The short answer? No. Bank records are classified as private information, and banks are only allowed to disclose such information after receiving a court order, warrant, subpoena or customer’s consent. So private investigator is not legally allowed to obtain it or even to take a peek. But one of the most popular reasons people hire private detectives is to search for hidden assets. If you’re wondering how they’re able to successfully uncover hidden assets without breaking the law, keep reading.
If you come across any PI offering unprecedented access to the private information of another citizen, they’re most likely trying to scam you, or they’re using illegal means to obtain such information. Some of the ways private detectives get access to private data include:
– Pretext, or getting your consent under false pretense. If a PI impersonates you, either via email or phone call to your bank and obtains your information, that’s a false pretense with a federal charge on it. They could also deceive you the owner of the account into disclosing your information, that’s also false pretense, and they can be charged for it.
– Inside sources. Probably the easiest way to access a person’s bank records is if the private investigator knows someone working at the bank they’re targeting. Accessing the information is still illegal, but the PI can only be charged if usage of the information discovered is disclosed and presented as evidence.
– Hacking into the target’s email and trash to check for bank mails that may have been sent and thrown away is illegal.
Considering all the road blocks, it may seem like asking a private detective to find hidden asset is a waste of money, but they’ve been pretty successful in the past. Here’s how.
How Private Investigators Find Hidden Assets.
It’s by doing their due diligence. Contrary to pop culture, PI’s don’t just walk about in trench coats and hats. They spend the bulk of their time doing research and swifting through public records. PI’s, especially those belonging to associations, are often privy to an extensive database of information, that though is public, can be difficult for the average person to put together. Here are some ways PI’s uncover hidden assets.
– Find links of their target to certain previously undisclosed accounts. It’s a lot of work to go through, but it is possible to connect connect accounts of an individual, especially if you’re able to find public taxation filings, property filings and other related information. Some people even open accounts in the name of their family members, and it’s the job of the PI to find how they’re linked to the account. Note that linking an account can be legal, if the information is found in public directory.
– Surveillance of the target. Have someone tail the target until they go to the location of a previously undisclosed asset.
– Cross reference addresses, names, locations and other public information – including their publicly available online activity – to see it yields anything. If a target checks into certain locations and makes it public, that information is fair game to the private investigator.
Bottom line? Even though there are tons of legal red tapes that prevent PIs from legally obtaining bank records, finding hidden assets just takes sheer research skills, and diligence.