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Who’s Your Daddy? Top 8 Paternity & Ancestry Home Tests

dna-test

Several of our readers have asked us to recommend home DNA tests.  After careful research, we suggest these top eight home DNA kits, bearing in mind that all require send away to a laboratory for testing.  Several of the models include legal certification but obviously the sample collection chain must be sworn to by the collector.  We’ve added links to each test for your review of test specs.  Just remember one thing in any kind of testing of this kind – the child involved is an innocent.  Keep that in mind.

  1. Ancestry.com – Will delete or destroy physical test results if requested.
  2. SwabTest – All legal DNA tests are fully admissible in court in every state in the USA.
  3. HomeDNA – The markers analyzed include the same 13 markers used by the FBI for human identity testing.
  4. Identigene – Court-admissible by New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidelines.
  5. National Geographic Geno 2.0 –  Can find out if you have Neanderthal ancestry
  6. Paternity Depot – May be able to distinguish between identical twins.
  7. RapidDNA – Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing issued by the Director of the FBI.
  8. Endeavor Paternity Test – Not available for New York State.

Several important things to know about DNA testing: (from Ancestry.com)

Purpose
Before you order a DNA test, know what kind of test you’re looking for. Paternity tests and ancestry DNA tests are very different, and most vendors don’t offer both kinds to consumers. If you’re interested in finding out about whether or not you have Eastern European roots, an ancestral test can give you that information. If you want to know if a child’s alleged father is correct, a paternity test does the job. Pricing and timelines for the two procedures are very different.

Collection Process
Most of these DNA samples can be collected in your home, unless otherwise specified. The most common form of collection is through a cheek swab because it’s quick and painless. However, some labs allow submission samples from toothbrushes, gum or other body fluids.

Timeline
Ancestry DNA tests are typically slower to process than paternity tests. Part of this is due to the time sensitivity of paternity tests, and part of this is due to the size of the database an ancestry test is using. When you’re looking into your ethnicity, the lab specialists are comparing your DNA with thousands of other samples to identify your deep-seeded roots. In paternity tests, they’re only looking at a couple of samples.

Paternity tests are stressful enough, and they’re often tied up in legal disputes. Because of this, time is usually of the essence. You can usually get your results in a week or less, but some companies offer expedited options. Before buying, look at how quickly you can expect to get your results.

Legality
This is more relevant to paternity tests, because such tests can be used in court proceedings. In order for a test to be admissible in court, certain procedures must be followed. Some companies accommodate for this, while others explicitly state that their tests cannot be submitted.

Accreditation
There are many standards and levels of accreditation for genetic testing labs. Genetic testing is an intensive and complex process, so it’s important that your lab is up to date, safe and secure.

Of all times when the Reagan quote, “Trust but verify” applies, perhaps no more so than with paternal testing. Just remember, again, that the child had no choice in the matter.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2016!

happy-thanksgiving

Wishing our readers a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!  

May you have much to be thankful for and continued blessings into the New Year that is just around the corner!

Spokeo, BeenVerified, LexisNexis – How Reliable Are These Information Brokering Services?

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(Going into our tenth year now of publication, the Beacon Bulletin will shortly be bringing our readers much more real time information in an updated format. Wait for it!  You’ll see changes in the coming weeks that will lead to a more comprehensive weekly newsletter that will include timely information such as new regulations that will affect us in the immediate future, new field-related gear that will invariably result in better capture of evidence  and all sorts of good stuff like that.  I’m going to start this upgrade with a timely tip on cashless tolls in the NYC area at the bottom of this week’s Beacon Bulletin. Enjoy the read.)

It seems that very time you log on now, there is a new information brokering service that promises to reveal all sorts of private information that will solve your curiosity about your new boyfriend, your nanny or the new boss.

Before you determine the validity and timeliness of the information you receive on these sites, let’s explore how personal information is publicly collected and disseminated.

First, let me dispel the notion that you can get deeply unique identifying data such as full, untruncated Social Security numbers via any public information broker such as Spokeo, BeenVerified, InstantCheckmate, LocatePlus, etc.

That’s because with the introduction of the Grimm-Bliley-Leach Bill in 1995, there are technically only 12 permissible purposes (and a vague No. 13 for Other which basically means the feds) that will allow an investigator or other legal/law/investigative field specialists to obtain this type of private information.

