Monday, November 28, 2005

Worldwide Service at Sherlock Investigations

At Sherlock Investigations we have colleagues and reliable contacts in countries around the world. Whether you need an investigation conducted in Hong Kong, Israel, or South Africa, we can do it.

Recently, we set up surveillance on a target in Tanzania. This took quite a bit of effort as a private investigator was prepared to fly up from South Africa for the assignment. At the last minute (and before we received a retainer), the client pulled out.

Some countries, such as China, prohibit private investigation. That doesn't stop private eyes in China though, they just call themselves "consultants." Other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, don't allow surveillance. Still, there are private eyes there willing to take a chance and do it. However, their fees are very high.

In most countries out of the U.S., investigation fees are high. If you need service outside of the United States, expect to pay quite a bit more than you would for the same investigation here.

Whether you need to locate someone in a foreign country, need surveillance, or want to background someone or a company, Sherlock Investigations is at your service.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Get a FREE Spy Camera Detector

In recent years, video cameras have gotten so small that they're nearly impossible to find. With tiny pinhole lenses, they're hidden in clock radios, smoke detectors, paintings, plants, and other places that you would not imagine. It's becoming commonplace for perverted individuals to place hidden spy cameras in tanning booths, public restrooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms, and clothing store dressing rooms. Your personal security and privacy is at risk.

In performing "bug sweeps" for our clients we always look for hidden video cameras. If a camera is transmitting to a remote receiver, we have sophisticated equipment that can pick up the signal. However, if a hidden camera is hardwired, or not turned on at the moment we're looking for it, there is no broadcast signal to detect. In the past, this has been problematic.

Our Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) service is much in demand. We provide a thorough physical and electronic search of offices, homes, and vehicles, for hidden mikes, recorders, cameras, and transmitters. Until now, finding hidden spy cameras has been problmatic due to their size.

Then two engineers invented the SpyFinder hidden camera locator. Originally designed for a government agency, there is now the SpyFinder Personnal. You may have seen this advertised on the Internet for prices ranging up to $199.

I'm very dubious about gadgets and devices I see advertised on the Internet, especially if they're related to personal security. Bug detectors, for example, even if they're good, need practical experience or training to operate effectively.

At Sherlock Investigations we have our own assortment of pinhole and spy cameras. Some are hardwired, and some transmit a video signal. One is cleverly hidden in a clock radio, and is virtually undectable to the eye.

So, after reading about the technology on how the SpyFinder works, I ordered one. The technology is simple, yet ingenious. After the SpyFinder arrived, I tested it out in a variety of situations. It worked perfectly! And, it was simple to use. I now use it with confidence on all our TSCM jobs. I believe that anyone, following the instructions that come with the SpyFinder, can find hidden spy cams.

I was so excited about this that I wanted to make a special offer to our clients and readers of this blog. Through a special arrangement with the manufacturer, we are offering the SpyFinder Personal for $149.95, plus $5 for shipping and handling. (NY residents should add $12.93, or a total of $167.08, which includes S&H). Batteries are included.

"But," as they say on TV, "wait, there's more!" I believe so much in the SpyFinder's ability to find hidden cameras, that I want to make a very special offer. Order a SpyFinder hidden camera detector from Sherlock Investigations for $149.95, and have the chance to get your money back and keep the SpyFinder!

If you use the SpyFinder while visiting public restrooms, tanning booths, dressing rooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms, or anywhere else that hidden cameras are often found, and you detect a hidden camera, you're eligible for a complete refund from Sherlock Investigations.

What do you do if you find a hidden spy camera in a public place? Don't go to the manager, go to the local newspaper, TV station, or even the police. Expose the pervert who placed the camera! If you go to the manager, he might assure you that he'll take care of it. But he may have placed it there!

If you send us a police report, newspaper article or other news story telling about the hidden spy camera you located, we'll refund 100% of your money, including postage. That's all you need to do. Of course, keep the SpyFinder, because you'll want to continue to assure your personal privacy.

Contact us at:, or call us at 888-354-2174, or in New York City, 212-579-4302. You may pay for your SpyFinder by credit card, check, or money order.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Diamond's Aren't Forever

A distressed woman named Diane called me from Boston. She told me that she had recently inherited $20,000 worth of diamond jewelry from her late mother. Diane came home from work one day and found that the jewelry had disappeared, and so had her live-in boyfriend, Bernie.

After several phone calls, she learned that Bernie ran off with a woman named Alice. Diane called the Boston Police Department, which had her come in to fill out the requisite forms. Her case was assigned to a detective. After three months, the only break in the case was that some of the jewelry had shown up in Boston-area pawnshops. Still, the Boston PD had no lead as to the whereabouts of Bernie.

