Some information contained on this blog describes how some people can commit crimes. For example, intercepting wire or verbal communications is a Felony in the state of Florida.  Describing how it can be done with technology is intended to give the reader ideas of how they can be victimized.

I’m not concerned that an individual looking to commit a crime would come to this blog to learn how to do it.  If he/she is predisposed to breaking the law, the Internet is full of “how to’s”  with step-by-step directions to do much more devious acts than any described here.

October 2nd, 2010 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Tiger Text is a service that “Tiger” probably wished he had used.  This service enables the sender of text messages to control when the message disappears from the sender’s and receiver’s cell phone.

The cost for this service?  Zip. Download for free at www.tigertext.com

February 8th, 2011 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

When some folks think of listening devices, they envision something from a spy movie where a small listening device is planted and conversations are monitored from a van outside of the location.  “Disposable” cell phones have made things a lot easier for those who choose to violate state and federal laws by eavesdropping on conversations.

WalMart and even some convenience stores now sell cheap cell phones (as little as $20.00) with the ability to add minutes with a prepaid card.  Once the phone is active, it becomes a listening device.  Some phones can be set up to answer automatically without the user pressing an answer key.  This feature is norally used for those who use headsets and eliminates the need to fumble for the phone to answer it.

With the ringer volume turned down on the phone, when the person doing the bugging calls the cell phone it automatically answers and the caller can then monitor conversations.

October 2nd, 2010 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Florida Department Corrections, Parole and Probation services monitor folks who have been sentenced for a felony crime, and whose sentence includes probation.  The records maintained by the Probation Officer on that individual are, for the most part, public records.  There are certain documents, like the Pre-Sentence Investigation or addiction treatment information, that is exempt from disclosure to the public.

When I recently asked to look at a probationer’s file, I expected a few days of waiting while someone redacted from the file that information I wasn’t entitled to see. What I didn’t expect was for the supervisor of one of the Polk County offices to talk to me like I was one of those persons on supervision.

I made my request verbally last week to a supervisor who quizzed me about who I was, why I wanted to see the file, etc.  The public records law does not permit such an inquiry as a condition to reviewing public records. At the end of our conversation, I wasn’t clear if he was going to honor my request but he did say “I’ll get back with you”.  When he hadn’t done that by mid week, I called his office and was told he was out of the office. When I asked when I should call back I was told “Sir, we don’t release officer’s schedules”.  Actually, if I had walked into the office and asked for a copy of his schedule, it would be unlawful NOT to give it to me. It is, afterall, a public record.  But, my focus was on the file. Read the rest of this entry »

March 31st, 2010 | Public Records | Comments Off

The number 1 source of information for private investigators is (or at least should be) public records.

Florida  has one of the most liberal public records laws in the country, yet many investigators, lawyers, police officers, reporters and others who should be tapping into this source are completely missing the boat.  In fact,  they haven’t just missed the boat – the cruise ship is hosting a huge party for those who profit from public records and that group wasn’t invited.

The law in Florida is pretty simple. Essentially, it says that any document generated or received by a government agency with regard to agency business is a public record.  That includes documents, books, maps, audio tapes, video tapes, emails and other computer hosted data. The format is irrelevant.

The best guidebook for understanding Florida’s public records law is the Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual, available for free download from teh Florida Attorney General’s office from this link.

Sometimes getting records you’re entitled to can be a hassle.  But, armed with the information in the Sunshine Manual, you can get the records you need.

To read what one Polk County resident is doing with public records,  check out IAmTroubleMaker.com

February 12th, 2010 | Public Records | Comments Off

Is your cell phone bugged?  Is someone monitoring your conversations, reading your emails and text messages?

Over the years, I’ve had more clients tell me they had bugged their home telephone than I can count.  Even after I told them that they were breaking Florida law and committing a Felony, many would keep the recorder in place.  Their desire to “catch” their spouse doing whatever it was that they were interested in was more important to them than the risk of being caught.

Times have changed.  Today, cell phones are used much more than home telephone lines.  For years it caused real problems for those interested in bugging another person’s phone.   The target of their suspicion wasn’t using the home telephone and there was no way to bug a cell phone.

Cell phone bugging software has made things a lot easier – and scarier.  With programs like FlexiSPY, a program can be installed on a cell phone permitting another person to receive copies of text messages, call logs, emails, locations and even listen to your conversations.  It’s not hard to do.  A suspicious boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife can easily get access to a phone for a few minutes and install the program.   Once installed, your phone has become his/hers.

The only way to know for sure if you have spyware on your phone is to have it examined by a cellular forensics examiner.  Some kid at  a cell phone store is NOT the person to have check the phone for bugging software.

Here’s some signs that your phone may be bugged.  Read the rest of this entry »

January 25th, 2010 | Software | Comments Off

Google is giving away free telephone numbers and free phone calls, nationwide.   It’s a great way to make and receive phone calls without giving your REAL phone number out.  And, since the Caller ID display will show your Google phone number, the person will not have your true number.  You can sign up for your number at www.Google.com/voice.   The page indicates it’s only available now by “invitation” and a link is provided to sign up. I got mine right away, but others have had to wait until being notified their number is ready.

