FTC: Consumer Privacy Comments Concerning Alaska Shield--P974806
JUNE 24, 1997
Secretary, Federal Trade Commission
RE:Support of Self Regulation
The data that we access and use for our clients has a beneficial use in todays society. Our industry is very aware of case sensitive data. I have been an investigator for 15 years and never once, have I used the data I have access to for unscrupulous business.
Our industry is willing and able to police our own ranks.
I am enclosing a manual that I have written help curb domestic violence. This is just one good use of data banks.
WHO IS SHE?
Written by Marti Bradley
The Proceeds from
Those are the statistics and they are getting worse.
This booklet is my contribution in the fight against domestic violence. As an investigator, I receive many inquiries about finding the truth about a person. Yes, usually these requests are from women, curious and worried if the new love of their life is being truthful. But in fact, men should be wary also. This manual may sound cold and untrusting, but violence is the leading cause of injuries to women between the ages of 15-44. And though we don't hear a lot about it, I think there are lots of battered men out there too. In a time where violence seems to have become the norm, we should all take a closer look at our relationships.
This is not a manual for "Golddiggers or Gigolos". This is not a guide for cataloging assets; this is a way to find if your "love " is being totally honest, if you have any doubts. I am not suggesting that you should "check out" everyone you date. But if you are going to enter into a serious relationship, make sure it will be a safe relationship.
Before you get intimately involved with a person, you should spend a great deal of time in conversation with them. I suppose it is a bit old-fashioned to follow the 20 hour rule: that is, 20 hours of meaningful conversation before sex. However, it is nice to know there is more to your relationship than passion.
You should not be shy when discussing different subjects. When discussing past relationships, ask why they failed. Dont feel you have to be polite and not pry. You have a right to know. All of these subjects can be volatile. Incompatibility and disagreements can lead to loss of temper and violence. Here is a brief list of some of the topics you should talk about in depth:
A persons attitude toward money is crucial, because money touches all aspects of life. A Scrooge will not be happy with a spendthrift, and statistics say that money is the number one cause of arguments.
Ambitions and Aversions
Are their ambitions compatible to yours? What do they really dislike? Can you live with their aversions? Can they live with yours? Will they support your ambitions?
What religion are they. How strong are their religious beliefs? Are their beliefs compatible to your beliefsor at least, can you tolerate each other's beliefs.
How many serious relationships have they had? And why did they not succeed? If there were numerous relationships and they all failed for the same reason, beware. And beware of the person who always blames the failure on their mate.
Did they have a happy childhood? Were they abused? Did either of their parents abuse the other parent? They say spouse and child abusers usually come from a family that was abusive.
Attitudes toward opposite sex
Are your lifestyles compatible? Are you career orientated and he wants a "Suzy Homemaker? Or do you want to be a submissive mate and he wants a mommy? On the other hand, do you want a woman who "pulls her own weight" and she wants you to assume all responsibility? Do they constantly "bad mouth" the opposite sex?
Do you agree on how children should be raised?
If politics are important, do you have similar views? Its very difficult for a Conservative and a Liberal to communicate quietly.
Alcohol and drugs
Do they drink or use drugs more than you think they should? Do they have a definite personality change when using alcohol or drugs? Do they get jolly, or mean when they drink too much?
How important is sex in your relationship? Are your sex drives compatible? What will their reaction be when you aren't in the mood and say "no"? And how will you feel if you are rejected?
Ask if a person has ever been in jail. If so, why? Was it for stealing watermelons as a kid, or was it from beating up their mate? No one has a perfect past; beware of the people who say they have never done anything wrong.
During this time of communication, it is normal for people to embellish the truth.
It is perfectly normal to only reveal the good highlights of ones life. If a person you just met came right out and told you he or she just got out of jail on an assault charge, it might tend to scare you off. However, if their stories are far-fetched or always changingbeware.
