,

We do Surveillance Videos!

We love surveillance videos and new toys! And just last year we started to use a camera that allows us to capture video (or pictures) from a great distance. This type of equipment is much the same as used by police departments around the country. With this device, our team can get close up, clear, steady video and images. This is exactly what you need to help win your case.

 

 

Having equipment like this gives us the upper hand to get the best quality evidence for our clients. Just another reason you want to use Alpha Investigative Group for your investigations.

 

Share This:

ASA NSA

NSA – A look back in time.

It seems that just about everyday we hear about “the NSA”. It’s in the NEWS, on TV, everywhere!

But few people actually know much about it, or what it does…

Even the name is confusing to some people. I have heard people say it was a water filter company. Or that it was a part of the CIA. Back in the 70’s and 80’s people who “knew” about the NSA used to refer to it as “NSA – No Such Agency”.

In short, what the NSA really does is act as a collection point for sorting out all kinds of information and intelligence. They has hundreds of annalists sort through tons of information and make up reports. These reports are used to make decisions concerning National Security.

I used to work at a government facility in the 1970’s and 80’s that collected Signals Intelligence, or SIGINIT, and passed it along to NSA. This facility was located in southern Germany, just outside of Augsburg.

ASA NSA

From the outside, it looked very much like a factory except for the very large “round thing” behind it commonly called the elephant cage by those who worked there.  In fact, it was a very complex set on antennas that could be tuned in at just about any frequency, and any direction 360 degrees.

There were several of these facilities located around the world and they were all connected in different ways to support the men and women who works around the clock listening in on all sorts of radio signals.

This one place alone, provided NSA with thousands of pages of data every hour. Today, it’s all different. The internet is the big target of NSA. And rightfully so as so much information is passed over it. And next to that is Cellular Services. All this presents a big challenge for NSA to stay on top of it all to keep us safe and sound.

Often I hear people say that they don’t want NSA listening in on their phone calls or reading their emails. That makes me laugh. If they only knew what is really going on inside the NSA, they would freak out. As someone who listened in on thousands of transmissions, I can honestly say that the NSA could care less about what you say to grandmother or what your TXT to your sweetheart. The NSA is watching key targets and developing targets that really do matter to National Security. And you should be glad they do what they do, because it’s what keeps you safe at night.

Share This:

Who’s dumping waste?

This was an interesting case that we were happy to take on. It was suspected that a septic tank company was dumping their waste trucks in illegal locations at the end of the day, so Alpha Agency investigators were hired to follow them and obtain video of their activities. Because we did not have any clue of where they would be going, we used the help of a GPS unit to track their movement. Doing this saved hundreds of dollars in surveillance costs for our client.

 

Towards the end of the day, we would be able to close in on the vehicle by looking at the live GPS tracking on one of our vehicle mounted computers. Our investigator could quickly move in close enough to be able to get photographic evidence of them emptying the truck.

Proper disposal is well regulated by the county and state to prevent pollution. The last thing anyone wants is waste being dumped where it could run into streams and lakes.

Our investigation lasted nearly three weeks and sure enough, one day we saw the vehicle pull into an old road that led out into a wooded area about a mile past a vacant mobile home and dump hundreds of gallons of raw sewage into a small pond.

Our investigator obtained video and photographs identifying the driver and the vehicle complete with tag number. This information was quickly turned over to the State and County for prosecution. The result was a hefty fine and an order to clean up the dumping sites. A few months later the company went out of business and the owner moved away from Florida.

Our client had just a bad feeling that this was going on and decided to hire us to prove if it were true. What we decided to do was work the case to help him and we only charged him a fraction of the normal cost because we thought it was a nice gesture on his part and we wanted to help out.

Share This:

When police can’t help.

Private investigators are often called on when the police can’t help or more research needs to be done, and they’re no stranger to frantic phone calls from individuals who are being stalked, harassed, and frightened by unknown individuals. One of the founders of Bosco Legal Services recently had a scare that hit close to home, when a threatening phone call disrupted his family. This gave the company first hand insight into exactly how valuable a private investigator’s services are for safety and piece of mind.

