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Your Daughter Arrested By Your Own DNA? Ancestry Sites & Law Enforcement

Back in 2009, I’d written an article on Disney theme parks sharing facial recognition technologically enhanced photos of park-goers with the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to boost the DHS’ base population photo database.  Shortly thereafter, the theme parks were joined by cruise lines, vacation spots and just about all hotel, domestic and international, check-ins.  Now firmly in possession of billions of citizen and visitor photos, law enforcement has moved on to absorb as much DNA from the public as it can, often to identify relatives of those on file in connection with crimes.

This 2015 Fusion article describes the acquisition of genetic IDs from family ancestry sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe:

When companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe first invited people to send in their DNA for genealogy tracing and medical diagnostic tests, privacy advocates warned about the creation of giant genetic databases that might one day be used against participants by law enforcement. DNA, after all, can be a key to solving crimes. It “has serious information about you and your family,” genetic privacy advocate Jeremy Gruber told me back in 2010 when such services were just getting popular.

Now, five years later, when 23andMe and Ancestry both have over a million  customers, those warnings are looking prescient. “Your relative’s DNA could turn you into a suspect,” warns Wired, writing about a case from earlier this year, in which New Orleans filmmaker Michael Usry became a suspect in an unsolved murder case after cops did a familial genetic search using semen collected in 1996. The cops searched an Ancestry.com database and got a familial match to a saliva sample Usry’s father had given years earlier. Usry was ultimately determined to be innocent and the Electronic Frontier Foundation called it a “wild goose chase” that demonstrated “the very real threats to privacy and civil liberties posed by law enforcement access to private genetic databases.”

The FBI maintains a national genetic database with samples from convicts and arrestees, but this was the most public example of cops turning to private genetic databases to find a suspect. But it’s not the only time it’s happened, and it means that people who submitted genetic samples for reasons of health, curiosity, or to advance science could now end up in a genetic line-up of criminal suspects.

Both Ancestry.com and 23andMe stipulate in their privacy policies that they will turn information over to law enforcement if served with a court order. 23andMe says it’s received a couple of requests from both state law enforcement and the FBI, but that it has “successfully resisted them.”

23andMe’s first privacy officer Kate Black, who joined the company in February, says 23andMe plans to launch a transparency report, like those published by Google, Facebook and Twitter, within the next month or so. The report, she says, will reveal how many government requests for information the company has received, and presumably, how many it complies with. (Update: The company released the report a week later.)

“In the event we are required by law to make a disclosure, we will notify the affected customer through the contact information provided to us, unless doing so would violate the law or a court order,” said Black by email.

Ancestry.com would not say specifically how many requests it’s gotten from law enforcement. It wanted to clarify that in the Usry case, the particular database searched was a publicly available one that Ancestry has since taken offline with a message about the site being “used for purposes other than that which it was intended.” Police came to Ancestry.com with a warrant to get the name that matched the DNA.

“On occasion when required by law to do so, and in this instance we were, we have cooperated with law enforcement and the courts to provide only the specific information requested but we don’t comment on the specifics of cases,” said a spokesperson.

As NYU law professor Erin Murphy told the New Orleans Advocate regarding the Usry case, gathering DNA information is “a series of totally reasonable steps by law enforcement.” If you’re a cop trying to solve a crime, and you have DNA at your disposal, you’re going to want to use it to further your investigation. But the fact that your signing up for 23andMe or Ancestry.com means that you and all of your current and future family members could become genetic criminal suspects is not something most users probably have in mind when trying to find out where their ancestors came from.

“It has this really Orwellian state feeling to it,” Murphy said to the Advocate.

If the idea of investigators poking through your DNA freaks you out, both Ancestry.com and 23andMe have options to delete your information with the sites. 23andMe says it will delete information within 30 days upon request.

Another example of familial DNA invasion:

From pri,org:

DNA is taken from the crime scene and compared against a federally regulated FBI-run database used to process DNA evidence, called CODIS. The process can take as long as 18 months before a match is identified. In the meantime, the perpetrator has committed a string of other crimes.

But some local police departments claim they can get faster results — as little as 30 days — by using private labs and local DNA databases.

Frederick Harran, director of public safety at the Bensalem Police Department in Pennsylvania said, “18 months is not prevention, that’s not what they pay me for.”

“I would agree the federal database is a good thing, but we’re just moving too slow,” he claims.

So more and more law enforcement agencies are turning to local databases. But with loose regulations, that can present troubling scenarios. Take this real example from Melbourne, Florida, for example.

A few teenagers were sitting in a parked car, when a police officer pulled up and requested someone provide a DNA sample. The officer gave one boy a cotton swab and a consent form. Once the officer made the collection, he went back on patrol as usual.

Increasingly, local police departments are collecting consensual DNA samples, processed using private labs. It’s happening in cities across Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and North Carolina.

The potential issues for these databases vary state by state. In Florida, minors are allowed to consent to having their DNA collected, which isn’t true in other states, like Pennsylvania. But simply maintaining the databases allows each jurisdiction to test every sample already collected, meaning that the DNA from a minor crime scene from years before could be immediately matched with the new sample.