Once you receive your Google phone number, log into the account and enter the telephone number that you want incoming calls transferred to.  We’ll assume you want to direct incoming calls to your cell phone. When someone calls your Google phone number, your cell phone will ring and the caller will be none the wiser.  Their number will show on your Caller ID display, even though the call is coming in via your Google phone number.

If you return the call from your real phone, that number will show on the person’s Caller ID.  To have the Google phone number appear instead, you’ll have to call your Google phone number and place an outgoing call through the system.  Not quite as simple as dialing direct, but for a free service (and to make calls like James Bond) it’s worth the couple of extra steps.

The only downside to using this method to make “sneaky” phone calls is if you direct the incoming calls to go to your real cell phone.  If you do, then your regular voice mail greeting will be heard.  If you don’t mind the person knowing who you really are, but just don’t want to give your true number, then this is a good FREE solution.  If you’d rather have the return call go straight to the Google phone number voice mail system, you can customize the greeting to be whoever you want to be.  Many PI’s use a fictitious name for all pre-text phone calls and use that name in any communication where they do not want to disclose their real name.

If you do not forward calls to another phone number, voice mails left on your Google Voice voice mail system can be forwarded to you as an audio file via email, and the system can transcribe the voice mail into text and send it to your cell phone as a text message.

gDial Pro is a free application for Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre phones that allows you to make outgoing calls from your cell phone and have the Google Voice number appear as the originating number.  The application automates the process of logging in to make the call, and makes the process a little easier – and faster.

January 2nd, 2010 | Web sites | Comments Off

Did you ever wish when you were calling someone’s cell phone that the call would go straight to their voice mail?  Maybe you want to hear the voice mail greeting and figure out who the person is.  Or, you need to convey information but aren’t up to engaging in a long conversation.   Maybe you don’t want to run the risk of disturbing the person who may be in a meeting.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pick and choose which of your calls goes straight to  their voice mail?

A free service called Sly Dial allows you to do just that – call directly into the person’s voice mail to leave a message.  By calling 267 -SlyDial (267.759.3425),you can leave a message in their voice mail without the phone ever ringing.  There are a couple of limitations on the Sly Dial.  It will not work on “pay as you go” phones, and the message is limited to 90 seconds unless you sign up for the pay Sly Dial service.  And, you’ll have to listen to a short commercial before the call is completed.  The “new message” indicator will appear on the person’s phone and unless you tell them how you did it, they’ll just think they missed your call.

There are some phones that Sly Dial will not work on. For some reason, it thinks my daughter’s Sprint cell phone is a pre-paid, and the system says it can’t connect to pre-paid phones. But, it did work on other phones I called.

December 5th, 2009 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Probably the neatest telephone related  invention since cordless phone is Caller ID.  Customers were finally able to pick and choose which phone calls they decided to answer and which ones they’d let go to voice mail.

Some folks just won’t answer calls if they don’t recognize the number.  Before the days of the national Do Not Call directory, there were a LOT of people who let unrecognized numbers go to voice mail.

The problem for private investigators was getting the person to answer the phone.  PI’s didn’t want their cell phone number to show up on a subject’s telephone, and if they called from their office the company name would show on the subject’s call ID display.  Then along came Call ID Block so all information could be hidden but that frequently meant the recipient wouldn’t answer the call since it was obvious the caller was trying to hide his/her identify.

That has all changed now with Call ID spoofing services.   Companies like Spoofcard.com and Spooftel provide a service where the customer can change the information that shows on the recipients’ Call ID display on their telephone, so the caller can appear to be FedEx, John Doe, the recipient’s mother or anyone else the caller chooses.  The name and the number displayed on the recipient’s Call ID can be altered.

Once an account is established with a Call ID Spoofing company, here’s how the process works.

  • Log into your account and enter the number you are calling from
  • Enter the number you want to call
  • Enter the name and telephone number you want to show on the subject’s Call ID display
  • Click “Call Now”

The system will call you at the number you entered, then once connected you’ll hear the subject’s phone ringing.  When he/she looks at the Call ID display, your number won’t show but the name and number you entered will.

December 2nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

When someone is “missing” a good place to check is the county jail. The problem is which jail to check. Polk county is surrounded by Pasco, Sumter, Osceola, Orange, Lake, Highlands, Hardee and Manatee counties. A Polk county resident could be arrested just across the county line and end up in any one of those jails.

Of course, this missing person could get arrested in any of the other counties in the state as well. That’s where VINElink (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) comes in.

Here’s how VINElink describes their service: “Florida VINELink is an online resource that allows you to search for information regarding an offender in custody of the Florida Department of Corrections and any of the 62 participating Florida County Jails. This free, confidential service offers Floridians the ability to register and be notified, by Phone, E-Mail, or TTY, about changes in the custody status of inmates within Florida’s 62 participating County Jails and the Florida Department of Corrections.”

If you’re searching for Paxton Quigley and heard he was arrested, just enter his name and let VINElink search the 62 county jail population databases for you.  If you find him and want to be notified when he gets out of jail,  click on the magnifying glass icon beside the person’s name, enter the phone number or email address you want to use to be notified and you’re done!

You can search other states too.  North Dakota and Kansas do not participate, and only some counties in Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire and West Virginia are on-line.  But, statewide searching is available for the other 40 states.

November 30th, 2009 | Web sites | Comments Off