rd party- except for San Diego County - Thanks to Paul Bush of Legal Dockets online for reminding me.

In some other states, warrant information is available online. Check this link of a City in Kansas - City of Rose Hill Warrant List

Another way to check for warrants is to run a criminal index for the individual. If there is a pending criminal case, contact the court to see if there is a "Failure to Appear." Most likely if there is an FTA, then there is a warrant. Also, run the individuals driving record. FTA's show up for traffic violations if the Subject does not show for his traffic court case. Law enforcement will only pick up that person if they are stopped for a traffic violation.

One other way to check warrant information is to check the County's most wanted list. Granted not everyone will be on that list, but some small counties will list everyone with a warrant. Try this link - Most Wanted Persons by State


Friday, February 03, 2006

What Can't Be Used in an Employment Background?

You would surprised how many employers have no clue whan can or can't be included in a pre-employment background check. Today I received a call from someone who wanted arrest records of a potential employee. First of all, arrest records are not public records. The only criminal records that are considered "public" are misdemeanor and felony charges filed on a defendant.

Oddly enough, criminal records more than 7 years old (for California - other states are 10 years) cannot be reported by the agency conducting the pre-employment background. You can ask applicants the following: "Have you been arrested for any matter for which you are currently out on bail or have been placed on your own recognizance pending trial?"

The full Fair Credit Reporting Act can be read here - FCRA