Stephen Mercer, chief attorney for the Forensics Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, finds the practice deeply troubling.

“The collection procedureshighlights the very real threat to liberty interests that local DNA databanks pose,” Mercer said. “The usual suspects are targeted, so we see this amplification of bias in the criminal justice system along the lines of race being amplified through the criminal justice system.”

Granted, many may think, “Well, if you have nothing to hide…”.  That’s not the point. The innocent, unindicted individual should retain a basic form of control over whether she becomes involved in situations wherein she identifies relatives in potential criminal acts. There is something perverse in having one’s DNA finger one’s own flesh and blood for the government’s purposes.  Identification by familial DNA isn’t a slippery slope… it’s a well-greased slalom of privacy infringement.

We will be looking into the matter of DNA familial finger-pointing in-depth and report back as developments warrant .

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Is It Possible To Create A Person Online?

Very often. those who professionally investigate human beings have to determine if she is dealing with a real person or an invented identity.

In social discussion, countless times I’ve heard people refer to “the fake me” – a conjured identity that the user employs for his own reasons, which can range from the benign (isolating marketers) to the dangerous (a criminal seeking new prey).  More often than not, the braggart is not an IT person – or a detective – and believes that by cobbling together a few “borrowed” digital photos and planting them as profile pics on social media, he can tweet away under his fake identity with no one the wiser.  Professional investigators look for this rather lazy pattern (same pics across various platforms) as one of the first clues that they are dealing with a manufactured identity rather than an actual person.

Few people really know how to create an alternative identity and one of those rare people is Aaron Brown.  His story, in his own words, is as fascinating as it is correct.

(Reprinted with permission.)

HOW TO INVENT A PERSON ONLINE

by Curtis Wallen, (07/23/2014), The Atlantic

It’s not an exaggeration to say everything you do online is being followed. And the more precisely a company can tailor your online experience, the more money it can make from advertisers. As a result, the Internet you see is different from the Internet anyone else might see. It’s seamlessly assembled each millisecond, designed specifically to influence you. I began to wonder what it would be like to evade this constant digital surveillance—to disappear online.

From that question, Aaron Brown was born.

My project started at a small coffee shop in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. With the help of Tor—a software program that uses layers of encryption to anonymize online activity—I searched Craigslist and tracked down a handful of affordable laptop computers for sale in New York City. I registered a new email address with the (now-defunct) Tormail anonymous email provider and arranged to buy a used Chromebook.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.com (1/27/13 – 11:23):

I’m punctual, I will be there on time at 1. Theres an atrium at citi center, will let you know when I’m there.

clcrb@tormail.org (1/27/13 – 11:25):

Perfect. See you there.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.com (1/27/13 – 12:59):

Im here in the atrium at 53rd and lex… Gray jacket, blonde hair. Sitting at a table

The meeting was quick. I wore a hat. I kept my head down. The man at the table in a gray jacket was a real person—in a busy public place full of cameras—who could later potentially connect me to the computer. These face-to-face moments left me the most vulnerable. If I was going to evade online surveillance, I had to avoid any ties between my digital footprint and the physical world.

When I got home I immediately reformatted the computer’s hard drive and installed a Linux partition. This meant I could encrypt and cosmetically “hide” the part of my computer that was using Linux. My new laptop would boot up Chrome OS like any other Chromebook, unless I gave it the command to boot up Linux instead. I never connected to anything using  Chrome OS. And on the Linux side, I never accessed the Internet without Tor, and I never logged into anything that had any connection to Curtis Wallen.

Up to that point, I had been largely operating on instinct and common sense. Now that my project was expanding, I figured it’d probably be a good time to reach out to someone who actually knew what she or he was doing.

I created a new Tormail account, the first evidence of my new person—aaronbrown@tormail.org––and sent an encrypted email to the enigmatic researcher Gwern Branwen, asking what advice he’d give to someone “new to this whole anonymity thing.” Branwen replied with a simple but crucial piece of advice:

“Don’t get too attached to any one identity. Once a pseudonym has been linked to others or to your real identity, it’s always linked.”

Taking Branwen’s advice to heart, I put a sticky note next to my keyboard.

When most people think of Internet surveillance, they imagine government bureaucrats monitoring their emails and Google searches. In a March 2014 study, MIT professor Catherine Tucker and privacy advocate Alex Marthews analyzed data from Google Trends across 282 search terms rated for their “privacy-sensitivity.” The terms included “Islam”, “national security”, “Occupy”, “police brutality”, “protest”, and “revolution.” After Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA surveillance, Tucker and Marthews found, the frequency of these sensitive search terms declined—suggesting that Internet users have become less likely to explore “search terms that they [believe] might get them in trouble with the U.S. government.” The study also found that people have become less likely to search “embarrassing” topics such as “AIDS”, “alcoholics anonymous,” “coming out,” “depression,” “feminism,” “gender reassignment,” “herpes,” and “suicide”—while concerns over these more personal terms could have as much to do with startling Google ads, the notable decrease observed in the study suggests the increased awareness of surveillance led to a degree of self-censorship.