If you have any doubts about what the truth may be; before your heart takes control of the relationship, let your head do some basic investigation work. Check out the truth of these stories, the assets, the criminal history. Just as important as "safe sex" is a "safe relationship. " Dont blindly become a victim.
If all this investigation is a bit overwhelming to you, there are agencies that can do this for you for a fee. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind before you give away your heart. And if it is a business relationship; before you give your money away.
ARE THEY REALLY SINGLE?
A police office recently told me that he was dispatched to a home to investigate a domestic violence problem. A woman had dropped by to visit her boyfriend of two years who said he was divorced; only to find that his wife and children had moved up from Outside. His wife answered the door, both women were shocked.
He says he is divorced. But is he? She says her marriage was never formalized. Was it? If there is any doubt in your mind, find the truth. In your conversation, casually ask where they lived when they were married. Ask if they had an amicable divorce, or was it a nasty one. Who filed for the divorce and where? All of this can be interjected into a conversation without seeming to interrogate. Here is an example of how you can bring up the subject; but be sure to structure your conversations to suit your own style.
Yeah, I'm divorced, too". Start the conversation. "When did you get divorced, Mary?
In 1989, Mary volunteers.
Where did you and Johnthat is your exs name isnt itI remembered right didnt Iand your children live?
"We lived in Pendleton, Oregon," Mary replies.
Thats nice country, I drove through there once. Dont they have a big rodeo there?
Yes they do, The Pendleton Roundup, says Mary.
"Why did you get a divorce? Things just didnt work out?" you ask sympathetically.
I didn't get the divorce. John left me and filed for a divorce.
No says Mary. John had moved to The Dalles with his new girlfriend.
Is that in Oregon too?
Yes, it is.
Now you know when and where the divorce was supposed to be filed. You look in an Atlas or at a map and find what county or borough The Dalles is in and what the county/borough seat is. You can call Telephone Information in the county seat and ask for the phone number and address of the court house.
If information doesn't have the address, then call the court house direct and ask for it. I have found that it is better to write for information than to try to request it over the phone.
Please send a copy of the divorce or dissolution file between Mary Doe and John Doe. This case was filed in 1989. I am sorry but I do not have a case number. Enclosed is a money order (or certified check for $20.00. If this is not enough money, or you need more information, please contact me.
Now, you have to have patience. It will take a week or two to get the copies. But this file is a wealth of information. His complaint will tell why the divorce happenedwhether it was just irreconcilable differences, or if there was a more pressing problem, like allegations of spouse or child abuse. The file should contain a list of all the assets the couple owned, and how they were divided, as well as how were the debts divided and who pays what? It will tell who has custody of the children, the visitation schedule, alimony, if any, and child support amounts. It will also have a decree of divorce in it which tells exactly when the divorce was final. Also, there should be mention of any restraining orders, that were issued, if any.
If you get your money back and a note from the court stating they have no divorce on file, you should rephrase your questioning and try again to interview your partner. If you get totally different answers this time, beware.
Remember--be casual, when inquiring. Don't act like a cop interrogating a suspect.
I once had a client who requested that I obtain the death certificate of her friend's spouse. She stated that when she first met her friend he said his wife had died of cancer. Some time later, in conversation he said she had died of a heart attack. The warning flag went up.
In truth, the death certificate said she had died of trauma from unknown causes. A call to the police department in the town where she died revealed that the case was still open and my client's friend was still a suspect in his wifes death.
Death records can sometimes be hard to obtain. If you know where a person died and when, you can write to the state department of vital statistics and request a copy of the death certificate. Try the Probate court office. If it has a file on the deceased, it should contain a copy of the death certificate, the will and a list of the heirs. In Alaska, the probate offices are in the court house. In other states, write the courthouse in the county seat where the deceased died and ask them how and where to get a copy of the file.
