What Can Your Company Do For Me?
There is no need for intelligent due-diligence and fact gathering to be reserved for big companies with big budgets. If you have ever hired a lawyer or an accountant, you can afford us too.
The following chart illustrates possible investigative scenarios for clients including businesses of any size, law firms, or individuals who just want to make themselves or their families safer.
What is a “public records check?”
In addition to a variety of commercial databases, we look through media reports, internet registration documents, and public records directly at courthouses and tax assessors’ offices wherever they are available. Do not be fooled by firms that claim they can check everything over the internet. Most public records in the U.S. are not on line. If you don't go to courthouses, you may miss critically important information.
If you use the same databases your competitors do, how do you add value?
It is always important to have a person review critically what a database delivers. Databases or poorly trained people can often miss documents because of misspelling, a failure to scan completely or other forms of human error. Databases can also confuse two people with similar names. Finally, the information that gets us an answer may be legal to obtain (an interview with a former roommate or employee), but is not part of the public record or stored anywhere electronically.
See our blog entry here, "A Fact-Finding Test for Lawyers."
Can you get bank, cell phone or medical records for someone?
No. In the U.S. and many other countries, doing so would be against the law without the subject’s consent. If an investigator tells you he can get them, you should find another investigator immediately. We will never impersonate another person, nor use anyone’s Social Security Number to obtain information to which we are not legally entitled.
See our blog entry about this here.
What about credit reports?
These too are off llimits, unless the subject has explicitly permitted their retrieval. This happens most often in pre-employment searches. We will not begin a pre-employment background check without a waiver that is compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
How do you represent yourself when you telephone people you interview?
We never call under a pretext. It is often illegal and in our view unethical to pretend to be someone we are not. We keep client identities confidential unless the client instructs us otherwise.
See our blog entry here on good interview practice.
How do you charge?
We work by the quarter hour to a fixed budget guaranteed in writing. We often recommend starting slowly by working in phases: public records first and possible interviewing second. Others in our field might propose an expensive approach that includes all steps at once, but our view is that we do a better interview once fully informed by the records and media reports we are able to find in phase one.
What happens to the results during the case or once the matter is concluded?
All findings are confidential. We never re-sell information gathered to third parties. We prefer to work through a lawyer even if our client is not a lawyer, so as to protect our information by attorney-client privilege.