In other words, people are doing their best to blend in with the crowd.

The challenge of achieving true anonymity, though, is that evading surveillance makes your behavior anomalous—and anomalies stick out. As the Japanese proverb says, “A nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” Glenn Greenwald explained recently that simply using encryption can make you a target. For me, this was all the more motivation to disappear.

Aaron had a face, but lacked “pocket litter”—an espionage term that refers to physical items that add authenticity to a spy’s cover. In order to produce this pocket litter, I needed money—the kind of currency that the counterfeit professionals of the darkweb would accept as payment. I needed bitcoin, a virtual currency that allows users to exchange goods and services without involving banks. At that time, one of the few services that exchanged cash for bitcoin was a company called Bitinstant. I made my way to a small computer shop in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan to make the transfer.

At a small, teller-like window, I filled out the paperwork using fake information. Unwisely, I wrote down my name as Aaron Brown— thus creating one of the links to my real identity I should have been avoiding. As a result, my receipt had “Aarow Brown” printed on it. It seemed fitting that the first physical evidence of Aaron’s existence was a misspelled name on a receipt from a computer shop.

When I got home, 10 bitcoin were there waiting for me in my virtual wallet, stored on an encrypted flash drive. I made the necessary contacts and ordered a counterfeit driver’s license, a student ID, a boating license, car insurance, an American Indian tribal citizenship card, a social security card scan (real social security cards were a bit out of my budget), and a cable bill for proof of residency. The final bill came out to just over 7 bitcoin, roughly $400 at the time.

As I waited for my pile of documents, I began crafting Aaron’s online presence. While exploring message boards on the darknet, I came across the contact information for a self-proclaimed hacker called v1ct0r who was accepting applications to host hidden services on a server he managed. I messaged him with a request to host Aaron’s website. He was happy to offer a little space, under two conditions: “no child porn nor racism; Respects the rules or i could block/delete your account.”

I also set up a simple web proxy so that anyone could contribute to Aaron’s online presence. The proxy serves as a middleman for browsing the Internet, meaning any website you visit is first routed through the proxy server. Anyone who browses using the proxy is funneling traffic through that one node—which means those web pages look like they’re being visited by Aaron Brown.

Aaron’s Twitter account worked much the same way. There was a pre-authenticated form on the project website, allowing anyone to post a tweet to Aaron’s feed. As Aaron’s creator, it was fascinating to see what happened once strangers started interacting with it regularly. People would tweet at their friends, and then Aaron would received confused replies. Under the guise of Aaron, people tweeted out, jokes, love messages, political messages, and meta-commentaries on existence. I even saw a few advertisements. Ultimately, the account was suspended after Spanish political activists used it to spam news outlets and politicians.

In a sense, I was doing the opposite of astroturfing, a practice that uses fake social media profiles to spread the illusion of grassroots support or dissent. In 2011, the Daily Kos reported on a leaked document from defense contractor HBGary which explained how one person could pretend to be many different people:

Using the assigned social media accounts we can automate the posting of content that is relevant to the persona. … In fact using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise … There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas.

Aaron Brown turned that concept inside out. With a multitude of voices and interests filtering through one point, any endeavor to monitor his behavior or serve him targeted ads became a wash. None of the information was representative of any discrete interests. The surveillance had no value. I’d created a false human being, but instead of a carefully coordinated deception, the result was simply babble.

“The Internet is what we make it,” wrote security researcher Bruce Schneier in January 2013, “and is constantly being recreated by organizations, companies, and countries with specific interests and agendas. Either we fight for a seat at the table, or the future of the Internet becomes something that is done to us.”

For those of us who feel confident that we have nothing to hide, the future of Internet security might not seem like a major concern. But we underestimate the many ways in which our online identities can be manipulated. A recent study used Facebook as a testing ground to determine if the company could influence a user’s emotional disposition by altering the content of her or his News Feed. For a week in January 2012, reseachers subjected 689,003 unknowing users to this psychological experiment, showing happier-than-usual messages to some people and sadder-than-usual messages to others. They concluded that they had “experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks” because users responded by publishing more positive or negative posts of their own, depending on what they saw in their own feeds.

The U.S. Department of Defense has also figured out how influential Facebook and Twitter can be. In 2011, it announced a new “Social Media in Strategic Communication” (SMISC) program to detect and counter information the U.S. government deemed dangerous. “Since everyone is potentially an influencer on social media and is capable of spreading information,” one researcher involved in a SMISC study told The Guardian, “our work aims to identify and engage the right people at the right time on social media to help propagate information when needed.”

Private companies are also using personal information in hidden ways. They don’t simply learn our tastes and habits, offering us more of what want and less of what we don’t. As Michael Fertik wrote in a 2013 Scientific American article titled “The Rich See a Different Internet Than the Poor,” credit lenders have the ability to hide their offers from people who may need loans the most. And Google now has a patent to change its prices based on who’s buying.

