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Fun Fact Friday: From the Streets of Chicago-First American Detective Agency

February 24, 2022

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency (formally known as the North-Western Police Agency) was the first detective agency in the United States. If the name seems familiar, we have discussed some of the work of the agency through Kate Warne's life, but for today's fun fact, let's explore further the life of her employer and head of the Pinkerton Agency, Allan Pinkerton.

Allan Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland on August 25, 1819. Even though he left school at the young age of 10 after his father's death, he was an avid reader and became a barrel maker apprentice. He was a political activist and member of the Chartist movement, which made him a target from law enforcement as a traitor of Great Britian's Crown for speaking for the rights of the working class. Pinkerton escaped by emigrating to the US in 1842 at approximately 23 years old.

He settled with his wife in a small cabin the woods of Dundee, Illinois as a cooper. Continuing his predisposition for political activism, Allan was a slavery abolitionist, using his home as a stop in the Underground Railroad. One day while searching through the woods for materials for his trade, he stumbled upon a suspicious campsite. He returned later that night to find a suspicious group. Sensing these individuals were up to something, Pinkerton began to track their movements from afar over a period of time. Through his observation skills and keen eye for detail, he discovered the group was a ring of counterfeiters. He reported his findings to the police and the group was sequentially arrested. As a result, he was appointed as the deputy sheriff of Kane County and in 1849 the Chicago police hired him as the first police detective. After a year with the police force, he resigned to become the founder of the North-Western Police Agency, which would eventually become the Pinkerton Agency. The agency specialized in train robberies, counterfeiters, and security services for the government, businesses, and the community, during a time when police forces were unwilling to go outside their jurisdiction or corrupt.

Pinkerton Agency worked several notable cases. In 1861, during the investigation of a railway case, Allan discovered a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln at a railstop on his way to the inauguration in DC. He sent Warne to gather intelligence in the Southern sympathizer's ring, and he notified Lincoln of the plot. After Pinkerton and Warne successfully escaped Lincoln from the assassination attempt, the President hired Pinkerton during the Civil War, to take on the pseudonym of Major E. J. Allen and gather intelligence from the South. The agency captured many notable criminals, including the Reno brothers gang, known as the first organized train robbers in the U.S. They also broke up the Molly McGuire gang, who were Irish terrorists, and pursued Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to South America, where the assailants were eventually killed by local officers. After the Civil War, Pinkerton expanded his agency more nationwide, opening offices in New York City and Philadelphia, rebranding his firm as the National Pinkerton Agency.

Pinkerton continued his work until he died on July 1, 1884, and is buried at Graceland Cementary in Chicago. He was described in his obituary as "a bitter foe to the rogues" for his lifetime of work squashing the most notorious of criminals. After his death, his sons took over the agency. Pinkerton Agency grew as they transitioned to security services, accumulating 2,000 active agents and 30,000 reserves. This caused the state of Ohio to ban the agency in fears of becoming a private army or militia. The Agency's guards and agents were hired by prominent industrialists during the 1892 Homestead Strike to break the riots. Their use of violence to contain the riots was controversial, causing congress to ban their agency from being hired by the government, known as the Anti-Pinkerton act. This early use of security services from the Pinkerton Agency was the predecessor for organizing the United States Secret Service.

Allan Pinkerton's legacy and contributions to the field are still prevalent in modern private investigation. His stories still live on in notoriety, providing inspiration for several private detective and mystery novel series. In response to the Chicago fire that destroyed Pinkerton's documentation in 1871, up until his death he began working on a central system of criminal records. This system is still used as the basis of the database for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Pinkerton National Agency still exists today, now named Pinkerton, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, under the Securitas AB parent company. They provide security consulting and services for governments and businesses. Pinkerton is proud of their history, donating over 100 boxes of historical archives to the Library of Congress to preserve Allan Pinkerton's work in private investigation.

 

Sources: Smithsonian: Outlaw Hunters

Library of Congress

Pinkerton: History

 

 

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Ask A Private Investigator

February 24, 2022

This year marks the tenth anniversary since the founding of Radius Investigations by Matthew D. Seifer. In that time, our firm has flourished, with valuable knowledge picked up along the way. In the last year, our investigative team has been working tirelessly to provide more educational resources to the public on private investigation and security. Our topics of expertise range from risk management, anti-crime and survival, cybersecurity / cyber investigations, background check investigations, locating missing persons, TCSM bug sweeps, surveillance, insurance fraud, and more.