Frustrated, she sought outside help and found our investigative agency on the Internet. I took all the details over the phone and commenced the investigation.

Employing every technique in the book, I searched and searched for Bernie. I ran database searches, left messages with his friends and relatives, and even talked to his estranged mother in Miami. No one seemed to have any idea where Bernie was, and his own mother didn't even want to know.

While giving my client a telephone update it occurred to me that I didn't have a photo of Bernie. Missing persons photos do two things. Hanging on the wall over your desk they're a constant reminder of the task at hand. Then, there's an outside chance that you will see the person on the bus or in the drug store.

So Diane mailed me a photograph of Bernie, but warned me that it was eight or nine years old. He looked older now, she said.

Three months passed, and I hadn't gotten a single lead as to Bernie's location. He and Alice had disappeared without a clue. However, "give up" is not part of my vocabulary. Somehow I knew that I would find Bernie.

Meanwhile, I worked on my heavy caseload. One case involved surveillance in New York's Diamond District on 47th Street. One midmorning I took the #5 bus down Fifth Avenue and got off at 50th Street and walked south toward 47th Street.

Between 48th and 47th Streets I noticed a casually dressed couple sitting on the sidewalk with their backs against a building. A stack of battered luggage sat next to them. A small hand-written sign placed on the sidewalk read "HOMELESS." Next to it was an empty Starbucks cup with a greenback sticking out.

It occurred to me that the man resembled Bernie. "No," I said to myself, "I've been working too hard, it couldn't be Bernie from Boston." I walked on by, but the image of the two sitting there bothered me. I turned around and walked back to the couple and added a dollar to the cup.

"Thank you," the man said. The woman also said "Thank you."

"What's your name?" I asked the man.


"I'm Alice," the woman said.

As the adrenaline hit me, I mumbled, "Good luck," and stepped around the corner and called 911 on my cell phone. I explained that I was a private investigator and related some details of the case. A police car would arrive shortly, I was told.

I called Diane and gave her the exciting news. She was as ecstatic as I.

The cops arrived in ten minutes. After I identified myself and repeated the basic details the officers went over to the couple and asked the squatting man for identification. He claimed not to have any, but acknowledged that he was Bernie so-and-so, my target, as we say in the business.

They asked Bernie to stand, and then slapped cuffs on him. With an officer in the back seat with Bernie, and me and another officer in the front, we drove to the Midtown North precinct where they put Bernie in a lockup.

Detectives from the NYPD called the Boston PD and told them that they had Bernie in the lockup, and gave them 24 hours to come and get him.

To my astonishment, the Boston PD told the NYPD that they might as well let Bernie go, as they wouldn't come and get him. His crime didn't warrant a trip to New York City.

Bernie and I walked out of Midtown North together, parting ways when we hit the sidewalk. Then I dialed Diane on my cell phone to explain what had happened.

The next day I saw Bernie and Alice sitting on the sidewalk with an empty Starbucks cup. I guess diamonds aren't forever.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Net Detective

If Net Detective was worth $39.95, Sherlock Investigations would not be in business. Fortunately, people buy it, try all the free public record searches listed on it, and then call us.

Sherlock Investigations started before public access to the Internet was, at the most, minimal, and little used. Probably because no one knew how to use it, and there wasn't that much available in the early days of the Internet. As the power of the Internet grew, especially with access to databases and search engines, I wondered if we'd be able to stay in business. After all, we were private investigators, trained to dig up the facts, and the dirt, on anyone. What if anyone could do this and didn't need us?

Not to worry, I soon learned. Very few people actually know how to dig deep on the Internet. The lazy and gullible buy things like Net Detective, to learn about their neighbors, those they date, and to see what the FBI has on them (as if they're important enough to have an FBI file). And, you'll never find everything you're looking for on the Internet. Old-fashioned detective work is still necessary. So, the serious ones end up calling us.

I confess, I actually bought Net Detective once. After examining what it had to offer I really felt foolish. I applied for, and got, my money back.

One ad I saw for Net Detective (and there are many of them), claimed to be the original one. Maybe that's like the Original Ray's Pizza in New York City. All the Ray's Pizzas claim to be the original.

I think one can be a distributor of Net Detective. Maybe it's multi-level marketing like Amway. I haven't bothered to look into it. Anyway, the original Net Detective claims to be endorsed by the National Association of Independent Private Investigators. Who the hell are they?