It was just an average morning. Jeremiah Jones’ (one of the co-founders of Bosco Legal Services) wife was driving the couple’s oldest daughter to school when they received a disturbing phone call. The man on the other line called her by name and told her he was going to come into her bedroom, then into their eldest daughter’s room, and then into their middle daughter’s room, referencing each of them by name.

Jones’ wife immediately hung up the phone and tried to call her husband, who wasn’t available. She turned around and drove home to make sure everything and everyone was okay, and arrived distraught and frazzled, understandably so. The police were called, took down notes, and tried calling the number, but that was all they could do.

“The man on the other line called her by name and told her he was going to come into her bedroom, then into their eldest daughter’s room, and then into their middle daughter’s room, referencing each of them by name.”

“When he left, we didn’t have any warm and fuzzy feelings that the sheriff’s department was going to do anything else for us,” Jones wrote in a blog post about the experience. “It dawned on me at that point, that if like most people I had to wait for the police to investigate what happened, I may never have closure. Although this was a very real and scary situation for my family, with the limited resources that the police have and since no one was physically hurt, this was not high on their priority list.” Jones said that his children were terrified, frightened of being in the house but too scared to leave. Jones says that this gave him a new perspective of what many of his clients are experiencing, and decided to use the resources he had to move forward with the case.

“Fortunately, by nature of my profession, I was able to get a hold of the head of our investigations department, who also happens to be my very protective brother, and I had him start the process of figuring out who had called and threatened my family,” Jones wrote. The initial searches revealed a phone number that belonged to an individual they had never heard of, and most of the information was several months old, as it often is. Jones wasn’t certain the information was accurate.

So, Jones’ brother went a different route, reaching out to a source that had access to real time phone information. That source was able to reveal not only that this phone number had been activated only two days earlier, but also the name and address of the registered owner.

Surprisingly, Jones recognized the name. The phone number was registered to someone who the family knew well. While this would generally seem alarming, fortunately it turned out to be a prank gone too far. “It turns out the call came from a teenager that had simply gotten carried away with a prank phone call and it was nothing too serious,” Jones said. “The perpetrator was dealt with in an appropriate manner, but thankfully nobody was ever in any real danger.”

But what if Jones wasn’t a private investigator? What if his only option had been to rely on the police, and deal with an ongoing sense of danger? How far would the prank have gone? Would there have been more phone calls?

Alpha Agency Blog

In using his resources as a private investigator, they had the case solved and resolved withing 90 minutes of the original call, giving the family peace of mind.

“If we had not used a private investigator to help us figure out who it was however, my family would have been in fear for days, weeks, or maybe even months,” Jones said. “As I have reflected on this event over and over in my mind, it gave me a new appreciation for what it is that we do for our clients on a daily basis and the effort that ours investigators make. When your family is in the middle of a difficult situation like this, you simply can’t put a price tag on having peace of mind and resolution.”

We couldn’t agree more. If you or someone you know is caught in a situation like this, always report it to law enforcement, then give our agency a call. We will most likely be able to help you.

Share This:

What is Social Discovery?

For investigative purposes the term social discovery is defined as the process of discovering information about people, places or things from other people via social networking.

It’s a collaborative process that takes advantage of current social technologies.  Today social discovery is mainly conducted via social networking and social data technologies. Through these social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, and Yelp, social discovery is possible!

 

Innovation with this relatively new technology began in the late 1990’s – just a handful of years after the Internet was first being available to the masses. While it took 10+ years for the social discovery sites to mature, they are still at the infancy stages. Social discovery has changed the landscape of many investigations and how we discover information.

Alpha Agency is in the front lines when it comes to using new technology to assist in our professional investigations. As part of our Internet Profiling searches, it can help in may ways. Such as in locating where someone is. This new data will allow us to focus on a smaller search area and physically confirm their whereabouts.  We often use this method to locate people when other more common search methods fail. Contact the Alpha Agency for more information.