The main two reasons Radius Investigations has made education their initiative: 1., The Private Investigation field is widely misunderstood. In previous posts, we have begun to bust some of the common myths, but we know there are more misconceptions out there that we hope we can clear up. 2., Our duty as private investigators and security consultants is to protect and save the lives we serve. We hope that our educational resources will help you and your loved ones. From our fun facts to vital survival skills, our goal is to Promote Safety and Security through Knowledge and Education.

In line with our educational initiatives, we invite you to ask us questions about private investigation. As "No Bull" private investigators, we stick to the facts and give it to you straight; We are happy to answer your questions and give advice, like we have done in the last decade. We have had several cases over the years where a client can easily perform what needs to be done for their situation, but needed a nudge the right direction to do so. We've never accepted money in those cases: We want to be paid for the jobs our clients can't do.

 

Got Questions? Want to Get More Insights about Private Investigation? Ask Us!

We will be answering questions through our blog and social media. Your question may have a chance of appearing in our next blog post!

Disclaimer: While we uphold 100% confidentiality and sensitivity, by filling out the form below for our "Ask a Private Investigator" blog posts, you are acknowledging that your name, location, and message submitted through this form on this page may be posted at a future date online: through Radius Investigations and their affiliates' blog, social media accounts, or for other marketing purposes. You also understand that you may be contacted by associates of Radius Investigations for more information, if needed. Radius Investigations, Inc. does not provide legal advice: any legal questions should be referred to a licensed legal professional. Radius Investigations, Inc. does not share or sell your contact information to affiliates nor marketing companies. DO NOT fill out this form if you do not agree to the terms outlined above. Please use our regular contact form for any questions or comments you wish to keep completely confidential with our private detectives at Radius investigations, Inc.

 

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What You Need to Know When you Hire a Private Investigator

November 1, 2019

The cost of hiring a private investigator varies

A common question we encounter is how much a private investigator costs. The cost can vary greatly depending on

1. the location of the investigation,

2. the type of investigation,

3. the depth of services required for the case,

4. the private investigator's level of quality and expertise.

While it is important to have a budget in mind, don't use it as an excuse to cut corners: Just because a private investigator is cheap, doesn't mean they are good. Otherwise, you may need to spend even more money hiring another private investigator, who is more expensive and better quality, to finish the job the first cheap investigator couldn't do.

Like many service based industries, this mantra is all the more true in private investigation:

Private Investigators work on a retainer

Similar to an attorney or legal professional, private investigators typically work on a retainer. They will quote you an estimate that becomes the retainer amount. Keep in mind that retainers are non-refundable, so any amount left will not be refunded back after the service you hired them for is complete. However, that amount can be applied towards further services.

Payment is up front

Just like you wouldn't walk out of the store without paying for your groceries, private investigators are not going to perform a service without upfront payment. This is for two reasons: 1. It establishes a business transaction between you and the investigator and 2., what may seem like "a simple search" or service, actually requires hours of work, research, and fees for using the resources and databases accessible to a private investigator. (After all, you wouldn't consider hiring a P.I. if the job was easy enough to do yourself!)

You will need to sign a contract

Any legitimate private investigators that provides services that require a retainer will draw up a contract for you to sign. A typical contract outlines the services requested by the client, the retaining cost, and a signed statement from you verifying that you are not using the information gathered by the private investigator for malicious or criminal intent.

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13 Signs Your Client May Have Been Bugged

October 8, 2019

In the last decade, bug sweeps are now one of our most requested services. With the rise in technology becoming more affordable, compact, and adaptable, it is more accessible for those with nefarious intent to eavesdrop on a victim to steal valuable intelligence. A victim of being bugged could be blackmailed by the suspect or have their information sold to a competitor.