CARS, TRUCKS, &, TOYS
Appearances are very important to many people. They think driving an expensive car will make others think they are successful. But anybody can drive a car that is financed to the hilt. A Ford or Chevy that is paid for, or at least has a reasonable payment says more about a person than a Lexus, Lincoln Towncar or Cadillac that they cant afford. A person who goes in debt to maintain appearances usually has many financial woes.
Jot down the license number of the vehicle and go to the nearest Department of Motor vehicle office. The Dowling Road office in Anchorage and the Fairbanks office have computers you can use. You just key in the license number and it will tell you the year of the car and the lienholder, if there is one. While you are there, key in the name of the person and it will tell you all of the vehicles that are or have been titled in their name.
Remember to look under as many variations of their name as you can.
John Z. Doe
John and Mary Doe
Mary Z. Doe
and so forth
For snowmachines, boats, and other expensive toys, there is usually a financial statement filed with the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) office if there is a lien. This again is public information and you can contact the nearest UCC office and get the information. In Alaska, this is listed under State offices in the blue pages of the telephone book.
A gentleman, not too long ago, told me what a killing he had made on a particular piece of real estate. I listened intently, stifling a laugh. The property he was referring to was owned by one of my friends and I knew my friend had no partners. If you need to know if a claim of property ownership is true or if you feel you need to know how much property a person owns, this is how you do it:
Start at the property tax office. In Anchorage, this is located at City Hall, 632 W. 6th Avenue. Their phone number is 343-6770. You can obtain some information over the phone. In Fairbanks, the real property records are in the Fairbanks North Star Borough building at 809 Pioneer Street, 459-1000. These offices are only going to give you information on properties in their tax jurisdiction area. For properties that are not in areas where there is property tax or in other areas of the state, you will have to go to the recorder's office.
Go to the computer monitor at the property tax office and key in the name of the person you are inquiring about. Remember to check all variations of names. The tax rolls will give you a list of the properties they own, individually, or jointly in that particular tax district. If they own a business, check under the business name too. These are the tax rolls. They will tell you the legal description, the size, zoning and what the property is assessed at. Now, remember the assessed value the city/borough puts on a piece of property is not the same as the market value. It is for tax purposes only. While you are there, check to see if the property taxes have been paid and if they were paid on time.
All properties in the state are listed at the Recorder's Office. When ownership is transferred on a piece of real estate, the document that is used is called a deed. This deed is recorded at the state Recorder's Office. This action is to give the world constructive notice that the property is now owned by a new person or that another person or entity now has in interest in the property. The mortgage documents concerning property, whether a deed of trust or contract of sale are also recorded. Recordation is not mandatory, but I have yet to see a piece of property that has not had its documents recorded.
Again, key in the name at the public computer terminal and a list of documents will come up in chronological order. This can be tedious; you must look at each document individually to find what property it is referring to. The deed will be there, the mortgage documents and any liens will also be shown. You can obtain copies of these for a small charge or just write the information in a notebook.
If you do nothing else, check the records for a criminal history., and/or domestic violence. In Alaska, you can go to the state court house and key their name into the computer, remembering all variations of their name. It will give you a list of files and their case numbers. Jot down the case numbers, and go to the records department. Request the files and you can sit and read exactly what happened, and what the disposition of the case was. Or, you may write to the court and ask about a person's criminal history.
Address your request to "Clerk of the Court"
Here are the addresses of the Alaska courts:
303 K Street
415 Main St.
607 Barnette Street
304 Lake Street
P.O. BOX 1009
P.O. Box 869
P.O. Box 169
P.O. Box 898
P.O. Box 909
3670 Lake St
145 Main St. Loop
202 Marine Way
435 S. Denali
P.O. Box 245
P.O. Box 127
P.O. Box 401
P.O. Box 130
P.O. Box 167
P.O. Box 449
P.O. Box 187
P.O. Box 2700
P.O. Box 317
You can write the court system in another jurisdiction and request copies of the files. Look on a map or in an Atlas and find the county seat of the county they lived in. Usually, you will have to have at least a date of birth for this. Remember to send a money order or certified check to cover the cost of the copies.
