Tricks of the Trade
By Private Investigator Michael T. O'Rourke
Question: I am attempting to determine where our client's ex-husband is telephoning from. Numerous phone calls have been received from an unknown number. The Caller ID shows the number was blocked (*67) prior to calling. Knowing the number he called from would assist in locating him for Service of Process for a Child Support matter, and be very useful as an investigative tool. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Assuming the originating caller is using a traceable line to begin with, but is blocking the information by using *67, then yes, those details can be obtained by subpoena. Remember that *67 is a service provided by the Telephone Company, and therefore can see anything it may hide for a caller. If the caller utilizes one of the several methods that route the call in such a manner the Telephone Company cannot monitor, then a subpoena will be useless. Pre-paid cellular phones, some pre-paid calling cards, "daisy chain" techniques such as having the operator place the call, or routing the call through a third party from a non SS7 supported Call Operator will be untraceable. This is valuable information in itself. If you needed to make a call that was completely untraceable, call the operator from any phone, explain each time you attempt to call a particular number you get an "all circuits are busy" message. The Operator will attempt the call for you, and the call will be untraceable to the receiver. Remember, *67 only blocks your number from appearing on a Caller ID unit, the call is indeed traceable.
Question: Are there any phone directories for mobile phones?
Answer: Yes. Try http://www.mobiledigits.com/lookup.html or http://cellphonedirectory.com (editor's note - as of 3/2/03, both of these pages seem to have disappeared )
Question: With the amount of personal information readily available on the Internet, I am concerned with "Identity Fraud". If a situation as unfortunate as this were to happen, how could I limit the amount of damage?
Answer: Contact all of your credit grantors. Verify all recent purchase transactions and account activity. Accounts with unauthorized activity should be closed, and passwords added to accounts that have not been compromised. Verify all account information. Obtain information regarding dispute policies regarding fraudulent charges.
Document all calls, names of persons spoken to, duration of calls, and associated expenses. It is possible expenses will be recoverable in the event of a civil suit, or restitution as a result of criminal prosecution. Documentation will also assist in repairing credit files.
Contact the TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian credit bureaus. Advise them of your situation and request copies of your credit report. Verify all trade lines and inquiries as valid. Document unknown trade lines, request contact phone numbers, and close the accounts, or prevent new accounts from being opened as a result of an inquiry. Insist a "Consumer Statement" be added to your credit file. Request dispute forms to correct fraudulent trade lines. Verify all addresses on your credit file are accurate. Remove any fictitious addresses. The most important address is your current address. If a fraudulent address remains on your file you will aggravate the situation by having additional pre-approved lines of credit sent to this address.
Report the incident to local law enforcement, the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, and other Offices where identity fraud could harm you. Be persistent with law enforcement and insist on a Police Report. Most importantly, hire a Private Investigator to assist you, your creditors, and Law Enforcement, in locating the perpetrator. In addition, you should consult an attorney to discuss recourse and options.
Det. Michael T. O'Rourke is a Member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, The National Association of Professional Process Servers, and Sustaining member of the Delaware Paralegal Association. A Court Certified Special Process Server, and a Licensed Private Investigator, Michael specializes in Insurance Defense.
He invites your questions to:
Loss Solutions, Inc.
824 N. Market Street, Suite 425,
P.O. Box 368,
Wilmington DE 19899-0368.
Or you may e-mail him at DE Irish firstname.lastname@example.org