Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lust is in the air

Some investigative agencies report that their case-load of infidelity cases doubles on Valentine's Day. I don't know if this is media hype, or reality. I know that a number of media outlets contacted Sherlock Investigations prior to Valentine's Day and asked if our business increased on that day. Truthfully, it doesn't.

However, surveillance, as part of infidelity investigations, increases in the Spring. Love, or lust, seems to go hand-in-hand with Spring. The change of seasons, warmer weather and fewer clothes, and life bursting out of the ground and tree branches seems to trigger something in us.

So, with March here, Spring starts officially next month. With the arrival of Spring, our surveillance activities in New York City will increase accordingly. While I like having more business, it's always sad to me that there are so many bad relationships. When a relationship has soured so much that one of the partners requests surveillance, it signals the end of the relationship. But, I suppose, sometimes we just have to know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who's listening to your voice mail messages?

Most people don't that there are others who routinely check other people's voice mail. This is easily done. For example, when you buy a new answering machine it comes with a preset, easy to remember, security code. Very few people bother to change it. When they do, they enter something that's easy for them to remember, and for others to find out.

Even if you have voice mail through your telephone company, you'll likely pick a security code that you can easily remember.

So, imagine for a minute that someone listens to your voice mail. What personal or business secrets could they learn? What kind of messages do people typically leave for you. In some cases, it could get really embarrassing. It could cost businesses a lot of money, too.

One indication that your voice mail has been tampered with is the discovery of a non-working pass code when you try to call from another number to retrieve your messages. Another clue is that you believe that messages have been deleted. Maybe a friend tells you that they left a message, but there are no messages.

At Sherlock Investigations we have equipment to help our clients know when and who is listening to their voice mail messages. Our equipment works on both cell phones and landline phones. And the best thing is that we can set it up from our office. As far as we know, Sherlock Investigations is the only company performing this service.

Before the service is set up, we'll tell you how to preserve the evidence that unauthorized persons listened to your voicemail. You can use this to confront them, or for a legal case.

If you suspect that someone's been checking your messages, either on your cell phone or landline, don't call your phone company, because they won't help you, and your cell phone company could just mess things up so that we can't find the culprit. And don't change your pass code, because that, too, could mess things up.

These services, of course, are completely legal. Sherlock Investigations does not engage in any kind of electronic eavesdropping. Please do not ask.

Email us if you think you need this service.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Is it safe to shop on eBay?

Every day at Sherlock Investigations we receive numerous cries for help from people who were defrauded after shopping on eBay. Frankly, most of these people should have known better, and often admit it. Either they made a deal with the seller outside of eBay, or they didn't check out the seller's feedbacks.

The only problem with the feedbacks is that some sellers employ multiple email addresses and send in feedback praising themselves. One of the ways we check the feedbacks is through tracing the IP addresses.

Asking if it's safe to shop on eBay is liking asking if it's safe to shop in New York City. Generally, the answer is "yes." In New York there are thousands of legitimate places to shop. New York, like eBay, is known for it's shopping opportunities. Yet, like everywhere, one has to be careful. Anytime there's money changing hands, there are crooks plying their trade.

Let me add to my admonition, "Never spend more on eBay than you can afford to lose." If you're making a large purchase on eBay, such as an expensive guitar, watch, or motorcycle (all recent cases at Sherlock Investigations), insist to the seller that you go through a recognized broker such as www.escrow.com. The way it works is that you send the payment to the escrow company, and the escrow company pays the seller after you receive and approve of the merchandise you ordered. Be very careful because some savvy, crooked sellers set up their own escrow site. It often imitates the look of escrow.com. (You'll pay a small, reasonable fee to escrow.com).

I'm stating this as a true public service, because the more people who take these precautions, the less business we'll have. However, I'm confident that there are enough careless people out there throwing their money around to keep Sherlock Investigations in business helping them.