Common reasons a client is susceptible to being bugged include:

Businesses:

  • Involved in a lawsuit
  • About to or have downsized
  • In a competitive industry that relies on insider knowledge (marketing, fashion, automotive, product development, medical, technology, advertising, etc.)
  • Is involved in government affairs or politics

Personal affairs: Is filing or in the middle of a divorce

  • Involved in a custody battle (it is common for the children to have devices hidden in their things or during visits)
  • In the process of getting married
  • Filed an insurance claim
  • Is or previously was in a position of power or influence, in business or politics
  • Is a minister or religious leader
  • Suspects the person eavesdropping is someone close to them who work in law enforcement, security, or the judicial system.

While you should always conduct due diligence beyond the face value of what a client tells you, if a client doesn’t disclose any of these warning signs and are not a high-risk client, there is a very high chance they are not being tracked or eavesdropped through devices.

However, when you do an intake with your client, if they note any of the warning signs below, it is advised to gather more information and move forward with a bug sweep or TCSM inspection:

People have found out about personal matters or confidential business secrets, or just seem to know too much about their activities.

This is the most telling sign that they may have been bugged: The client has noticed people they have never disclosed to know about their personal and business affairs. If it is a business, there are signs that a competitor or vendor has obtained the business’s internal information.

In the Home and Office

Evidence of a break-in, but nothing was stolen

Even if there is no overt evidence, the client may notice that something “seems off,” such as furniture or objects have been moved slightly, closets and drawers seem to have been rummaged through, or dusty areas have been disturbed. Additionally, a client may note that suddenly a new object was added to the home after the break-in, such as clocks, signage, picture frames, tissue boxes, lamps, and radios.

Wall fixtures have been shifted slightly

Some of the most popular hidden surveillance devices are designed to go inside or behind electrical outlets, light switches, smoke alarms, and lighting. Hidden camera lenses can be as small as the head of a screw, making them ideal to conceal in common wall fixtures.

Notice a strange vehicle parked near the home or office frequently with no one inside

Devices that transmit the recordings via wifi or RF may require the eavesdropper to be stationed nearby. Service or delivery trucks are commonly used: If you see the same or similar vehicle more than three times, there may be an eavesdropper. Vehicles with black or tinted windows allow the perpetrator to conceal them in the back of the vehicle to monitor the devices. Ladders or pipe racks on a vehicle can help conceal and antenna or beacon.

Interference in landlines, radios, or televisions

The client has noticed that their radio, landline, or television has been acting “weird.” This includes increased interference, a solid faint tone or high-pitched squeal on the phone, (note that beeping or high pitched noises could just be a result of a fax machine dialing the wrong number) or their radio loses signal in areas it never lost signal before.

Common objects have a small hole or reflective surface

Many spy stores sell a popular common home and office products such as lamps, clocks, tissue boxes, plant boxes, or exit signs, with a camera or microphone pre-installed, containing a small hole or reflective spot to hold the camera lens. A client has noticed that these products “just appeared” or these things have changed slightly in appearance.

In the Office

Ceiling tiles appear disturbed, discolored, or damaged, or have ceiling dust on the floor

A common installation location for hidden listening devices is inside the ceiling tiles: Their accessibility makes them a prime target. The client may have noticed that tiles have shifted, are not properly set in the frame, or recently were damaged. Note any recent maintenance issues in the building: These signs could be a result of a pipe leaking or new construction.

Bump in the vinyl baseboard

The vinyl-style baseboards are more popular in offices than in homes. A small bump or deformity in the vinyl baseboard along the floor may be a sign that someone hides and adhered to a wire or microphone behind the baseboard.

A client recently received gifts from vendors

If the client suspects that a competitor or vendor is spying on them, a common tactic is to place listening bugs inside “gifts”, such as pens, clocks, briefcases, adaptors, etc., Ask the client if any gifts have been given to them, and what specifically.

In Their Vehicle

Their car appears to have been broken into, but nothing was taken

Something inside the vehicle seems “off”, but nothing was taken. The client may have noticed that the seating was moved, (even though they are the primary driver and have not lent the car to anyone or any service technician recently) the car was rummaged through, or there are new items in the vehicle. This may have occurred multiple times, as the eavesdropper may need to retrieve the device to download the data or recharge the battery.