It's my guess, but, again, I haven't taken the time to investigate it, that it could very well be a group started by Net Detective to endorse themselves. Sherlock Investigations belongs to some of the leading PI organizations in the world, and I've never heard of the National Association of Independent Private Investigators. Furthermore, none of the groups Sherlock Investigations belongs to endorse Net Detective.

Sherlock Investigations is associated with more than 2,500 private investigators worldwide. As far as I know, none of these men and women belong to the National Association of Independent Private Investigators.

So, if all you want to spend is $39.95 to investigate someone, go ahead and order Net Detective. Heck, I'll give you some free advice, worth much more than $39.95. Start your investigation with Google. Look at Google on the web, then Groups, Images, News, and then go to Here you'll find tens-of-thousands of free public records databases.

If you still can't find what you're looking for, email or call us at Sherlock Investigations. We'll be your detective on the Net.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Finding Osama Bin Laden

The reason Sherlock Investigations hasn't located Osama Bin Laden is that we haven't been hired to find him. Could we if we were hired to? Probably not.

The point is, given enough time and money, anyone can be located. If you hire us to find someone, you'll pay a flat rate of at least $395. Of course, if you just want a list of 500 names and addresses you could find a company on the Intenet to do it for fifty bucks.

You want a confirmed address, not just a list of names. Sometimes we can do this for you with a database search, but the addresses are often outdated. You don't want that. So, we do a lot of grunt work to find someone. That doesn't necessarily mean that we leave the office. No, we often let our fingers do the walking, as they say. We call people. Sometimes a lot of people.

I've said this before, but there's always someone who knows where the person is that you are looking for, and usually more than one person knows their whereabouts. The trick is finding that one person who knows where the target is.

When we have to, we go out on the street for you. We do what we have to do. We've located homeless people under bridges and on the street, people hiding out in the woods, and people hiding from the law. Sometimes it's not so complicated. You may have just lost touch with someone. We can find them for you.

Our staff works for you. We take every case personally. We want you to be happy with the results. Making you happy, makes us happy.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Second Guessing Us

Any ideas, suggestions, or other help we can get from our clients are always appreciated. We like to work in tandem with our clients. Oftentimes, a client holds back information, intentionally or unintentionally. Sometimes they don't know that information that they have could be very important in solving the case. It's better to have too much information than not enough. It's better to let the professional investigator decide what's not important.

At times, a client will criticize us for the way we approach a case. Confidentialality is very important to us. Going head-strong into a case will often blow it, making any ongoing efforts futile. At Sherlock Investigations, we've had many years of experience in all sorts of investigations, and know how to start and complete an investigation.

Usually, time is not critical, so it's better to let us go about solving a case methodically rather than rushing in haphazardly and messing everything up. Sometimes we get cases that were handled by another investigative agency that so botched-up everything that we have a difficult time developing the case any further.

In rush cases, we may charge more, because we have to put aside other cases we're working on to give all of our attention to the rush case. While we're not perfect, our goal is to please our clients. This is what we strive for.

Remember, what you see on TV isn't real. Most cases are not solved in the manner depicted, or in 22 to 44 minutes.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nigerians can scam YOU

A person I know recently received a Nigerian email promising a lot of money just for cashing some money orders. A bright person, she wrote back (the first mistake) that she knew all about the Nigerian scams, so don't waste her time.

The person wrote back to her insisting that his offer was legitimate, that he wasn't like the scammers you read about. He offered to prove it, and she bit (her second mistake).

He said that he needed to process a million dollars a year in United States Postal Service Money Orders, but he couldn't do it through his bank. He needed assistance in the U.S. To prove it, he said he'd mail her some money orders for her to cash, and then wire some money back through Western Union to a person he'd designate.

A few days later she received in her mail box six U.S. Postal Service Money Orders for $1000 each. He instructed her to cash them, send $5000 back to him, and keep $1000.

She took the money orders to her bank (her third mistake) where she had a checking account. The assistant manager inspected them, and gave her $6000 cash. Then she went to Western Union and sent $5000 to a person in London.

All was well for two weeks. Then the bank called to tell her that the money orders were counterfeit (and very good counterfeits at that), and that they had taken $6000 from her checking account.

Now the scammer is apologizing for getting her into trouble, and promises to make up for it. I can hardly wait to hear the next chapter in his elaborate scam. I just hope that she doesn't dig her hole deeper.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

eBay buying tips

At Sherlock Investigations we spend a lot of time buying things on eBay. The stuff we buy on eBay is counterfeit merchandise, and most of it comes from China. Our clients want to know who is selling this stuff so that they can shut them down for trade mark infringement. American companies lose billions of dollars a year because of counterfeit merchandise.

