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Using Sources

The term “source” refers to an individual with access to the records of the financial institution. Generally this is a person who works for a particular firm and is willing to supply information about customer accounts. The source can be any employee with access to a computer terminal. All customer account records of the firm can usually be accessed from any terminal. By typing in the customer name, all account records can be located. The source usually receives a monthly salary or a per transaction fee. An investigator working on a case calls his source at Firm A-one of the largest brokerage firms-and says do you have any accounts for John Doe? If yes, he gets a list of the account numbers with whatever other information was requested by the client. If the answer is no, he goes down the list to Firm B and so on. Ninety-five percent of all brokerage accounts are held by the ten largest firms so most of the time the investigator will be successful quickly.

These networks of sources belong to a few well-heeled investigation companies. It requires a large investment and a steady flow of business to develop and maintain a sizable organization. A lot of energy and money is devoted to keeping these networks in place and operating smoothly. Most private investigation firms are small, one person operations, and they don’t have the capital to create their own networks. Instead, they farm out the work to the big companies for a fee.

Sources are also useful in acquiring telephone records from the phone companies which provide a wealth of detailed private information in a single complete package. Once the investigator has obtained a list of your toll calls, he uses a reverse directory to look up the names and addresses on the other end of each telephone call. Telephone records for a business or even some individuals can involve thousands of listed calls. Rather than calling each number to see who it belongs to, a reverse directory or Internet service can be used to list the identifying information in seconds.

Financial accounts are often located simply by a review of the list of names produced by the reverse directory. If you have called your bank on the telephone or conducted online banking from your computer modem, your telephone records provide an excellent trail leading directly to the bank’s door. Account information is then determined by a source at the bank, or by pretext, using your identifying information

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