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Beware Of What You Don’t Know: SKIPSMASHER!

 

That pesky weather bulletin that you are getting, you know the one that keeps “popping up” on your cell phone? That text message to call a number that is listed in the text, you know the one that looks like there is some kind of a dire emergency that you need to be warned about? BEWARE, these could very well be some unethical Private Investigator trying to locate your exact geographical position! Yeah, REALLY!

The average consumer is probably unaware of how many times a day his or her privacy is violated. The average consumer is probably unaware that at any give time most Private Investigators and Collection Agencies, Repossession Agencies can find a person’s exact location. Thanks to sites like “Skip Smasher” you’ll never know if that Weather Bulletin is a real weather alert that was sent to you strictly to warn you about weather conditions, or if it is someone trying to find out what your exact location is. Below is the description from “Skip Smasher” of the service it offers to it’s customers:

Cell Stinger

This is actually a wonderful way to invade someone’s privacy and claim it is legitimate because they have location services turned on, on their phone. The problem is that this method uses subterfuge to exploit your location bases services that were originally designed to help drives and hikers navigate. What happens is the weather bulleting starts to pop up and nag the unsuspecting victim and it asks the unsuspecting victim if they would like to opt out of receiving these alerts, when the unsuspecting victim does this the opt out process captures the unsuspecting victim’s location and sends it to a server where it is processed and sent to the person paying to have this service in the form of a  Google Map with as much details as can be processed on the unsuspecting victim’s location.

Enter Robert Scott, the man that owns “Skip Smasher” and who is making good money off of showing Private Investigators how to exploit your privacy. And he does not care at all that this could be an invasion of privacy, because he is a Private Investigator himself and that is how he markets this service, as a service for Investigative Professionals by Investigative Professionals. Actually what happens here is some Private Investigator uses this to locate you, the unsuspecting citizen for someone that is paying that Private Investigator money. And the service is CHEAP! For under five dollars ($5.00) a Private Investigator can use this service to “ping” your exact location. Does it not seem a little “creepy” that a person that does not like you, or is obsessed with you, or intends you harm can get someone with this type of technology to find your exact location at almost any given time, for a price? Are you still comfortable with that weather bulletin that just came in on your cell phone?

Okay, so you are a Private Citizen and you want to do something about this. What do you do? Well, right now this service is not illegal, however in 2001 pretexting a cell phone for a third party’s cell phone records was not illegal either. Until Senator Charles Schumer made it illegal to gain another person’s cell phone call details without authorization. If you feel like you don’t want to be the victim of this type of privacy invasion, call your State Representatives, Call your Senators; request that they open an investigation into Robert Scott and “Skip Smasher” . Request that your Senator or your State Representative try to pass new legislation to outlaw this practice. Request that your State Senators and State Representatives send Robert Scott a stern message that it is not acceptable to profit from the wholesale invasion of people’s privacy.

Below are links that will help you find the contact details for your State Senators and State Representatives, if you decide that you don’t want to accept this type of privacy invasion:

State Senators Directory

U.S. House Of Representatives Directory

California State Representatives  Mr. Robert Scott lives in California.

Search State House of Representatives This is the Google Search Link, all you have to do is click it and peruse the results.

Privacy is in short supply. You will find the word “privacy” nowhere in the constitution. But we should all have an expectation that the items we purchase to make our lives a little more comfortable should not be exploited and turned against us to take what little bit of privacy we have left.

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Confidentiality: Good P.I.’s Remain Silent About Their Cases And Clients!

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I have been on the Internet for a very long time, probably longer than most Private Investigators have. I am always amazed at the information one can find on the Internet. Most of the information on the Internet is information that we freely give about ourselves. Between social networks, email, and the “deep web”, we can find out almost anything about anyone. It has become accepted and even expected that the consumer will inadvertently give out private information about their self on the Internet in current times. But what about Private Investigators? One would think that a Private Investigator would be cautious of what they allow others to see about them and their business on the Internet. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case.