The car seems to be taking longer to start

Some tracking and eavesdropping devices may be connected to the car battery, using the power source when the engine is off. While it may not completely drain the battery, it can cause the car to stutter a bit as the remaining power tries to start the engine. This is not as common now as devices are moving more to use internal batteries and going into an “idle” mode when movement or sound is not detected to conserve power.

Electronics in the car are behaving erratically

The electronics in the car, including the radio and displays, are acting strange, which could result of interference from a covert surveillance device.

Others seem to know the client’s whereabouts

GPS tracking devices can be attached to a car with something as simple and discreet as a strong magnet. Common areas include under the engine bay, rear bumper, inside the dashboard, and behind the wheel well.

Client suspects they are being followed while driving

If there is a hidden microphone or camera in the car, the suspect may need to stay within a certain range of the device to acquire the recordings. The client noticed that the same vehicle was following behind them, or frequently parked near their car.

While this list is not exhaustive or that these are definitive indicators that a client is bugged, it is enough to warrant further investigation. Seeing these signs in our own agency has resulted in finding covert devices approximately 80% of the time. It is imperative that you analyze the context of your client's situation and perform proper due diligence to ensure you offer the best type of services for your client's needs and give them peace of mind.

 

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How I Became a Private Investigator

June 29, 2018

Whoever said you can't find your career and passion after your 20s either hasn't found it yet, isn't above the age of 30, or a stick in the mud. For me, I found my calling as a private investigator in my late 30s.

I had been working in the private sector for over 20 years. My day job working in sales, dealing with a grind that like many jobs, had a way to suck the life and soul out of you. Even though business was going well, I felt that my work was more for the company than my own success.

After nearly 20 plus years of the daily grind of selling automotive electronic equipment, I found myself burnt out and in need of a change in my professional life.

Since my spirit animal is the lion-the strong protector-I always strive to help and protect people, to ensure their comfort and safety. I began to search how I could protect others in the private sector and found private security. I researched the prerequisites needed to become a registered New York State security guard and got my registration. Shortly after, I began to work for a security agency on Long Island. I quickly moved up the ranks, eventually becoming the manager, overseeing a team of security professionals. While I had gained an immense amount of knowledge and connections during that time, I craved more.

I realized that the lion is more than a protector: He is a leader. I've always been someone who carves my own path, and knew that whatever direction I took next, I needed to be the person at the helm. I was tired of working for someone else's profits.

I took a jump: Run my own security agency. Many thought I was insane: I had only been in private security for three years. Do I really have the chops to run a security business? In the years of working in the security industry and establishing professional contacts with other individuals in the business, I called upon many of my highly skilled security colleagues to work with me in developing a network of trained security operators. This strategy worked out very well: When a contract came in, I was able to deploy myself and other professionals, to ensure the clients' needs and expectations were beyond satisfied.

In the years of working in the security industry, by fate I had the fortunate opportunity to meet an individual who had his Private Investigator license. In discussing my desire and his desires to grow our respective businesses, we chose to open a new business and further or professional footprint in combining both security and investigations under one roof.

Being a Private Investigator 

I entered the private investigation field hungry for action: I craved time out performing surveillances, getting into the action. However, as time progressed, I began to learn about the other dimensions of private investigations. It's more than the thrill of following vehicles and taking covert video: Private investigations is about helping others and using every resource you have available.

As I progressed in my career as private investigator, I learned more about the tools of the trade: From online databases, how to verify your findings, conducting interviews, to due diligence. I realized that there was a whole world beyond fieldwork as a PI.

This is when I found my new love in private investigations: digital forensics. I never imagined that my hobby in purchasing and playing with the latest technology, as well as my background in tech sales could be integrated into my private investigator work. Over time, I phased myself away from the field an into the conference room with clients, figuring out the latest perplexing case with the arsenal behind my desk. I found that the satisfaction of cracking a month’s long digital forensic case or piecing together the rabbit hole in a person's social media activity was far more exhilarating.

Like life, private investigations is not all sunshine and roses. It is easy to become overwhelmed in an investigation, especially when you are not as experienced. Working as a private investigator requires organization and discipline to avoid falling into a pitfall of overworking the hours your client paid on the case. You will find yourself working extra hours into the night and weekends to do what it takes to solve it. It's important to learn when to push deeper and when it is time to step back and reevaluate your options. You need to know when it is time to move on, even though you may think the direction you are in is the right path.