Share This:

Back to school…

Several times a year, Private Investigators get to go back to school and keep up with their education.

This weekend was my turn as I attended the 2016 Florida Association on Licensed Investigators (FALI) Conference held in Tampa. One of the courses was an eight hours devoted on how to conduct interviews.

Alpha Agency back in school.

Learning about Forensic Interview techniques.

This is a common need for legal support work. We learned all about the proper way to do this, and how to get as much out of the interview as possible. Also, we were taught that if the interviewer does not do a good job, it could really hurt the case when it gets to court. So, knowing all about the interview process is a very important skill to have tucked away in your tool box.

There is a lot more to doing this than what you would think, and it is such an important part of what we do. It was a very long time to sit on such hard seats in a cold room, but when it was all done, I would say that it was well worth it all. This instruction will last a long time and I am sure I will be reviewing the textbook over and over again.

 

Share This:

But I called the police!

We hear this a lot!  “We called the police, but nothing happened…” We recently had a case where a client said that a neighbor was harassing them at home about once a week, by doing things to torment them. Such as leave a toy gun on the front steps, or tip over a potted plant. It has been going one for a few months and was well documented.

Each time it happened, my client would call the local police department. The police didn’t help much and said there was nothing they could do. Sure, they went and talked to the person, but they denied it.

We decided to help out. What we did was install a hidden camera (we are pretty good at that!) at her front entrance way, and set up a motion activated recorder inside. After a month, we got a hit on the video. When we looked at it, we saw exactly what the client said was happening in the past. Same time of day, same person, same activity. The video was copied to a CD and the police were called. The same officer as in the past came by, and watched the recording.

His comment after watching it was that seeing this happen exactly as in the past validated all the other occurrences. So he went and spoke to the person who was doing this one more time. He told them that they were “observed” doing this… and of course they denied it again. But this time he wrote them a warning and said if it happens again, they would be arrested.

The harassment stopped. We continued to monitor for several more weeks, just to make sure.

This is a classic example how we can assist our clients and get results. We produced evidence that law enforcement couldn’t ignore. If you have a problem like this give us a call.

Share This:

The big question… “How much do your services cost?”

This is the most common question that we get. And when it happens, I love to answer it. Let’s face it, most people don’t call a Private Investigator everyday, so they are not familiar about our business, what we do, the services we offer, or the cost. Just know that all of this is okay… Relax, and ask questions – we are always willing to talk to you.

I will go over a few of the common questions we get here, and hopefully, this will enlighten you a little before you call us. Remember, we are just normal people too.

Hands down, our most common question really is “How much to you charge?”

The short answer is… “Depends”. The Alpha Agency offers a wide range of services to our clients and each one has a different cost involved. As an example, if you want a “Background Check” on someone. You call up and ask how much does it cost. Well, background checks can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars up to three or four thousand dollars. Yikes! Well it all depends on how deep you want to go. You may want one on one interviews with neighbors or co-workers. You may want to dig deep into their personal life, or track down marriage records.  The subject may have lived in a lot of locations or lived out of the country. All of these will make a difference in the over all costs.

Here is the best way to get an answer to the “How much does it costs” question…  When you contact the Alpha Agency to inquire about services, we would like to know a little detail about what your situation is. What’s going on that made you pick up the phone and call us? Once we know a little about your case, we can suggest a service and give you a precise cost. We never charge you for a consultation. It is always confidential. In fact, anything we discuss with you is protected by law.

Wanting to know what our services cost is a common question, and don’t be afraid to ask us. We look forward to talking to you for several minutes so we can determine what we can do to help you best. Thats what this business is really all about – helping our clients.

Share This:

Background Checks – What are employers looking for?

In the real world, no one cares one bit about what websites you’ve visited, what you’ve purchased on Amazon, and what you write on your anonymous blog about your children, your post-nasal drip, and your annoying neighbor.

They do care about your judgment, your public image, and your felonies. What a recruiter is likely to do is run a google search on your name. If pictures of you smoking questionable substances (or heck, in some companies, smoking legal substances) show up, that’s a problem. If your blog about how awful your current/last boss was pops up, that’s a problem too.