The Private Investigation business is a funny business, while the Private Investigator has to be able to keep his or her case information confidential, he or she also has to find an effective way to advertise or market on the Internet these days, also. Often times Private Investigators blur the lines between marketing and giving out confidential information on the Internet. I was amazed eight years ago when I found a naked picture of one Private Investigator on the Internet. Not surprisingly this Private Investigator was the very person responsible for their naked picture being on the Internet. If this Private Investigator had not sent their naked picture to other unsuspecting people of the opposite sex in email, their picture would have never been found on the Internet. This is just an example  of how careless one Private Investigator had become with their information. But there are literally hundreds of examples like this where Private Investigators have shared a little too much on the Internet.

We all remember the Baby Lisa Irwin Case, and one Private Investigator’s attempt to grab some attention by proclaiming how he was working this case, then “backpedaling” and stating that he was blogging this case as an “Investigative Journalist”, right? Look at all of the information and inferences one could make from that situation. First, the question comes to mind; why wouldn’t anyone actually hire him to work this case? Second, one has to wonder was this Private Investigator using his fee based, proprietary databases to cull information on this case, while he was clearly not working as a hired Private Investigator conducting a Private Investigation? Third, was it appropriate to share the results of his investigation with the public, while the Police were conducting an investigation into the disappearance of this infant, if he was not hired by anyone to conduct this investigation? It is one thing to conduct an investigation as a hired Private Investigator where you have an obligation to your client to investigate the case and keep the information that you gather confidential; it is entirely another thing to possibly interfere with a Police investigation by conducting an investigation for the sake of blogging about your findings for a little media attention. And to this day, this Private Investigator has put himself in the unenviable position of not being able to prove that he did one single thing that helped in locating this child; the only thing he did do was make himself look like an attention starved, low-rent Private Investigator that would do anything for a little media attention.

RMRI, Inc. works a good deal of very sensitive cases that go to court and can be “life altering” to our clients if certain critical information were to come out about our cases. RMRI, Inc. has a few hard and fast rules and protocols about how we conduct business and what we choose to let the public know about our business. First, the ONLY time we are working a case is when we have a paying client, we don’t work cases for free in the hopes of getting some media attention. In all cases that go to court, we enter into a contract with the client. If the case is something simple, where a contract is not necessary (such as: serving a summons) we get an email acknowledgement or an on-line acknowledgement that we are working for the client and that the client expects any information we find in the course of doing our work to remain confidential. We NEVER speak to anyone outside of the client and our team members about an active and ongoing case. Even after a case is completely finished we have a ninety (90) day wait time before we can even acknowledge that we had any involvement with the case whatsoever, and then after that ninety (90) days we can not mention anything that identifies the case we can just speak in general terms about the case.  Our approach is quite simple; “we don’t want attention, we want to be paid”. We liken our work to that of any other job, we “punch in” and work, we “punch out” and go home, and we collect our pay. We work to make a living, not for glamour and fame.

While it is true that you can find RMRI, Inc.’s company name in certain publications for attorneys and certain news papers and magazines, what you wont find is any specific information about cases we work, such as names, dates, and specific locations. While you might see a mentioning of cases on our website, what you will not see is any specific mentioning of the details of these cases unless they are over seven (7) years old. While you might see a Facebook Page for RMRI, Inc., what you won’t see is any mention of a case we are working. We make tremendous efforts and take great pains at RMRI, Inc. not to blur the lines between advertising and giving out even a hint of information about our clients and our cases. RMRI, Inc. is not so desperate for attention that we are willing to forsake our client’s privacy for some media attention.

RMRI, Inc. is made up of two (2) licensed Private Investigators, one (1) Pending Licensed Private Investigator, one (1) Process Server, two (2) Technical Consultants qualified as Expert Witnesses, and one (1) Secretary and all of our staff have committed to keeping all case and client data at RMRI, Inc. confidential. Each member is well aware that intentionally “leaking” case and/or client information outside of the confines of RMRI, Inc. is grounds for termination and possible civil action.

In Summary

A Private Investigator’s ability to keep his or her case and client information is paramount. Confidentiality in the Private Investigation Business is a justified expectation of the client. A successful and confident Private Investigator feels no need to boast about their cases or their clients. Confidentiality is the hallmark of any successful Private investigation Business. If you don’t understand confidentiality, you don’t understand the Private Investigation Business!

Private Investigator Databases Are Just Tools; Nothing More!