Find Your Path

Don't ever think it is too late to change your career. I went from a sales job under someone else's thumb, to running my own successful private investigation agency. Even in my lows, I always remained steadfast and moved forward. I took some risks, but you must when you want to start running your own business. It hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't trade this for anything.

All in all, this career continues to be a ride like no other. The best part of my job is the feeling I get when a client says, "Thank you." Not in the "obligatory social cues" kind of way, but the thank you where they look you in the eye with a deep, heartfelt, genuine gaze.

I am proud to be a private investigator.

ABOUT INVESTIGATOR MATTHEW D. SEIFER, LPI, NYS DCJS Cert.

 

Matthew Seifer is the Lead Licensed Private Investigator at Radius Investigations, Registered Armed Guard, and NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Certified Instructor. Seifer is a US Army veteran with over 26 years experience in the private sector. Matthew specializes in corporate due diligence, TSCM bug sweeps, security services and assessments, and digital forensics. He has been featured on News 12 Long Island and Inside Edition for his work in active shooter training and drills. 

 

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Why You Should Hire a New York Private Investigator to Check on Your Loved One's Caregivers

May 31, 2018

Placing your loved one into the care of professional caregivers, whether they come to the residence, or your loved one is placed in a nursing home, can be a nerve-wracking affair. It is a tough decision that you have to make, but you only want the best for their care. You did your research and found a service or facility that meets your loved one's needs. You met with the caregiver and signed the paper, confident that the professionals can do it competently. However, the people you sign with may not ultimately be the caregivers that work with the patient.

While there are many caregiver professionals who go above and beyond, unfortunately, there are those who do not have the best intentions. The National Center on Elder Abuse reported in 2011 that 1 in 13 older adults (age 60+) were victims of elder abuse. Elder abuse can include physical, psychological, verbal, or sexual abuse, financial exploration, and neglect.

Earlier this year, a man in Michigan suspected that his father was being abused in the nursing home: Mr. Hussein Younes had bruising, cuts, and significant weight loss. His son, Salim Younes, placed a hidden camera in an alarm clock by his father's bedside. He was horrified to find over 100 clips documenting neglectful behavior towards Salim's father. The family removed Hussein from the nursing home and has filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that caretakers physically abused Hussein and verbally abused him with ethnic slurs. The nursing home in question gave a statement that the employees in the video clips were fired and the remaining staff underwent additional training.

Hidden cameras can help you gather evidence of elder abuse, but it is not the only effective way. Covert cameras are ideal for cases of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, but it can be hard to prove financial exploitation and psychological abuse without the help of a professional. A licensed private investigator that specializes in elder abuse can help you gather evidence.

A quality private investigator can do the following:

Inspect the nursing home. As a representative of your family, a private investigator has the right to visit and check on the care of your loved one. A private investigator who specializes in elder abuse cases knows what to look for: The condition of the room, including the bedsheets and linens, the cleanliness and order of the space. The investigator will observe how the patient interacts with the staff: Is the patient scared, nervous, or timid?

Interview your loved one. Private investigators will check on the physical condition of your loved one, noting any weight loss, checking for bruises, cuts, broken bones, missing patches of hair, or bite marks. They will speak to the patient and assess their well-being: Have they eaten today? Did they take their medication? Are they feeling well?

Conduct surveillance. Do you suspect your caregivers are not arriving as scheduled for your loved one's home? A private investigator can conduct surveillance to confirm that caregivers are adhering to their schedule and best practices. A licensed private investigator can also assist you in finding the right hidden cameras that you can place in the home or nursing homeroom.

Asset search and financial investigations. Licensed private investigators can perform background investigations, including searches into a person's finances. If you suspect someone is exploiting your loved one's finances, a private investigator can see what assets are available and if any have been transferred to the person in question.

Make sure you look for the following when retaining a private investigator:

  • Are they licensed? In New York, you can use their state search portal to find the license of a private investigation agency or investigator
  • Can they testify in a court of law? All evidence and reports from a licensed private investigator must be admissible in court
  • Does the private investigator clearly define the fees? Most elder abuse cases operate on a retainer. Note that if more services or work is needed for your case, you may need to add more to the retainer.
  • Is the investigator trustworthy? Use your gut: If it doesn't feel right, move on.

