Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A defense attorney & PI who also happen to be writers

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Answering Writers’ Questions: Tracking Credit Cards, Police Called on PIs

Posted by Writing PIs on May 8, 2010

Today we’re answering writers’ questions about tracking credit cards and what happens when law enforcement is called on a PI.

English: First 4 digits of a credit card

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WRITER’S QUESTION: We often see in police shows that the cops or feds are keeping tabs on someone’s credit card and as soon as it’s used somewhere they’re alerted and close in on that location. First of all, would they get the info that quickly or would it be hours/days delay? Secondly, could a licensed PI access that information?

GUNS, GAMS, AND GUMSHOE’S S ANSWER: No, PIs don’t have access to credit card transactions. Cops and feds would  have pretty quick access (probably within approx. 30 minutes) to credit card transaction data because they would be working closely with investigators in the credit card fraud/security department.

WRITER’S QUESTION: If a PI is watching a person and that person clues in that they’re being watched/followed and calls the police. If the police figure out it’s a PI, could the PI still be charged with stalking or something?

GUNS, GAMS, AND GUMSHOE’S S ANSWER: We’ve had people call the police on several occasions, and our experience has been that as long as our communication with law enforcement is professional, there’s no problem. Steven Brown in his book THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO PRIVATE INVESTIGATING suggests a PI to be upfront that he/she’s a PI working a case, but to never give away who’s being surveilled  (in fact, he suggests saying it’s a totally different address being surveilled). Stalking is when a person who is prohibited by a court order violates that court order. A PI who is acting lawfully and/or under the supervision of an attorney is specifically excluded from stalking. Saying that, this does not mean that the PI can burglarize, trespass, wiretap, or eavesdrop the person they’re surveilling.  Here’s an article one of the Gums, Gams, and Gumshoes’s PIs recently wrote about PIs and stalking:

Pursuit Magazine: “When Does Surveillance Become Stalking?”
http://pursuitmag.com/when-does-surveillance-become-stalking

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One Response to “Answering Writers’ Questions: Tracking Credit Cards, Police Called on PIs”

  1. Wow, that’s what I was exploring for, what a stuff! existing here at this weblog, thanks admin of this site.

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