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About a month ago I was contacted by an attorney to locate a person for him. The attorney is a good friend of mine, and someone that I have known for quite a while. Because this is attorney is a friend of mine that I am sure would help me out if I ever encountered some legal problems, I did this locate as a courtesy to the attorney. With all of the information that is available to the consumer today and the additional amount of information available to Private Investigators today; a locate is really not that difficult, or at least it is not as difficult as it used to be but it can be time consuming.

Naturally the first thing any Private Investigator would do to locate a person is to start looking around on the Internet for information about the person, start running database reports and generate as much raw information about the subject as he or she can. Sometimes the raw data that is generated about a person can be quite extensive. The average consumer does not have a clue as to what it takes to locate a person that is hard to find, whether it be because the person has moved several times and their information has changed several times or because the person simply does not want to be found. It is entirely possible to generate fifty to seventy five pages of raw data on the subject the Private Investigator is trying to find. Any half-smart Private Investigator knows that there is a percentage of information that is generated from this Internet research that will be inaccurate. This is why this raw data has to be gone through with a “fine-toothed comb”; to weed out the inaccurate information and keep the accurate information and this can take hours and sometimes even days.

So, when I started to work my locate I generated over ninety pages of raw data. I had old addresses, old phone numbers, relatives, associates, email addresses, and more. The process for weeding out the inaccurate information requires talking to people and confirming the information that you have. In my case I would say that over seventy percent of the information I had was either not accurate, or “stale”. The thirty percent of the information that was accurate was not useful in actually getting in touch with the subject. I did have two addresses in Ozark, MO. that looked like they could be where the subject was living, so I told the attorney about them. The attorney was going to be in that area of Missouri so he said he’d go by the addresses and see if the subject lived at these addresses. The attorney reported back that the addresses were not current and asked me to continue on. So, I ran some reports on a different database and sifted through these reports and came up with an address that I had not seen on any of the other reports I had previously ran, but I did not have a phone number for the address. So, here is where it is time to get some field work done.

Now, the newest address that I had was in Springfield, MO., and I am in Columbia, MO.; I am approximately one hundred and eighty miles from Springfield, MO. In this case it occurs to me that it might be more economical to sub-contract this address check to a Private Investigator in Springfield, MO.; enter Heather Snow.

I contacted Heather Snow of Southwest Investigating Agency. Heather and I spoke and I told her what I needed and sent her all of the research that I had conducted up to the point that I had contacted her. Heather had just suffered a terrible family tragedy, but she still took this case and charged me an extremely reasonable fee. Within just a few days after receiving my payment, she found the person i was looking for. Heather Snow put several hours of work into making this happen, she went to the address I had once and nobody was home. Heather Snow then made a second trip to the address and spoke with a young man at the address who knew the subject and called him to meet with Heather. Heather Snow waited for the subject to show up, got all of the information from him that she could  get, and then put him in touch with me. Heather Snow worked diligently, professionally, and she produced an effective result for me, at a most reasonable fee. Below are Heather Snow’s contact details:

Southwest Investigating Agency

305 E Walnut St, Ste 314, Springfield, MO 65806

(417) 866-1756

I would highly recommend Heather Snow to anyone that needs a Private Investigator in Springfield, MO.; she is a worker! As it happens, Heather Snow’s father was a Private Investigator for thirty seven years and Heather grew up in the Private Investigator business; one could say that Heather was “groomed” to be a Private Investigator. I was completely satisfied with the service that Heather provided, Heather produced quick, effective, and accurate results, and she knew exactly how to handle this case. Heather Snow is your Private Investigator connection in the Springfield, Ozark, and Lake of The Ozarks area. I would not hire any other Private Investigator in that area other than Heather Snow.

There is a lesson here too. As one can see by reading the title of this post, the information that we have at our fingertips in this information age makes cases like this a little less difficult to work; but it is not a “case solver”, it is only a tool. There are many Private Investigators out there that believe that database information is the be all and end all to working a case; and they would be wrong. More often than not no matter how much information you get from the Internet and the various databases you may have access to you will have to confirm that information and often enough you will have to “put boots on the ground” and do some field work to complete your case. So, remember that Database are just a tool, you still have to investigate your case!

 
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