Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Posts Tagged ‘background checks’

Valentine’s Day Checklist: Candy, Flowers and a Background Check

Posted by Writing PIs on February 11, 2015

Ah, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. A time to celebrate love with that special person in your life. A time to share a romantic evening with candlelight, roses, champagne…maybe even pop the question.  Now we’re talking about spending your life with someone, sharing sensitive financial data and resources, possibly raising children together, combining assets and more.

How well do you know this person? Do you know his/her background?

Be Heart Smart: Know Your Partner’s Background

Even if you’re not planning on getting married, knowing your beloved’s background is important. Not the background they choose to share, the black-and-white background documented in public records, such as a criminal history, arrest history, driving history, previous marriages and divorces. Keep in mind that co-habitation is as much a business venture as it is as a romantic enterprise.

You might be thinking, “But he/she’s a fantastic person! No way I’m going to sneak around behind their back to find out their history!”

But if you’re interested in this special person, seriously considering taking the next step — be it a committed relationship, moving in together or getting married — it’s smart to do a background check. Better to know the facts ahead of time than be surprised down the road.

Below are a few cases that have come into our office.

I’ve met this great guy, but I know so little about him…

This client called several years ago, referred to us by an attorney who’d handled her previous divorce. After she’d told the attorney she’d fallen for this great guy, but she knew so little about him, he stopped her right there, told her to contact us for a background check. We ran a quick criminal background check…and our jaws dropped! This dude had reams of felony charges and arrests, including a stint in prison for a felony conviction in another state. Seemed he was big on embezzlement…and when we shared this news with her, she admitted she’d been “loaning” him a lot of money, to the tune of thousands of dollars.

She ended the relationship. Then she started carefully reviewing her credit card statements and bank statements, and learned he’d misappropriated her credit card information, forged checks, and promised various lenders and businesses that she’d co-sign on loans.

She never got her money back. Not a penny.

Shame she hadn’t obtained a background check on this guy beforehand.

My ex-girlfriend is going after my assets!

This poor guy lived with a girl for a year, then they broke up and she moved out. She promptly went to an attorney and claimed she and her ex-boyfriend had been secretly married in a ceremony at a hotel the year before and that she was entitled to half of his assets. The guy (we’ll call him Tom) had to hire his own attorney to counter her claims. We were hired as investigators on Tom’s case. After we obtained evidence that showed she’d denied being married while living with Tom –and in fact, identified herself as a single woman on a notarized document to the federal government, the court dismissed her case.

Unfortunately, hiring an attorney was costly to Tom. His ex-girlfriend, angry that she’d lost the opportunity to win half his assets, called his work and made false claims about his sexual behavior at a company function she’d attended with him back when they were an item…and poor Tom was then forced to fight that charge (more $$ to the attorney) and he wasn’t allowed to return physically to his office for months until that case, too, was dismissed.

In our investigations, we learned she’d done this exact same thing to another guy a few years before! Except the previous guy, rather than hire an attorney, just settled with her for $20,000 to go away.

How’d she get by with this? She knew the law. She worked as a paralegal for a divorce lawyer, so she knew the ins and outs of common law marriages, and the possibilities for profit.

Shame he hadn’t obtained a background check on this asset-happy woman beforehand.

Could you check out my new boyfriend…he seems nice, but after the last time…

Remember the woman who found out her boyfriend had been embezzling money from her (first story, above)? Well, after that experience, she called us when she started dating again, asked us to conduct a background check on the new guy in her life. Guess what? No criminal records, no messy divorces in his past, no arrests. Everything he’d shared about his past (that we could verify through public records) was true. They’re now an item, considering moving in together.

So you see, background checks can also be a safety measure so you can move forward to the next step.

How to Obtain a Background Check

Many PIs conduct background checks. An easy way to find a PI who specializes in this area is to contact your state professional private investigators association and request (or look up) the name of a PI who conducts background checks. Below is a link, courtesy of PI Magazine, that lists state PI associations:

Private Investigator Associations

Have a great week, Writing PIs

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman. Any use of the content (including images owned by Colleen Collins and/or Shaun Kaufman) requires specific, written authority.

Posted in Background Checks: Be Heart Smart | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Valentine’s Day Checklist: Candy, Flowers and a Background Check

How to Do a Free Reverse Phone Number Look-Up

Posted by Writing PIs on November 4, 2009

Telephone Booth

There’s lots and lots of ads out there for free phone look-ups–what they give you is free information that’s available from numerous other sites, then they ask you to “click here” and, for a mere $34.95 (or some price), you can get the full background report on this person.

buyer bewareBuyer beware.

There’s no magical 100% correct database out there that’ll spit out the latest and greatest information associated with a phone number.   We’re not saying you can’t get correct information.  You might.  But you, the buyer, should know you’re paying for information that could be old, outdated, or input incorrectly into a database (after all, human hands originally typed in the data).  Or the phone number might have been correct at one time, but has since been ported to a new carrier. 

So, saying all that, we’ll provide some free tips on doing a reverse check on a phone number, with some caveats thrown in for good measure.   Last note: Type phone numbers in different formats (123-456-7890, 1234567890, 4567890).

Step 1:  Run the phone number in Google.  We love Google.  It’s comprehensive search engine gives you a great starting point.  It might give you more information than you were even looking for (for example, the number may display on someone’s online resume, ad, or social networking site).  We once found a missing person by running her computer researchcell phone number in Google–although she’d hidden her whereabouts well (hopping from city to city, staying in different people’s homes, had no identifiable vehicle, had discontinued service on her cell phone although the number was still listed on her site), she was taking the time to log into her MySpace account to chat with her friends!  She hadn’t made her account private, so it was easy to see what her activities were , who she was staying with, etc.  on a daily basis!

 Step 2:  Run the number in various databases.   Although it’s hard to compete with Google’s search engine, doesn’t hurt to follow up and check the number in other databases.  For example, run the number in, a forum search engine, or, a social networking search engine.

Step 3: Double-check if the number is a landline or cell.   Helps to know if it’s a landline or cell phone number. landline phone If the latter, the person could be living anywhere (for example, their number might start with a Colorado area code, but they’re living in Delaware).  There are dozens of sites that offer free checks for type of phone line, name of carrier, and geographical region of the phone number.  One of our favorites is Phone Validator:  (Again, keep in mind that the information returned may be outdated, or the number has ported to a new carrier).

Step 4:  Still no leads?  Rather than pay an unknown online database service that promises background information such as a person’s name, address, and more, we recommend contacting a qualified private investigator to research the phone number for you.  Why?  Online database background/reverse check services are automated, and as we’ve already stated, you might be paying for old, outdated, or incorrect data.   Also, there’s no “live” person to field your questions, or read the results with an eye on accuracy or legality.

At our investigations agency, we’ve run many reverse phone number checks nationwide.  Drop by our website, give us a call or send us an email: Highlands Investigations & Legal Services, Inc:

Posted in PI Topics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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