Is it even possible to hide from corporate and government feelers online? While my attempt to do so was an intensely interesting challenge, it ultimately left me a bit disappointed. It is essentially impossible to achieve anonymity online. It requires a complete operational posture that extends from the digital to the physical. Downloading a secure messaging app and using Tor won’t all of a sudden make you “NSA-proof.” And doing it right is really, really hard.

Weighing these trade-offs in my day-to-day life led to a few behavioral changes, but I have a mostly normal relationship with the Internet—I deleted my Facebook account, I encrypt my emails whenever I can, and I use a handful of privacy minded browser extensions. But even those are steps many people are unwilling, or unable, to take. And therein lies the major disappointment for me: privacy shouldn’t require elaborate precautions.

No one likes being subliminally influenced, discriminated against, or taken advantage of, yet these are all legitimate concerns that come with surveillance. These concerns are heightened as we increasingly live online. Digital surveillance is pervasive and relatively cheap. It is fundamentally different than anything we’ve faced before, and we’re still figuring out what what the boundaries should be.

For now, Aaron’s IDs and documents are still sitting inside my desk. Aaron himself actually went missing a little while ago. I used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace to solicit descriptions from strangers, and then hired a forensic artist to draw a sketch. He resurfaced on Twitter. (You can go here to try tweeting as Aaron Brown.) But other than that, no word. I have a feeling he’ll probably pop up in Cleveland at some point.

Everyone always seems to get sucked back home.

******

One thing we seem to forget as we go through our daily online lives is to trust our gut instincts.  If something feels off, your primal brain is sensing it before the logical side can identify the issue.  Trust your instincts – after all, we are – literally and virtually – all strangers online.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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

data-symbols

 

(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.

Anatomy of a Background Check; Information In An Initial Sweep.

background-check-2

With a fairly healthy dose of humor and an equal measure of alarm, I’ve listened, read, heard,  have been Tweeted, Facebooked and Tumblred to by representatives on all sides of the “gun control” (the gun has control – it is immobile and its product possesses kinetic energy only when put in motion) issue.  Almost all parties agree that an enhanced background check should be required for persons wishing to purchase firearms. That’s a throwaway sentiment.   How many people, besides those that have already been through a gun purchase background check, actually understand the process and the information contained in such a search?

We conduct background searches daily; the majority are on domestic subjects, and we also provide international services.  Our clients request background searches for a multitude of reasons ranging from pre-employment prerequisites, (I’ll get into the government-mandated employment eligibility program, EVerify, in another article. Althoug,h if you search the archives, I’ve already posted several on the matter.), to hiring a nanny to personal  financial stability of potential business partners. (We do not conduct background checks for purposes of investigating a potential personal partner, locating mistresses or suitability of a date.)

To follow is the bare bones information contained within a comprehensive check (the minimum required to possess a firearm, aside from the NCIC fingerprint and DNA checks):

COMPREHENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECK

DOE, ARMANDO J.

Subject Information:

Name: ARMANDO J. DOE

DOB: 5/20/1979

Age: 33

SSN: 123-45-6789 issued in New York between 5/20/1979 and 12/31/1979

Names Associated With Subject:

ARMAN DOE

ARMAND J. DOE

J. ARMANDO DOE

ARMAND JOHN DOE

A.J. DOE

Others Associated With Subjects SSN:

(DOES NOT indicate any type of fraud or deception)

THOMAS ROBERTSON DOB: 4/9/1967

================================================================

Address History:

135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742                      (Jan 2011 – Dec 2012)

14-01 121st , COLLEGE POINT, NY 11356-3765                                          (Aug 2010 – Jan 2011)

P.O. BOX 5106, COLLEGE POINT, NY 11356-5106                                      (June 2007 – Dec 2012)

149-21 71ST ST, COLLEGE POINT, NY 11563-9823                                    (Feb 2003 – Nov 2008)

7 SUMMIT STREET, MALBA, NY , 11357-3476                                            (June 1990 – Mar 2006)

Information on Affiliated Addresses:

135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742                      (Jan 2011 – Dec 2012)

Name Associated with Address:

ARMANDO J. DOE

Current Residents at Address:

ARMANDO J. DOE

DINA C. DOE

SARA DOE

718-555-1234   ARMANDO DOE

Property Ownership Information for this Address

Property:

Parcel Number – 50-40-21-09-1001

Book – 4761

Page – 1243

Owner Name:  SMITH, HERMAN

Owner Name 2: SMITH, ANNA LIA

Property Address: – 135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742

Owner Address: 13247 SW 43RD ST,  PLANTATION,  FL 33309-2742

Sale Date – 02/03/2011

Sale Price – $320,000

Land Usage – MUTLI RES

Total Market Value – $438,850

Assessed Value – $438,850

Land Value – $100,950

Improvement Value – $118,010

Land Size – 16,789 Square Feet

Year Built – 2000

Seller Name: RIVINGTON, IAN & JANICE

Legal Description –  182-2400 B LOT 270

135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742                      (Jan 2011 – Dec 2012)

Possible Properties Owned by Subject: 

Property: None found.