As frequent buyers on eBay, who then track down the real identities of the sellers, we know how hard it is to find out who you're really dealing with. We also get clients who send a lot of money to strangers for everything from Rolex watches to Harley Davidson motorcylces, never to receive their merchandise.

One guy thought that he was getting a terrific bargain on eBay when he saw a $10K Rolex watch listed for $1900. I hate to say it, because it's so old and tired, but still true: If it looks too good to be true... Lucky for him, we identified and found the seller.

In another case concerning a Harley, we got our client's $7500 back for a non-existent motorcycle he bought, but only after we had the seller arrested and jailed.

Here's my number one rule for buying on eBay: Never pay more for anything on eBay than you can afford to lose.

If you'd like to know more about counterfeit merchandise, visit the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition web site at

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Click Fraud

One of the most effective ways of advertising is to buy advertising on Google, Yahoo, or other search engines. We feel that Google is the most efficient as it has the most reach.

How this works is, say, you purchased a Harley on eBay. You sent the seller the money via Western Union, but you never received your motorcycle. Then, after going to eBay and not getting the results you want, you seek professional help. So, you Google "ebay fraud" and a little block ad comes up for Sherlock Investigations. You click on it and come to our web site. Perhaps, this is how you got to read this.

Every time someone clicks on our ad we pay Google a fee. The fee can range from ten cents to $6, depending upon a number of factors.

Click fraud is when a competitor keeps clicking on an ad, hoping to rack up a huge bill for it's competition, thus discouraging him from advertising. This is both unethical, and unwise.

While Google has safeguards in place to watch out for click fraud, sometimes abusers slip by. We also watch for click fraud while monitoring our web statistics daily. We can tell how someone found our site, what they looked at, and how long they stayed. We can also read everyone's IP address so that we know almost who they are. I say "almost," because individual identities or computers are not revealed. But it's close.

I said all that to say this. Yesterday, an individual using an AOL account, clicked on our ad 27 times. Google will reimburse us for the misuse of this system, and is launching an investigation as to who this particular person, or company, is.

I believe in karma. You reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. Sometimes it takes longer than you wish, but it eventually works.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Employment at Sherlock Investigations

Because Sherlock Investigations receives so many inquiries about working here, I posted a special section on our web site dealing only with jobs. I don't think it made the impression that I had hoped for, as we still get applications from people who have no specific skills.

First of all, if you really don't know a lot about private investigations, I strongly recommend that you go to and order former FBI agent Steven Kerry Brown's excellent book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Private Investigation. (Mr. Brown should give us a commission for all the people we send his way.)

The people we hire have unique specialties. For example, one member of our surveillance team is a professional photographer and filmmaker. We can always count on him getting the money shot. (His identity will remain anonymous.)

Another investigator, Ruby Moore, specializes in locating people. She got into this almost by accident over a family matter. Soon, she was locating people for family and friends. When Ruby came to Sherlock Investigations, she was a seasoned veteran.

Rian Mitchell has played with computers since he was a kid. He's an Internet and email pioneer. He know computers and communications inside and out. Rian can trace email, hunt down fraudulent sellers on eBay, locate cyberstalkers, and provide electronic security. And, as they say on TV, "But wait, there's more...!" (For another time.)

Other members of our staff have the ability to convince people to tell them things. There is always someone who knows the information a client seeks. The trick is finding that person, and then getting them to tell.

Librarians and researchers have become excellent private investigators. Being able to track down information, whether on a business or a person, is invaluable in this business.

Many private investigators are ex-police officers, but the only area that we use ex-police officers in is surveillance. This is because we can handle the few criminal cases we have, even though ex-detectives are good at this. And, ex-cops lose much of their power when they leave the job...they surrender their badge and gun. As private investigators, we can't knock on a door and flash a badge through the peep hole. Ex-cops, though, have a lot of street smarts and often excel in surveillance jobs.

Our investigators come with specific skills from different fields other than law enforcement. When they came to us, they convinced us that they could do the job by showing us what they could do.

Now, one thing you can do if you want to get into this business is to see how much information you can get on yourself. Go on the Internet, to the phone company, the utility company, your high school and college. The more hard-to-find information you can get, the better. (Of course, you already know this information. The trick is to get other people to tell you the information as if you don't know it.) Then, with their permission, do the same thing on a friend.

The bottom line is, if you want to get into private investigations, hone a specific skill. Be a specialist and not a generalist.