To find if a person has been in the Federal prison system, just call (202) 307-3126 and ask if the person has ever been an inmate. Unless the name is very unusual, you most probably will have to have their date of birth and/or social security number.
You can check with the Alaska State Troopers to see if someone is on the "Sexual Offender's List." or check the internet at:
DEBTS AND LIABILITIES
The old adage says when you marry a person, you marry his or her family. Well, you also marry their debts. If these debts are not paid, creditors can seize assets. If you own property jointly, you are going to get dragged into their financial tangle. One way to see if your friend has kept up their obligations is to order a credit report, but in order to do this, you must have their permission. But you can also find information by doing the following:
Go to the courthouse and look in the civil and small claims files to see if they have been sued for a debt. See if there are any unsatisfied judgments.
Child Support Enforcement can tell you if back child support is due.
The addresses are:
550 W. 7th Avenue
675 7th Avenue
Have they declared bankruptcy?
Check the records.
US Court House
U.S. Court House
Call the collection agencies in your area and give the name and social security number. Sometimes they will be generous with information and sometimes they aren't very helpful
So, he says he has a master's degree; he's just working at a convenience store to take a break and "find himself." Could be . . . . First, education is not a synonym for intelligence. There are a lot of well-educated people out there that are dumber than a box of rocks. Kindness, common sense, and good character are far more important. But, if a person's education is important to you, you can sometimes call the alumni office of the school they graduated from to get verification. You usually have to have the full name that they used when they went to school, the year they graduated and sometimes their Social Security number. You can get the address and phone number of the school from the library. If you don't have time to go to the library, you can call telephone reference and ask for it.
For Contractor licenses, call the Fairbanks "hot line" The number is 451-2885. In Anchorage, call 269-8140, or call the main office in Juneau at 465-2534
To check on a professional license, in Alaska, go the State Occupational licensing office.
3601 C Street
675 7th Avenue
So, he says he is a retired general who was awarded a Purple Heart, the Congressional Medal of Honor and fought in 3 wars.. Uh huh....
If you have doubts, write and find out. Send his/her full name, date of birth and social security number and the information you need to the appropriate branch record facility.
Chief, Information Access Section
Secretary of the Air Force
Freedom of Information and Privacy Act
Freedom of Information Act
If you friend is still in the military, and you have an uneasy feeling that he or she might have a violent streak, call their commanding officer or first sergeant and ask if they know of any past domestic violence incidents. They may not he able to tell you anything. If they cannot give you any information, ask if they can direct you to someone who can.
Business and Corporate Information
To find exactly who owns a business, call the nearest State Occupational Licensing office. For a corporation, call 563-2161. For $20.00, you can get a complete file on a corporation. Send your request and check to: P.O. Box 110808, Juneau, AK 99811.
Permanent Fund Dividend Office
This is usually the only agency that has a good address for a person. Everyone wants their Alaska Permanent Fund dividend check to reach them safely.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses
This is a good place to get a date of birth.
This office will have the subject's political preference and the precinct in which they legally reside and are registered to vote.
Federal Aviation Administration
If your friend has a pilot license or owns an aircraft, you can get their pilot rating, date of birth, and date of last medical exam. You can even ask for a list of aircraft they own. Write to: FAA, P.O. Box 25504, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
In conclusion, the intent of this manual is help you avoid a relationship that causes you emotional or physical abuse. If you are already in an abusive relationship, please ask for help. There are many agencies that will help you, whether it is to get out of the relationship or to fix the relationship. Dont spend another day miserable or in danger.
The following are agencies you can contact if you need help. If they cannot help you, they will at least give you referrals to other agencies that can.
You can always go to your local churches and law enforcement agencies, and dont forget, dial 911 if you think you are in an emergency situation. Even, if you are not sure, but you are having one of those intuitive flashes that you may be in danger; dial 911.
Be Smart, Be Safe, and Good Luck
The printing of the manual