Do You Suspect Elder Abuse?

Our compassionate and licensed private investigators can help you make an informed decision and get peace of mind.

Our private investigators are available 24/7 at 1-888-698-0077

 

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Prevented a Tragedy: A High School Resource Officer Stops Active Shooter

May 17, 2018

Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas has been praised as a hero by members of Dixon High School, his colleagues, the city of Dixon, and Vice-President Mike Pence, for his brave and heroic actions in stopping an active shooter on May 15th, 2018, at Dixon High School. Dallas shot and wounded the gunman, a 19-year-old former student, who opened fire near the school's west gym, where students have gathered for graduation rehearsal.

When the gunman arrived on campus around 8 a.m. and began to open fire, Dallas rushed to the source. As he approached the suspect, the gunman fled and fired shots at the officer while Dallas was in pursuit. Dallas was not struck by the suspect's shots. Officer Dallas returned fire, struck the suspect, and the suspect was taken into custody.

Students in the gym who heard the gunshots thought they were firecrackers. Gym teacher Andrew McKay ran into the gym and instructed students to evacuate the gym. The students ran out of the gym and went to the National Guard armory nearby. Students in other areas of the building went into lockdown, barricading their doors with chairs and furniture. The building remained in lockdown in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and the school was not in session the following day.

Because of Dallas' and McKay's actions, no one was hurt during the incident, with the exception of the gunman. The suspect was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and is in custody with local law enforcement. Dallas is currently on paid administrative leave to allow time for him and his family to process the events.

Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. praised Dallas in how he mitigated a tragedy: “From the angle I’m looking at right now, a lot of things went right today when a great many of them could have (gone) wrong. Things could have gone much worse.” 

Officer Mark Dallas is a 15-year Dixon police department veteran and has 24 years experience as a LEO. He has served as a resource officer at Dixon High School for five years. DHS has had resource officers on campus since 2000 to help prevent school violence.

 

 

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See Something, Say Something: How a Community Stopped a Potential School Shooting

April 11, 2018

See Something, Say Something: How a Community Stopped a Potential School Shooting

Editor's note: Even though there was no crime committed, we chose to not disclose the subject's name due to his disturbing behavior. Unless a suspect is at large, we never state a shooter's name to avoid giving them more media attention and notoriety. You can learn more about this phenomenon from the "Don't Name Them" campaign. 

Last month, Syracuse University averted a potential school shooting, thanks to the vigilance of the local community: From a gun store owner, maintenance worker, friends, to local and federal law enforcement.

A 22-year-old student from China was attending Syracuse University on a student visa. In March, he displayed suspicious behavior that led to an investigation by authorities.

It began on March 12th when a gun store owner in Nelson, New York, Mr. John Laubscher, was assisting this student. Laubscher was not unfamiliar with SU students-many came to his shop to purchase archery equipment and hunting rifles. Foreign students can purchase firearms with a valid hunting license. This student had just received his hunting license and asked Mr. Laubscher about purchasing an AR-15 rifle. Laubscher said that the type of rifle is not available in New York, so the student began to look at high capacity shotguns.

He immediately became suspicious of the student, since those type of firearms is not typically used for hunting at that time of year. He said he wasn't sure what gun to purchase, but was going to learn through a class at SU. As a SU alum, Laubscher knew full well there was not a high-capacity firearms class there. The store owner refused to sell him any weapons. Once he left the store, Laubscher contacted the police to report the incident, noting his license plate number as the student sat in his car.

The student left shortly after that day to go to Mexico with friends for Spring Break. Meanwhile, authorities were able to trace the car to the student's apartment.

Local law enforcement began an investigation into the student's background and found he had been in two psychiatric care facilities recently, the records noting drinking, suicidal thoughts, depression, and could lose control and commit violence toward no one in particular. Officials placed him on a list that prohibited stores from selling him a gun.

A maintenance worker at the apartment complex where the student was residing contacted the police. An alarm had gone off in his room. When the employee investigated the source of the alarm and found that no one was there, he used his master key to enter the room. In the apartment he found ammunition.