Permissible Purposes
Excerpt from the GLB (Gramm-Leach-Biley Act)Except for the amendments made by subsections (a) and (b), nothing in this title shall be construed to modify, limit, or supersede the operation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and no inference shall be drawn on the basis of the provisions of this title regarding whether information is transaction or experience information under section 603 of such Act.What are permissible purposes?1. Legitimate Business Transaction (FCRA)

1. Consumer initiated.

A business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.

2. Collection/Extension of Credit (FCRA)

In connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer. Asset searches may not be used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for insurance, credit, or employment.

3. Employment Purposes (FCRA) 
In connection with a consumer’s employment. Asset searches may not be used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for insurance, credit, or employment.

4. Consumer Insurance (FCRA)

In connection with the underwriting of insurance involving a consumer. Asset searches may not be used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for insurance, credit, or employment.

5. Government License or Benefit (FCRA)

In connection with a determination of the consumer’s eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant’s financial responsibility or status.

6. Response to a Court Order (FCRA)

In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a Federal grand jury.

7. Written Instruction by a Consumer (FCRA)

In accordance with the written instructions of a consumer.

8. Investor, Servicer, or Current Insurer (FCRA)

In connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with an existing credit obligation for a consumer.

9. Child Support Enforcement (FCRA)

In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an agency) or to set a child support award.

10. Law Enforcement (FCRA)

For use by any Law Enforcement Agency, or any officer, employee, or agent of such agency in carrying out its official duties with proper authorization.

11. Fraud Detection/Prevention (Non-FCRA)

For use to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud, unauthorized transactions, claims, or other liability.

12. Civil or Criminal Investigation (FCRA)

13, Other (Official, law enforcement)

 

As you can see, nowhere in that list is “The desire to know”.  So conclude that the data that you can obtain from info brokers is not deep knowledge or up to the minute.

Information brokering sites like Spokeo, BeenVerified, InstantCheckmate,LocatePlus, etc. collect and then offer – for a fee – publicly available data from such entities as Town, Village or City Clerk offices, local DMVs, tax registrars, utility companies, subscriptions and credit reporting agencies.  Also, lately they have begun to add in social media data such as email addresses and sites to which you are registered (so be careful, SingleSueInSyosset, if you are not).  It takes time for all of this data to process and be attached to the correct person so the lag time to, let;s say, your new address appearing in these public records is generally anywhere from eight to eighteen months and possibly longer.

So if you really need deep information and have a legitimate purpose, hire a recommended private investigator,

IN THE NEWS: CASHLESS TOLLING IS COMING TO NYC

Cashless tolling is coming to the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown Tunnels in January, and to all MTA bridges by the end of 2017. That means nobody will have to stop, weave or merge into a different lane at the toll plaza ever again. Since you already have E-ZPass, you can keep paying your tolls as usual. Just take a moment to make sure:

  1. Your E-ZPass tag is mounted properly – so it can be read it and give you a 30–50% discount every time
  2. Your license plate is registered to your E-ZPass account accurately – to make sure you avoid getting toll bills in the mail

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Favorite Tools Of The Literate P.I. – And Others Who Work For A Living

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I’m often asked which tools simplify my life as a private investigator. I’d have to say that the top three on that list are:

  1. Truthful witnesses
  2. Forthcoming clients
  3. PayPal

Aside from that:

Evernote – I scan and save important documents and things I may want to refer to later when browsing the web.

Bitly – I share links on social media, in emails and when writing reports dozens of times daily. Bitly helps me shorten those long, ugly links. I also have a cool branded link for my business if that is interesting for you.

Zapier – This helps me automate tasks between web apps. So if I put a new client into QuickBooks, Zapier automatically adds their contact details into my client newsletter in MailChimp or WordPress. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Email

MailChimp – This is one of the easiest email marketing platforms to use to market your content to your email list.

Social Media and Content Marketing

Constant Contact – With Constant Contact, you can schedule, publish and analyze all your social media posts in one place.

Canva – I use Canva to create images for social media, blog posts and just about anything else. It can instantly turn you into an amateur graphic designer.

Feedly – Add your favorite blogs and websites to start filling up your feed with content that rocks.

Google Analytics – Easily track site traffic and visitor behavior to see how your content is performing.

File Sharing

Dropbox – Dropbox has become synonymous with online file sharing, and for a good reason.

 

Business

QuickBooks Online – We switched from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online about four years ago, and have not looked back. It’s become better and better every year.

Google Docs – I use Google Apps for Work and Google Docs to collaborate with other investigators on documents. It’s the best collaborator that I have worked with for things like word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Microsoft Office 365 – Even though I am huge fan of Google Docs, I still use Microsoft Office to write reports. In part, because Google Docs does not have all of the advanced formatting options that Microsoft Word does.

Security

LastPass – With access to hundreds of databases and websites, it’s not easy keeping track of passwords. But LastPass stores difficult-to-crack, encrypted passwords in the cloud that can be used on multiple platforms.

Google Authenticator – I am a huge proponent of two-factor authentication, which protects your accounts with a second form of authentication by adding an extra layer of security to your account. Google Authenticator protects your account with both your password and your phone, by providing a “secret” code so that nobody can get in.

StrongVPN – A VPN secures your computer’s internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. I have been using StrongVPN for several years without a glitch, primarily because it allows me to have a static IP, but there are a number of great services out there.

Website Hosting / WordPress Theme

Synthesis – I used a number of different web hosts for the first few years until I came across Synthesis. It’s probably not the cheapest service out there, but it’s reliable and fast, and the support is great.

StudioPress Themes for WordPress – If you like the way this website looks, then you need to have a WordPress site from StudioPress. These are the best WordPress themes out there.

Editing

ProofreadNOW.com – I can write like the wind, but I am no grammarian. I leave that up to ProofreadNOW.com. For a nominal fee, they will have professional proofreaders make sure that every blog post I write has every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Find Your Keys, Pets and Kids! (Try Not To Lose Them In The First Place But…)

kids-watch

Searching for a lost or misplaced item (or person!)  can be extremely frustrating and to our chagrin, is an aggravating problem that most of us have to deal with on a daily basis.   This need to locate our lost items asap has caused a massive increase in the number of tracking devices sold worldwide.

With that said, we felt it our mission to find out which tracking devices are at the top of the list based on locating three items:  personal property (e.g., keys, phone, wallet, etc., pets and most importantly, kids.  Our decades of experience yields the following as the top 3 cost-effective, timely and affordable tracking devices available in the common market today:

TrackR: Instantly finds your keys, phone, pets and more.

How It Works:  TrackR is a coin-sized attachable tracking device whose free app connects with TrackR’s 250,000 global customers, forming a far-reaching crowd GPS network that no other tracking devices offers.  Also, the TrackR displays the last location of your lost item on a map and it even sounds an alarm to help you pinpoint its exact location. Want to proactively lessen the odds of misplacing a trackable item? TrackR sends your phone an alert if you get up and walk away from the item’s last exact location.

 

What if you can’t find your phone?  Just press the button on any TrackR device and it will instantly ring your phone, even if it’s in silent mode.

WHISTLE – Quickly and Easily Locate Your Pet

How Does It Work?:  By attaching a handy GPS device on your dog’s collar, you can help ensure your pet’s safe return home. Whistle allows you to set safe zones for your pet  (e.g. dog parks, dog sitters home, your home) on their free mobile app and if they step out you’ll get an instant notification on your phone.

Then, as soon as you’ve been notified that your dog isn’t where he’s supposed to be, you can use Whistle’s live GPS tracking capabilities to pinpoint his exact location on a map. As an added FREE benefit, Whistle also keeps track of long-term health trends and his activity and sleep patterns, giving you important insights into your dog’s health. Whistle has already saved thousands of families from the misery of losing their pets.

iGPS: Immediately Locate Your Child

How Does It Work?:   The iGPS Watch is a groundbreaking product that’s packed with alert and safety features to protect your children. First, its two-way talking capability allows you to talk with your child just like you would on a mobile phone. Then there’s the SOS Call Button that your child can use to call up to 8 emergency contacts with the single press of a button.

Also, it has a customizable “safe zone” feature you can set up too. So if your child steps out of a safe zone like school, a friend’s house, or soccer practice, you instantly get an alert message on your phone. Got an uneasy feeling and want to make sure your kid is ok? Use their live GPS tracking to pinpoint your child’s exact location on a map or use their ‘Listener Mode’ feature which lets you listen to their surroundings without anyone knowing – find they’re being bullied at school or if that nanny is cursing a mile a minute at them.

 

And if you’re worried they can just take it off, don’t be because it’s the only kids safety watch that comes with a Removal Sensor that notifies you if it’s taken off.

There’s no reason to become paranoid but why not avail ourselves of the best tracking devices in the world that will help us know where our family, pets and possessions have gone?

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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