(THE REPORT CONTINUES LISTING ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION – owner, owner address, sale date… – FOR EVERY ADDRESS ON RECORD FOR THE SUBJECT.)

Emails Associated W Subject:

AJDOE520@FLASH.NET

ARMANDOJD520@GMAIL.COM

ARMANDOJD05@HOTMAIL.COM

Phones Associated W Subject:

Name: ARMANDO DOE

Address: SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420

Phone Number:  718-555-1234

Phone Type:  Landline

Carrier:  Verizon

Name: DINA C. DOE

Address: 135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742

Phone Number:  347-555-9518

Phone Type:  Mobile

Carrier:  VERIZON WIRELESS

Criminal Record Profile:

 National Criminal Record Search (Felonies & Major Misdemeanors):

       New York Arrest Report:

              Name: DOE, ARMANDO J.

              SSN: 123-45-6789

              Address: 135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 

              State of Origin: New York

              County of Origin: Queens

              Case Type Description: Queens County(NY)Arrest

              Arrests: 

Arrest #1

Arrest Date: 09/21/2010

Arresting Agency:  109, NYPD

Arrest Disposition Date:06/29/2012

Court Fine:          Offense: INTENT DIST/2Nd

Agency Case #:2011-675835G

Arrest Level/Degree: FELONY

Arrest Disposition: BOOKED


(The arrest will undoubtedly carry several charges.  Possession, attempt to distribute, resisting arrest, etc.  Each arrest charge will be separately defined – from charge to disposition.)

       New York Department of Corrections:

              Name: ARMANDO J. DOE

              SSN: 123-45-6789

              State of Origin: NY

              Inmate Number: 137869

              DOB: 05/20/1979

              Race: WHITE

              Sex: Male

              Eyes: GREEN

              Height: 6′ 00″

              Weight: 205

              Case Number: 0529234

              Case Type Description: Department Of Correction, NY

              Latest Admission Date: 09/21/2010    

State Criminal Record Search (Felonies & Major Misdemeanors):

(Repeats the Nationwide Search and may include ACDs – Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal. In an ACD situation, the offender is on a conditional probation period of anywhere from six months to several years, depending on his/her criminal history.  If the person re-offends for any reason during this adjournment period, s/he can be re-arrested.  The follow up information will include every possible detail from co-defendant(s), arresting officers to court transciptionists to defense counsel/prosecutors to the presiding judges and every motion made on the case.  Per the number of arrests, this portion of a background check can run anywhere from several dozen to several hundred pages.)

Driver’s License Information: 

(Current)

Name:           ARMANDO J. DOE

State: New York

License Address: 135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742

DOB: 05/20/1979

SSN : 123-45-6789

Gender: Male

Ethnicity: WHITE

Expiration Date: 05/20/2016

Issue Date: 03/13/2006

License Type: RENEWAL

License Class: Non-Commercial – Class D

Height: 6’00

Data Source: Governmental

(Previous)

Motor Vehicles Registered To Subject:

Vehicle:

Description: Blue 2001 Nissan Sentra – 4dr Sedan

VIN: 5NING01C8ST000001
Engine: 4 Cylinder 152 Cubic Inch — Gas Powered               State Of Origin: Pennsylvania

Anti Lock Brakes: 4 wheel standard

Air Conditioning: Standard

Daytime Running Lights: Standard

Power Steering: Standard

Power Brakes: Standard

Power Windows: Standard

Security System:  Standard Alarm

Roof: Standard

Price: 16750

Radio: AM/FM CD

Front Wheel Drive: No

Four Wheel Drive: No

Tilt Wheel: Standard

Registrant(s)

Record Type: CURRENT

Name: ARMANDO J. DOE

Address: 135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742

DOB: 5/20/1979

Sex: Male

Age: 33

Tag Number: CFD9524

License State: NY

Earliest Registration Date: 6/12/2012

Latest Registration Date: 6/12/2012

Expiration Date: 6/11/2013

License Plate Type: Private

Title Number: 0219856887

Title Issue Date: 6/12/2012

Lien Holder(s)

Company Name: CHASE MANH

Address: 150 PARK PLACE, 23RD FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019

 (Report includes every vehicle ever owned or registered by the subject and all associated tags.)

Concealed Weapons Permit:  (This will include target permits.)

[None Found]

Possible or Previous Work Affiliations:

Name: ARMANDO J. DOE

Title: Manager

SSN: 123-45-6789

Company: ABCDE, LLC.