What do companies look for in background checks? It will vary greatly from company to company and State to State. Be sure to check your states laws concerning this. Most companies will look for the following…

Education verification (so don’t lie about that degree, even if you’re only 3 credits short)

Credit history (in relevant jobs, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn’t really like credit checks, so many companies don’t use this tool)

Employment verification (did you really work at the companies you said you worked for, do your titles match what your resume says, and how long did you work there)

Criminal history (yes, that DUI will show up),

Certification/licensing verification (again, don’t lie, and make sure they are up to date)

Driving record (if the job involves driving)

Most likely you’ll also have to do a drug test and some companies require a physical exam. (This isn’t an intensive exam, more of a “let’s see if you have any problems to begin with” exam, so you can’t sue us for problems you had before you started working here. For jobs that involve physical activity, these can be more important tools.)

The recruiter and hiring manager will most likely run your name through Google, so do that before you start applying for jobs and see what pops up. If you have a common name, they may or may not wade through the junk to figure out what is about you. If there is someone with your name who does bad things on theinternet, you may wish to explain that this is not you. What you don’t wanted do is include non work related blogsor Twitter accounts on your resume or cover letter. Yes, you may be proud of your writing, but if it’s not related to your career, it’s more likely to do damage than help.

Now, keep in mind that when companies do internet searches on candidates in addition to the official background check, what they are really looking for is evidence of good judgment, or rather lack of evidence of bad judgment.

At the Alpha Agency, we normally customize a background check for an employer based on exactly what they need to look into. Then we work with their human resource department and help implement this into their hiring policy. That way, they a good, cost effective program that fits their needs.

Remember, the internet is forever, but if you have something up that really could be damaging to your career, you may wish to take it down and ask yourself, “Why am I putting things on the internet that I don’t wish the world to know?” Remember, the internet is not private. It is very public. VERY.

Share This:

Tips about Drug Overdoses

Overdose Symptoms:
Overdose symptoms can vary depending on the physical condition of the user and the overall chemical makeup of the drug that is used how often the drug is used and the amount. Some of the general symptoms users my exhibit are disorientation, delirium, blue lips and fingernails, cold and clammy skin, muscle spasms, discolored tongue and dry mouth, severe stomach cramps, and seizures. It is also important to note that subjects can overdose on heroin regardless of method they use to ingest it such as “snorting” or “injection.” The increase in heroin use is likely due to legislation, public awareness, and law enforcement interdiction on “pill mill’ pain clinics.
Common Signs To Look For That Someone Is Using Heroin:
Some Common signs that might be present when someone is using heroin or other narcotics are shortness of breath, dry mouth, small pupils, and sudden changes in behavior or actions, and disorientation. They could also exhibit periods of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off, as well as having a droopy appearance, as if person’s extremities are heavy. Other signs of heroin or other narcotics abuse include possession of paraphernalia used to prepare, inject or consume heroin such as needles or syringes not used for other medical purposes, burned silver spoons, aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks, straws with burn marks, small plastic bags with a powdery residue. The powdery residue may vary in color from white to tan to dark brown. In some instances it could also be a black tar like substance that contains heroin. If a citizen finds any of these items they should call 911 and have an Officer respond to properly secure these items. Some of definitive physical signs of heroin abuse are weight loss, runny nose (not explained by other illnesses), needle “track marks” visible on arms, infections or abscesses at injection sites, cuts, and bruises or scabs caused from skin picking.
Heroin Overdose Myths:
There are also a number of myths about how to treat someone suffering from a heroin overdose. Some of the myths include giving the effected person something to eat or drink or put them in the shower. Other common myths are giving the person an “upper” such as cocaine or speed, inducing vomiting or injecting them with water or milk. None of these help, in fact, they can actually make the situation make the situation worse. Your first response, if you suspect someone suffering from an overdose is to call 911. It is also a myth that the “cut” or purity of the heroin used is the only cause. The body can react poorly to heroin regardless of the purity.

Share This: