Companies that deceive consumers often don’t act alone. Pull back the curtain and you may find behind-the-scenes businesses that lend a hand. The FTC alleges that Atlanta-based First Data Merchant Services and its former vice president, Chi “Vincent” Ko, engaged in conduct that helped scammers rake in megabucks at consumers’ expense. The $40.2 million total proposed settlement should warn other companies of the hazards of looking the other way when fraud stares you in the face.
Learn more about this Houston private investigator’s company and their corporate services.
Houston private investigator Rob Kimmons is adding branches and personnel to provide more Texas private investigator services around the state. This Houston private investigation firm has been in business for many years, and has been involved in many high profile cases nationally, and particularly in Texas. Here’s an excerpt from one chapter in Rob’s book about the case of disappearing legislators in Texas in 2003:
Back in May 2003, there was a redistricting plan scheduled for a vote in the Texas legislature, and it resulted in the mass disappearance of fifty-three Democrat legislators.
It was a major story in Texas and went national, with some antics and possibly shady goings-on as well. I’m going to give you some information and quotes here from various online and news sources that I cannot verify as accurate. What I can verify is how these missing legislators were actually located through my firm’s involvement.
The proposed redistricting plan would have resulted in more Republican seats in the legislature, something the Democrats definitely didn’t want. There weren’t enough Democrats to keep the plan from passing, but there were enough to keep it from coming to a vote. The story hit the news nationally when fifty-three Democrats went missing, depriving the Republicans of the quorum they needed to bring the issue to a vote.
They say everything’s big in Texas, and a bunch of missing Democrats and the story were a big deal at the time. Republicans put Democrat lawmakers’ pictures on milk cartons and decks of playing cards. It was like they were seeking terrorists or lawbreakers.
Under the Texas Constitution, a majority of members can vote to compel the presence of enough members to reach a quorum. The Republicans immediately did so, and they sought out law enforcement to help them to find the missing legislators.
The Texas Department of Public Safety’s website even issued an Amber Alert-type of notice to citizens to assist in locating the Democrats so they could be rounded up and returned for a vote. The legislators’ names were posted and a toll-free phone number created for reports of their whereabouts.
You can get a free pdf copy of this book at the link above to see how that case turned out. This Houston private investigator intends to continue serving Texas and the nation well into the future.
This Houston private investigator says that one thing can be said about most professions: There are ethical professionals and there are bad apples who reflect poorly on everyone. The PI business is particularly attractive to some people who see it as glamorous and with low barriers to entry.
I personally believe that blatant liars and unethical, incompetent investigators make up a noticeable percentage of the PI business. That’s a bold statement, but I’ve bumped into far too many in our business who prove my point. I love the PI business, and I despise those who discredit our work through misconduct or criminal activity.
A story that I tell in some of these speaking engagements. It’s important in this book, as I believe many would-be PIs will be readers.
Houston Private Investigator Says Investigate Your Investigator
It doesn’t have to be a difficult thing. Most states require licensing for investigators. Check to be sure the investigator you want to hire has an active license. Request his/her complaint and disciplinary history from the licensing authority.
Make an appointment and go to the PI’s office. Is it a professional office space? Does the business have the tools of the trade? How long has the investigator been in business? Ask about background and experience. Does someone there have past law enforcement experience? That’s a plus from a knowledge perspective but also for valuable contacts.
If you have the time and want to be even more certain you’re hiring the right investigator, check the public records for past lawsuits, criminal convictions, or actions against them. Does the investigator or staff have experience in the type of investigative services you need? If all they’ve done is divorce surveillance, they may not be a good choice for complex litigation.
Clients shouldn’t be hiring an investigator based on a high profile or their personality. My business is mostly about collecting facts. Facts are facts, and they do not need enhancement or fabrication, or at least they shouldn’t. My business is also pretty much one of routine rather than excitement. Sifting through public records is a boring but important part of the job. Spending long days in surveillance to get that one or two hours of useful information or a few photos is common.
It’s also a business of technological surveillance and research. A professional investigator needs the tools of the trade. From investigative databases to covert and overt photography and surveillance equipment, it’s an expensive business if you do it right.
This Houston private investigator can’t stress strongly enough that you must investigate your investigator.
Small businesses and nonprofits should never be on the receiving end of another company’s deceptive practices. An FTC action challenges the methods of companies that allegedly pitch offers for “no risk” business publications and then follow up with hefty bills for unauthorized orders. But it doesn’t stop there. The FTC says if a business refuses to knuckle under to payment demands, the defendants turn the account over to a debt collector, whom the FTC also has sued. Notably, the defendants have received warnings about their practices for years.