Address: 158-09 Northern Boulevard, Little Neck, NY  11363-4857

Dates: Dec 21, 2005

Corporate Affiliations:

[None Found]

Professional License(s): 

[None Found]

 FAA Certifications: 

[None Found]

FAA Aircrafts: 

[None Found]

Watercraft: 

[None Found]

Voter Registration:  

Name: ARMANDO J. DOE

Address: 135-23 122nd  ST, SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY 11420-2742

DOB: 5/20/1979

Gender: Male

Ethnicity: White

Political Party: UNDECLARED

State of Registration: New York

Status: ACTIVE

Hunting/Fishing Permit: 

[None Found]

Bankruptcies:

[None Found]

 Liens and Judgments:

[None Found]

UCC Filings: 

[None Found]

Possible Associates:  (Business)

Possible Relative Summary: 

>Immediate Relatives
>> 2nd Degree Relatives & AKAs on Immediate Relatives
>>> 3rd Degree Relatives & AKAs on 2nd Degree Relatives

(This section begins at the grandparents and continues through prior-divorce or death in-laws. Each item contains the person’s name, DOB, DOD, last known address/phone number and their 1st through 3rd degree relatives.  Then we run the subject through EVerify – subject matter for an upcoming article.)

END OF COMPREHENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECK REPORT. 

The above described background report is compiled from many diverse sources including, but not limited to,  governmental (federal, state and local) agencies (SSA, DMVs, DHS…),  consumer credit reporting companies and other reporting affiliates that may be indirectly or second/third-party affiliated to the subject (e.g., guarantor).  This is a low to average security level background check. There is additional research that occurs but the above sample report is representative of a first sweep on a background investigation.

Now we at least have a jumping off point to begin discussing enhanced background checks.  Debate away.

There is more to the above subject profiled than meets the eye.  All of the identifiers have been changed but this is a real background check – minus multiple pages of repetitive and unrelatable information.  Armando’s grandmother’s ex-and now dead- husband won’t make a difference. My point is that a comprehensive background check follows through very carefully and leaves enough markers for the reviewing investigator to pick up on if s/he decides there is reason to dig deeper.  I have trust that the security background search systems in place actually do work and have and will evolve as we meet new technological challenges for those wishing to circumvent their disqualifying past as it relates to gun purchases and in general.

Our operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay. safe.

Chatting With Strangers: Dangerous Catfishing.

FakeFB
Urban Dictionary:

A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.

==========================================================================

If you’ve been on social media for more than a few months, the odds are very high that you’ve been catfished or have heard the horror stories of its victims.  From the above Urban Dictionary, you can determine this to  mean that someone you’ve been chatting with is not who they state they are.  (For the purposes of this article, we will not extend the meaning of catfish to online stalkers such as exes trying to check up on former wives, husbands, etc. or people experimenting with a more fluid profile of themselves to maintain a degree of separation from their personal and work lives.)

The reasons people catfish are many and varied but in social media venues, this con game is mostly used in romantic pursuit via a fake identity.

How To Spot A Catfisher:

1. Caginess about life details: Real name, age, location, field of employment, etc. (Citing security reasons is one thing; catfishers act as if they are with the Secret Service about this information and then try to turn the tables around by asking you for your info so that “they can trust you”.)

2. Has few photos of himself. (There’s only so many pics of a regular guy that a catfisher can rip off and pretending to be a Charlie Sheen look-a-like with CS’ pics is so 2009.)

3. The few photos that he has posted aren’t usually of him involved in real time activities with the same people. (E.g., No family pics.)

4. The identities are relatively new. “I just joined Facebook.” (Really? Where have you been in the past decade??)

5. Few, if any, interactions, with others on his timeline. “I don’t let people post to my timeline anymore since I ran into this nut who blew up my page.”  (Most real people do not completely limit posts on their timelines as it defeats the purpose of being on social media – to interact with others.)

6. His webcam is always broken.

How Does A Catfisher Operate:

If somehow a catfisher gets past his target’s guard and it’s time to meet in real life and he has been using a fake picture, he will suddenly disappear off the face of the virtual earth..

But now, having gathered all of this personal information from you (your likes, tastes, aspirations, etc.), he reappears (unbeknownst to you) as a different person.  His profile pic will either be very grainy, of other poor quality or  of animals or other non-human representations  – anything but a clear, current pic of himself.   This new stranger will apply your personal knowledge in your chats and appear to be in synch with you on many subjects.  Despite the age-old adage, “Opposites attract”, we are actually more attracted to those with whom we have things in common. You begin to believe that you have met someone who “gets” you.

A connection has formed.

Why Do People Fall For Catfishers:

From Buzzfeed:

Our Leah Palmer piece reported how a man left his girlfriend for a women who didn’t exist. A popular response in the comments underneath was, “How didn’t he know?”

But there are real reasons why we choose to see what we wantto see when it comes to meeting people online.

“If someone presents to us an intact, detailed identity, we immediately trust it,” says Short. “That’s because if we recognise just the outline of the individual – online or in the real world – we assume that that is real, with no verification. So identity equals trust, even if it’s not real. If someone looks like a person, we think they are a person.”

She explains that it got a lot to do with instinct: “It’s partially an evolutionary default. We’re social creatures, that’s just what we do: We see a pattern that looks like an individual and we think it must be a real person.”