Several friends who were in Mexico contacted SU to report concerning behavior from the student. He had told others "The reason I want to buy guns is not to go hunting...I might do something extreme in the future.", as well as: "I might use the gun to cause trouble, I have been preparing."

These reports were enough evidence to be granted a warrant by the judge. On March 19, police searched the student's apartment and found several rounds of ammunition and gun accessories, including gunsights and a laser scope. No firearms were found. Authorities gave an involuntary order to commit him to a psychiatric hospital. However, that order would never be fulfilled.

Syracuse University revoked his status as a student, thus his visa became invalid. As he returned to Newark Airport from his spring break vacation in Mexico, he was immediately detained by federal agents and deported back to China. They contacted officials in China to report the information gathered on the student. It is unclear what has become of the student in his homeland.

While this potential crisis was averted, Syracuse Deputy Police Chief Derek McGork noted that despite the vigilance of the community and law enforcement, it still took 6 days to obtain a warrant to search the student's apartment, and the student was out of the country while police caught up with his whereabouts. Despite the length of time it took, it can be agreed that through the numerous reports, which one report alone would not have been enough to obtain the warrant, as well as law enforcement's response to the threat, helped to mitigate this potential tragedy.

 

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Tax Season Brings IRS Scams: How to Protect Yourself

April 2, 2018

Tax scams have been around for well over decade-the prerecorded calls and spoofed emails; It's nothing new. While thankfully more people have caught on and simply hang up or delete the messages, scammers are changing their strategy.

Scammers have become more elaborate: This year, the IRS released a new scam alert. With new techniques and many sectors lacking in cybersecurity infrastructure, it has become easier for criminals to steal data from you or your tax professional-acquiring bank and social security information. They use that data to file forged tax returns in your name. Once you receive the check or deposit, they do one of two versions of the scam: They either pose as debt collection agency officials, claiming the refund you received was in error and to pay them. The other method is to send a very intimidating pre-recorded phone call that claims if you do not return the money to the IRS, you will be arrested.

Here is an example of a tax scam call received (part of the message was not recorded):

[inaudible].......And once it gets expired, after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops, as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We would request you to get back to us, so that we can discuss about this case, before taking any legal action against you. The number to reach us is [local number]. I repeat, [local number], Thank you.

While the person in question who received this understood it was fake, many people fall victim to these scams: The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) estimates 4,550 victims paid these scammers over $23 million dollars since 2013.

While it has become more challenging to discern, especially when they play with your emotional response and fears, there are a few things that still hold true to help protect yourself:

The IRS Will Never Call You to Threaten Arrest or Demand Immediate Payment, Without an Opportunity to Question or Appeal

The IRS has stated that they will never call you or leave a prerecorded message demanding payment. They will always send a bill in the mail before calling you.

Call the IRS Directly to Verify

If you know you owe taxes or suspect you owe, call them directly: 800-829-1040 for assistance on any money you actually owe. Even if the person on the phone tells you not to hang up, hang up. Call the IRS direct number to confirm the information.

File Early

It's easy to forget to put off your taxes when you have months to complete it. Scammers take advantage of this and will try to file with your information before you. If you do file and it is rejected because a return already exists, follow the IRS' Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft

Keep Your Information Secure

Scammers may ask you for payment-the IRS will never ask for your credit or debit card information over the phone. Never access your tax or financial information on public wifi access, as those are prime targets by scammers to hack into your account. If they get into one of your accounts, it can be easy for them to access others, especially if you tend to use the same login credentials for all of your accounts.

What if I have been scammed?

As we explained in a previous post on phone scams, you need to do the following:

  • Freeze all of your accounts and change all information on file
  • Call your bank and the IRS to notify them that you are a victim of identity theft and have been scammed
  • Get a free credit report and sign up for credit monitoring

 

 

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Survive an Active Shooter Incident: Matthew Seifer and Don Longo on LI News Radio Nov 10 2017

November 14, 2017

Matthew Seifer and Don Longo had the opportunity to discuss the recent active shooter incidents and how to survive with host Tom Schiliro on "Your Island with Tom Schiliro" on LI News Radio 103.9FM. This took place the day after hosting our first active shooter seminar. This radio segment is an excellent introduction for active shooter survival, but not as comprehensive as our seminars. You can sign up for our email list to stay updated on upcoming seminar dates. We expect to do monthly seminars starting in January 2018.