Unconscious social cues tell us what we want to know about someone depending on what we want, says Short. So if we’re looking for a friend, colleague, or a lover, we’re predisposed to find people who fit the bill.

Even if there are details missing or there’s something suspicious – for example, someone’s webcam is always broken, or their career seems sketchy – human brains are happy to fill in the blanks.

“Just as we stereotype people in the physical world and immediately make judgments, I think the same thing is happening online,” Short says. “We look at profiles and fill in the gaps – you do the dot-to-dot and make all sorts of assumptions about who this person is.

“This is happening very, very fast and we’re not switched on to the fact that verification is very poor [online]. In the physical world, people lie but at least you know it’s them in front of you. You just don’t know that in an online relationship.”

17 Of The Most Insane Catfish Stories That Will Make You Cringe

Relatedly, in our next Bulletin,  we will cover How To Handle An Online Stalker.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

IDNYC – The Largest Municipal ID Program In The Nation; The Good, The Bad and the WTH??

idnyc v02

What is IDNYC?   As of January 15, 2015, New York City became the largest city in the nation to issue municipal IDs. IDNYC is a free, government-issued identification card that is available to all City residents age 14 and older. Immigration status is irrelevant and not factored into eligibility.

How Does One Obtain An IDNYC? From the IDNYC website:

To get an IDNYC card, you must meet the following criteria:

1) At least four (4) points of documents with:

– At least three (3) points of documents proving identity.
– At least one (1) point of documents proving residency.

2) At least one (1) of the documents submitted must have a photo of the applicant, unless the applicant is 21 years old or younger and is accompanied by a caretaker who can demonstrate proof of relationship.

3) At least one (1) of the documents submitted has the applicant’s date of birth.

What documents are acceptable to prove identity?  The usuals (US Passport, Driver’s License and U.S Visa) fulfill the 3-point identity requirement but so does any combination of the following:

  • Expired Foreign Passport – within three years (2 points)
  • NYS Benefits Card without photo (1)
  • Access-A-Ride ID Card (1)
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Membership Card (1)
  • U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Authorization Letter (2)
  • Your child’s U.S. Birth Certificate – listing applicant as birth parent (1)
  • Certificate of marriage, domestic partnership, civil union, divorce or dissolution (1)

Seriously, NYC government?  Except for the first document (Expired Foreign Passport), none of the above prove identity and all are without photos.  How does having one’s name written on a birth certificate as the Baby Daddy prove jack?  (Unless the applicant’s name happens to be Jack, I suppose.)  And let’s not get cute about a US Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).  I’ve covered this subject in many Bulletins.  TINs, employed by the IRS since 1995,  are issued to employees without SSNs – sans verification.  You can bet your bottom dollar (and I’m sure they’ll take mine as well) that the IRS will not lose out on collecting taxes. 

So, to recap, with a TIN and a Baby Daddy certificate, one has now proven his identity sufficiently for a government-issued I.D.  With such security measures, what could possibly go wrong? Moving along…

What documents are acceptable to prove identity? Aside from again, the usual forms of I.D., these documents are acceptable as proof of residency:

  • Court Order issued by NYS or Federal Court (dated within 60 days)
  • “Care-of Letter” Issued by nonprofit organization or religious institution in NYC serving homeless individuals or survivors of domestic violence. Entity must currently receive City funding. Letter must indicate applicant has received services from the entity for past 60 days and may use entity’s address for mailing purposes (dated within 14 days). Address on card will be “Care Of” the organization.
  • Letter from City agency, nonprofit organization, or religious institution in NYC that provides services to individuals without a home address (dated within 30 days). No address to appear on card.
  • Letter Issued by a Hospital or Health Clinic in NYC (dated within 30 days). No address will appear on the card.

As to the first acceptable form of residency – you just know someone will walk in with an open bench warrant in his/her name, but remember no stop-n-frisk any more.   We’ve already covered the non-identity confirmation of a TIN filer.  If a tax return to a TINner can’t prove identity, how is it proof of residence??

The last three acceptable proof of residency documents are just too ludicrous for me not to have checked with The Onion first.  I’d hate to commit copyright infringement.  But, no, no.  This is the law in NYC.   A letter from Tommy at the Y will do as proof of residency even though the applicant does not live there.  

The combinations to secure an IDNYC are many and almost all can be perverted for whatever nefarious reasons people chose to pass themselves off as someone else or to remain below the radar.

Why an IDNYC card? Once again, per IDNYC:

Your IDNYC card is a broadly accepted, official form of identification. IDNYC is accepted:

  • By City agencies to access many services and programs;
  • By NYPD for the purposes of issuing summons or desk appearance tickets instead of arrest;
  • For entry into public buildings, like schools;
  • For taking the high school equivalency exam in New York City,
  • For opening up checking accounts.

So we’re going to give the unverified Baby Daddy access to services and programs (read: tax $$$), help him avoid arrest, allow him access to public buildings like schools, courthouses, libraries, etc and open up a checking account where money from anywhere can be laundered, I mean, deposited into. 

If anyone can provide a viable reason for the need for more I.D. cards, please let us know. Someone, with journo creds preferably, should test this system for loopholes (craters) and security soundness.

Not to feed into terror or xenophobia but seriously folks, if the system isn’t broken, must the government always stomp in and wreak hell?  Oh the good part of IDNYC  – 25% discount to see the big blue whale hanging in the main hall of the Museum of Natural History. (I can do that on any given warm day sitting on Jones Beach but that’s an unpublishable column for another day.)

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy, face-palming on account of this article. 

As always, be safe.  

 

Municipal ID Cards: Coming Soon To Your City

Oakland ID card

(Our focus in this piece is on the NYC municipal ID card but as there has been no decision yet as to what it will look like, we are representing the ID image with a generic Oakland muni-card ID, [Oakland City ID].  Interestingly, the Oakland IDs are paired with Mastercard.)

A municipal identification card is a form of ID card issued by a municipality, such as a city, rather than a state or federal government.

Under federal law, cities may issue their own identification cards as they see fit, and do not have to consider the immigration or criminal status of an applicant before doing so.  New Haven, Connecticut issued the first municipal ID cards in the United States, the Elm City Resident Card, in 2007.    San Francisco followed suit in 2009 and now, other cities that issue municipal ID cards include Oakland, California,  Asbury Park, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. (DC One Card).   The municipal ID card is intended to help people to access city services and enter city buildings.

Now jumps in NYC’s Mayor DeBlasio who signed the bill authorizing municipal ID cards in July of this year. The cards are supposed to be available early next year, at which point New York will undoubtedly leapfrog New Haven and San Francisco in having the largest municipal ID program in the country.

NYC officials are negotiating with banks, stores, restaurants and cultural institutions to also recognize the municipal ID cards, but have offered few examples where the card would be accepted.  The  January 2015 roll-out of the NYC municipal cards is anticipated to be utilized by 500,000 immigrants of varying legal resident status.

The program will be run by the city’s Human Resources agency. Applications for the card will be available online as well as at enrollments sites around the city, like the public libraries.

Several questions immediately leap to mind:

1. What is the identification verification criteria and process?

2. Will the NYC muni-IDs be valid outside of the metro NYC area? (E.g.: If NYC follows Oakland’s lead and multi-purposes these IDs to serve as pre-paid debit cards, will they be accepted in outer-borough banking facilities?)

3. Will these muni-IDs be linked to benefits? (Medical, personal welfare programs, education…)  If so, ill they be accepted on a federal level as a form of identification?

I believe it is necessary for all people to have access to financial, social and educational programs;  these days, however, security is also a major concern.   NYC’s municipal identification card agenda bears watching.

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy.

As always, stay safe.

Falling Off The Grid: A How-To Disappear. Part I/II

As an investigator for well over a decade, often employed in a skip-tracing capacity, I’ve learned how a  person can disappear (fall off the grid) or modify their public data (perception management). Without delving too much into SEO and other optimization methods hawked on the market, we focus on running our people tracer searches in reverse; i.e., locate the public information available on an individual and then follow the below masking methods.  To ensure that a person has successfully dropped off of the grid, we then try to locate them ourselves; determining how well our cloaking measures have worked.

There are basically three steps involved in falling off the grid.

1. Misinformation.  There is so much electronically available information on individuals now that turning this data to suit your needs may indeed appear to be a Sisyphean task.  (We are not referring to allegedly protected information such as your Social Security Number or credit rating; albeit the latter can be manipulated as well by simply adopting a new identity.  We’ll get to that in a later article.)   I’m referring to contact information given way too freely to cell phone and cable companies, utilities and even to marketing professionals just to receive nonvaluable products or services.

Solution: Locate and deviate your known information.  I.e.,  Select a letter of the alphabet different from your middle initial or invent one if you don’t have a second name. Open a P.O. Box, directing your street address to that of an identity securer’s physical address.   Select a different date of birth.  Where and when applicable, use these three new misinformants.  As marketers, cable, fraternal organizations… upgrade their selling lists, this new information will begin to be applied to your newer identity.  Your old information will begin to drop off of aging consumer lists.

2. Disinformation.  Similar to the above but with the direct intent to mislead an aggressive researcher.

Solution: Have your created data result redirected to a different city.  Make it as difficult and expensive as possible to have the would-be seeker find you.

3. Necessary contact.  So you’ve won the lottery, need to fall off the grid for a while (if only to regain a sense of balance in your life) but you still wish to remain in contact with your family (the real ones and not those having recently spilled out of the woodwork upon news of your winnings).

Solution: Pre-paid cell phones, Internet cafes or hot spots, pre-paid calling cards and pay for everything in cash.

In our next article, we will cover the art of perception management.  Expertly applied by politicians (except Senator Edwards), large corporations and dictatorially run oppressed nations.

Our Operatives: Street smart, tech savvy.

As always, stay safe.

Louis C. Amen, NYPD, Det., ret.

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