This segment was broken into two parts. Each part is approximately 20 minutes.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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PRESS RELEASE: Active Shooter Incident Survival Public Seminars taught by Anti-Crime Expert Don Longo at Radius Investigations

October 17, 2017

Licensed P.I. and Retired Police Officer Don Longo Presents Active Shooter Survival Seminars

Radius Investigations, Inc. Hosts Seminars by Anti-Crime and Active Shooter Security Expert

Hauppauge, NY: In response to the recent Las Vegas mass shooting tragedy, Radius Investigations, Inc. has announced their partnership with Anti-Crime Technique and Tactics expert Don Longo, to kick off hosting a series of anti-crime tactic and technique public seminars, at Radius Investigations’ headquarters. The first topic on surviving an active shooter incident will be open to the public in the Citibank building on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge. Don Longo is a licensed private investigator and decorated Retired Suffolk County Police Officer with over 30 years’ experience in law enforcement and security. Longo specializes in domestic and international anti-crime tactics and techniques, with previous experience with members of the FBI and U.S. Secret Service. His other seminar topics include Senior scams, international travel safety, recognizing potentially violent behavior in adults and children, and “verbal judo”: a technique that is used in training police officers to verbally deescalate tense situations, modified for the public audience.

In response to the recent announcement, Licensed Lead Private Investigator at Radius Investigations, Matthew D. Seifer said, “It is an honor to host these seminars by such an esteemed individual that is Don Longo. His knowledge and professionalism are in line with our initiatives in offering valuable educational resources for our clients, local businesses, the New York and Long Island communities. By Promoting Safety and Security through Knowledge and Education, our goal is to help save lives in the event of an emergency.” Radius Investigations has been working intensely this year to present educational opportunities to the public, including a partnership with Safety Quest, Ltd. in providing certified instruction for NYS Security Guard Training Courses at Radius Investigations’ new location.

  • The first lecture by Don Longo, “How To Survive an Active Shooter Incident”, will be on Nov. 9th from 7 pm-9 pm, hosted downstairs in the Media Center at Radius Investigations’ facility at 150 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge, New York, 11788. Seating will be limited; Advance registration is required. To see the full schedule and registration information for the Anti-Crime Tactics and Techniques Seminars or request a seminar at your location, visit Radius Investigations’ website. (https://gstny.com/anti-crime-active-shooter-seminars/ )

About Radius Investigations, Inc: Radius Investigations Inc., located on Long Island in Hauppauge, New York, is not your typical private investigation firm. Radius Investigations is one of the first to provide not only private investigation and security consulting services, but host NYS Security Guard Training courses in their 90-person classroom facility. Radius Investigations, Inc., was founded in 2007 by Matthew D. Seifer, an army veteran, Lead Licensed Investigator, Registered Armed Guard, and NYS DCJS Certified Instructor. Radius Investigations’ network of expert “no bull” private investigators works with clients in New York and worldwide to gather actionable intelligence to help them make informed decisions.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Heather Cavanaugh

Marketing Coordinator, Radius Investigations, Inc.

631-351-6473

[email protected]

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How to Not Be a Victim of Bank Phone Call Scams (Infographic)

October 13, 2017

With phone and mobile scams on the rise, and the recent Equifax data breach, people are concerned for the security of their financial accounts. Unfortunately, there is an increase in phone scammers who are impersonating major banks to try to obtain your financial information. These scammers can be difficult to detect: They can obtain information from hacking your online account or on hard inquiries you have had done. (while the banks may have quality security, there is no guarantee that the company running the credit check is completely secure) They then use this information to make themselves look more legitimate. After all, it's hard to question when they correctly tell you when your next payment is due as well as the balance on the account. From there, they may ask for your social security number, account number, and/or routing number. While they have become more cunning, you can prevent them from taking advantage of you and your accounts.

Here are some tips to avoid having your identity stolen and financial accounts compromised:

Resources from Infographic:

Fox Business: Study: 27 Million Americans Fell for Phone Scams in 2015 

Free Annual Credit Report

Credit Karma

 

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